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Teenage Cuddle Puddle
February 3, 2006 6:59 AM   Subscribe

Rainbow parties were the big parent panic of 2005. Commentators have questioned the reality behind these representations, but a recent article in New York magazine describes the sex lives of a group of teenagers that seems consistent with the moral panic.
(More inside...)
posted by PeterMcDermott (123 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
Did I just see the word "heteroflexible?"

Gah! I did!
posted by sourwookie at 7:03 AM on February 3, 2006


bah. who gives a fuck? conservatives are angry that they can't marry women as young as 14 anymore, so they panic and uproar about kids themselves expirementing, as they have for the last hundred thousand years or so.
posted by yonation at 7:03 AM on February 3, 2006


If you are an Atlantic Monthly Subscriber, there is an article on this subject here
posted by olbiadle at 7:05 AM on February 3, 2006


If Fred Phelps read that article it would probably kill him.
posted by caddis at 7:06 AM on February 3, 2006


Yah, let's have a moral panic about a couple of dozen teenagers that don't fit the accepted norms in a small school where people tend to be outside the norms anyway.

Yup, society is falling.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 7:08 AM on February 3, 2006


As the parent of teenage daughters (ages 17 and 18), I can vouch for the fact that -- like the children in the article, they seem to see sexual identity as a choice, rather than as something that is fixed.

However, I was extremely uncomfortable with reading the New York magazine article -- not because I had any objection to the content, or towards the choices that these teenagers were making, but because I felt the magazine was exploiting the kids for the sake of their story. Not only did the magazine make no attempt to conceal the identity of these children, it actually publishes photographs of them in semi-provocative poses.

Is it really fair for journalists to take the poorly formed and often transient sexual morality of a teenager and fix it as a spectacle for all to see? The media, with it's lure of illusory fame or validation can be seductive, even for adults. My sense is that while these kids thought they were showing off their sophistication to the world, they were actually persuaded to take part in a metrosexual version of The Jerry Springer Show.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 7:08 AM on February 3, 2006


"Moral panic"? Whatever -- this shit is fun. Oberlin College in the last '70s was all about hetero- and homo- flexibility, and it was wonderful, sweet, and hot, albeit prone to labyrinthine jealousies. I think making love outside of one's primary sexual identification should be a part of every bright young person's moral education.
posted by digaman at 7:09 AM on February 3, 2006


I prefer Greenlighting myself.
posted by Dr-Baa at 7:10 AM on February 3, 2006


That's in New York though, so it's at least a year or two before it reaches here in the midwest. People here are still wearing UGG boots.
posted by pembleton at 7:10 AM on February 3, 2006


digaman writes "I think making love outside of one's primary sexual identification should be a part of every bright young person's moral education."

How is what style hole you prefer a moral choice? De gustibus non est disputatum.
posted by orthogonality at 7:12 AM on February 3, 2006


Oberlin is in the midwest, pembleton. Kids have been doing this for millennia. There is very little news here, but any excuse to run a full-color spread of hottttt teen lesbos who also like dick in a magazine is enough to give any editor a big boner. Between the outright masturbators and the morally "panicked," you're bound to have a hit.
posted by digaman at 7:13 AM on February 3, 2006


How is what style hole you prefer a moral choice? De gustibus non est disputatum.

I said nothing about sexual orientation being a moral choice! I suspect it's primarily, but not exclusively, genetically determined.

What is a moral choice is how much you empathize with and understand people who have a different sexual orientation than you do. Taking a tour of the other side can broaden the mind.
posted by digaman at 7:16 AM on February 3, 2006


Anyone else see an opportunity here for the fundies to point to this stuff and scream "See? Being a homo IS a choice!" ?
posted by Thorzdad at 7:23 AM on February 3, 2006


digaman writes "Taking a tour of the other side can broaden the mind."


I've got gay friends whom I like, respect and value. I've met boyfriends and )mostly) gay Rugby teams, gone to (largely) gay parties and even to a leather bar (and a gay friend accompanied me to a lesbian bar after he dragged me to Hooters of all places).

I don't need to "try" gay sex to be friends, and I don't want to try gay sex. I know what I like and gay isn't it.
posted by orthogonality at 7:24 AM on February 3, 2006


"Moral panic"?

I wasn't making a value judgement here, simply commenting on the media's coverage of this issue.

