Speaking the unspeakable

I was at a bat mitzvah. There were something like seventy-five young girls and boys. The boys were unremarkable, small, squeaky, awkward. The girls, much less so. Teetering on three- and four-inch heels, wearing revealing dresses, made up (some garishly, some tastefully), and porting breasts and hips to which they hadn’t yet grown accustomed, these girls were, um, eye-catching.

Now – I’m not a pervert. (Well, ok, maybe I am. But I’m not that kind of pervert.) But I was struck.

At one point, a 14-year-old, wearing a white dress that I could swear I’d seen on a stripper once or fifteen times, leaned against a glass wall (behind which I happened to be standing, talking on my phone). She had an itch on her ass, which she scratched. In an un-self-conscious, but unskilled way, as befitting her age.

Her dress rode up her ass, up to her hip, as she scratched herself, revealing her bright red thong (which, honestly, I had noticed when her dress was in its rightful position), and one-and-a-half full, round buttocks. I felt a bit like a voyeur at a wreck: I couldn’t look away, and yet, I knew I should. My eyes weren’t supposed to be drawn to this… this… kid. I wasn’t supposed to have the thoughts I had. At least, not the immediate, reflexive thoughts.

Because the truth is, I saw those thoughts instantly, and traveled into meta-land: why are these girls dressed this way? How are we supposed to interact with this? What is the impact of our collective simultaneous silence in the moment and tsk-tsk-ing at a distance? A few parents did discuss it, but not in a way that I would describe as intellectually, or emotionally, honest. Instead, the party line is something like, “Can you believe the kids today? But, whatchagonnado? They’re all doing it, so you can’t stop one of them? But it’s awful. Yes, really awful.”

This is a confusing, and I fear, ultimately dishonest way of (not) engaging with a reality that’s disturbing, and confusing. And, to be clear, what I think is disturbing, what I find disturbing, is not the hyper-sexualization of kids today, the ways in which girls dress, want to dress, are expected to dress in sexually provocative ways at earlier and earlier ages. I mean, it’s not so much that I like that, that I think it’s good. But it is what it is.

What I find disturbing is our comprehensive, deeply unhealthy unwillingness to engage honestly with the ramifications of what is, indisputably, happening.

I dare say that there isn’t a straight man at a bat mitzvah who doesn’t have, um, impure thoughts relating to one or more of the girls present.

Not that he (we, I) would, for a minute, entertain actually doing anything sexual with a young girl.

But I don’t believe it’s possible to be a straight man, surrounded by scantily clad, provocatively attired, nubile young (yes, very young) women and not think about sex. There. I’ve said it. I’m sorry. I confess: when surrounded by dozens of early and mid-teen girls, wearing short dresses and high heels, my thoughts turn to sex.

So then, there we are. Standing next to our wives, our friends, our relatives, harboring not just impure thoughts, but truly, genuinely, shameful thoughts. And what we do in that moment is just about the worst thing a person can do in such a situation (trust me – I speak as an addict): we suppress the thought. We deny it, repress it, and internally flagellate ourselves for having had it.

This is a disaster. A true train wreck. There is nothing worse a person can do with shameful thoughts than tell himself they’re shameful and (try to) shut them down. This is tantamount to ingesting poison.

So I’m doing the opposite, here. I’m shining light on it. To be clear, I’m not saying I wanted to fuck those little girls. I’m saying that I found myself feeling confusing feelings, thinking confusing thoughts, in their presence. And my experience has taught me that when I think confusing thoughts, when I feel confusing feelings, the best thing for me to do is to talk about them, to write about them.

I’m not sure where I think this ought to go, what I think ought to happen, what should have been said. As between me and T, for example, I think that what I’m doing with this entry actually is healthy, good, appropriate: I’m acknowledging my feelings and thoughts in her sight, and I’m having (behind the scenes – she read a draft of this and commented thoughtfully, helpfully) a discussion with her about it.

But as between me and my other friends? I’m less sure. I have one friend, my best friend from childhood. For various reasons, we don’t talk all that much any more, and when we do, we’re far less candid than we once were. AND, his daughters are prime examples of this phenomenon. Twenty years ago (ok, maybe even ten) we would have been able to have a candid, and funny, conversation, beginning with an acknowledgement of the inappropriateness of what we were about to do, followed by a safe objectification of the girls present, and probably ending with a genuinely intellectual and emotional exploration of what had just happened (and what hadn’t). But now, because of the state of our relationship, because of the stage of development of his daughters, this series of conversations is out of reach.

I hunger for it, though.

T reacted to a draft of this entry by asking what it would mean to “engage honestly with the ramifications of what is, indisputably, happening.” She asks me what I’m talking about here, what would have been “helpful”. She added, “the conversation about the meaning and function of child (girl) hypersexualization is the one I would have been most interested in having in that context. Not a condemnatory, fire-breathing ‘men are brutes’ conversation but a conversation about how the fact that it is a cultural norm to dress and present in this way interacts with girls’ self-conceptions as both sexual and non-sexual beings.”

I have two (very different) answers, both somewhat utopian:

The first, perhaps less utopian answer, is that what would, I think, be “helpful” is precisely what I’m doing here. If all the men who felt confusing, shameful things found a venue that worked for them to talk about those thoughts and feelings, a venue in which they would not be shamed, but rather, heard, understood. Certainly, writing this has been helpful for me. It would be great if all men could know, could feel in their bones, what I’m striving to know and feel here: that it’s not shameful to have these feelings or think these thoughts. What would be shameful would be acting on them. And that the mere having of these feelings and thoughts is, if anything, probably pretty normal.

The second, perhaps more utopian answer, is that I would love to imagine a world in which adult friends and acquaintances could have such discussions in the moment, to avoid the public transmission of the message that such conversations are or should be taboo. But many of us have discovered something remarkable as a result of the internet, blogs, Twitter, and therapy: it’s often true that the people with whom are lives are most (seemingly) intimately bound in “real life” are not those with whom we necessarily feel most comfortable discussing the more complex corners of our interiors. At least partially because, to the extent that we have secrets, it is often precisely from these people that we keep these secrets. So while I might like to imagine a world in which such conversations could be had between real-life friends and acquaintances, this may just be a bit too much to hope for.



I haven’t written about, or even considered, what it is to be an adult woman in this setting. Surely, it has its own complexities and challenges. I’d be really curious to hear a woman’s take on all this. Not so much a reaction to what I’ve written as a report of her own feelings and thoughts in the moment and afterward.


