Cider Press Hill

A Stunner

Last night when the lad came home, he hoisted himself onto the kitchen counter and said, “Let’s talk.”

“Should I put on a pot of coffee?” I asked.

“Yeah,” he said. “There’s a lot going on.”

He watched me as I rinsed out the coffee pot and began to measure out the scoops of coffee.

“What’s chlamydia?” he asked.

With my coffee scoop suspended in mid-air, I turned and looked at him. “This is an academic question, right?”

“Geez yes,” he said. “There’s an outbreak of it in the freshman class. A few of the girls were talking about it.”

I explained that chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection that both males and females can get. It’s transmitted by sexual intercourse and oral sex. It’s not something that one catches from a sneeze or a cough.

“So,” he said, “There’s no way to get it from a toilet seat.”

“Not unless someone was doing something really kinky with the toilet seat,” I said. “What made you ask that?”

“One of the girls said she got it from a toilet seat.”

Well, I told him, plainly she knows better. It might make her feel better to say that’s how she got it, but her options were pretty limited to sexual activity. But what on earth would cause a girl to tell all and sundry that she had it in the first place? Little did I know.

And how old was this young lady? Try fourteen. And how many compose an outbreak? At least eight or nine girls who are talking about it.

“Did you know that there are four seniors who are pregnant?” he asked.

“Hasn’t anyone ever heard of condoms?” I asked.

“Probably not so much,” he said, “and besides, if they don’t do it, they’re not really having sex. Except for the older ones who got pregnant.”

“Meaning?” I asked.

“Let’s put it this way,” he said, “there are a bunch of freshman girls who have lists. They call them Rape Lists. They have a list of guys on them that they want to give beejays to. It’s like a competition. The more they can cross off the list, the hotter they are.”

And while that was sinking into my brain, he said, “I’m on a couple of those lists.”

“Oh, buddy,” I said. “That’s not good, is it?”

“Not really.”

“What happens when they don’t cross you off their list?”

“I go on their Death List,” he said.

“What does that mean?!”

“I’m dead to them. I’m a nerd. It’s a pressure thing. A lot of guys don’t want everyone to think they’re a sexual nerd.”

“And you?” I asked.

“I don’t really care about that,” he said. “And I wouldn’t go near a fourteen year old, anyway. But it’s insulting. I’m not just a dick with a name on it.”

And a moment later…

“Ewww,” he said with a shudder, “They’re going around talking about having chlamydia and think any sane guy would want them to touch him? How disgusting is that?”


I gave him lots of hugs and sat down with him again after he got into bed. I told him that his thinking is absolutely right. For one hundred percent sure.

Over the years we have talked a lot about sex and relationships and self respect and sex-related health. For one thing, I’ve told him, be absolutely clear that whenever he decides to have sex with someone he is also having sex with everyone that person has ever been with. Unless he knows his partner really, really, really well and for a good while, think very carefully about either having sex or unprotected sex. I think I’ve permanently seared into his brain that having sex without a condom until he is in a very long term relationship is just as immoral and stupid as about the lowest thing he can think of. One just doesn’t do it without protection. The risks are too high and he’s worth too much to take stupid risks. Not ever. Not even once. Ever.

And, I’ve pointed out that when one has sex, one is leaving a part of himself behind with that person. Promiscuous sex ends up being a soul draining enterprise. When he’s ready, he’ll know it. Not because of raging hormones, but because it means something and it’s a piece of himself that he won’t miss giving away because it’ll still be a part of him. That’s the way long term relationships work. I’ve never said that he couldn’t or shouldn’t or I’d be mad if he did have sex. It’s his choice when. And you know, it seems to have worked pretty well so far. He’s still waiting for that special girl. It’s not a sport, it’s not a notch in the belt to brag about. And you bet I’m going to take a lot of credit for that.

That makes me really wonder what is going on with these girls who apparently value themselves and their well-being so little that they think it’s cool to have the appallingly named Rape Lists. As if it’s the sporting event of the season. And that they value the boys on their lists so little as human beings. That’s disturbing. And even more disburbing, they’ve already contracted a sexually transmitted infection, yet it doesn’t seem to phase them. In fact, they openly talk about it while tending their lists. What is that all about? Why? Maybe I’m naive in thinking it’s not so much about hormones as that perhaps no one has taken the time to teach them to value themselves first. Or talk to them and teach them about sex and what it means along with the the risks and responsibilities involved.