I suspect that would have been rather clearer had not my run-on comment been preempted by a whole bunch of other people before I could get it out.

In future, I'll write first and then cut and paste but if there's a mod out there reading, it might make more sense if he could move my previous comment up so that there really is 'more inside'.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 7:25 AM on February 3, 2006


I know what I like and gay isn't it.

I'm with digaman on this. As a teenager, I was extremely non-masculine and as such, was mistaken for gay so often that I began to wonder whether or not there might be something that I was overlooking.

Consequently, I tried same-sex sex, but sadly the horrible hairy chests and stubbly chins just did nothing for me. It certainly didn't broaden my mind -- it was just an unsatisfying fumble in the dark.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 7:29 AM on February 3, 2006


Man, what a bunch of annoying hipsters. At least, judging by the pictures. Everyone in highschool is probably like that in some way. Bleh.

Maybe they come off as less contrived in the article, but teens bonking isn't exactly news to me.
posted by delmoi at 7:29 AM on February 3, 2006


I don't want to try gay sex. I know what I like and gay isn't it.

I like vanilla ice cream, not chocolate. I've never tried chocolate, but chocolate isn't it. No sir, strictly a vanilla man here. I've got nothing against chocolate ice cream, mind you. I don't mind if other people are slurping the darker cones of their choosing. But hey, I just prefer vanilla. I've never even had the slightest desire to try that chocolate stuff. Yep: vanilla. And no jimmies, please.

(Kidding, sort of. This is too long a debate to get into. But I'm certainly glad I slept with women in college. I miss it.)
posted by digaman at 7:30 AM on February 3, 2006


Articles like these always seem like polemic teensploitation pieces to me.
posted by dobie at 7:33 AM on February 3, 2006


Understood, Peter.
posted by digaman at 7:34 AM on February 3, 2006


Damn, I thought we were "experimental" and hawt back in the 1970s; these Cuddle Puddles sound like even more fun than I ever had. (Even with Holly in math class with nothing under her skirt.) Ergo, I'm against it. All U.S. teenagers who show any knowledge of or experience in anything pertaining to sex should be immediately taken out and shot, for the moral good of America!

Seriously: digaman, why only bright young people? Since the vast majority of people are rather dim, shouldn't we too be exposed to a broader range of experience? Consider the impact that participating in "Cuddle Puddles" might have on voting to "defend marriage" for example; consider too that most bright young poor people could never afford Oberlin, and that most "advanced" high school students come from families with more money. See how self-defeating elitist obscurantism can be?

And thorzdad, who cares why people behave homosexually? If it ever is scientifically proven somehow that gayness is a choice, should it then be stamped out? Why should people be free to choose Coke or Pepsi but not Gay or Straight?

And to get back to my earlier point, PeterMcDermott, how do you think your prior experience (which by the way resembles mine) might affect which way you'd vote on the issue of gay marriage, for example?
posted by davy at 7:40 AM on February 3, 2006


One thing I know about American adults is that they consistently believe that the life of today's teenagers (especially the young teens) is a roiling, overheated pool of unbridled sexuality. Poor adults, needing to believe this.
posted by argybarg at 7:42 AM on February 3, 2006


Ah at last we find out what you are orthogonal to!
posted by srboisvert at 7:43 AM on February 3, 2006


Horny teenagers make out with anything that moves! NEWS AT 11.
posted by schroedinger at 7:45 AM on February 3, 2006


Seriously, this is one of the most interesting threads I've read in awhile. Keep talking, folks!
posted by malaprohibita at 7:45 AM on February 3, 2006


. . . polysexual, ambisexual, pansexual, pansensual, polyfide, bi-curious, bi-queer, fluid, metroflexible, heteroflexible, heterosexual with lesbian tendencies—or, as Alair puts it, “just sexual.”

This sentence made me want to kill myself. I hope to God the hipper-than-thou people who coined these terms stay on the gay side of their sexual adventures so they never breed.
posted by schroedinger at 7:47 AM on February 3, 2006


about a couple of dozen teenagers that don't fit the accepted norms in a small school

Stuyvesant is hardly a small school. Just so you know.

