I get it. I do. Just last year, your cherubic daughter was pleading for you to take her to American Girl. Who wants to think about her getting ass fucked by the basketball team?
But she is.
Maybe not your daughter – but her best friend. And maybe not the whole basketball team. Maybe just the point guards.
The fact is, our teens are having anal sex. Teen Vogue’s “A Guide to Anal Sex” isn’t encouraging them to experiment with it. They just are, because horny teenage bodies are a wonderland.
The article, a nonjudgmental guide to safe anal sex, fills in a much-needed gap for teens, particularly LGBTQ teens, whose questions typically go unanswered by sex education. Generation Z, kids born after 2000, are more connected to available information than any other generation – but googling “anal” and “sex” is going to give them less useful information and more of a magical mystery tour through Porn Hub.
All over the Internet, Teen Vogue’s tutorial on browning the sausage is being vilified as indoctrination into the seamy world of deviant sex; a permission slip for Caligulan behavior.
Elizabeth Johnson, “The Activist Mommy,” launched a national campaign to boycott Teen Vogue. To date, more than 11 million people have viewed a video of Johnston burning a copy of Teen Vogue in her backyard.
I love a bat-shit crazy, over-the-top Christian rant but since the article was an online exclusive, her backyard theatrics are as moronic as they are deplorable. Johnston is a home schooling mother of TEN KIDS.
What she’s really pissed off about is that if this tutorial had been published two decades earlier, she wouldn’t have used her vagina as a clown car.
In fact, in a recent psychological profiling of Johnston which I made up, a team of doctors concluded that Johnston could “really use a dick up her ass.”
Johnston has gained notoriety, and a massive following, for her hate-speech ridden rants against feminists and the LGBTQ community. She has nearly a quarter of a million Facebook followers and her anti-Teen Vogue campaign, which is now calling for the boycott of all products of Teen Vogue and Conde Nast sponsors, is gaining traction daily.
But this Wicked Witch of the Right is not just another sanctimommy.
She is Anne Coulter on steroids, and her Teen Vogue hate rant is a symbol of everything that we need to be frightened about in our country today.
I’ve worked with teens for 15 years. Yes, they’re having anal sex. Young gay males and trans teens experiment with anal sex regularly. Heterosexual teen anal sex has become much more prevalent in recent years.
The plethora of available porn, and teenage natural curiosity and desire to emulate what they see, might partly account for this. Some studies attribute the rise of anal sex among teens as a way for them to remain “technical virgins.”
Of course, there’s also the rise of everything Booty-related in pop culture.
By the time Kim K broke the Internet with her resplendent greazy a$$, popular musical artists had been touting the butt as the newest wave of sexual preference.
To name just two, female rappers Lil Kim and Nikki Minaj have proclaimed their love of receiving analingus in their lyrics, with Kim claiming, “He be looking kinda fruity, but he still could lick the booty,” and Minaj rapping in her hit song Anaconda, about a man who “[tosses] salad like his name Romaine.”
Much of the backlash against Teen Vogue stems from the belief that the magazine targets 12-17 year olds. To be clear, I am not in favor of 12 year olds having ANY kind of sex. Tweens are not emotionally ready to handle sexual intimacy.
Moreover, the average American tween, who is prone to stunts like riding a flaming couch through the neighbor’s backyard, cannot be counted on to practice safe sex.
Does Teen Vogue actually target tweens? No. Editor Elaine Welteroth describes the magazines “sweet spot” as age 18-24. I looked over Teen Vogue’s latest offerings. It featured a story on the best beauty buys at Nordstrom’s anniversary sale. The very first item is $92 Chanel lip gloss.
What 12-year-old is this being marketed to? The only tween who can afford $92 lip gloss is Baron Trump.
Indeed, the publication has undergone a radical shift in focus with its new team of editors. When it published the editorial that shook the world, a scorched earth denouncement of Trump, it firmly established itself as the woke voice of the resistance.
Teen Vogue is no longer a magazine for 6th graders who want to read about Bonnie Bell Lip Smackers. If you don’t feel comfortable exposing your 12-year-old to graphic details about sex then utilize parental controls on the computer.
While you’re at it, cancel the family night viewing of Game of Thrones.
This wouldn’t be nearly as big a deal if the article was about penis-in-vagina sex. That variety of sex has a longstanding cultural stamp of approval. Despite booty popularity, our society still has negative attitudes about anal sex that are rooted in homophobia.
