February 16, 2009

The sexting craze that is making ordinary teenage idiots into child pornographers.

20% of teens doing this — texting or posting naked pictures of themselves — maybe thinking they are being cute and silly or — as teenagers will do — testing to find out what freedom is, but they are manufacturing the evidence that could be used to convict them of a morbidly serious crime.

92 comments:

jayne_cobb said...

When I was in high school, my friends used to do something like this as a practical joke.

They'd wait until someone passed out while they were drinking and then steal his cellphone. They'd then take a picture of their ass with it and set it as the person's wallpaper. Naturally the next morning you'd wake up to a loud "what the fuck" and some laughing.

Ann Althouse said...

You all should be registering as sex offenders for life.

Bob W. said...

Maybe, instead of making sexting a felony, state and local governments should find a way to levy a tax on it. A sin tax, of course, as opposed as a run-of-the-mill can't-get-around-it tax, so no one has to feel bad about levying or paying it. . .

traditionalguy said...

What is the goal here? If their policy is to discourage teens having sex under 18, then the Photo-Phone Sex between them is a safety valve reducing the real thing, like Bill Clinton's well known safe substitute for "real sex". On the other hand, if their policy is to empower government to save kids who watch TV and have internet today from other kids who electronically talk about sex and show pictures of their nude bodies, then we will need 50,000,000 more government workers. That's only a growing jobs program, as it always has been. And tell me again why the expression Judeo-Christian morality in government schools or governmental space is now considered a serious violation of the little darlings constitutional rights.

Lem said...

I hate to say it... given that i'm not a parent. But I think it can all be chalked up to bad parenting.

Parents are not teaching them about boundaries.

rhhardin said...

Soap opera makes bad law.

I'm surprised that isn't a maxim.

Original Mike said...

Unfortunately, the internet makes it a lot more dangerous being stupid than back when I was stupid (I mean young).

MadisonMan said...

I read articles like that and think the prosecutors are trying to pad their resumes with easy cases. Look at all the sex offenders I've swept off the street! Our town is safe now! Vote for me!

And Lem, I'd say this is a lot of ignorant parenting, as in parents don't know that this can happen. Teens are lightyears ahead of parents technologically.

Seven Machos said...

I don't think any adult can support sending around naked pictures of underage people on cell phones.

However, the law is clearly an ass in this situation. The situation is roughly the equivalent of two minors having sex. It happens, and no prosecutor in her right mind is going to press charges when two average minors have average sex.

We can be morally superior all we want, and lament these kids today. But, really, it's just another instance of law failing to keep up with technology.

Curtiss said...

I suppose this old warning:

"A few moments of pleasure, and a life time of misery."

still applies.

But it's puzzling. Has the meaning of "compromising photo" been redefined?

jayne_cobb said...

I'd turn them in but the evidence has all been destroyed (usually within 10 seconds of being discovered).

JohnAnnArbor said...

Thought experiment: if picture phones had been available in 1955, would this "epidemic" have happened then? What would the punishment have been if it had occurred?

Seven Machos said...

John -- Effective birth control methods ended the need for sexual prudery. I am quite sure that there is a strong correlation between rampant sexuality and effective birth control. Likewise, in places where birth control is not available, for whatever reason, sexual morals remain stringent.

Pogo said...

So the state teaches teens to have sex, to use condoms and dental dams, to have abortions so that parents do not know about them, to have multiple partners with all 3 or 4 genders (safely), and now they're worried that they're texting pics of their naughty bits to each other?


But these are not the consequences we intended!

Icepick said...

Thought experiment: if picture phones had been available in 1955, would this "epidemic" have happened then?

I can't comment on 1955, but I remember being in junior high in 1982, and a couple of the ninth graders had polaroids of their girlfriends posing topless. Needless to say, they were the coolest guys around! And digital is WAY easier to use and copy than polaroids. I don't really know if the levels would have been higher or lower than they are now, but it would have been a definite problem around 1982....

Host with the Most said...

It's Distasteful and I hate it, but it will eventually fade as a fad.

My biggest tech surprise was seeing a former 9-year-old piano student of my wife's: The girl is now 16 and she posted on her Facebook a topless photo of herself and 3 girlfriends in a spa in Vegas. Because Facebook shows everything to everyone posted by your "friends", my wife discontinued this girl as a "friend".

(Wow, some 16 year olds can be large-breasted)

Seven Machos said...

Jesus, Host. No link?

Simon said...