  1. I tried to place myself in your shoes at the bat mitzvah. I thought about my own teenage daughter and her friends and how I feel if they go dressed like that. Our teenager is not allowed to leave the house if her clothes are too revealing. However, when she goes to a school party, her dress is just a bit shorter than normal. That makes me feel uncomfortable, but I know I have to let go. She knows our values and she mostly keeps to it. Still, seeing a lot of 14-year-olds together, dresses like that, will definitely make me feel uncomfortable. Will I speak to other parents about it? No, I don’t think I will. I might talk to my Husband about it, but that’s it. Would I want to speak to other parents about it? Yes, I would. Do I get excited when I see the teenagers dressed like that? No, I cannot say that I do. I acknowledge it in my mind and deep down there might even be a bit of jealousy that I cannot dress like that anymore. But that is only a fleeting thought, not something I dwell on. I am rambling, so I will leave it at this 🙂

    Interesting piece which no doubt will stay in my mind while I think it through…

    Rebel xox

    1. Thanks, Rebel. I appreciate your thoughts. For what it’s worth, my thoughts were fleeing too. But I thought them interesting, and that’s why I dwelled on them a bit here.

  2. Isn’t your inability to differentiate between a woman, and a child posing as a provocatively dressed woman the real problem here?

    You even refer to them as “scantily clad, provocatively attired, nubile young (yes, very young) women”.
    Jewish law aside, these are not women in the societal sense, and your perception of them which is causing urges isn’t entirely different from those who would look at Jon Benet Ramsey in lipstick, or Jodi Foster in Taxi Driver, and see something sexual that’s a temptation. You’re not describing a Polanski situation either, you’re talking about children within a group of other children.

    In some cases, kids act out in this manner because there are real issues, but other times, it’s just playing dress up. Most well adjusted adults are able to look at pre-teens playing with their sexuality, figuring it out, and recognize it for what it is without having to engage in the type of confessionary discourse you craved. Then there are a good number of adults like yourself, who worry themselves. For good reason. You took it as the elephant in the room, when it sounds more like it was the monkey on your back. Had you found a kindred spirit to discuss this with openly, would it have made the situation any healthier for you or the children involved? You were the adult in the situation, and these kids were well below the age of consent.

    Considering your other posts regarding “creep shots” and your frustrations understanding how victimization works, I hope someone you trust, who is female, will suggest you see a professional about this.

    1. Respectfully, you completely missed my point. I do differentiate between girls and women. Readers of this blog know that. This was a post about two things: first, how my body doesn’t respect the concept of “the age of consent,” but responds, instead, to sexual maturity. And second, that the fact that there is a difference between what our bodies respond to and what we deem to be acceptable is INTERESTING, and creates an opportunity for interesting discussion.

      You previously have expressed your disgust with/for me. I’m curious about your continued presence among my readers, about how, when, why you comment.

      I get, have gotten, will continue to get professional help. Anyone who has had GOOD therapy will recognize this post as precisely the sort of thing one says in therapy, but not, generally, elsewhere. This seems to me unfortunate.

      I certainly have a monkey on my back. I’m not defensive about it. And I envy you your evidently highly evolved sexuality that renders you immune to the charms of young women. Incidentally, you make reference to civil law as the arbiter of whether they are girls or women, and I think you’re on to something interesting: you are, unwittingly, calling attention to another part of what I was trying to get at here. There is a very real, biological, physiological, sexual sense in which these girls ARE young women, and NOT girls. They have breasts, menstruate, and can bear children. Surely, your control over your actions is sure enough that you can acknowledge this, can acknowledge that what distinguishes these girls from, say, a 19-year-old is, ultimately, arbitrary, and still not seek to fuck them. Mine is.

      Ultimately, what I find attractive – not what turns my head, not what gets my dick hard, but what makes me interested in learning more and forming a bond with sexual and perhaps affective components – doesn’t materialize in women until their early 20s, at the very earliest, and more often, in their late 30s.

      But these girls were hot, my body responded, and I’m discussing it here.

      Your response – “you should be ashamed” – is PRECISELY wrong, in my view.

      Thanks, as always, for your thoughtful comments, even as I disagree vehemently.

      1. “what distinguishes these girls from, say, a 19-year-old is, ultimately, arbitrary, and still not seek to fuck them.”

        Yeaaaah, I find this very concerning. It’s not arbitrary, it’s not a status quo issue, it’s not a dogmatic “impure thoughts” issue. You know they’re children.

        Deflect all you want; healthy men do not struggle with desires to fuck children.

        1. Winston:

          At the risk of indulging and/or inflaming you….

          1) I don’t know what healthy is, who is healthy. That’s not such an interesting question to me. What’s interesting to me is what people do with their urges. I’ve written elsewhere that I don’t think my absence of criminal urges is a testament to my virtue; it’s a testament to my good fortune. I’ve had some luck rerouting some of my urges; less, resisting any. Thankfully, contrary to what you write, I don’t “struggle with desires to fuck children.” I feel terrible for people who do – that’s a tough row to hoe. Thankfully, I don’t.

          2) I know that adolescents are NOT children. They’re adolescents. I also know that a) it’s illegal for me to fuck them, b) it would violate my sense of morals for me to fuck them, and c) thankfully, I have no desire to fuck them. AND, as I wrote here, I know that, when I see them dressed to the nines, and sexualized, I recognize that they are indeed sexual people, sexually mature people. And that excites a part of me. It’s no struggle for me to observe that and not to act. Thankfully. (In some cultures, men are assumed to be incapable of resisting their sexual desires, and women, consequently, are repressed so as not to excite those desires. Your suggestion that the presence of desires, rather than one’s relationship to those desires, is the arbiter of “health” is wacky.)

          3) I wish you well. I fear that your puritanical, head-in-the-sand way of discussing this suggests that if there’s one of the two of us who has an unhealthy relationship to adolescent sexuality, it, um, isn’t me….

          1. Contradict yourself much? You shouldn’t be sexually excited by children.

            You shouldn’t desire a kid with body language “befitting a kid”.

            You shouldn’t believe that every man in the room had impure thoughts as you did.

            Stop coddling yourself under some intellectualized discourse. You’re the one who belongs in a burka. With a chastity lock on it. You would love to turn this into a discussion about the validity of purity laws, child sexuality, and open societies…. but it’s really about you struggling with basic right or wrong. And you know it’s wrong to fixate on a child’s underwear to the point where you have to talk about it to others. You used this as an outlet for your perversion. It’s pretty transparent. Now I don’t think you’re downloading Norwegian child porn, but you do sound like you’re struggling with your thoughts.

          2. I am struggling with my thoughts, but not in the ways you presume. I’ve written about precisely how I struggle with them, and you’ve projected pedophilia and pederasty (two different phenomena, FYI) onto them, onto me. Just to be clear, pedophilia and pederasty don’t involve sexually mature people. And I’m not struggling with right and wrong: in my view, it’s wrong to have sex with people with whom you have a significant power differential. And these girls clearly would have fallen in that category. THANKFULLY, I WASN’T PARTICULARLY ATTRACTED TO THEM, so in addition to not being a pedophile, I’m not attracted to teenagers. And even if I were (which, to be clear, and repetitive, and redundant, I’m not), I wouldn’t act on that attraction.

            Though I did notice they were sexual beings, and I found myself admitting that to myself, rather than denying it.

            And a couple of semantic points: I wasn’t “sexually excited” – by children or teens. I noticed that they were sexual.