And anal sex is probably one of the more stigmatized sex acts, because of our negative feelings about that part of our body. How often have you heard people discuss that the anus is only designed for one way traffic? Until you’ve had a discussion with someone responsible for designing our bodies, or seen the blueprints, that’s a value judgement, not a statement based in sound science or current medical data.
The bottom line (pun intended) is that we need to protect our kids. NOT from information. From harm. Sex ed has been shown to help prevent and reduce the risks of sexually transmitted infections, HIV and adolescent pregnancy.
Conservative activist moms are nothing new. In the 90’s it was music (remember Tipper Gore?). In the 2000’s it was video games. But this frenzied backlash against Teen Vogue is part of a larger, more frightening climate of oppression and ignorance that has found its poster boy in America’s Orange Overlord.
Chances are, it’s going to get much, much worse before it gets better.
Do you openly talk to your kids about sex? What do you think about Teen Vogue?
Who the fuck spends $92 on lip gloss?
Talk to me. I’m listening.
Come hang out with me on Facebook and Instagram so I can have friends without leaving the house.
Clearly I was born in the wrong era. Kids today…
Something tells me you didn’t miss anything…
I’m sure you’re right Samara, It probably only feels like I’m missing everything.
YES! We have always been very open about sex because I wanted my children to be safe and informed. And 92.00 lip gloss is absurd.
I don’t spend $92 on lip gloss in a year!
i’m open with my kid, but he also went to sleepaway camp several summers. He heard about everything there. Every damn thing.
I love you. And this. And you. And this. And…
Do you love me for ME, or for my vagina-as-clown car reference? Be honest…
Mic drop, as per usual.
You’re too kind, Martin!
I’ll admit to it! At the age of 52 I asked my new bride to don a strap-on and peg me. She did, I liked it and she could have cared less. I wish I would have asked much earlier in life, but didn’t because of the stigma.
It’s not a honeymoon without a little pegging.
I don’t have children but volunteer with kids between the age range of 8 to 17 at a local rescue mission. It breaks my heart the myths they confide that their friends share that they take as truth and how horrified they are to talk to their parents about a natural desire that is sex. Information is key to a healthy life and it’s disturbing that kids have to reach out to stranger’s because they cannot be open about their bodies with their parents/guardians as they should be able to, those who are supposed to have their children’s entire well-being (emotional, spiritual, physical -including sexual) at the heart of their relationship.
Great open and honest piece.
My teen daughter is horribly uncomfortable discussing sex with me. HOWEVER, she is drop-dead committed to educating herself on safe sex and can school me if asked. In fact, she has a “goodie” drawer of condoms she gets from the PRIDE Center and hands out to her friends so they can be safe, too. She gets ALL of her information from respected online and community resources.
The fact is, STDs are on a huge upswing in the under 21 demographic. Anything (discussions, posters, handouts, articles, etc) that makes being safe and educated the clear focus of the discussion is a good thing for everyone. Hell, young women increasingly are not using condoms for vaginal sex because there’s now a stigma that carrying them and/or insisting they be used makes you a “slut.” Just another fall-out of the constant piling on of yet more stigma and judgement about sex.
Education is a game changer.
How grateful am I that I am neither the parent of a teen nor a teen in this time? Nearly infinitely, as far as I can tell. When it comes to sex (as well as a number of other subjects) trying to keep our youngsters ignorant is, and always has been, a prescription for disaster and misery in some form, and the now all too available misinformation (frequently promoted for political purposes under the guise of religion) is even worse. Thanks, as usual, for a fine rant.
Reblogged this on cabbagesandkings524 and commented:
Samara responds to complaints about a genuinely educational article.
Hey Samara… so many thoughts went through my head as I was reading your post! AWESOME! Btw! It IS about education and I have always had an open dialogue with my daughter who is now 30. But she and I have talked many times about her friends who have parents with closed minds and head in the sand attitudes. I just love the line “Not my kid!” Don’t you?? WHATEVER! When she went away to college, she had a hard time understanding why these other kids are going out and getting drunk every weekend and sleeping with everyone and people they don’t even know?? What is up with that?? She’s like.. “What is wrong with them?” and “Why don’t I want to do that?” I told her it was because she has always been able to talk to me and I was never a hypocrite when it came to that stuff. Sex, drugs and rock and roll were never Taboo in our house. Therefore it wasn’t something she desired to do. I was straight up with her about my own experimentation and when she smoked pot for the first time, she told me. We talked about it like grown adults. Was I happy she did it? Not really… but she was open with me and I told her how old I was when I did it and what I thought it was like. When she started having sex I was in denial, but my husband caught on before I did. However, I didn’t completely freak out, forbid them from being together and treat her like a leper. They were safe and it was the one boyfriend she had been with since 7th grade and they were 17 so, not unreasonable. That is not who she married. But that’s ok too…
We did talk about it and the consequences of not using protection. I was less concerned about STDs because they had only been with each other but I assured her I was not going to be raising any more kids lol.
