Ok, I have to admit that I played around with multiple headlines for this story. It was hard not to get more creative but I think that there is enough real material here to warrant a mention without the juvenile humor.
Rabbi Marc Gellman is a columnist for Newsweek who writes upon various affairs. In his real life he is the senior rabbi of Temple Beth Torah in Melville, New York.
In a recent column he wrote about his thoughts about what is supposed to be a recent increase in the amount of oral sex between teens as well as about sex in general. I applaud him for speaking about this topic because I think that it is a worthwhile discussion, but I have to say that I am very skeptical about the assertion that there is some kind of tremendous increase in the amount of sexual activity in our youth.
I do not have any hard data to offer you, just my own thoughts and experiences and that which has been shared with me by my friends but I have a very hard time believing that there is some kind of tremendous increase. For that matter I do not believe that there is any more sexual activity now than in the past.
If anything I expect that there is more coverage and conversation about these topics. Some of the social taboos about discussing such things more publicly are not as firm as they once were, but on the whole, I don’t buy it.
I went through USY, Camp Ramah and a number of other youth groups and let me tell you, there was sex and sexual activity. I know from friends who attended NCSY, AZA, BBYO and NFTY that there was sex.
Part of growing up includes a section of time in which you are in hormonal overdrive and for many people that includes experimentation with people you love and people that you really like.
I think that it is important to discuss sex and the ramifications of it with our children. I don’t think that it should be presented as something that should be done just for fun or because you can but it is a grave mistake to pretend that it is not happening and or not going to happen just because we wave our fingers in someone’s face.
And for my friends who taut being Shomer Negiah as a solution let me say that the unspoken secret is that this still doesn’t prevent sex. It may slow it down or force more creative solutions to having it, but it still happens.