            I didn’t desire any kids, let alone one with body language befitting a kid. Any more than, when driving past an accident, I desire the accident. That was the analogy I drew, and it was apt.

            Fine – I’ll accept the possibility that not every (straight, I wrote) man in the room “had impure thoughts as [I] did.” But I won’t accept the possibility that a single straight man didn’t register the girls as sexually mature on some level. Perhaps unconscious. But on some level. You may disagree with me. But if you do, we have so little in common intellectually that any discussion between us is, on its face, a waste of time.

            And if I “fixate[d] on a child’s underwear,” how shall we characterize what you’re doing?

          3. “And if I “fixate[d] on a child’s underwear,” how shall we characterize what you’re doing?”

            You mean reacting to your post? Pointing out that by describing a child’s body, along with the color and type of underwear, it’s a form of objectifying, and acting out. You’re the priest uses his confession of impure thoughts to perv out about the details.

    2. Also, if you can’t differentiate between young girls (as Jon Benet Ramsay was) and nubile (look it up) young sexually mature women, you have far bigger problems than do I.

  3. I believe it was Germaine Greer who talked about that age when boys are no longer boys but not men either and not the gangly adolescents that loaf about on our sofas. She discussed the beauty of that body and form in a pseudo sexual manner, that this moment of beauty and innocence is fleeting and it is actually that that we like/find attractive/crave. In fact if you look at modern advertising and the age of the models that they use (14-24 usually) it utilises these deep seated desires with in us.

    In addition to this there is the cave man phenomena, where we are looking for a biological partner to share our genes and a healthy new female who is just reaching sexual maturity is primed into our psyche so that we react to them…male or female.

    I applaud you for stating the elephant in the room. Indeed it is an elephant and not a monkey unlike what Winston was saying. The societal repression of these cave man tendencies can cause a lot of intra-personal conflict. That is not to say that it is right an proper to have sex with children, I am completely against that, rather it is more healthy to be able to talk about the feelings that the situation brings up. In your piece you highlight very eloquently that you harbour not paedopillic tendencies but you are highlighting the conflict.

    Winston, I really hope that you are following this post because I think you are wrong. Sorry, let me say that again. I think you are a small minded and you are part of the reason that people will not talk about this difficulty and why there is often a deep seated sense of shame for something that they do not and will never act upon. Part of the Wicked Wednesday meme is to explore ideas and concepts. If we stifle them then how are we ever going to grow as people? How are we ever going to understand what we think and feel may not be ‘normal’ in the conventional sense but that we can find solace that others feel the same but would never act upon it? It is the shame that you impart in your comment that angers me so. Do I think Nlikes needs professional help? I think he has already sought it. I feel that it was very brave of him to publish such a piece, to open himself to such censure. Personally I like things that challenge me and the way that I approach situations, Nlikes has done this remarkably well.

    1. Thanks, Rachel. You’re spot on. It’s not just 14-24-year-old boys advertisers use. It’s girls/women, too. And of course, you’re right: we’re biologically, genetically PROGRAMMED to find young people hot. It’s not surprising that we (I) do.

      Of course, Winston has the seed of a good point, in that our society demands certain restraint, and I think this a good thing. But that restraint doesn’t apply to involuntary urges; it applies to behavior.

      Thanks for your kind words. It’s good to have good readers like you.

    2. No Rachel Kincaid, we’re not all programmed towards pedophilia or struggling with the thoughts of statutory rape N confessed to.

      That you believe this is a universal struggle sadly speaks more towards your own personal experiences than anything, and that’s sad, no matter how you intellectual it. Since you and N introduced the word, let’s be clear here, anyone tempted to molest a child SHOULD be “shamed”. Wishing he could discuss his desires at the Bat Mitzvah itself, along with his shaming the victims for his own thoughts, is even more disturbing.

      1. You and I differ, Winston, in lots of ways. But for now, the most important of those is your notion that people should be shamed for their desires, rather than their actions. Have you never had a desire on which you didn’t act? Or a desire for something you knew was wrong? Honestly?

        1. You introduced the idea of shame to this discussion, and now you’re using it as a distraction.

          But here again you admit this was about your desires for underage girls, and reiterate that when surrounded by “dozens of early and mid-teen girls, wearing short dresses and high heels” your “thoughts turn to sex”.

          Sex in this case being statutory rape.

          You described how the adults did in fact address the situation but then call it dishonest, and imply repression, because the topic wasn’t acknowledging the teens as sex objects, in solidarity with you, and you go as far as suggesting all the adult males shared your thoughts about sex in the context of these teens, but their unwillingness to outwardly join you in such objectification is the real systematic problem. Apparently, it’s entirely implausible to you that the other adults weren’t struggling with sexual thoughts the way you did.

          So this sick fantasy you have of a safe place where a man can voice his taboo thoughts without shame reads like stale NAMBLA marketing.

          Your inappropriate thoughts towards minors are not a logical consequence.

          Non-consensual statutory rape is not a grey area. It’s a no tolerance matter.
          Fantasies involving children in the same room as you are unacceptable, and pleading that you’re simply human doesn’t really make your desires any less troublesome.

          You are not the victim.

  4. I agree, kids are way more provocative then they were when I was younger. I would have had my ass beat for wearing much of the stuff these young girls wear. That being said, my dress did not stop my abusers. Pedophilia is acting upon the thoughts. Just as a sexual abuse survivor often says, my body betrayed me by responding when what I wanted to do was puke. Winston, let me tell you, I would have rather had a grown man say to me, I think your dress is not appropriate for your age, be a kid a while longer, then what I had. The fact that N admits his body responded but his MIND said wrong. That is similar to an abuse victim who mentally runs from the abuse while their body responds as it is designed to. At no point did he say his dick got hard, or he entertained thoughts of screwing them at any point. He stated that their behavior and manner of attire in the first few seconds had his body responding, but his one beliefs kept him from acting on it. A pedophile has no desire to stop, they cannot stop or rationalize their behavior. N. has his under control and I am going to say I agree with him. Many men WOULD have the same thoughts AT FIRST, but a real man will stop it at a fleeting thought and nothing more because, if he were raised with any sense of right and wrong, his conscience would keep him from committing any acts against those kids. Because he KNOWS they are kids. I would suggest you get off your high horse with him and grow up and find a real person who admits to NOT controlling their thoughts within seconds of them arising and instead chooses to live out the fantasy, either in their mind or by actually abusing the girl.
    I can also tell you my abusers did not give a shit about me, only what parts of my body excited them and how to get to them. They are well trained manipulators who see vulnerability in a child and use it to their advantage. I will tell you that we victims sometimes feel as if we have a huge flashing sign on us somewhere, we may escape the abuse of one only to find ourselves in the hands of another. Simply because we need the connection, but not the intimacy. However, we oft become so numb to the abuse we can check out mentally. We have learned our body will respond because that is how it was designed, but we can disappear in our minds, as if it never happened mentally.
    N. I think talking about this was huge and is something that crosses the minds of many adults.