I have a problem with fanatics. I get that they are trying to keep kids safe, but they live in an unrealistic bubble of thinking if they jump and down enough they can keep things from happening. That is not realistic, nor will it stop the downward spiral of our society and the deviations that cause harm.. ie new drugs, HIV and random people dying just because they were standing on the wrong street corner. This world is going to hell. It isn’t getting better, it is getting worse and technology and social media is adding to the may lay. I thank God, everyday I think about it, that Facebook was not a thing and Twitter didn’t exist when my daughter was in school because she was bullied and it could have gotten out of control with the kids who were involved. I was able to stop it just by pulling her out of the uncooperative school system who refused to do anything to intervene. But today that would not be enough. Kids are bombarded with FB, Instagram, Twitter etc etc etc to the point they are committing suicide even if they do not see them at school anymore. They can’t get away from it. It is so sad and my heart breaks every time I hear of a case where they kill themselves just to make the pain stop.
I admire what Teen Vogue is trying to accomplish and you know they expected backlash before they ever published the article but they did it anyway. If they can just reach a small percentage of kids, it is worth it. I am glad they took a stand to EDUCATE kids and not stick their heads in the sand and pretend they aren’t having anal sex. Kids are way to curious… let’s give them the right information. That is the BEST way to keep them safe.
Sorry for the long comment. I told you I had a lot of thoughts! 🙂 ❤
Damn, I’m glad I don’t have kids…but if I DID, I would want them to feel they could learn safely about sex before trying it, and have some way of getting some reasonable expectations for what it would be like. I especially liked how the TV article expressed the need for “enthusiastic consent”. That was brilliant.
It was SO well written. It gave comprehensive information without sounding at all clinical. It’s about time teenagers had a safe place to read about this.
As I researched this, I googled “Teen Vogue anal sex guide” several times. I saw things I cannot unsee. Ugh.
Advice for talking to kids about sex: start early, and be matter-of-fact about things like body parts. You will take some heat from super-repressed types for this approach, but when they’re older, your kids will be able to stand in the same room and even look at your face while you talk about real stuff.
My mother freaked when she heard my son, at four years old, use the word “vagina.” I asked her, “did he use it correctly?” (The word, I mean… at that age, he had no business using a vagina and I would have been pretty upset too) Yes, he did, but apparently that wasn’t her point… it wasn’t an “appropriate” word for him to know at that age.
“What would you rather he say?”
“Well… we taught you to call it a tee-tee.”
“Yeah, that’s dumb. Infantilizing and cutsifying genitalia was also why I couldn’t explain to you what people were doing to those parts when I was little, and the fact that we had to make up names for them and never speak of them is why I thought they were shameful and I was wrong to even have them. It’s a vagina. You have one too: I came out of it.”
If I were writing a better ending, that exchange would have ended in a hug and she’d have changed her mind and felt terrible for the years of shame and silence she’d forced on me. Instead, she huffed and puffed and continued mumbling about how teaching him these things was why he would be “taken away” (by the state, or something?) Whatever, I now have a teenager who, while he almost certainly doesn’t come to me with everything, knows where stuff is and believes me when I talk about consent, porn issues, etc.
Too late to start young or can’t bring yourself to start talking? http://www.scarleteen.com/ is a great resource for all.
What’s wrong with our ancestral parents!!!! Mine made me call my vagina a “peachy.” I guess naming the organ helped make communication less anxiety filled for our parents and more clandestine in terms of subject matter. Screaming to my mother, “My vagina itches!” while in the grocery store might be concerning and awkward to some folks. My son called his organ appropriately, a penis. Glad I’m not alone in the world. 🙂
Well-written, informative and, in some spots, pretty damned funny. Good job. God bless.
The extent of parental ignorance on all kinds of issues makes me nuts.
For example: Yes, your sweet teenager has seen pornography – I don’t care what kind of nanny software you have. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t shield them to the extent possible, but you have to be realistic. Your job is to talk to them about it and help them understand why it’s not representative of what they’re going to want to do (or what partners are going to want to do) when they start having sex, how porn can be exploitative in addition to unrealistic, and how important consent is. But no matter what you do, if your kid wants to look at porn, they’re going to find a way to see it. If you fail to educate them on the topic, you’re missing a huge parenting responsibility.
