Sunday, September 12, 2004

Teacher, I need you

A few related incidents have been prevalent in the news in recent years. You may remember the Mary Kay Laturno story, the 35-year-old teacher and mother of 4 in Washington State, who had been charged with 2 counts of rape for having a consensual sexual relationship with a 13-year-old student. Another more up to date story involves a young (twenty-something) Florida middle school teacher who found out to be having consensual sex with her 14-year-old student. I would like to comment for a moment on perceptions of sexuality, and our society’s response, and the mixed signals it sends.

First, let me preface by saying that I do not necessarily support intergenerational sex, which is a euphemism for adults having sex with minors. But what is a minor? Is it merely the legal distinction of being 16, or 18, or 21? Or is it the ability to accept the consequences of the make decisions one makes? I would argue that it is the latter. We designate parents as responsible for children because young children cannot make decisions on their own in a reliably responsible fashion, and cannot be expected to understand the implications of their behavior. But as we emerge into our teenage years, while parental guidance remains important, most recognize that short of being confined to a prison, parents can do little more than teach by example and provide little-listened-to advice. Those are years of experimentation, exploration, and transition. The experiences we choose to take part, whether sex, drugs, alcohol, church, community, travel, these will provide us with invaluable knowledge about the world around us, and our place in it. Not all experiences are good, and not all are bad. But as libertarians, we have to hold that what is done consensually and with deliberation should, in most cases, not be criminal.

Let’s look at the sex thing for a moment. Historically, and biologically, men are driven to want sex, a lot, from about the time they are 12 until about 30 years of age. Those are the peak productivity years and the years where hormones tell your body to have sex. Only the prudishness side of our society could have thought up the idea of having teens suppress the first decade of this drive and act as though it isn’t there. But it is there, and we all know it. Women have the same drive, though textbooks tell me that it comes around a few years later than for boys. And, the machismo elements in our culture have long respected men who are successful in their sexual conquest; among teens it is especially important. So everything in a 13 year olds’ head is telling him to go out and get laid. And a successful conquest with an older women – well that’s even better.

Consider for a moment the trend by our legal system to try teens as adults in capital crimes such as rape and murder. Although the exact age at which one is an adult in these cases is not clearly defined, we have taken more and more to prosecuting so-called minors who commit these kinds of crimes as adults. And I think that this is very telling. The implication is that these individuals, regardless of their legal age, were able to make a decision, understood that decision, and now must live with the consequences of that decision. Yet the poor “children” in our stories above are treated as if they were unwitting victims who couldn’t possibly understand that they were being assaulted. At the least there is a mixed signal here. At the most, this is out and out hypocrisy. Lord knows if I were gettin' it on with the teacher of my fantasies, I would not consider this at all a negative thing in my life. Probably a great boost to the ole' self esteem too.

As a matter of form, I tend to think it a bad idea for teachers to be aiming to sleep with their students. I tend to think it creates an ethical problem. So setting aside for the moment that these stories involve their teachers, is it really such a bad thing that young men are attracted to lonely older women? Aren’t they in fact helping to generate stability in society by enduring that these women don’t have to leave their husbands and families for some fleeting affair? Certainly Ben Franklin thought so, and urged men to direct their sexual experimentation at older women specifically, and gave 10 reasons to support his argument. We men know darn well that our early sexual experiences did not cause us to become traumatized, unable to function in society, unable to support a marriage or family, and it is unlikely even that we will be burning in hell for that experience. This country needs to seriously rethink its legal fictions where sex is concerned, and leave consensual relationships to the privacy of the bedroom, where they belong.

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My sincere apologies for not posting much these last few weeks. The semester just started back, and I have 24 hours that I am taking. This makes these next few weeks critical if I want to keep up and not fall behind, so I will be in and out for the next couple weeks. Thanks for your patience. I’ll be back with gusto soon.

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9 comments:

njl said...

ON Teacher I Need You--A very correct comment was made when it was considered that although teenagers today may be considered old enough to make decisions like adults regarding capital crimes, including murder, they are still considered too young to consider that they may have an adult sexual relationship. This may be akin to the fact that during the Vietnam era 18 year old males who were drafted were also not legally able to drink beer or alcohol in most states. Our country, in trying to protect the "innocent", is constantly full of contradictions. I guess my concern is that Others (teachers) are found guilty of crimes when if the teacher were murdered instead of found having sex with a teenager, the teenager would be guilty. Would it be actually better for the "criminal" to die than to be considered "innocent?" Or, another consideration might be: "Which is the guiltiest and should be considered for a 'death penalty' or 'life imprisonment?'" and, for what crime exactly?

JW said...

first of all when you talk about our founding fathers, you are talking about a time when women were concidered second class citizens. In todays society women have gained a lot of equality with men. As long as that is the case then we must consider her as well as a man who would do a 13 year old girl a pedophile. So as long a we except women as being equal and deserving the same equal rights as men......then she is nothing more than a sick pervert who prays on young boys. Unfortunately she convinced her victim to marry her. Anyone who agrees that she should have never been charged with a crime is pro-pedophile. Otherwise if we are not going to strive to give women the same sentence for a crime committed as a man then we need to concider that women are still the weaker sex and should not have the same opportunities as men.

Anonymous said...

I have a similar problem. I am a 43 year old and in love with my 15 year old daughters ex-boyfriend. Don't know if it is love, but it is some kind of infatuation. I am happy in my life otherwise, married, and so on. I find that I cannot stop thinking about him and I know that it is something that I have never felt before or ever expected to feel. I am an intelligent person and have always made good decisions. I just don't understand these feelings I am having and why I feel like this. It's driving me crazy. Am I? I need some advise.