    1. “Winston, let me tell you, I would have rather had a grown man say to me, I think your dress is not appropriate for your age, be a kid a while longer, then what I had. ”

      Sure, but we know abusers don’t need a dress to act on their urges.

      N is ironically, expressing shame towards those adults who didn’t share his sexualization, and I’m arguing that he’s managing to get off on this in a different manner, via this discussion.

      1. N is ironically, expressing shame towards those adults who didn’t share his sexualization, and I’m arguing that he’s managing to get off on this in a different manner, via this discussion. I don’t think he is sharing shame for them. I think he is telling the truth. We sugar coat it in society and say “Well what a girl wears doesn’t mean yes, while showing them half dressed women in size zero and say you HAVE to dress this way, walk this way, look this way to be desired. I think he is calling out society as a whole for where we have allowed children to no longer be children, pushing them to adult roles and behavior long before their bodies are ready for it. That society has told men what she wears is a reason to want her, age matters not. The fact that you would attempt to make him seem like some pervert because he is OWNING his own shame in the thought, and his desire to make us all see where we as a society have degraded to as a whole.
        Kids that age are more sexually active WILLINGLY than I ever thought about being. They talk about it in school, as early as elementary. Young girls are starting to dress skimpier younger and younger. Did I agree with Jon Benet’s dress for pageants? Absolutely not. But someone did or there would be no pagents like that. He is admitting we as a society have pushed them to be more mature, older, dress older, act older, do more at a younger age. In everything from commercials to TV shows. We as a society have told them that being a little girl is not what you want to be for any length of time. The real fun happens when you are older. When you can date, when you wear makeup, when you shave your legs, when you start your period. The fact that YOU seem to be the one with the hangup on the truth of what is happening disturbs me. It is NOT just N. that sees the shift. It is everywhere.
        No what a girl wears should not be an invitation to sex, but everything they see tells them different. No a low cut dress is not an invite to be ogled, but they go for that very thing. It is a game to them, because mentally they are children trapped in the body of a blossoming adult in today’s society. Truth is truth. He is not the only one , he is just the one brave enough to admit it happened and it bothered him. I would be more concerned if he said it did NOT bother him. That means that we have grown so used to it we no longer care as a society about the future and the ones who are going to be leading it, the ones like those girls who want to not just be older but desire to be noticed and wanted.

        1. Owning his own shame doesn’t make him less of a pervert.

          I prefer to blame a sick man like N, who recognizes a child, thinks about sex in context with this child, and then shifts blame for his personal problem.

          No rants about society or children wearing lipstick will change that.

          1. Winston.

            I held my tongue for so long.

            But you’re in such deep personal denial that you have to be called out.

            Have you never had a thought that made you uncomfortable? Have you never thought, “I want to KILL that guy” or “I want to FUCK that woman” or “I really want that brownie, even though I’m on a diet”?

            Do you really control your thoughts?



      2. Winston, if he’s managing to get off via this discussion, and his sexual responses seem to bother you, why do you continue to feed them by participating so strongly in the conversation. Projecting maybe?

          1. N, I have no respect for you. None.

            Of course you think it’s projection, because you also think every male in the room shared in your sexual thoughts.

          2. You are parsimonious with your respect. I have SOME respect for you. For instance, for your tenacity in stating your views in a forum that clearly isn’t welcoming, is indeed hostile, to the way you (don’t) think. And, believe it or not, for the intelligence with which you occasionally state your case. Unfortunately, you get carried away when your anger predominates, and you stop thinking.

            I think, for instance, that there IS an argument to be made (not one with which I agree, but still) that even to acknowledge the sexual reaction I felt aloud is in some way dangerous, unwise, or damaging.

            Or that my reaction is unfortunate and illustrates the vital importance of changing the sartorial habits of teenaged girls.

            Or a dozen other things.

            But the arguments that you keep resorting to are ad hominem and, worse, simply not supported by my own words. I didn’t choose to objectify and fantasize about anyone. I found myself noticing a bodily reaction.

            Have you ever meditated, Winston? Do you know your thoughts very well? Are you intimate with them?

            I thought not.

        1. Blame everyone but your creepy Pedobear friend because he was so brave to admit he thought about having sex with a 14 year old.

          1. Keep going and I’ll ban you, Winston. I, and everyone else, have been respectful to you.

            If you can’t be respectful, I’d ask you not to post.

  5. Fascinating post. I believe the same, that we have reactions to things we know we shouldn’t. Having a reaction (either for or against) isn’t the issue here. It’s the fact that as a society we deem anything we do not understand as wrong, anything that “most” people don’t respond to as wrong. We can’t even be sure most people don’t respond the same way as we do because it isn’t talked about. It takes a lot to be aware of our reactions to certain stimuli, to be able acknowledge them and accept them without turning them into something that is wrong or shameful. Why is being aware of someones sexuallity wrong? Is it because they are young? It is because we have been taught to believe it is wrong or is it because it actually is wrong? I lean towards the former. These days society teaches us that any sexualization of a young person is wrong, that we need help if we see them as sexual beings. What happened to make us this way? I would be interested to know. Even in my grandparents day they were getting married at 16 and having a couple kids before 20. Now when our son or daughter comes to us in their early 20’s telling us they are all in love and want to get married we think they are too young. I believe Winston is missing the entire point of this post, focusing on some of the words and parts of sentences completely out of context.

  6. Interesting to note that, with parental consent, currently, people can marry in both Massachusetts (!) and Kansas as early as age 12 for girls, and 14 for boys, and just about every other state allows people to marry at 16 (or, in many cases “younger”) with parental or a judge’s consent.

    I know that doesn’t address all the issues raised. I’m just sayin’.

  7. Ahh the pink elephant in the room, Thought I am not Jewish, nor have ever been to an event like that I can understand in some ways. Its is a split world I walk in, a late teen daughter who I would defend with my dieing breath and then putting the younger boys in the bus and seeing the girl in their dress. I agree that the hypersexualization of our society world wide has caused some mixed signals but even more so is that not so long ago young women were very young when they were married. 13 is the age in several cultures that a boy becomes a man, it was often the same for a girl in becoming a woman.
    It is a wonderful thing you have written here and I think it should be where a man can talk about the issues he is feeling with someone. It is what has liberated me from the deeper seeded things that made me feel dirty all the time and gave me new life.
    I hope you can find that peace through an old or new friend who will offer a listening non-judgmental ear.

  8. She was far too young and yet I found my mind wandering and I realised I was wondering what she looked like naked. I don’t know how old she was but she was definitely under 16 but physically she was a woman and for a brief moment I wanted to know her as a woman. When I saw her face clearly I chuckled to myself, her physical appearance had tricked my body. She was a girl not a woman and it ended there, exactly where it should.

