Coded yellow.

Thursday 20 July 2000

Screenshot (The Sims)

Pic of the day: Kids can have a lot of fun, but there are some things that are still beyond them. (And a good thing that is, too.)

"Sex is not for kids"

Another piece of concentrated wisdom, which the observers of Itlandism traditionally attribute to its founder. I'm going to ponder the nature and limit of this statement today. So if you're an American kid, perhaps you should go watch some murder on TV instead. You can always come back another day. Oh well, at least there won't be any swearing.


On a mailing list (which has nothing to do with this, really) I was made aware of a penible incident over in the USA recently. A 17 year old girl had used superglue on the penis of her 21 year old boyfriend, and glued it to his abdomen. I'm not going to comment on the incident as such, evidently she was rather ticked off at the guy. What created an outcry among the mainly American people on the mailing list was the fact that she was 17, and her parents had approved of the relationship.

Firstly, I'll inform our foreign readers that here in Norway, people don't grow up from one day to another. They gradually slip into their legal rights and obligations. For instance, from 12 year they can start to use their own money. From 16 (I think it's still that high) they can have sex as they need and want. From 18 they can vote, and from 20 they can buy hard liquor. (Wine and beer is available earlier, I think 18 for that too.)

In some of our neighboring countries, the age of consent is lower. I don't remember if it's 15 or 14 in Sweden. I think it's 15, but these things keep sliding down. To be honest, this has never been a big issue for me. What does tick me off, however, is the double standards of some states, where the age of consent is 18 or higher while the majority of people actually have sex before that. Here in Norway it's the other way around: While the legal age is 16, the median age for first intercourse is 18 for women and half a year more for men.

Think about it, people. If your kids are not allowed to have sex for a couple more years, they're not very likely to drop by the local gas station and buy a few condoms, now are they? But since they eventually do have sex anyway, they risk not just more kids but also various diseases, including AIDS. Which is quite a bit worse than a glued penis, if I may speak my mind.

Of course, they could just wait till they're grown up. Just like you did, right? Ahem. Anyway, it's a bit late to say that when they've contracted a fatal disease. And anyway, when it comes to sex, they are grown-up. God says so. Unless you think your genitals were created by the Devil, in which case I recommend brushing up on your theology really soon now.

Of course, just because you can wave around genitals to good effect doesn't mean you should. You can definitely live without sex even after puberty. It's not all that bad as long as you haven't got into the habit. And celibacy can really liven up your dreams too. But that's another story. Let's go back to basics here...


Just like most animals, humans have a period of growth before they start reproduction. This childhood is longer in humans than in most creatures we deign to compare with. You may have noticed that cow milk, a popular food, is very different from human milk. (Depending on how interested you are in human milk, I guess.) Actually, all mammals have a more energy-rich milk than humans. Because human babies are not supposed to grow fast. And this continues throughout childhood. We develop a lot slower than chimps, for instance. The great thing about this is that the long childhood lets us learn about the world before we take on all the responsibilities of an adult. And there is a lot to learn.

Unlike insects, junior humans are eerily similar to the adult specimen. They have a bit more brain compared to body, and a quicker metabolism, both of which makes it easier for them to learn. Oh, and they also have more REM sleep, which also has the same effect. Anyway, the main difference is really that the gonads are not activated. And a good thing that is, too. Imagine small kids having small kids. Gaah.

The brain is there, though. And like lambs and goat kids, human children also have stray sexual impulses during their play and their dreams. Sorry about that, but that's the truth. I remember for myself that I sometimes got an erection when I was a little boy, and I thought that was quite fascinating. I can't remember how much I have written about that in the past, but it's not really important in this context anyway. The point is, it is common and natural that even fairly small kids have sexual and erotic impulses.

What's not natural (but all too common) is for adults to engage children in sexual behavior. I'm happy to say that this is illegal in all civilized nations, as far as I know. Children are really not equipped to handle the complexities and the sheer force of adult sexuality, whatever some lawyers say when defending their clients. On the other hand, making any vaguely sexual kind of interplay into a fate worse than death is probably not helping either. When fathers don't dare to bathe their own children, the witch hunt has gone a bit too far, I'd say.

There are others who could say a lot more about all that, and I'll leave it to them and move on to my point. Yes, there is a point.


Sometime, typically in the interval from 11 to 15 years old, puberty sets in. The reproductive system awakens and starts to grow into its adult size and shape. Several other changes to the body are at least as easy to notice. And the newly released hormones start to change the brain too. While the young ones often continue to grow for a few more years, they are not really kids anymore.

I think we should accept that. I try to be forthright about these things when around young people, but it's really the parents and teachers that should think long and hard about it. Your youngsters are not children, and pretending that they are children is just plain wrong. They know, and feel in every fiber, that they are not the "innocent" children they once were. They have new challenges. You should tell them that they are partly adult now, but that their brain is not fully grown till the age of ca 21. So they had better not trust their own judgement fully in all things, but keep a kind of "margin of error". When it comes to sex, this basically means they should not "just do it", even if they can. Because, believe me: Getting a wrong start in this area is going to follow them for a long, long, long, long time.

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