Anyway, to me the "newest" part of this whole thing may be that the girls don't take a break between middle school and college like many girls I know. But when I was little, I definitely practiced on my girl friends (and I know that I'm not alone). And girls checking out lesbianism in college? Isn't that tthe biggest college cliche ever?
posted by dame at 7:48 AM on February 3, 2006


I would never give it up to anyone--male, female or cyborg--who would use a term like "cuddle puddle."
posted by jrossi4r at 7:48 AM on February 3, 2006


I wish my teenage years had been a rolling, overheated pool of unbridled sexuality. Don't get me wrong; plenty of my classmates were getting some. I just wasn't.
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:52 AM on February 3, 2006


Parents should be required to watch Kids, then Ken Park.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 7:53 AM on February 3, 2006


Rainbow Parties are a myth, a symptom of moral panic, plain and simple. They're something that public figures and parents can come out against--I mean, who wouldn't?--and seem like they're taking some sort of stand, when really if any of them thought about just how fucking ludicrous and implausible the concept is, they'd dismiss it. (I mean, think of it. I'm assuming that nearly all of us here at mefi have somehow witnessed a blowjob being performed, so tell me if you can imagine, after 5 or 6 blowjobs--which is quite a feat, even for a 13-y-o--a series of perfect multicolor rings on one's schvantz?)

Actually, I'm not that naive. I know these what-about-the-children folks thought about how implausible Rainbow Parties are--but media types know what sells. And normally prudish folks love being able to talk about teh sexay teens without being labeled as pedos.

And Peter's point about journalists exploiting the subject--that is New York magazine's bread and butter. Every other week, the cover story is something like "Teenagers Who Meet On Craigslist and Drink Underage and Suck Cock (and Where They Hang Out)".

By the way, if you want to read Caitlin Flanagan's take on the whole Rainbow Party thing (which olbiadle linked to above), it's here for free.
posted by veronica sawyer at 7:53 AM on February 3, 2006


And girls checking out lesbianism in college?

aka LUG (Lesbian Until Graduation).

Also, the worst thing about these 'moral panic' stories is that even if it wasn't happening before, some moron kid will try it simply because he saw it on TV. This is what we call a self-fulfilling prophecy.
posted by jonmc at 7:54 AM on February 3, 2006


Great point about elitism, davy. Thanks.
posted by digaman at 7:55 AM on February 3, 2006


Well, we allow shows like "queer eye for the straight guy" to portray sexual orientation as a fashion choice and...

Not that this is anything new. Or something that's limited to sexual orientation. How does one act black? or hispanic? or jewish? or middle-class? or christian? or drug-free? or veggie?

All of these things have become choices of style and fashion rather than of identity or principle. Perhaps they always have been.
posted by es_de_bah at 7:59 AM on February 3, 2006


Oh, and the article is a shitty porn piece, as many people in the thread have noted.
posted by es_de_bah at 8:00 AM on February 3, 2006


How does one act..drug-free? or veggie?

by not taking drugs. or not eating meat.

/displays firm grasp of the obvious
posted by jonmc at 8:02 AM on February 3, 2006


wrong jonmc, the answers were (respectively): go to straight-edge hardcore shows and get stupid tattoos, and get bone skinny and complain about corporate meat machine while scamming on hippy chicks.
posted by es_de_bah at 8:06 AM on February 3, 2006


Should only people with a genetic predisposition to alcoholism be allowed to drink beer?
posted by davy at 8:13 AM on February 3, 2006


Ok, MeFi is going to hate me for this, but I am 14. Yes, kids have rainbow parties. Some one somewhere has done everything.

But a very small percentage of kids in my school are sexually active. Perhaps 20% are sexually active, and of them only half weren't in a committed relationship. You have to be a pretty blind parent to not see your (girl) child is dressing sluttily and partying every night. If you feel like you need to worry about something drug/alcohol use is way more common (probably 70% of kids have gotten drunk at parties and such) then sex.

But then again its not like one child or one school is typical of everywhere.
posted by Suparnova at 8:22 AM on February 3, 2006


Stop the bickering. These rich kids are so hopped up on MDMA and coke they don't know what they're fucking. I mean please, high schoolers are way too self-conscious to go into a national magazine talking about the sex lives sober.
posted by geoff. at 8:22 AM on February 3, 2006


Faint of Butt, I was, unfortunately, in the same boat as you.

Those damn kids with their youth and their cars and their make-out parties.

