I am strongly pro-sexuality, but even more strongly anti-coercion. That said, when I was in high school (11th or 12th grade), an incident took place at my middle school that shocked and disturbed the whitebread suburban town where I grew up. Several sixth and seventh graders had been found in a group behind said middle school. A seventh-grade girl was fellating a sixth-grade boy, and two more boys were waiting their turn, as several girls looked on.

Turns out the girls were a gang initiating a new member, and three blowjobs, witnessed by her would-be peers, satisfied a membership requirement. The others? Shoplifting and fighting (some kind of ritualized hazing beatdown kind of thing).

What am I trying to say here? I'm not sure. All I know is that by seventh grade, I had learned to masturbate and did so avidly and often, accompanied by a rich fantasy life that probably would have justified these kids' acts. I would've used Clintonesque logic to do so, I'm sure; in high school my second sex partner and I maintained plausible deniability by eschewing vaginal intercourse. Which is not to say that anything I've described so far is wrong or right, only that I was not mature enough at twelve to take responsibility for sex acts that involved anybody but myself. Hell, I probably wasn't at fifteen, might not be now. But I did think myself pretty grown-up.

Here's what I do know: oral and anal gonorrhea rates are at an all-time high among U.S. middle-schoolers. A recent study in the Washington, D.C. public schools showed no statistically significant difference in pregnancy rates between students given abstinence education and those who received no sex ed at all. The highest office in the land has passed from a man who denied a blowjob counted as sex to a man who rejects his Surgeon General's report for suggesting it might be good for students to be educated enough to make informed and hence somewhat more responsible choices about their bodies and health (not to mention those of their sex partners). None of these are good news.

That, and I'm bummed to still feel sure there aren't any gangs of boys devoted to eating pussy.

Update, 26 September 2001: It's more than a little embarrassing (both for me and for what this reflects about the database) that this is my highest-rep w/u. Sigh.

Update, 21 March 2002. Quizro says re oral sex in middle school: It's the last sentence that makes it impossible not to upvote. One of the great classic E2 line.