The only problem I see here is the devaluation of the sex offender registry. But that problem can be dealt with by a simple change that ought to be done anyway: the division of the registry into classes (a child rapist, for example, might be a class A registered offender; someone convicted in the circumstances at issue here might be a class F registered offender, which is appropriate given that's probably their GPA, too). Beyond that, I'm not seeing the problem. If the situation involves action by a chargeable minor, deal with it the same way any child accused of a crime is dealt with.

JAL said...

When the noisiest part of our society/culture tells kids it's ok to have protected sex, and if the parents are prudes you can get an abortion honey, we won't even tell them, and the SI swimsuit cover has a functinally naked woman on the cover why would these kids think there was anything worng with sending a naked picture of themselves or one of theirfriends out on THEIR OWN cell phones?

Someone's smoking crack and it isn't the kids.

Seven Machos said...

National Review once called porn the wallpaper of our lives. I think that's extraordinarily apt.

Laura(southernxyl) said...

"John -- Effective birth control methods ended the need for sexual prudery."

Because STDs don't exist at all, of course.

Lem - you're right, and a parent doesn't have to know all the latest technology to teach his or her kids how to act.

Traditionalguy, the goal here may be to apply the law as written, although as I say that I remember that we've trashed that idea a long time ago (who cares about Hillary's SecState appointment, who cares about the birth certificate thing, and so on.)(If pressed, I would say that Obama most likely was born in Hawaii; it's the quashing of the question on grounds of irrelevance that I refer to.)

Seven Machos said...

Laura -- I'm stating a fact, not a belief about what should be.

Palladian said...

Donatello and Caravaggio were child pornographers, I guess...

Be ashamed of your bodies, teenagers! Because non-shame will get you destroyed by prosecuters looking for the shivering, Oprah-watching woman vote.

Seven Machos said...

It is pretty insane that 16-year-old women were regularly conceiving a little over a generation ago yet we've gotten to the point in society where we are adamant, publicly, that no human can be sexually beautiful or even ready to explore sexuality until the age of 18.

The facts on the ground disprove this belief. Thus you see, for example, teenagers trading pictures of their sexually developed bodies.

I'm sure it's fun to get outraged about this. But it's ridiculous. Everyone who wasn't having sex or getting close to that point at 15, 16, and 17, please raise your hand.

rhhardin said...

The Jungian psychological theory, as I understand it, is that if you believe in the absolute innocence of the teenagers, then you must create creatures of pure evil to account for what happens to them.

These then get prosecuted.

So the lesson is learn to spot soap opera and keep it out of the law.

One clue is hysteria.

Salamandyr said...

I don't think this really needs to come down to whether we approve or disapprove of teenagers sending pictures of themselves naked to each other. Can't we all just agree that charging such behavior as a sex crime is completely irrational behavior?

These kids deserve detention, not jail time.

Pogo said...

Frankly I don't give a shit what pictures teenagers send. My kid won't have a cell phone if I hear of this, but what difference does that make?

My only objection is the weird juxtaposition of 60s sexual freedom and Victorian prudery by the same government.

Go ahead, teens, have sex and lots of it! Just don't get nekkid!

Seven Machos said...

Pogo -- Our sexually liberated nanny state is way ahead of you.

JAL said...

Mind you, my kid would have lost her phone (which she paid for) in a half a heart beat. But then, my kid wouldn't be sending naked pictures of herself to her friends.

(But what's with the police thing ...?)

Cedarford said...

Simon - The only problem I see here is the devaluation of the sex offender registry. But that problem can be dealt with by a simple change that ought to be done anyway: the division of the registry into classes (a child rapist, for example, might be a class A registered offender; someone convicted in the circumstances at issue here might be a class F registered offender..

I have a problem with the whole sex offender registry/endless list of sex crimes. We basically want a few simple things in society..

1. Women not violently taken against their will.
2. Both sexes to show some decorum and restraint in "public view."
3. Children not damaged by being sexually exploited by adults.

Unfortunately, we have let a pack of self-rightous crazies largely succeed by power in the Religious Right, feminist circles, worshippers of taking law to it's maximum illogical extent, various "victim's movements" to:

1. Creating Simons lifetime registration of "sex offenders" to apply to:

a. Someone caught pissing behind a building. Public exposure! 8 years later they get a letter from police or prosecutors legally barring them from living within 3 miles of a public school or park.
b. Parents have a sexually active daughter of 15 who they didn't care was fooling around, until she was seen with a black kid...then they make him a statutory rapist case. He pleas to a lesser, not knowing 20 years later he ends up on a sex offender list, loses his job, is "blacklisted".
c. 19 year old busted for drugs is found to have a topless pic on his hardrive of a 15 year old she took and sent to him when he was 16. Prosecutors decide to throw a 5-10 Felony child pornography charge on him, hoping he will then accept the maximum felony charge for marijuana to avoid that, or they forget all about the drug charge and go with labelling the kid a sex perv in public for the greater money and glory of a cabal of ambitious lawyers...

