19 May, 2010

Sex as Vice

Seriously, stay away from H.

I just watched a German movie about heroin addiction (based on a true story, I hear) because it stars a really gorgeous young girl. It took me three hours to watch the two hour movie, on account of my constant pausing to take screen caps. I thought to myself, if I had an opportunity to interact with girls as gorgeous as this one more often in my everyday life, I might not be quite so compelled to save images of them when they turn up in movies - because I wouldn't be so desperate for that wonderful feeling I get from gazing at a pretty girl, that I'd feel the need to horde every instance of it that I come across. Then again, it might just be the photographer's impulse in me to capture beauty whenever I see it.


It was a really great movie - I don't want the following rant to suggest otherwise. But during the (really graphic) scene where the girl and her boyfriend go through withdrawal, I thought to myself, why is it that this is the kind of scene I have to settle for if I want to watch a 14 year old girl writhing around in her underwear? [As an aside, why do I even need an excuse? Why can't a person admit that watching 14 year old girls writhing around in their underwear can be a pleasurable experience? Why doesn't anyone make films to satisfy that specific need? Or, more importantly, why is it that if somebody made such a movie, they'd probably end up in court or jail or on the gallows?] I could watch a "cleaner" movie that doesn't have the grim drug abuse angle, but I doubt such a movie would include the sexual aspect. Why is it that sex is married to vice? Whether it's drugs, violence (the best thing about the horror genre is gratuitous teenage sexuality, by the way), or just the darker side of sex itself - rape, prostitution, disease - it seems the only way to find anything more interesting than boring, married, under-the-sheets sex is to go underground.

Withdrawal is not pretty. Well, sometimes it is.

There are two issues at work here, the combination of which is making my job as a writer exceedingly difficult. The one is the marriage of sex and vice, and the other is the issue of underage sexuality. I find that the first is amplified in cases involving the second. Underage sex is inherently a controversial topic, that nobody wants to be accused of promoting. Yet it happens. And so, people write stories about it. But it seems like instead of emphasizing the cases where the sex could be a positive experience, it's only acceptable to broach the subject if you paint it in darker colors. Adult sex may sometimes be a happy affair (even when it's not boring, married, under-the-sheets sex), but any serious exploration of underage sex has to associate itself with the seedy world of vice, or else nobody will accept it.

After all, good kids don't have sex, right?

The reason this bothers me is that I don't like the assumption that if I'm attracted to a girl who is only 14 years old, that automatically means that I also want to get her hooked on heroin, and involved in prostitution, and god knows what else. The truth is, she's gorgeous - can you deny that? And if I could be her friend, I'd support her and admire her and I would do everything I could to keep her from going down the path of drug abuse and prostitution, or offer my concern and devotion in the hope that it would help her find the strength to kick the habit. I'd love to see her living a happier life, without having to turn tricks on the street just to afford the next hit, watching her friends die one after another. At the same time, I still think she's attractive and while I don't condone engaging in indiscriminate, unprotected sex, I don't see a problem with acknowledging the sexual side of her nature (like admitting that she looks great in underwear, and even better out of it). It's the whole "sex as vice" attitude that automatically paints this as a dangerous thing. Whatever happened to responsible sexuality (no, I'm not talking about abstinence)? To me, the way I approach sexuality (which doesn't even have to involve sex), it's not a dangerous thing.

It's a beautiful thing.

The older I get, the more keenly aware I am of the prejudice against men who refuse to deny their attraction to girls under the age of majority - even those who are already sexually mature. But because I continue to find young girls attractive, I increasingly feel the need to make the point that there's nothing inherently sinister or criminal about such an attraction. I feel almost stupid having to defend myself on this count, because it's really quite natural the feelings I have, and very common ("18 and over" is a social construct, not a biological mandate). But, the way the world has been moving lately, you'd think it was a crime to admit a girl is sexually desirable if she's under 18 (I certainly get that feeling at times), unless you're strictly her age-peer. Perhaps through honesty we can eventually come to the point where we can separate positive sexuality from vice, so that sex can be seen as more than just a weapon the experienced use to exploit the innocent, or that the innocent wield naively, resulting in blind mutual destruction. For me, it's simply a celebration of life and pleasure and all things that are beautiful in this world. Unless you're a Puritan, where's the sin in that?

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