I’m not so easily surprised anymore, but this story left me stunned to the roots. All I can think to ask is why?

Posted by Kate on 04/14/05 at 05:54 AM



How frightening.  It gives me the shivers.  It’s all become a game - and that is sad.  And degrading.

Glad your son is smart.

Posted by Vickie on 04/14  at  07:38 AM

I am speechless.  wow.

Though kudos to you and to your son, you are raising a fine boy.

Posted by Steph on 04/14  at  08:13 AM

Dear Gawd. Now of course if it was the boys that had a list, we wouldn’t be so shocked I suppose. These girls are going to regret this list in a year or so when their reputations run through that town.
Funny, I just watched something similar on a CSI? program about the boys having a list, and some of the girls going totally along with it, some not but doing it anyway.
Where the heck are these girls parents for Pete’s sake. Um they must know about the chlamydia and HOW they get it.
Wow, just Wow.
1000 points and then some to the lad for talking about it with you. I think I am going to have a talk with a couple someones myself, just to reaffirm, for my own piece of mind LOL.

Hey my word was spring! Do you think that was a sick cruel joke on me, or do you think it might actually make it here before June?

Posted by Jennifer AKA Me on 04/14  at  08:58 AM

I remember one of those old ‘Jostens’ ads about high school rings… some silliness about the high school years being the ‘best years of your life’.

If I may be forgiven a moment of candor:  Bullshit.

High school sucked for me and just about everyone I know.  Those who weren’t getting pressured to have sex, or succumbing to raging hormones, were feeling all the other types of pressure there were, grades, extra-curriculars for positive ones, drugs, alcohol, sex, violence, and a few others for negative ones. 

High school is a time of finding yourself.  The good ones, like the Lad, apparently, could keep it together and had strong parents to go to.  They already knew who they were and didn’t feel the need to go find themselves.  Those of us that couldn’t keep it together are still looking. 

Man, 32 and you’d think I’d have gotten over this hich school angst by now.  Nope. grin

Anyway, thanks for the space to vent, and kudos to you for being the kind of parent that can be approached like that, and especially to the Lad for keeping to his own path, despite all the pressures that high school can throw at you.  Sounds like he’ll be OK.

Captcha word is: play.  Should have done less of that in high school.  grin

Posted by Dave on 04/14  at  09:14 AM

Parenting is very hard these days.

Posted by Karan on 04/14  at  09:56 AM

It really is a sad state of affairs, isn’t it?  I’ve done a lot of talking and listening with mine over the years, too, and we’re at about the same place that you and Ian are.  Thank God for that!  When and with whom are up to her, but it’s firmly fixed in her head and heart that the when and with whom are going to mean something really special when the time comes.  No amount of hassling from her peers and no amount of pressure from a boyfriend is going to take that choice away from her.  And nobody will ever make her forget to protect herself...ever.  “You don’t want to do it my way, buddy?  Then we don’t do it.  ‘Night.”

As for diseases, pregnancy, etc. I’m not so sure that the kids aren’t educated.  Obviously not as well as they should be in a lot of cases, but they all heard the “necessities” from the same sources at school.  My feeling is that they’re choosing to ignore the warnings in their quest to be cool.  What they don’t realize is that sex is not like experimenting with other things.  Besides the immediate consequences, one day they’ll wake up and realize what a precious, beautiful thing they spoiled for themselves.  Whether it be under the right or wrong circumstances, it’s an intensely emotional thing, not a game.

Posted by Eleanor on 04/14  at  10:09 AM

I have to admit that this post so totally revolted me that I couldn’t even look at it all day yesterday. It made me sad and sick all that the same time. Kind of an unusual response. I’m just going to leave it to speak for itself and carry on.

Posted by Kate on 04/15  at  07:47 AM

I read your post yesterday morning, but just could not put what I wanted to say in words--still struggling, but WOW, not wow at what is going on cause that did not surprise me at all (remember Milton Academy a few weeks ago),it’s not (sadly) all that unusual anymore, but WOW at the lad--he (and you) deserve so much credit for him being able to talk openly and frankly with you about this.  Way to Go!  I truly am impressed...too bad more parents were not open to these kinds of discussions.  Even when my kids were growing up, though we talked a lot about things, most of their friends’ parents had their heads firmly planted in the sand--most were living in lah-lah land and neither knew nor even considered the things that were going on.  I guess we have gone full circle...maybe now things will start to turn back the other direction a little.