2. Feminist and womyns groups that see value in trying to scare all young women cook up crap to convince teens and coeds they are helpless victims needing full punishment of all *spit* men to end their victimhood and empower themselves.

a. Feminist activists inside the AF Academy of all places breathlessly announce that female cadets ordered to answer honestly about "unwanted sexual advances" indeed being harassment thus assault....report that 40% of all female cadets "suffered" some form of assault and up to 20% of male cadets were "criminally involved".
(Later we learn that it's all BS, but all military are then forced to take "harassment classes" by reactive authorities.)
b.Hysteria of the "date rape epidemic" that happened on several campuses where incoming freshwomen were told there was an 80% chance they would be "date-raped". Seminars held in the same building the GBLT's (many who pushed the date rape epidemic meme) were holding meetings telling incoming freshmen that homosexuality was normal, being "bi-curious" was uplifting, and each student should consider "fully exploring their sexuality".

We can go on about dozens of examples where clueless assholes in power lacking common sense who do damage to society and to average OK inviduals light years in advance of the actual damage suffered by society or by highly impressionable teens gripped by hormones actually do with respect to the harm their youthful "transgressions" actually cause.

Let's say you are a parent. And then cops and prosecutors come in and try to ruin your kids life forever for chickenshit.
All gloves, all restraint ends.
You would fight back with every means.

A. A community, goaded by you and others convinced the law is a bigger problem than petty crime may decide the best protection for kids is most banding together in gangs that enforce awesome, savage penalties on other kids who "snitch" or testify.
B. Anyone feeling the cops and prosecutors had run amok would soon learn if there were any cop or prosecutor kids they could collect some serious dirt on or paint a big target on their back - in case their parents were taking down other kids.
C. As such an affected parent, I would seek to exploit any race, class or gender bias to disrupt the whole community, even provoke riots. That would get the cops and prosecutors to back off ruining my kid over a cell phone photo that two cops and one guardian ad litem's kids had as well but were magically not arrested & charged.
D. Needless to say, if I was a parent who believed in the "legal process" I would take a course that would wipe out all my kids college funds from lawyers costs in trying to save one kid from lifetime destruction over getting caught with 17-year old willing titties on his phone or in bed with the same. And to fight other lawyers who my legal fight might drive everyone's taxes up..
(But if my kid was a gang member, then all this would end with a couple of conversations held with the snitcher or a simple call to the prosecutor...)

MarkW said...

Unfortunately, the internet makes it a lot more dangerous being stupid than back when I was stupid (I mean young).

Dangerous how? I mean, there's a nude picture of you on the Internet, and so you're in danger...why? If you wander over to photosig.com, for example, among the photos of sunsets and waterfowl are many non-porno shots of naked and semi-naked models. Are these people endangered because there are nude photos of them out on the Internet? If so, how exactly?

Kirk Parker said...

7M,

"no prosecutor in her right mind is going to press charges when two average minors have average sex."

In a lot of places, it's not even criminal (or barely so) if the kids are close together in age, so even an insane prosecutor wouldn't have the choice.

TMink said...

"John -- Effective birth control methods ended the need for sexual prudery."

What do you mean by sexual prudery?

Not having sex with people you are not married to?

Not having sex with children?

Not having sex with others when you are married to someone else?

Not having 4 children with 4 different men, none of whom you are married to?

What is sexual prudery in your book?

While the sexual revoloution has led to more people getting laid more often by a larger number of different people, other, unintended consequences have reared their ugly heads as well.

The divorce rate has changed just a bit. So has the abortion rate. So have the incarceration rates of children who have no fathers in the home.

Do you see any correlation here?

Trey

Methadras said...

rhhardin said...

Soap opera makes bad law.

I'm surprised that isn't a maxim.


So does Kabuki, but hey, it's era of hope and change.

Methadras said...

Ann, I wonder if in the self-manufacture of child porn by said children if this couldn't be construed as self-incrimination? Anything in the legalese where 5th could be applied in cases like this? Not if you are a child taking another child's nude picture and spreading it around, but if it's your own nudity and you are spreading it around.

John said...