Or this: When I was 21 my dad stopped speaking to me because he found out I was having sex with my then-boyfriend of 2 years. He and my mom had actually expected that I would be a virgin until I was married. In 1994. It didn’t matter at all that (a) I was an adult and paying my own bills (I had an almost free ride in college scholarships, plus I worked several part time jobs), (b) I was super-safe, (c) he was the only guy I’d had sex with. Not that any of that made me a better person, but compared to many of my peers, I was kind of a prude, and they made it out like I was the Whore of Babylon. Oh, and did either of them EVER talk to me about safe sex, birth control, or sex in any way beyond “don’t do it, and if it happens, it’s your fault because boys can’t control themselves?” NOPE. Major abdication of responsibility, in my mind. Thank goodness for Planned Parenthood, Judy Blume, and Seventeen Magazine’s “sex and your body” column. 🙂
Virtual high five – you nailed it as usual.
Thanks! I totally missed the whole furor so I went and read it. Damn I wish I would have had such great info when I was a teenager.
You crack me up, so thanks for that too. :}
My almost 14 year old is just starting to explore all this, and we’re having to explain to him that porn is not realistic and he is most definitely not mentally equipped to be watching it. We’ve always been open and honest with him about everything, and talked freely about what he wanted to know. Educational articles like the one from Teen Vogue can help value add to parental conversation, and undo the damage our kids have already done to their expectations through their internet exposure.
Unfortunately, our lifestyle doesn’t provide them with $92 lip gloss. I’d like to think if it did, they’d make better choices, but that’s just me.
I was talking to my kids about anal sex, all sex, safe any kind of sex long before Teen Vogue, so Teen Vogue has my support. 14 came in to announce the article was receiving blowback and being BURNED. I was all, “That’s because parents don’t want to admit their kids are sexual, let alone interested in anal.”
That article was influential and necessary. I can’t imagine how many young people were truly educated by it.
Great post, glad to read your voice, as always.
Seems like if they wanted teens so much, they would be reviewing Dollar Tree and drug store lip gloss
If parents think their kids don’t know about anal, they are living in a fantasy land. Except their fantasy land is stark gray with no rainbows or unicorns. Here is my ONLY complaint with the Teen Vogue article (which is not really a complaint, because the good the article did far outweighs this gripe I have) I wish it would have touched on (just a tiny bit) that the pressure on girls to stay virgins was leading to an increase in anal and oral sex. And while there’s nothing wrong with either, that a girl should not be pressured (either by society/their church/their boyfriend) to do either unless they want to. I wish every article about any kind of sex addressed the pressure girls feel to stay virgins but also to please a guy. I’ve read too many articles and comments (I’ve been researching purity culture) by girls who didn’t like it, didn’t really want to do it because they found it painful or just meh, but did it to please their partner and remain a virgin. Anyways, I love this. I love you. YOU should be writing for Teen Vogue.
It never ceases to amaze me that kids today think the only way to be “deflowered” is through regular vaginal intercourse. Sex is sex even when it is conducted over the phone, albeit safe from sexually transmitted diseases. Anal and oral sex is still sex and as such still pose problems with STDs; herpes, AIDS, gonorrhea, etc. Particularly delightful is the discovery of the male and female teenager, who, cheating on his/her “loved other” with someone new and exciting, but because he/she thinks he/she just had oral or just had anal with the new someone it couldn’t REALLY be considered cheating or even “sex.” UGH! Parent’s need to be more vocal in speaking to their children about what behaviors constitutes “sexual behavior.”
Well said! I 100% agree.
Research has indicated that when sex is openly discussed, anxiety is reduced because knowledge is a form of power. Western culture seems to be riffed with anxieties regarding sex which seem to be missing in preliterate tribal societies. Why? Because preliterate tribal societies talk to their children about sexual difference and have elaborate religious rituals that pertain to the children’s newly acquired powers of fertility. They are called initiation rites. The initiation rites we see in Western Christian culture today can be found in the sacrament of Confirmation which discusses nothing about sex, at least it didn’t when I was confirmed.
The average age of initiation takes place around 13-16 years of age, as this time is considered the average age of the onset of puberty. In fact, most cultural initiation rites occur in most tribes and cultures at or around this age because of the onset of puberty. It is around this time that parents should make a point of discussing sex with their children, if they haven’t already begun to do so. And if you aren’t keeping an open-minded policy, as well as an open door policy on discussing sex in all its possibilities, then one must expect their children to be acquiring knowledge through their own mode of personal discovery, either from experimenting with sex or discovering from an outside knowledgeable source, like Teen Vogue.