Anonymous said...

I have two young teenage sons.One is 14 and the other is 15.Every day I hope and pray that they don't fall for some over sexed out of control older woman.When I was 25 I had a relationship with a 18 year old.It was sad and very unstaisfying.I was in it just for the thrill of manipulating a sex crazed teenager.For a Teacher to prey on a 14 year old boy,have two babies go to Prison and then come out smelling like a rose,is ridiculous.What happened?Why doesn't the punishment fit the crime.Her way of paying back child support is through the public buying her book.You are paying all her depths,and her new homes that she didn't have to work for.

Anonymous said...

I'm not saying what Mary Kay did was right, but i'm not going to sit here and say it was wrong either, you can't help who you fall in love with, and if you could we would know who we were gonna marry since we were old enough to talk. I say look at it like this, when mixed relationships started and people of the same raise took it poorly to see another of their raise with someone of another raise it turned into a raise war,and all people could say is, you can't help who you fall in love with no matter what color they are,well it should be the same with age. Love see's no color,or age. I say if both parties no matter what age,or color are both consensual then there should be no crime committed.
Look at it this way if both parties want to be together let them be. I was 17 years old,and mine was 25 years old, and we lived together in my parents house,and my mother could have pressed charges, because i was a miner and he was an adult, but she didn't ,why?, cause i was in love with him,and him with me,and if she had done that she knew it would lead to more problems to deal with. I don't care if it's male or female if they love each other and one is over the legal age it should not matter to anyone else what they do with their lives,and parents need to realize that if you tell a teenager or a child at all for that matter (no) they will do the opposit. Yes, i do have a teenage son and if he was to have sexual relations with an older women thats fine with me,cause if i tell him no he's just gonna do it anyways, and he needs to learn to live,and take risks on his own, thats how you live life to the fullest to get out there and get your hands dirty.
EVERYONE KEEPS TALKING ABOUT OUR FOUNDING FATHERS. I can bet they all had sex before they were of legal age,and with older women. I feel their are to many unjusts going on in this country, and not enough just when they are what we should be dealing with first.(example) You have a toddler, and a jar of cookies you tell the toddler no cookies till after dinner,and in a few min. that toddler is gonna go after those cookies again you smack his hands and tell him no again, and again in a few min. that toddler is gonna go after those cookies again and again,so you move the cookies up higher they will climb to get those cookies,and if you move the cookies out of sight, they will look for those cookies till they find them, or till you give in and give him one before dinner,just cause its out of sight does not mean it is out of mind. It is the same no matter how you look at it in any situation, if you tell someone no they will keep looking for a yes answer, because we are tought that from birth never quit,never give up, till you get the answer you want.

Anonymous said...

well on that Note, I have to say, I dont understand why the government got involved. We as Men are different than women, WE go through the change At 12 or 13 WE are MEN...If A Boy wants Sex and can behave responsibly,and the parents dont care, whats it our government business.... I was Having sex when I was 12,safe sex. My mother didnt care. she new I was responsible enough to understand about the pregnancy,etc. and yes the woman was 22.I dont think its the government or Police,or DA`s Job to decide when I want to Have Sex. aslong as It my decision. The Government is sticking its nose in to many things, WE put them in there WE can take them OUT....And it is society now, you look on tv magazines..SEX sells,you put things like that out there, and they dont expect kids to be curious. WHO is the STUPID ones...I have two sons, If they come up to me at age 13 or 14, Im going to explain sex. and get them condoms,if they are going to do it,I want them SAFE..... you cant tell kids NO dont do it ,THEY do the opposite,Parents need to learn, Kids rebel when you tell them NO. in my experience Reverse Phycology, say Im ok with it,talk to them,just make sure they are safe,Trust me They will rethink,and do the right thing...always works....But back to point that was Stupid the Judge in that case should have BEEN Slapped... You cant tell people not to Have SEX. especially GUYS....its wired into our brains.haha.. if the mother was OK with it. that should have been the end of it....These so called LAW makers have made society the way it is to day. LIVE WITH IT> KIDS ARE HAVING SEX>>>I think they need to get the OLD FARTS in our governement out. and LET younger,more open minded people in...thanks for your time ...

Anonymous said...

Ok as a victim i must say it's the best thing that happened too me. My only regret is that i wish i did more more often in that case. I learned everything from her in a loving way too. I miss it and her. I'm now 32 and normal. So yes i think they should leave these women alone. I could only imagine what i would have done too protect my Girl(or women) Jessica if they were too have tried her. I would have lied on the stand or just plain punched out the judge if i thought it would help her in her case.

Anonymous said...

I cant believe what people write here.... the thing of the color of a person (called race, not raise) has nothing to do with the age! of course teenagers are curious about sex, but that doesnt mean we let them go about their business like sexcrazed teens. we as humans have a thing called selfcontrol and you can train it even. sexuality is supposed to be for two consenting adults and to me only between a man and woman who are in a legal marriage.
any woman should be punished the way we punish the men, when they are pedophiles.
it is NOT ok and we should protect kids against predators and against themselves as well. the first sexual experience can never be done again, so lets teach kids that its the best for them when they can think more clearly (not in a haze of hormons) and that its the safest in a marriage.
we as adults cant have sex either, just becuz we wanna. its hurting ourselves and the other as well. what about pregnancies, STD's, abortions, low self asteem, sexaddiction, ect?
abstinence untill marriage is the best way to solve all the social, emotional and physical problems that flow from our sexdriven society.

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