Queer Youth

Glee Teens “Lose it” with Love

In a blog on Huffington Post, I weigh in on the controversy about the episode in which two Glee couples make love for the first time.  I think the Glee episode is important because it shows teenagers exercising self-determination, making conscious choices and having sex in the context of romantic, but not necessarily life-long, love.  Readers share experiences and viewpoints.  A mother of younger children writes:

I’d tell my girls that they should wait at least until they are emotionally intimate with someone before they become sexual, and why that feels better to many women. No one told me that. I just got the vague lesson “good girls don’t” from my parents. As the writer says, that’s not the message that was needed. I needed to be told that it works better to be in love, and why. I would have felt better about waiting.

In response to one reader’s comment that chastity until marriage works best, another writes:

I think your forgetting one thing. Waiting for Sex after marriage is OK I guess, but lets not forget … Gays could not get married. [D]oes that mean they should never have sex their entire life …….wai­ting on this regressive society to come to fruition? I think not. That would mean millions of people would never know the wonderful experience of sharing physical love with the special one their hart has melted for.

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Sex education, queer youth, and sexual autonomy

The first post-publication reviews of Not Under My Roof have come in.  A review by Doug Ireland in Gay City News (Nov. 9) places the book in the context of the post-sexual revolution battles over sex education in the United States.  Ireland recounts the intensely hostile political organizing in response to Judith Levine’s 2002 book Harmful to Minors (University of Minnesota Press) and then US Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders’ thoughts on sex education.   The result of these battles has, he points out, been “particularly nefarious for queer youth” whose needs for protection from harassment are rarely met within high-school hallways and classrooms.

In this context, it’s courageous of Amy Schalet, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst campus, to offer up her fascinating and wise new book, “Not Under My Roof: Parents, Teens, and the Culture of Sex”….  Based on a blending of meticulous scholarly research and extensive interviews with both Dutch and American parents and teenagers — mostly tenth-graders — Schalet’s book, although not as deliberately incendiary as Levine’s a decade earlier, nonetheless amounts to a ringing rationale for the sexual autonomy of adolescents.

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Amy Schalet is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Read More...