With regard to politics and the freedom of speech, I agree with you that any action or behavior that threaten to infringe upon the public’s right to freedom of speech should be a cause for alarm. My mother openly talked to me and my sister both about sex, conception, masturbation, and birth control. I always considered it a form of positive sex parenting and it should be encouraged not repressed, but I grew up in a culture where “Let’s Talk About Sex” by Salt-N-Pepa hit the pop charts.
Who‘s purchasing $92.00 lip gloss? Teens who are working part-time for themselves. Teens whose parents said, “I can’t afford to give you everything you want, only what you need.” I was a working class teenager who earned her own cash. I helped buy my own clothes, shoes and accessories. If the advertisement promised me extra plump and juicy lips, the ones that might accentuate my plump and perky newly developed breasts, I’d buy it! With the imagined fantasy of obtaining the attention of the boy I wanted to attract. Sex is a form of power too. But, then again, those are only my posthumous teenage hormones speaking. Today, I wouldn’t spend $92.00 on purse, let alone lip gloss. The induction of newly released hormones in the metaphysics of body language can sometimes make conscience go right out the window.
My parents never talked talked to me about any of this. I found out what sex was in fourth grade, when I was looking through a book about dogs in a library and saw the page about reproduction.
They didn’t even explain periods, thankfully my aunt had told me about them. If the topic came up my mom would tell me that it wouldn’t happen until I turned 16, which was bs, because I got my period when I was 12. The aunt who I mentioned? I haven’t seen her in so long, it breaks my heart- my parents refused to let us communicate because I was viewing her as a better parental figure than them, and because she had told family members that my parents were emotionally abusing me. (I was so depressed and horrified in eighth grade, so scared to say anything about my feelings because if I showed them my parents would say horrible things to me- that I was starving myself in hope that one day I’d end up in a hospital and then someone would have to help me. Frikin.)
Ugh. The amount of parental blocks on my iPad is ridiculous (I’m 16 years old. Im not allowed to have a phone because they’re “dangerous.”) I can’t even email from my house, the wifi blocks it.
God, I can’t imagine myself having sex, even though there are definitely people I like, I don’t even really know much about it besides the scientific process.
What a friking bummer.
I’m a huge believer in sex education. I counseled pregnant and parenting teens back in the early 90’s in the Bay Area when far too many of my gay friends were dying of AIDs.
As for my own son, whenever I’ve tried to talk to him about sex, he abruptly leaves the room. I bought him a good book. Plus, I don’t homeschool him, though he rarely leaves his room. He’s a hardcore gamer. He asked me how to say no to girls as early as 4th grade.
I’ve always endeavoured to keep an open dialogue with my three sons (all of whom are teenagers now). Anal sex, oral sex, wet dreams, orgasms, we’ve discussed them all.
We’ve talked about consent, safe sex and STDs. But the thing that we always always come back to is, no matter what you’re doing or with whom, it should feel good – for both parties. Sex is supposed to be pleasurable. And if it’s not, stop, try something else.
I was with you in this article until you said that negative views on anal sex are rooted in homophobia. The anus is designed for one way traffic, that’s what it’s for, there’s really no way you can argue that. My negative views on anal sex are based on a bad experience I had as a teenager that caused me to get very very sick. The bacteria that’s up your butt shouldn’t be spread to other places on your body, it’s just unhealthy. That doesn’t make me homophobic, maybe a germaphobe.
I was a rather promiscuous teen/young adult from a highly religious family that only discussed sex with me after they found out I had been having sex for several years. Being a rebel, I had already educated myself and made a trip to the Planned Parenthood so I wouldn’t get pregnant like many of my peers. When I had children, I answered any question about sex, drugs, and drinking honestly and without embarrassment (for the most part). I let my kids know that I would take them for birth control with no judgement if they decided to be sexually active, because sex is normal and good — but I wanted them to be safe. Surprisingly, out of four kids, one remained a virgin until she married and two are STILL virgins and they are in their mid-late 20’s. I tend to think this may be more because their father and step-father were unreliable, angry men who abandoned me and their children because they had no idea how to communicate their needs or to be a kind, loving, husband/father and a role model of what a good man is like — but it still confuses me that my kids weren’t screwing like bunnies as teens and young adults.