The Loss (and Return) of Innocence
Recently, I was listening in on a conversation with 18 year-olds, who were basically revealing more than anyone needed to know about their sex lives. Imagine my shock to learn that young people in David’s age group were not only engaging in various kink acts but were doing so as if “kink” was as “vanilla” as they come.
Boy, did I feel like some repressed prude from a bygone era when hearing about their love lives. I mean, when I was David’s age – that nice ol’ “innocent” age of 18 – I didn’t even know certain sex acts existed, let alone that such acts would be run of the mill in this day and age. And, while I firmly believe that there are many more young people like David, I’m still trying to wrap my mind around the idea that any 18 year old would be well versed in kink. See, when I was 18, anyone my age who had such wealth of knowledge in that arena was most likely molested in childhood.
So, what does it mean to hear our young people treat kink so casually? Could we blame our porn culture? Or, could we blame our religious culture? Are both responsible? After all, if we didn’t have sex-negative messages preaching the “dirtiness” of sex, porn culture would not be able to sell it as something titillating.
I guess this new revelation – I don’t always get to hear frank conversations by young people – sheds light on why someone like David would immediately be marketed as “Disney” and as someone who can only appeal to “tweens.” The kids his age want edgier and kinkier, it seems. Or do they? I mean, there is also a counter-culture movement in the form of the purity-ring crowd. Or, is this particular crowd a direct reaction to the porn culture that has encouraged this younger generation to embrace the kinkier side of sex?
Where are my innocent 18-year-olds? Surely, David is not an anomaly. Why can’t innocence be sexy? With all the talk of kink, I’m curious about why “vanilla” is no longer cool. Hasn’t porn culture made too much of these things banal? And, can someone like David “bring sexy back” with his tender-loving, gentlemanly ways?
Can Vanilla be the new Kink?
I guess my adoration of David has made me long all the more for the innocence of 18.