    In thinking those thoughts was I wrong? No, wrong would be acting on them, seducing her just because I could. I completely agree with the other commenter that society has changed how we view youth sexually. 3 generations ago (my Grandparents generation) being married at 16 was the norm and being a Mother of multiple children by the time you were 20 was nothing out of the ordinary or anything to be ashamed of. Clearly for many reasons that is not something we now want our young people to aspire too but the fact that they are sexual beings at an age when we feel they are still children is something that needs to acknowledged and understood. Their bodies are ready, we ignore that at our peril and risk an ever increasing rise in teenage pregnancy if we shy away from the plain truth of the matter. They are sexual beings, they have desires, sex drives, lust and passion just as we do as adults. We need to help them find appropriate ways to explore and understand all of that and turning a blind eye to it is not one of them.

    I don’t think you have anything to be ashamed of and I completely agree that many men in that situation (and some women too *looks at self) would respond, albeit momentarily, in a similar way. We have been hard wired in some form or other to do so, what makes it nothing to ashamed of is that we know better, we have moral boundaries and an understanding of what is right and wrong that means we don’t act on those thoughts as they flutter across our minds and maybe most of all we are open and honest enough to be able to say… bloody hell I think my mind just had a little moment.


    1. “they have desires, sex drives, lust and passion ”

      None of which are the business of N or other adults in the room.

      “We need to help them find appropriate ways to explore and understand all of that and turning a blind eye to it is not one of them.”

      Dressing up one night for a Bat Mitzvah would have been that way.
      How do you propose you or N help underage children explore their sexuality? I’d propose that’s not your role. If you’re playing educator, the last thing you should do is encourage an adult who has had sexual thoughts about these children to continue that behavior, or give that sick fuck the false impression he “needs to help them find appropriate ways to explore”.

      1. “Dressing up one night for a Bat Mitzvah would have been that way.” but was she aware of this. it is clearly not mine or N’s role to tell her so but maybe a parent might have wanted to explain that to her.

        I don’t think I was proposing N help underage children explore their sexuality, I was saying as a society we need to be aware of it and provide appropriate education with regards to sex and sexuality. I find you continued reference to N as a ‘sick fuck’ highly offence to be honest. He has a thought, he acknowledges it was an inappropriate one, he wrote honestly and candidly about it, no one was harmed in the making of this blog post.

        He is clearly not proposing that he should have sex with this young woman, or that he even wants too, in fact if you read his post he says completely the opposite.

        I am sorry that you are so cross and angry about this subject but I find your vicious hatred bemusing and your unwillingness to enter into debate or conversation without becoming offensive makes it hard for me to listen to you or take you seriously.


        1. “he acknowledges it was an inappropriate one,”

          Actually, he hasn’t. He seems to be critical of anyone who isn’t stopping a bat mitzvah to share in his inappropriate thoughts, and seems to think anyone who doesn’t share in his “honesty”, is repressed, needs to meditate, read Freud, whatever the hell he thinks…he continues to deflect the issue as everyone’s problem rather than take personal responsibility for his own inappropriate thoughts.

          I’d argue that his role as objectifier has already been a form of abuse. He’s gazing across a room, he’s considering who he can share his observances with, and he’s writing invasive details on his sex blog.

  9. Oh, and Molly, I’d like you to address the difference between acknowledging budding sexuality, and doing what N did, which is actually having the sexual thoughts themselves.

    Keep in mind, none of us were there, so we rely on the objectifiers own description. Weren’t there enough grown women at the party for N to objectify and fantasize about?

    A well adjusted adult would simply see a child with lipstick on, less the inner turmoil, and not indulge in fantasies, let alone presume every man there shared in them.

    1. Winston, I find it interesting that you do not seem to say the same of me although I think I clearly write that for a brief moment sexual thoughts of the young woman crossed my mind.

      I have also gone back over N’s post and I can’t actually find a place where he describes a sexual fantasy, he does talk about noticing the young girls bottom as it is revealed to him and the thong beneath her dress and that that vision caught his eye and he found himself unable to look away. He feels trapped in that moment & realises that instinctive thoughts that are not appropriate have tracked across his mind (forgive me N is I a paraphrasing incorrectly here) At no point does he describe any sexual fantasy that involves this young women, he in fact talks about how that moment made him feel and he questions himself and the behaviour of the other adults around him in that situation.

      I think you are challenged by his blunt and frank honesty more than anything else, something I admire in this case. This is a delicate and challenging subject and one that I certainly do not have the answers too but to deny that youth is not sexually attractive to adults is to deny something fundamentally human in my opinion


      1. Molly said: “I can’t actually find a place where he describes a sexual fantasy”

        Was he too subtle when he said “my thoughts turn to sex.”???????

        (As for the part whole part of your post about how you have sexual thoughts about pre-teen girls too, this is N’s blog, and I thought pointing out you were sick would be redundant.)

    2. Winston – a little test.

      Whatever you do, DON’T THINK OF A PINK ELEPHANT.






      Do you still think I was wrong for “actually having… sexual thoughts”?

      If your honest answer is yes, then do yourself a favor and stop reading my blog.

      Which reminds me: why DO you still read this blog? Are you some sort of morality police? Or is there something you get out of it, some way in which all this is getting you off?

      Why are you encouraging me?

      1. I read you for the same reason people watch trainwrecks on reality TV.

        As for your attempts to deflect your guilt and portray yourself as some everyman, merely in touch with the universal urges to think about a child in sexual situations, again, you just read like the idiotic NAMBLA types. It gets worse when you propose that if one were to meditate, or find inner peace, truly knowing their own thoughts, they would all gravitate in the same direction yours does, fantasizing about children. I can’t relate to that.

        I can see through the pose and still see a child whether they’re 6 or 14. Most of us can. We don’t have to repress our thoughts, because our passing thoughts are not a violation, and don’t tread into statutory rape. The manner in which you were distracted by a room full of awkward 14 year olds has nothing to do with anyone but yourself.

        A true adult, at peace with themselves, can compartmentalize their thoughts, and look at a nude body, wether in front of them or depicted in art, be it a child’s, a parents, a sibling, and so on; seeing the human body, without sexualizing it, without objectifying it, and most importantly without fantasizing about it, or fearing it. Clearly, your struggle is a timeless one, but it’s not a universal one.

        1. Only because your grasp on reality, on facts, on the words I wrote, is so tenuous, let me just do a little fact-checking here for you:

          You write that I “portray [myself] as some everyman,” that I “read like the idiotic NAMBLA types.” I don’t think of myself in any was as “some everyman.” I think that the “Program Note” I wrote the other day makes pretty explicit that I think the vast majority of people in the world, people who DON’T agree with the principles I proposed, have so little in common with me intellectually as to be difficult for me to talk with, at least in this forum. I think I’m an unusual bird. Not because of my fantasies, to be sure, but because of both the extent to which I allow myself to become conscious of them and my willingness to talk about them. If you were to read the discussion here on this board, or over on Google+, where there has been considerable further discussion of this topic, you’ll see that, in this admittedly somewhat self-selected realm, YOU are the outlier, the person with the non-conforming view. Not that non-conformity necessarily is a sign of anything other than non-conformity. But still – you might ponder what the meaning of that is.