Thinking back to my high school years (and yes, Dave, I am considerably older than you, damn it all--lol), there was a certain amount of pressure to have sex, but it was more if you were going steady(bet no one does that either anymore!), no one really just had sex, oral or otherwise, just for the sake of doing it...well, almost no one.  At least I don’t think so, there were a few, of course, but as for my group of friends........we all talked about it, laughed about it, wondered about it and experimented up to a point, but then stopped…

You are a good mom, Kate, a really good mom!

Posted by cyn on 04/15  at  09:53 AM

Thanks, Cyn. And for the rest of the comments, too. And Dave, whatever your high school experiences were, you turned out pretty darned well. Mine weren’t exactly stellar, either. If anyone asked if I’d like to go back and relive my high school years, I’d recoil in horror and scream Noooooo!!!! Now you have a little girl and I’m going to bet that her experiences will be a whole lot different. It’s a wonderful thing to be able to improve on our own histories. smile

This morning one of the list carrying girls arrived at school the same time the lad did. She saw us pull up and she waited for him. “Oh Jeez,” he said with a groan. I truly wanted to leap out of the car and tackle her. And take her little chin in a vise grip and snarl at her to leave the kid alone and get a freaking grip. He literally ran past her into the school, with her hot on his heels.

I’m glad he’s going far, far away for a week.

Posted by Kate on 04/15  at  03:26 PM

First, kudos to you for keeping the dialogue going with your son.  He sounds like a stellar young man, and I only hope I do half as well with mine. 

I have apparently been living under a rock, because the notion that this is going on is just revolting to me, and they young age at which it is starting is scary as hell. 

The subject of teenagers and sex has been a hot topic over at Sigmund, Carl and Alfred here lately, with some excellent posts and comments.  This one in particular was really an eye-opener.

Posted by terrilynn on 04/15  at  09:47 PM

Superb post. Kudos to you!

As one of your readers noted, we’ve had guest posts on the subject of parenting, sex and reality, if you will.

We’ve all been going back to school on this one.

Posted by Sigmund, Carl and Alfred on 04/16  at  07:19 AM

Your post is well written, well thought-out, and a spot-on accurate description of many schools today.  Unfortunately.  I also agree with you on every point you brought up.  Parents in general simply do not, for whatever reason, give their kids enough information not only about the mechanics, and protection, but also about the implications, and consequences.  And not all of the consequences are physical or biological.  Your explanations and examples are pricelessly excellent, and should be required reading for every person on the planet.  I add my kudos to the long, long list of applauding readers.  Well done, indeed.  Thank you.

Posted by Mamacita on 04/16  at  12:23 PM

Over at Perkmashin’s blog there’s also an eye-opening essay on teenage sexuality.

It’s a must read!

Posted by Dwayne on 04/16  at  06:09 PM

Sigmund, Carl and Alfred, thank you very much for the post about this story. I appreciate that.

And Mamacita, thank you for your generous words. I’ve read your thoughts on the subject and I’m glad that your voice is out there trying to educate.

One thing I want to make clear however, this is not a post seeking praise or kudos for doing what, in my opinion, is just plain common sense.

We live in a society that is absolutely obsessed with sex, yet it seems to be the one subject, above all, that people, including parents, have the most difficulty talking about without stumbling over their words or turning beet red. Why is talking about sex so embarrassing to so many people? It’s like...natural, you know? It’s one of the most universally common experiences of human existence. And yet, like with most other things, it has to be learned. Either with proper education or by trial and error.

How much time do we spend teaching our kids how to talk? Or eat food? Or use utensils? Or how to use the toilet? Or how to brush their teeth? Or, for that matter, how to play baseball, basketball, football, etc? And how many years do we spend teaching them to cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze? Or ‘go wash your hands’ in the hopes of preventing them from catching colds or worse? All functions of human existence in a civilized society. But when it comes to sex, the easiest out is to say, JUST DON’T DO IT. Never mind that we aren’t exactly explaining what it is all about.

Teaching abstinence, to me, is the easy way out. Teach it and then congratulate ourselves for having done the right thing?