They are not child pornographers. We only think so because we have gone completely batshit insane as a society. If when we had adults running the country rather than overgrown children playing Orwellian bureaucrats this would not be an issue.

For example, take the girl who recently was on Drudge for sending nude pics of herself to her b/f. Of course, he ended up showing them to all of his friends. The poor dumb girl did something stupid just like a lot of kids do. Had there been adults with common sense involved, they whole thing would have been kept quiet. The parents of the kids would have gotten together and made sure all the photos were deleted, everyone would have gotten a talking to about how stupid they were, a few weeks of groundings would have been handed out and that would have been the end of it.

But no, we don't have adults anymore. So what did we do? We make a federal case out of it. We throw the girl, her boyfriend and everyone else in jail and make sure the thing ends up on the Drudge Report. Yes, we are so concerned about his girl that we think the best thing to do is ruin her life an humiliate her in the national media.

Understand, this girl could have stripped for all of her b/f's friends and had sex with them and it would have been legal. But it is a felony for her to take a picture of herself and send it out? Yeah, that makes a lot of sense.

peter hoh said...

Here's a Wisconsin case that also involves stupid teens sending naked photos of themselves.

Seven Machos said...

Trey -- Again, I'm stating a fact. The vast and tremendous loosening of sexual mores has occurred because birth control is now effective.

Most of the things you cite are examples of loosened sexual mores. They, too, are facts. Let's consider them individually, though.

Not having sex with people you are not married to is particularly interesting. Surely, if you believe this is a problem, you don't believe it's fixable. I don't believe it's a problem. If my son marries as a virgin, I'll think I've done something seriously wrong.

Not having sex with children. I would suggest that the incidence of adults and minors having sex has gone down in the last 50 years, what with 20-year-olds and 15-teen-year-olds not getting married so frequently.

Not having sex with others when you are married to someone else. This was certainly a problem before the sexual revolution. Consider the commandment: Thou shalt not commit adultery. Why bother making it a commandment if it wasn't a serious problem. And that was among the Chosen People, under the very eyes of God.

Not having 4 children with 4 different men, none of whom you are married to. I would suggest that this is exceedingly, exceedingly rare. So much so that it isn't even a problem to be reckoned with.

You may want the facts of the sexual revolution to change. However, they are unlikely to change as long as birth control is available, and so long as technology is able to treat and prevent sexually transmitted diseases.

joewxman said...

"Thought experiment: if picture phones had been available in 1955, would this "epidemic" have happened then? What would the punishment have been if it had occurred?"

more than likely it would have happened in 1955. In my house a girl would have had her hair pulled out of her head by her mother..boy would have gotten a good ass whopping from dad with a belt.

Not today however...Social services has taken all the joy out of parenting!

John said...

"more than likely it would have happened in 1955. In my house a girl would have had her hair pulled out of her head by her mother..boy would have gotten a good ass whopping from dad with a belt."


Absolutely it would have happened back then. Yes, it would have been delt with at home. But those were more enlightened times. Now we have bureacrats to think and act for us.

traditionalguy said...

Laying aside the Torah teachings on sexual conduct, There remains the healthy fear, we know instinctively, that unrestrained sexual behaviors leads to unreatrained violent behaviors. Who wants to live around that? If you do, there are Motorcycle Gangs you can join.Other than that, the adults are jealous of the kids playing and enjoying life while we all meet the responsabilities that pay for the Kids to live.

Seven Machos said...

Who is having unrestrained sexual behavior?

traditionalguy said...

The basis of the laws against sexual offenders is the fear of person engaged in unrestrained sexual behaviors. Normal Jurisprudence says that we do not have laws against what does not happen. So if incest is criminally proscribed, then people do a lot of it. To date there are no laws against people flapping their arms and flying off. Maybe we need those laws too? You can never be too careful.

Seven Machos said...

The basis of the laws against sexual offenders is the fear of person engaged in unrestrained sexual behaviors.

This is very wrong. The basis of laws against sex offenders is that communities want to prohibit certain acts of a sexual nature. It's nothing more or less than that.

John Burgess said...

Laura(southernxyl): Sure, STDs existed, but they could nearly all be cured by a single shot of antibiotics. That was a low price to pay for risky behavior.

There were some nasty ones--like Hep. C--but they were, at the time, very rare. It wasn't until the late 60s that drug-resistant forms of gonorrhea or syphilis started popping up. AIDS, of course, was still in the future.

Birth control was needed to circumvent the greatest psychological argument against unprotected sex: unwanted pregnancy.