          As for NAMBLA – I’m not particularly interested in demonizing them. I think, for the most part, they are a caricature of themselves. But I also think that there is a crucial difference between pedophilia (a mental phenomenon) and pederasty (a physical one) which you elide. And, of course, you repeatedly skip the part where WE’RE NOT TALKING ABOUT CHILDREN, in a physical sense. We may be in a legal sense. But we’re not in a physical, biological, intellectual, philosophical, or even cultural sense.

          You write that I “fantasiz[e] about children.” NOWHERE IN MY POST DO I SAY THAT. IT’S NOT TRUE. I DON’T. And/but: if I did, SO THE FUCK WHAT? Plenty of people fantasize about goat-fucking, or rape, or necrophilia, but they are (gratefully) in possession of enough self-control to keep those things in the realm of fantasy. Fantasy’s good that way. It allows us NOT to do many things. But anyway – as I was saying – I don’t find children sexually attractive. I said that in my post. What I said was that biological women, whom we’ve agreed as a society to treat as children (and to ignore the fact that they have adult sexual appetites, and presentations), cause a reaction in my body.

          Find for me the words in my blog post where I said anything about wanting to have sex with anyone, about THINKING about having sex with anyone. You said, in another comment, that when I wrote “my thoughts turn to sex” this indicates my description of a sexual fantasy. Um. No. No. No. I meant what I said. I didn’t say, as you seem to be (to get off on) imagining, “My thoughts turn to fucking these girls.” I said, “My thoughts turn to sex.” That’s different, in my book. YOU’RE the one who imagined ME fucking THEM. Or me imagining my fucking them. What I found myself thinking was far more amorphous, along the lines of, “Hmmm. Sex.”

          Your final paragraph here, about how a “true adult, at peace with themselves [sic], can compartmentalize their [sic] thoughts,” and you continue on with drivel about how people can CONTROL their thoughts.

          This is where you reveal yourself to be at a mid-19th century level of intellectual functioning on the subject.

          I’m done replying to your hateful, hate-filled drivel.

          I feel for you – I seem to have excited something in you. I hope you’re able to get support for whatever demons you struggle with. But these are the last words I’ll write in response to yours.

          Good luck, Winston. I wish you well.

          1. “YOU are the outlier, the person with the non-conforming view. ”

            Oh please. I’m the outlier within your little sex positive/sex blogger bubble. Have you lost all perspective? The commenters here sure have. More people would voice concerns if it weren’t for my posts. You should be thanking me.

            When your thoughts “turn to sex”, what did you think it implies? When you say you’re having sexual thoughts about a children it’s no different than having fantasies about a child.

            Let’s try this exercise.

            Is there a difference between recognizing beauty, or that someone is attractive, and having your thoughts about them “turn to sex”?

            Is there a difference between thinking someone is attempting to act sexy, and actually thinking they *are* sexy, and as a result, thinking about sex?

            But show stopper right here:

            N said: “you repeatedly skip the part where WE’RE NOT TALKING ABOUT CHILDREN, in a physical sense.”

            You ARE talking about children. You were aware they were children. Not helping yourself with the whole “so fucking what” argument claiming it’s okay to fantasize about children.

            As I’ve said…You, N, are sick.

  10. This post and comment thread has been extremely enlightening. As a mother of two teenage girls(14/19) I’ve seen the stares of older men. There are stares and then there are stares that leave you with a creepy feeling.
    What bothers me is this outright denial that you, Winston, have said several times…that you’d never look at a teenage girl and see her as a sexual being. I’m curious, do you have some sort of internal clock that lets you know when these “girls” are of the age of consent? Does your brain then just “know” it is safe/alright to then look at them in a sexual manner?
    Perhaps it’s just me, but I have a hard time these days knowing how old these teenagers/young adults are….based on clothes, make-up, attitude, etc.
    All that aside, you come across as rather naïve, Winston. Maybe in today’s overly PC world you’ve engrained yourself with your mantra that any thoughts of teens should be shamed and labeled a pervert. If that is the case, you’re missing N’s point altogether. Thoughts do not equal actions. Let me repeat that: thoughts DO NOT equal actions.
    Reading your “shamefest” makes me thankful people can’t be convicted for their thoughts.

    1. Well put, MG.

      I like the idea, though, that thoughts themselves can be shameful.

      We all are in SO MUCH TROUBLE!

      (Those of us who are old enough surely remember Jimmy Carter in his interview with Playboy on this very subject. He was great.)

    2. Monkey Girl, Doesn’t N describe knowing the girls age, and still leering?

      I’m not denying there are extremely young girls who for all intents and purposes appear womanly, but that’s not the scenario N describes. He describes her vulnerability and her age. Next is context. In life, we as adults do see nudity, or near nudity, or risque behavior, and we are able to handle it with respect….that respect doesn’t involving objectifying, leering, sexualizing, fantasizing, entertaining their sexualization, posting blogs about it, etc. N should have done what other adults did, shrugged it off, tossed off words of disapproval and stopped staring.

      You’ve been around groups of 14 year olds….the idea that they’re a natural temptation for grown men is a sick one.

  11. Thanks N for writing about this subject, which in this country has people up in arms about it (Winston as a prime example). It is difficult and yes, some creeper feelings come up, but as you wrote, denying them wouldn’t do shit, except suppress and build steam over time.

    Winston, you nit-pick and before even mentally going through the argument N makes in his post, judge him as a perverted pedo. Like a jury that knows the accused to be guilty before seeing any evidence or having spent more than a minute in the court-room. N challenges people here with this very honest and somewhat uneasy post, yet you just try to shut it down. Closing your ears yelling :”Can’t hear you, lalalalala!”
    That you continue to argue with him could be interpreted as a high interest on the subject on your part, or a very boring life mixed with self-righteousness. But you clearly do not know how to have a constructive discussion.

    N, keep up the good work, keep on touching taboo subjects with the self-reflecting mind of yours. It’s educating, challenging and enlightening.

    That’s all.

    1. ER, I’ve responded to the content of all who addressed me, so I’m “hearing” their points, because that’s what I’m disagreeing with.

      I’m judging N by his own words.

      Frankly, I think we’d all judge harsher had we actually been to the same Bat Mizvah. Consider my opinions gracious.

  12. Holy cow! I am unbelievably impressed at your honesty and willingness to tackle this subject so authentically. I’ve had this discussion with Mr. LL, who has “noticed” very young, scantily clad women and then chastised himself for doing so. I agree with you that it’s normal to notice, normal to be sexually aroused by them…and yet capable of not acting on it because it is socially and morally (in our time and culture) reprehensible for an adult to have sex with a “child”. Kudos on this post. Really – I am just plain impressed.

    1. “normal to be sexually aroused by them”

      You think it’s “normal” to be aroused by a child?

      I’m not a bully, I’m principled, but thank you for saying I wrecked shit. Good.

  13. Oh…and BTW…Winston, whoever you are – you are a downright bully. Damn – it’s like being invited into someone’s house (blog) and then criticizing everything about it, being asked kindly to refrain, then picking up a baseball bat and wrecking the shit out of it. I’d have kicked you out a long time ago. I’m pretty sure you made your point loud and clear. Enough already. Move on.