I fully agree that abstinence is preferred. But clearly that’s not working so well. Four pregnant seniors in our school and a lot of little girls running around with at least one identified sexually transmitted disease and the apparent belief that blow jobs aren’t really sex, they’re safe, and really, really cool.

Despite the emphasis in our school district on abstinence teaching and the wretched teaching video called The 411: Teens and Sex (a transcript of a Katie Couric special from NBC), we clearly have a lot of children running around without enough information or education to make informed or wise choices for themselves. They are still children and teaching them to “Just don’t do it” is enormously unfair to them. The more information they have, the better equipped they are to make good choices for themselves. And to protect themselves if they do choose to do it.

And I think that Eleanor and Jennifer (in above comments) and I are examples of how our kids can make good choices for themselves if they are armed to the teeth with enough information concerning all perspectives of sex and personhood.

It’s not something that I want to praise myself for. My lad is not all grown up yet and there is always the possibility. But, it’s a matter of loving my kid so much that I want to make sure that he is safe, emotionally and physically—or doesn’t end up being a dad until he is ready to be a dad. That he has as much information as I can give him and a lot of conversation about sex to make sure that he doesn’t put himself in danger. I don’t want to end up outliving my child. And yes, there is an element of selfishness in there, too, I suppose.

That should be common sense. For the life of me, I don’t understand why it isn’t.

Posted by Kate on 04/16  at  07:31 PM

Sooner or later everyone’s going to have sex. The question is whether that sex will leave them with bitter memories and feelings (and possibly nasty and in some cases incurable diseases) or not.

You wrote:
“Promiscuous sex ends up being a soul draining enterprise.” That’’s about as good a description as I have ever heard. But it’s not just promiscuity - it’s abusive sex. It’s about using and abusing other people. It’s about realizing that you are doing this with another person who has feelings and sensitivities of his or her own.

People grow up at different rates, and until a kid is secure enough in his or her own self to recognize another person as an independent person with his or her own needs a kid can’t treat that other person with any real respect. There is not a particular age when kids automatically achieve this, but most of them definitely have to leave behind the extreme insecurity and preoccupation with their own selves before they are ready.

I think parents ought to know (not that all of them do) when their kid is getting comfortable enough with his or her own self to consider getting intimate with another person responsibly, and so I can see a parent giving his or her child all the information and then the advice to wait for the time being.

Another way is to put it more positively, and give the kid a list of sample things that he or she ought to know about the other person before fooling around. 

I think there are a many, many types of abstinence programs out there. Some are very informational. Some are really “abstain from intercourse, but here are these other things you can do”. 

These days I feel sorry for kids who can’t talk to their parents or a trustworthy adult who knows them well about sex and social issues.

Posted by MaxedOutMama on 04/17  at  07:47 AM

A very good post.  Your son sounds much like mine - he’s got some grounding and self-awareness. 

It almost sounds like these teens are in a mindless frenzy, not thinking at all abotu what they are doing, merely moving forwad, taking their cues from television and peer pressure.

If you look around, who are the role models for these girls?  Paris Hilton? Britney? Christian Aquilera? I hate calling any woman a pig, but Paris always seems to bring that word to my lips.

The message that is put out there, continually, is that a girl’s value and self-worth is completely tied into how sexual and forward she is.  And their moms, are - unfortunately - falling down on the job, or not thinking, themselves.  I heard a few mothers talking, recently, about the sorts of clothes available to young girls.  One mother thought they were trampy - the other mother (of an 8 year old!) said, “my daughter has a great little body, why shouldn’t she show it off?”

I shudder.

Posted by The Anchoress on 04/17  at  10:52 AM

Anchoress, yes. The role models that young girls try to emulate seem to be all looks and not a whole lot of substance. I don’t necessarily believe that’s all true, but that’s the public persona they present.

It would probably shock the 8 year old’s mother to listen to a group of teenage boys talking about girls. It’s a struggle trying to teach them to look past the girl’s exterior when she’s showing an acre of skin and her clothing would fit in a teacup. Of course they like looking. But the boys my son hangs with also wonder if Paris or Britney have anything between their ears.

Of course they like to look at “hot” girls, but the ones they seem to be attracted to on a personal level are not always the prettiest or the thinnest or the “hottest”. They still do like to hang with girls who can carry on a conversation and who have opinions that are well thought out. And, really, it seems to be true of most of them that they appreciate a little modesty.