Hell, when I was in university in MA, you couldn't buy condoms without a prescription! You broke the law to do otherwise. You certainly identified yourself as a 'sex fiend', though the state kept no published record of such.

Larry J said...

Given that a certain percentage of teens are going to do stupid things (reportedly 20% of them in this case), do we want to criminalize stupidity? I agree that stupidity should be painful but giving kids criminal records for being stupid seems a bit harsh.

Kirk Parker said...

7M,

Exceedingly rare? Are you kidding???

No?

Well, then just a moment...

"Seven Machos, meet The Underclass. UC, this is 7M. Sorry to have to introduce you; I'm surprised you never met."


Rare my a**...

Anonymous Blogger said...

I don't think this should be a crime. I think kids are just having fun. Teenage sex should not be criminalized. It is predatory sex involving older people and teens that is problematic.

Seven Machos said...

Kirk -- I myself come from the underclass, the lumpenproletariat supreme. I don't doubt that births out of wedlock are a problem, or that women have more than one child with different fathers.

I took Trey's claim at face value. He said four different kids with four different fathers. That's very, very rare, dude. And it's a far cry from a single mother raising two half brothers.

Ann Althouse said...

Methadras said..."Ann, I wonder if in the self-manufacture of child porn by said children if this couldn't be construed as self-incrimination?"

People incriminate themselves all the time and have it used against them. The right only bars the government from compelling you to incriminate yourself.

Quayle said...

Trey -- Again, I'm stating a fact. The vast and tremendous loosening of sexual mores has occurred because birth control is now effective.

Loosening of sexual mores has probably occured because people have lost the understanding of what it takes to make a just and nurturing society.

It takes families that teach justice and nurturing.

It takes loving, stable, nurturing families to create loving, stable, nurturing people.

Schools and after-the-fact reprogramming won't work.

A society that teaches "do what you want, when you want - when you feel it" has no ability to also teach "think of others first, understand how they feel - put their needs before you own."

The two are 180 diametrically opposite.

As fun as no-rules sex may be on the surface, unrestrained sex is a killer of families (and that family's children's feelings.) It kills existing marriages, and it has the strong potential to damages the adhesion abilities of people in their future marriages.

So I suggest that social rules on sex are an important key to a just and fair society.

It's about selflesness.

Michael H said...

Sexting? That's not the half of it. Here's what's happened in my community at one of our high schools.

joewxman said...

"Given that a certain percentage of teens are going to do stupid things (reportedly 20% of them in this case), do we want to criminalize stupidity?"

HOW ABOUT A STUPIDITY TAX just tax the stupid people!

Seven Machos said...

Quayle -- Muslims in the badlands of Pakistan have very little sex before marriage, very little adultery, and virtually no single mothers raising half siblings.

Do they have a just and nurturing society? Are they loving, stable, nurturing families? Or do fathers and clan leaders dominate families and is justice swift and not very nurturing at all?

How abut schools and after-the-fact reprogramming? How much of that do you suppose goes on in that essentially stateless area?

Face it. Without birth control, women would become much more chaste in a hurry. Birth control is the key to the whole thing.

sonicfrog said...

My only objection is the weird juxtaposition of 60s sexual freedoms and Victorian prudery by the same people who fought so hard to have hose sexual freedoms.

This all reminds me, when I was a kid in the 70's, the big thing was to find your Dads Playboy, Penthouse, or Hustler magazines. One time my little brother, who was probably five at the time, hung one of my Dads centerfolds on the wall. I think he knew what he was doing was wrong, but he was young enough to get away with it. In 6th grade, we used to walk down a specific alley on the way home from school because someone at this one house used to throw away their dirty magazines. We would dig through the trash can and more often than not, be rewarded with a treasure of wonderful porn for our troubles. Today, that guy who threw those away so carelessly would I'm sure be charged with a felony of some sort.

Seven Machos said...

Sonic -- My neighbor and I and a few others used to sit amid the itchy insulation in his excuse for an attic and look at dirty magazines.

That seems very harmless. It was harmless. Just as sending topless photos of your girlfriend to a select number of your friends would be harmless...without the vast machinery of the state getting involved and charging kids with crimes.

Laura(southernxyl) said...

"Blogger John Burgess said...

Laura(southernxyl): Sure, STDs existed, but they could nearly all be cured by a single shot of antibiotics. That was a low price to pay for risky behavior."