    1. The inability to discuss sex in a rational manner is the root of many problems, and Winston is a prime example of the issue. I wrote a response as soon as I read Winston’s first comment (400 words) but decided to keep reading when I realized he kept talking. I wish I had more time to write, but work beckons, but I have to say something, so I’ll try to be brief:

      1 – NOTICING a young woman scratching her ass and flashing her panties is normal, and kind funny.
      2 – Realizing that she is under-age (morally and legally) and NOT acting on it, is the right thing to do.
      3 – Denying that our kids are sexual creatures denies US, as parents and adults, the opportunity to acknowledge it, discuss it with them, and give them the mental, social, and moral tools to deal with it. (Denial is a horrible form of birth control, ask my friend’s 14-yo daughter who is now a mommy)
      4 – The legal age of consent and the biological age of maturity have nothing to do with each other.
      5 – To claim, as Winston does, that his thoughts are pure and sweet as Unicorn Farts and Butterfly Kisses is just silly at best, and, at worst, indicates a pathological inability to deal with his own feelings.

      Commenters more erudite than me have said it before, but Winston reminds me of a serial killer who so idolize their victims, putting them on a pedestal of purity and perfection, that he can see no wrong in them, or more frightening, within himself. Is it a crime to admit that some 14 year old girls like sex? Like being a tease? It frightens us that the rising generation of boys and girls are so ahead of where we were when we were kids. I’m not blaming anyone, but we have to be able to talk about how they act, how we re-act, and the changing dynamic between teenagers and the adults around them.

      I could go on and on but I would just repeat the comments of others.

      The discussion started here by N. Likes is important. We must be able to talk about our thoughts to understand them. This is definitely a step in the right direction.

      And, since I wrote it and I hate to hit delete, here is my original response….

      I don’t mind inflaming things a bit, so I’ll call Winston what he is, a dickward (is that intellectual enough?). As recently as the 1920’s, and more recently throughout the world, 14-16 women routinely married, started families, and got on with their lives. They are, no matter how much you want to deny it Winston, sexual beings. It is only recently that society, with longer life spans, better infant mortality rates, and an increased focus on educating women (all wonderful things) decided that 14 is a bit young to be getting married. It is purely a social more and has nothing to do with biology.

      What is being discussed here, and should be discussed everywhere, is that we find parents abdicating their role as parents in light of social pressure. The dresses at my daughter’s 8th grade honor’s lunch were shockingly short and highly sexualized. These girls, at 14, are putting themselves on the marked among their peers as sexually available in both dress and mannerisms. Where are the parents? If my daughter bought a dress like that I would be returned, and if she complained about dressing appropriately for her age, then she would miss the event. I’m the parent, i set the rules, and yes, I protect her from her bad choices some times.

      But, back to the point. The male mind is wired to breed with young, healthy, reproductively promising females. It is the biological imperative. As a society, we train ourselves to control those feelings and we enforce them through social shaming, punitive actions, and legal ramifications. That is a good thing, but to get all high and mighty and claim that you never think this way is such a load of hypocritical bullshit.

      You said that they are playing with their sexuality, says who? Have you talked to these girls about how and why they pick their outfits? Do you know their thoughts are playful? Talk to a group of high school freshman and you will hear tales that will curl your toes. Sexual behavior among teenagers is starting at younger and younger ages. This is not playful, these are kids trying to be adults without parents being parents. Blah blah blah… my conference call is starting.

      Good job N! I’ll invite you to my next Bar Mitzvah!

      1. Thanks so much for such thoughtful, sensible, smart words.

        And I’d love to come to your next bar mitzvah. I promise to behave. Who knows – we could even have a good conversation.

      2. Advizorz, you’re a rambling idiot who didn’t actually manage to address my criticism towards N.

        Of course 14 year olds are often sexual beings figuring it out…. unfortunately, it’s not some recovering sex addicts place to decide that based on a girls hemline, or underwear choice…and it has absolutely NOTHING to do with validating N’s sexual thoughts about a child. Her sexuality is none of N’s business, and he shouldn’t be admiring a minor in the context of sex.

        Re: the laws of consent/traditions of marriage… are you also arguing the benefits of arranged marriages, and shortened life-spans? It’s a moronic, reactionary argument.

        1. Winston, OMGOSH. Really? I can see now N allows you to stick around, you are so much fun to play with. It’s like bear bating. We say a few words and you fly off the handle and we sit back an laugh (not with you, but at you). But I can quickly see why the group tires of you as well. I never said anything about arranged marriages or the benefits of a shortened life span (I’ll leave the obvious joke about you out of this), yet you attack me for words you chose.

          Do I ramble, of course i do, that is the reason the Internet exists, well that, and porn and March Madness betting pools. There is a lot to talk about on this subject, parental responsibility, changing sexual mores, the sexualization of children by culture at large and societies reactions (good and bad) to that change. I could have gone on and on, especially when you keep giving us beehives to throw stones at. You just keep buzzing louder and louder and we keep throwing rocks. It’s great sport.

          You state that a recovering sex addict has no voice in this conversation. I strongly disagree. When discussing public drug policy, I want addicts in the discussion. When we talk about drunk driving, I want AA members and convicted felons telling their story, and, when we talk about sex we need to hear from those who struggle with it, not just those who claim that their genitals have no voice. Those are the ones I don’t trust. N Likes is very open about this feelings and so I can talk to him. I wouldn’t talk to you about this for 30 seconds at a dinner party because you carry no self awareness, no credibility. (Of course, I’m not allowed to talk about it at a dinner party ’cause that makes me a pervert.)

          In closing, until I pick up more rocks and find more bears (ahh, the joys of a mixed metaphor), I will leave a couple of thoughts:
          My grandmother was in an arranged marriage as was happy, healthy, and rich.
          When I see a really hot 14 year old, I just smile and say, “When she’s 18, I’m hittin’ that”. Of course, I’ll be too old to remember how by then.
          Unicorn Farts really don’t smell that sweet. Kind of like rancid cotton candy with gummi bears.

          1. Is a counterpoint about the reasoning we no longer marry off at 14 in the modern progressive world really lost on you?

            You even botched the American Psycho reference, previously.

  14. At the risk of further prodding the dragon, I would like to add my two cents. I have a 13-year-old babysitter who is indisputably beautiful. She dresses in the bare minimum amount of clothing required at all times, all of it name-brand and stylish. As a mom of a 7-year-old girl, I have barely resisted the urge to throw a blanket over our sitter at times. Like while we’re at the park and she’s on the see-saw with the kids. There are dads here, I think. How can she be so unaware?

    Because she is unaware. She’s still a kid. Not a little girl any longer, as evidenced by her body, but nowhere near conscious of what her body means to adults.

    Talking to her, I realize that her friends dress the same way. They expect her to be the same, require the proper labels on her clothes. Friendship, to a point, is contingent on it. Do any of them realize the power they are playing with, I wonder.