Posted by Kate on 04/17  at  11:42 AM

MaxedOutMama...I was thinking in terms of our sex ed here...basically ‘don’t do it and here’s why’. Not really much substance to the ‘education’ part. I don’t agree with that approach at all.

I think there’s a little bit of reverse psychology involved. When a child is presented with the idea that sex is a bad and they absolutely can’t and might even be disowned and grounded for the rest of their lives if they do, the whole thing is like forbidden fruit dangling in front of their eyes.

It lays down rules and removes them from having to take responsibility for making (or thinking through) their own decisions. Breaking rules is very attractive.

When talk about sex is frank and informative and we don’t present it as if sex is a horrible thing to be avoided, but approached with respect and responsibility, I think the outcome is quite different. Then they have the tools they need to be in command of their own choices and I really do think most kids will make wise choices for themselves if they have the information and the constant and involved support behind them that help them to make those choices for themselves.

Kids mature at different rates, but I really do believe most of them will make good choices for themselves if they have been given permission to fully be a part of the decision making process through lots of information and discussion.

The more we talk with kids about situations they or their peers find themselves in along with what ifs and outcomes to various behaviors, they gain insights and alternatives. Talking about sex isn’t just about sex itself. It’s about life and everyday situations that occur. And it’s also about teaching them that they have the right and the power to say no...that’s a decision that they can make for themselves. From what I’ve observed, that’s a very (I hate this word, but it fits) empowering thing for a kid to be able to say. “NO. I don’t want to.” And that’s when lots of talking and support are really important.

But I do believe that in order to get to that point, kids have to know what they’re saying no to and it has to be a result of their own decision making. Not because someone told them “You can’t do that and if you do, you’re bad”.

Posted by Kate on 04/17  at  12:11 PM

I got here through SC&A, and I am so glad to have found this blog.
I am completely stunned and terrified by this post.
And I am also really amazed at what a good kid you have. I hope I can raise my two to be as sensible, and prudent (for lack of a better word).  You say it is common sense, and in truth, it is. But still. As a parent of two toddlers, my great fear is that I will somehow fail them in this arena (hell, in *any* arena).
Thanks for calming me down a little. And offering a little blueprint for me, just in case my common sense goes missing when I hear the words “rape list” and teenage girl in the same sentence.

Posted by Amy on 04/17  at  06:07 PM

I hear you, Amy. I went into a brain freeze for about 24 hours after hearing that story. There was no sense of any kind other than shock. For 3 reasons really 1) girls are the predators here. 2) no fourteen year old should even know about blow jobs, let alone how to give one. 3) my child is being preyed on and it makes me very UNHAPPY!

In fact, he handled it better than I did. Truth.

Posted by Kate on 04/17  at  06:44 PM

We live in a small town, about 300 students per class.  When my daughter was in 6th grade, I actually had to explain beejays to her because there was a new party experience going around in the 8th grade group.  The girls would give beejays “because it really isn’t sex”.  I had to bring it up and discuss it with my pre-teen so I could be sure that she understood that it was sex.  I am glad your son can talk to you like my daughter can talk to me.  Many boys don’t discuss those issues.

Posted by Kathy on 04/19  at  09:21 AM

I suppose in the interest of disclosure to all of you who are visiting....I am a liberal. No really. One of those awful bleedin’ heart liberals. But I’ve still managed to raise a well-adjusted son who has a good head on his shoulders, a keen sense of fairness, and a good set of morals.

Dunno how that happened. Being a liberal and all....


Posted by Kate on 04/21  at  09:40 PM

Good Lord, I found this site thru POW, she sent everyone over to read it.  Yikes! I have an 8 year old who’s a good looking boy if I say so and now I’m already dreading things like this!

They’re all still babies!  This is too much too early!

I’m making him become a Priest, right this minute smile

Posted by call me scarlett on 04/29  at  12:34 PM

Wow.  That’s all I can say.  No kids of my own… yet, so I can not relate as a parent.  But, wow.  I do work in childcare, where we have kids as old as 12 years.  Hard to believe they could be faced with stuff like this.  Scary. 

You’ve done a great job raising your son, especially to have such an open relationship he so easily can come to you with stuff like this.

Posted by Kat on 05/01  at  05:42 PM

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