You're saying "was". Back when the biggest problem with unauthorized (so to speak) sex was pregnancy, birth control did prevent that problem. Then the subgroup of society that was doing the freewheeling sex thing turned into a huge petri dish and, as you say, resistant strains of STDs and AIDS came along. That genie will not go back into the bottle. My young niece tested positive for HPV and had to have surgery for cervical displasia (pre-cancer), and will have to deal with this the rest of her life. Had she been a "prude" this would not have happened. Condoms don't prevent the transmission of HPV, by the way.

But hey, as long as certain people get to do whatever they want, as long as they get their fun, that's all that matters, right?

Ann Althouse said...

"This all reminds me, when I was a kid in the 70's, the big thing was to find your Dads Playboy, Penthouse, or Hustler magazines...."

When I was a kid in the 50s, my father's Playboy, Swank, and Escapade were right out on the coffee table along with Look and Life. No one ever stopped me from looking at them, from the earliest age.

Seven Machos said...

Laura -- AIDS is overwhelmingly a disease among gay men. Heterosexual AIDS is so rare as to be nonexistent. To get it, you need to have rough sex with a bisexual man.

HPV is sad but common. At least 50 percent of sexually active men and women get an HPV infection in their lives. Your claims only hold water if HPV numbers have risen since the beginning of the sexual revolution.

STDs haven't become stronger because of more sex. Like every other disease, they've become stronger because of the technology used to treat them. That's just evolution in action.

Larry J said...

HOW ABOUT A STUPIDITY TAX just tax the stupid people!

That's fine, but who gets to define who is stupid enough to pay the tax? The late humorist Will Rogers (does anyone else know of him?) said so accurate, "Everyone is ignorant only on different subjects." However, there are still a lot of people where there is no doubt of their stupidity.

Seven Machos said...

We already have a stupidity tax: the lottery.

JohnAnnArbor said...

When I was a kid in the 50s, my father's Playboy, Swank, and Escapade were right out on the coffee table along with Look and Life. No one ever stopped me from looking at them, from the earliest age.

What about when guests dropped in?

Seven Machos said...

When guests dropped in, the Althouse clan brought out the really good stuff.

matthew said...

This happened at my old high school.

So yes, it can be bad.

http://www.jsonline.com/news/waukesha/39124037.html

Eric said...

The only problem I see here is the devaluation of the sex offender registry.

Really? There's no problem with the possibility the damage to the teenagers and society will be far greater than if we just did nothing?

Good Lord. People become physically mature at twelve or thirteen, normally. In other places and times teenagers fifteen or sixteen years old would be considered adults (indeed, considered that for years).

So in our society we've extended childhood into the early twenties. Fine. But I don't see how getting the state involved in this kind of activity benefits anyone.

Seven Machos said...

Matthew -- I saw the article the first time it was posted. Isn't the crime there the sexual favors?

To the extent that teens sent nude pictures of themselves to someone, well, they sent nude pictures to someone. Had it stopped there, or at any number of points later on, there would be little damage.

Laura(southernxyl) said...

"Laura -- AIDS is overwhelmingly a disease among gay men."

Are the gay men not passing it to each other by having sex?

Also, see statistics here. Note that the CDC defines "high-risk heterosexual contact" as "Heterosexual contact with a person known to have, or to be at high risk for, HIV infection." Note: My guess is that you are right about "rough sex" increasing a person's likelihood of getting HIV, but a person would be an idiot to depend on that. Either way, you can't get HIV, or any other STD, by having sex with a person who does not himself or herself have the microorganism to share. Obviously, the likelihood of getting it from another person increases with that other person's number of previous partners. You certainly aren't very likely to get an STV if you have those afore-mentioned prudish attitudes (should we just say, exhibit prudent behavior?).

Laura(southernxyl) said...

"...get an STV if..." should be "...get an STD if..."

Laura(southernxyl) said...

Per HPV, which used to be just called "genital warts", see stats here.

traditionalguy said...

We stopped the kids from smoking too. Our government really knows how to find easy enemies to fight. When will they fight modern sex slavery here and all over the world? Oops, that would "go from preaching to meddling."

Seven Machos said...

Laura -- All of what you say is true. Again, though, look at the facts. Like the poor, STDs have always been with us and will always be with us. I will even posit that they have gotten worse in recent years, though I don't think it's true.

Ultimately, you can warn people all you want about the dangers of casual sex. But people are having lots of casual sex and the majority aren't suffering any ill physical effects. There is no epidemic of venereal disease. If there were, people would change their behaviors accordingly.

traditionalguy said...

One more thought, the idea that the same people encouraging early teen sexual freedoms would also indict and penalizs those teens caught doing it should be no surprise. The temptor always turns and says Gotcha, the minute you fall for his enticements.