    I’ve complimented her outfits many times, but never breathed a word of warning. Having just recently become personally aware of the pleasure of being objectified, I am more understanding of her outfit choices. When my own daughter, too soon, will want to dress this way, I may let her. To a bat mitzvah. To events where adults know how to behave like adults. At the park, I’ll request her to wear shorts. And my request will be accompanied by an honest discussion of what an adult male thinks about when he can look up her skirt. And I may touch on why that might be appealing, as a woman. But I will warn her to be careful and to make thoughtful choices about what she wears.

    And me? As an adult? I admire the sitter’s body. I envy her confidence in it. I’d like to harness the energy looking at her offers. All of us adults should. Consider it a free trip to an art gallery. Winston, I can only imagine how you will tear this apart.

    1. Nothing to tear apart here. I don’t put blame, or even responsibility with the children in these scenarios. It’s really the adults sexualizing things. You put a child in a stripper outfit, and it’s still a child, just in an outfit adult’s relate to strippers, and that’s their baggage.

      Again, to admire is one thing. To think of sex is another. That difference is what this argument is over.

      It’s the not so fine line between thinking “there’s a pretty girl who looks mature for her age” and lusting over her, and thinking about her unclothed, sexually.

      1. Point of order: this, Winston, is the first mention in this thread of ANYONE “thinking… about a girl unclothed, sexually.” And it was you who thunk it.

        1. You did describe seeing her partially unclothed did you not? You did say you then “thought about sex” in context of a teen, and you called these thoughts “impure”, did you not? So? Backtracking much?

  15. I never made a reference to American Psycho. I couldn’t, having never seen or read the material. This is a perfect example of you reading into things that do not belong. You interpret things as you wish and brook no other opinions. You have gotten boring now so I will ignore you.

    1. You’re really vapid, aren’t you?

      Do tell us more about how women used to marry at the age of 14… it was such a great point… those golden years, when women couldn’t vote, and hemlines were to the floor….

  16. To be clear, by admire I mean that she does make me think about sex. Sexy things make me think about sex. Don’t be fooled by my semantics.

    Also — don’t deny people agency, even children. When you do, you’re burying your head in the sand.

    You ought to try to open your mind. Think of something hot. How about me putting sunscreen on the sitter’s back? Both of us in bikinis. Now go tell your partner. You’ll be surprised by how free you’ll feel.

  17. Well, I was going to comment, then I read the comments. I think I read them all. Fascinating. And of course 14 as an inappropriate age for consensual sexual activity is a modern Western construct. Just thought I’d mention that. In case I missed it anywhere above. Biology can be controlled, tamed, civillised, constrained. It is blatant stupidity to pretend that it doesn’t exist.

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  30. let me play the devil’s advocate here for a second and point out that it is a purely CULTURAL, ARBITRARY decision that we as a society have made in this particular point in time that 14 or 15 year-olds are too young to be targets of our sexual desires. in many non-western cultures and in earlier historical periods of western culture itself, 14-yo were considered fair game.

    And when you think about it from an evolutionary standpoint, without the moral baggage we all carry today, it makes sense – post-pubertal youth are physically mature enough to reproduce, so they become sexually attractive, and there is nothing wrong with that.

    my point is, socially and legally, such thoughts are unacceptable and you shouldn’t act on them. but biologically, they are PERFECTLY NORMAL, and you shouldn’t feel ashamed of them.

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  32. nothing wrong with the thoughts referred to, a sure sign of good health and normality. It’s only actions that define a man’s morality, not thoughts or even speech. Hence thoughts of sex with the improbable, speaking of the unspeakable, are all cool and entertaining!
    As for me I would have fantasised of the chicks giving me a blowjob, and then asked them to fix an appointment witheir moms for a real fuckjob. There. I have spoken the unspeakable and come away with it and I feel good. All thanks to blogging etc.

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  35. Troll: One who posts a deliberately provocative message to a newsgroup or message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument.

    There is no answer you’re going to give where Winston will pat you on the back and say, “I agree.” He isn’t here to agree. He’s just trolling. “Right” or “wrong” isn’t the point. The point is to disrupt. Just ignore him and move on. Sounds like you had a Lolita episode. “Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta.” I wouldn’t think too much about it. Maybe someone spiked your drink. While it has nothing to do with underage girls, it does remind me of being in Vegas recently and seeing all these wholesome suburban teens/college kids who were dressed like hookers. I must be getting old, but all I could think was… “Ok, that’s a bit much.” It was just a little too… trashy.

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  38. When I was fourteen, I was smitten with the dress I got for my best friend’s June bat mitzvah. It had a black cotton bodice, with a flowered short full skirt, and some sort of off-the-shoulder thing in matching material. My FAVORITE part was that it had buttons all the way down the front.

    At that age I also liked to make videos for school projects. (This was back when video making involved a big cart full of editing equipment that needed to be procured from the AV department.)

    Back to the dress. I remember hanging around in my room, before or after shooting something on the Trojan War, directing a scene in which I put the dress on and slowly removed it, button by button, for the camera and for my small audience of girlfriends. I mention this part simply because it seems to point to how I would end up having so much fun here with you, N.

    What of the middle aged men at the bat mitzvah? Honestly it never occurred to me to think of them, until reading this post. I didn’t care about the boys my age, either. I was interested in the attentions of her brothers, four years older, and of my girlfriends. All I wanted was a bit of attention though, nothing more.

    I see girls like this out in the world all the time. I was recently in an international city during family vacation season, and I noticed the attractiveness of young girls who were revealing their bodies, mostly in innocent seeming ways — but of course not completely innocently, and sometimes very much not so.

    It seems like one job of an adult in this dynamic is to practice the sort of buddhist approach to thinking espoused elsewhere on this blog — notice it. Let it go. That’s how I handle it. It seems your reconciliation is similar.

    On those recent travels, my partner and I did a lot of people watching, and we played some games that involved suggestive thinking about passerby. We kept the kids out of that bit of fun. We didn’t talk about that fact, and I didn’t feel the need to, although I was thinking about it, of course. (Now I’m more curious to ask him, to see if it’s a helpful thing to talk about, after coming to your post today and reflecting.)

    It seems like that’s the crux of your question, N — why can’t people talk about this subject more?

    My friends ARE people I’d bring this kind of topic to, if I were feeling unsettled about it. It’s why I choose them as friends. Acquaintances less so.

    The thing about friends is that they have an idea of one’s moral compass, so that it’s possible to say things that might sound slightly transgressive, and they’re understood in context.

    Comedy can work this way, too. If Louis CK hasn’t done a bit on this, he should. Friends who like comedy — this one of the best ways to initiate conversation about the darker parts of our interiors.

    Finally, I think sometimes these conversations are best had after the moment, instead of during. (“I was thinking about the other day, when …”) It might create a bit more emotional distance, more of a sense of safety, so that the anxious-type friend doesn’t respond with an urge to shut the conversation down.

    Just some thoughts. Sorry this is so long!

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