Methadras said...

Seven Machos said...

Who is having unrestrained sexual behavior?


Well, I am, but the good news is that I saved a bunch of money by switching to Geico. Plus the face that I'm married. Thank God.

matthew said...

Seven,

Yes, this case is a little extreme - but even for adults, when someone has access to nudie pictures of you, they have some amount of power over you which can be abused.

This may not be the direct point of anti-pornography laws, but it's an ancillary effect of the child-pornography conduct. And it's hard to argue that you can't use criminal laws to prosecute things that only ancillary to the main point of the law.

In fact, one of the main charges being brought against him the defendant in this case is possession of child-pornography.

Seven Machos said...

it's hard to argue that you can't use criminal laws to prosecute things that only ancillary to the main point of the law

Is it really hard to argue that? Because I know you can find a library full of arguments exactly to the contrary.

Seven Machos said...

Also, I don't think possession of a nude picture puts someone in the position of a fiduciary.

The best way to combat this kind of thing is to just let the photos be disseminated. People -- even eighth graders -- will think twice when they start realizing what the consequences are.

And I mean, really, people. If some sick pervert is masturbating to a picture of an eighth grader that he happened to find, a picture that was posed for freely and eagerly by the eighth grader, is it really that heinous of a thing? I'm not saying society should promote this behavior. I'm just asking for some perspective.

Laura(southernxyl) said...

"There is no epidemic of venereal disease. If there were, people would change their behaviors accordingly."

Please read And the Band Played On. While I disagree with the author's view that it was the government's job to make it safe for gay men to do what they wanted to do, I put it forth as an example of real-life behavior that people exhibit when it turns out that something they love to do will probably kill them.

People, by and large, do not act in anything like a logical manner.

Seven Machos said...

Laura -- You cannot conflate heterosexual behavior with homosexual behavior, particularly male homosexual behavior.

Gay males are far more promiscuous that heterosexual males. This is because they can be. Believe me, if all the women I wanted to sleep or would sleep with felt the same way about me, I'd have gotten laid a whole lot more. Every day, really. Every hour on the hour.

Furthermore, your argument simply demonstrates my larger point: when there's no babies to worry about, more sex happens.

Simon said...

Eric said...
"Really? There's no problem with the possibility the damage to the teenagers and society will be far greater than if we just did nothing?"

Equipoise at best. Sometimes, of course, doing nothing is the right solution - particularly when it's a question of government doing nothing. So perhaps the right thing to do in this situation is, indeed, to do nothing: leave the laws alone, as they are presently written, leaving prosecutors to use the existing framework to police the boundary and to ignore the rest under the sound policy of prosecutorial discretion.

"People become physically mature at twelve or thirteen, normally."

Really? Hmm. I tend to think that the average woman physically matures at about 30 or a little thereafter, but that may just be my tastes.

Big Mike said...

Usually I'm opposed to whatever position Dahlia Lithwick takes, since she is so far out on the left wing lunatic fringe that "San Fran Nan" looks conservative to her. But Lithwick, though she can't bring herself to say so, exactly, seems to conclude that involving the gov't is not the right thing to do. Even the staunchest liberal can have an open mind.

So who's in worse shape here, the young girl who poses, and maybe someday she gets blackmailed or has something important to her (like her wedding day?!?) ruined because pixels live forever, or perhaps it's the guy she eventually marries, who has to wonder who has seen his wife nude. Or perhaps eventually our society will evolve to the point where it's the rare woman who doesn't have nude still images or even raunchy videos floating around the Internet and everybody just shrugs (and maybe speculates whether she developed late or had implants instead).

Meanwhile, Prof. Althouse, I have a question for you. Someday I'd like to see an essay about the impact of your father's magazines on you when you were growing up. Did you conclude that it's okay to pose nude for strangers? Did you feel intimidated by the carefully posed and air-brushed images? (I'm not asking whether you posed yourself -- that's more information than I want, now or ever.)

Seven Machos said...

No way, Mike. We want to know, Althouse: have you ever posed nude for publication? Please provide citation in Blue Book form for easy reference.

A woman at my law school was in Girls of the Big 10. She really wasn't that hot. But, man, what a rack.

Laura(southernxyl) said...

"Furthermore, your argument simply demonstrates my larger point: when there's no babies to worry about, more sex happens."

Oh. I thought your larger point ("Effective birth control methods ended the need for sexual prudery.") was that the only reason to exhibit prudent sexual behavior is removed with the use of birth control. My bad.

Big Mike said...

Simon, I missed your comment. I sort of concur with you in the sense that I personally don't find young girls, no matter how lightly clad, attractive. Are the two of us the norm, or are we prudish by modern standards?

Several years ago I recollect hearing on the car radio about some very young girl -- a fifth grader, I think -- being raped somewhere in the Midwest and the judge ruled that she had been more or less asking for it because she was dressed provocatively. Perhaps Prof. Althouse has the cite? Anyway, I wondered at the time, how can anybody that young dress provocatively? Even if she was in nothing but her underwear, what mature male would find a girl that young sexy?

Ann Althouse said...

"Prof. Althouse, I have a question for you. Someday I'd like to see an essay about the impact of your father's magazines on you when you were growing up. Did you conclude that it's okay to pose nude for strangers? Did you feel intimidated by the carefully posed and air-brushed images?"

Well, I went to art school where I spent a lot of time drawing live nude models, and while I personally would have found it very difficult to do, I certainly didn't think the were doing anything wrong or humiliating. I've also done many paintings that had nude figures in them.

As for posed and air-brushed, we hippie types mainly thought it was square and old-fashioned. We were the people who romped around naked at Woodstock. Not me, personally.

"We want to know, Althouse: have you ever posed nude for publication?"

LOL, no, and I don't think I would have made an interesting nude at the time.

Cedarford said...

Althouse - That brings up a point. I think you have photo'd some doodles of yours, but have you ever posted any picture of your past drawing, painting, or sculpture projects?

Don't get me wrong, your photos are great by themselves..

Revenant said...

The classification of nude photos of 16 and 17 year olds as "child pornography" is pretty ridiculous. Humans are sexually mature at that age.

Big Mike said...

Prof. Althouse, you couldn't have been a hippie in the 1950's. Hippies and Woodstock happened in the 1960's. You're younger than you think.

(I wasn't at Woodstock -- some Democrat named Johnson thought it would be better for me to be getting my a** shot off in a dippy little country in southeast Asia.)

Ann Althouse said...

Big Mike, I was born in 1951. I was therefore 18 at the time of Woodstock. The hippie movement had a huge impact on my life and continues to affect it to this day. In fact, I am still doing things based on transformed and refined hippie values. If you only knew! (And I don't mean drugs. I don't take any drugs.)

And thank you for serving in Vietnam, Big Mike.

Big Mike said...

My comment was poorly worded in a couple different ways.

First, my supposition was that at the time you were 12 - 14 years old you were growing up in a house where magazines featuring images of attractive nude females were readily and casually available. One hypothesis that is popular right now is that the exposure to prurient imagery that surrounds 21st century children is somehow bad, that it makes the girls more ready to shed their clothes and inhibitions. My time machine has been broken for a while so I have no way to test this hypothesis, but I can ask the Althouse "sample of size 1" whether, next to her female classmates, she felt less inhibited or about the same with respect to clothing and males her age?

The other thing is that I am only a Vietnam era vet; I never saw combat (and I do not regret that omission from my life). But I felt then, and feel today, that having conscription is a greater invitation to a president to go adventuring than a volunteer army. Not that you can't get into an unpopular war, as President Bush showed, but I argue that it is harder than the days when the entire male youth of the country was potentially available as replacement cannon fodder.

Joe said...

I'm a little astonished at the characterization of STDs here. The incidence of Syphilis and Herpes was extremely high in centuries past--much higher than today. HPV also existed, it just wasn't that well known.

While birth control has had a clear effect on society, so has the capability of women to be primary care givers. One of the most astonishing statistics of early 19th century New England is about one third of women were pregnant when they got married (though that's another point; they got married.)

(The unmarried teenage pregnancy rate in Utah in the late 19th century was only slightly lower than today. One difference is that those girls had abrupt visits to relatives back east. Given the low teenage pregnancy rates in Japan and several European countries, I've concluded that among other traits, immigrants to the US tended to be hornier than the the people they left behind. I suppose it's a variant of nothing ventured, nothing gained.)

Ann Althouse said...

"My time machine has been broken for a while so I have no way to test this hypothesis, but I can ask the Althouse "sample of size 1" whether, next to her female classmates, she felt less inhibited or about the same with respect to clothing and males her age?"

I was the first girl in my school to wear mini skirts. Got in no end of trouble over it. But I was offended that the school authorities made inferences about my chastity based on my interest in wearing cool stylish clothes.

Big Mike said...

Got my answer. Thanks.