And The Jesse Helms, no one should be required to watch Larry Clark's films. Exploitative rubbish.Teenage Caveman is probably his most honest film.
posted by slimepuppy at 8:23 AM on February 3, 2006


Just read the Flanagan piece. She seems mystified about how ordinary kids are familiar with such a 'hard core' sex act as a blowjob. Putting aside the obvious debate about the hardcore-ness of cocksucking, I could have answered for her.

Those of us who grew up in the 70's weren't any more hormonally charged than any other teenagers in human history, but with that decades sudden oppenness about sex and the relatively easily availability of porn and sex manuals we had more information. Between, skimming The Joy Of Sex at the mall Waldenbooks, scrambled cable porn*, and my neighbors older brothers' Hustlers, I knew all about fist-fucking, 69, S&M, rimming and foot fetishes before I had so much as french kissed a girl.

*one side effect of scrambled cable porn is that I can now only enjoy sex if my verticle hold keeps flipping and the girl is in grainy black and white. YMMV.
posted by jonmc at 8:24 AM on February 3, 2006


(by grew up in the 70's, I mean the 70's pre-teens like myself. it was a uniquee time to be a kid. the 80's were quite a let down. after the 70's teens got sex, drugs & rock and roll, we got AIDS, Just Say No and synthpop. wotta gyp)
posted by jonmc at 8:26 AM on February 3, 2006


Teenagers having sex parties? Next I suppose you'll have us believe that they're consuming illicit drugs and alcohol.

Maybe parents should less about their kids' recreational habits, and gave some thought to the fact that they're absorbing the valueless, morally empty nihillism of the culture they're being socialized into. If I were a parent, I'd be more concerned about the message George Bush, Pat Roberts and Ken Lay were having on my children than sex, drugs and rock n' roll.
posted by slatternus at 8:28 AM on February 3, 2006


Oops, the influence they were having, not the message.
posted by slatternus at 8:29 AM on February 3, 2006


But I'm certainly glad I slept with women in college. I miss it.
posted by digaman


I'm certainly glad I slept with women before I got married. I miss it.
posted by papakwanz at 8:30 AM on February 3, 2006


Thanks for speaking up, Supar.
posted by digaman at 8:32 AM on February 3, 2006


Whoa, whoa:

even had the phone company send them transcripts of all her text messages.

Phone companies do that? They save text messages and send them on request?
posted by geoff. at 8:34 AM on February 3, 2006


But a very small percentage of kids in my school are sexually active.

Bingo. Me and most of high school friends (and we were considered the 'trouble kids') spent most of our time trying and failing to get laid. Mainly because the girls were going with college guys.
posted by jonmc at 8:34 AM on February 3, 2006


"A huge report was issued by the National Center for Health Statistics. It covered the topic of teenage oral sex more extensively than any previous study, and the news was devastating: A quarter of girls aged fifteen had engaged in it, and more than half aged seventeen."

devastating? I don't understand the brouhaha. Fellatio is a (fairly) safe alternative to coitus and significantly minimizes the risks of pregnancy. As a parent, what's not to like?
posted by shoepal at 8:37 AM on February 3, 2006


And thorzdad, who cares why people behave homosexually? If it ever is scientifically proven somehow that gayness is a choice, should it then be stamped out? Why should people be free to choose Coke or Pepsi but not Gay or Straight?
You miss my point (or I wasn't quite clear), davy.
For so long, the fundamentalists have held that being homosexual was a choice (not genetic) and, thus, homosexual behavior cannot be protected as a right. They use that stance to push such things as anti-gay-marriage statutes.
I'm just saying they could easily use these sorts of articles as more ammunition for their homophobic cause.
That's all.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:40 AM on February 3, 2006


I would never give it up to anyone--male, female or cyborg--who would use a term like "cuddle puddle."

That's a rave/ecstasy thing.
posted by empath at 8:41 AM on February 3, 2006


Yes, kids have rainbow parties. Some one somewhere has done everything.

Yeah, I always wondered what happened to that cheerleader who got that hotdog stuck in her hoo-ha, too.

The plural of "anecdote" isn't data. I'm glad to hear from a 14-y-o. Knowing teenagers myself, I say it's likely that the Rainbow Parties that Suparnova knows about are examples of ostension.

Kids have sex, yeah. They're having it younger. The only thing that disturbs me about this is that it seems like it's commonplace for teen girls to dole out beejers without even asking for a little quid pro quo.
posted by veronica sawyer at 8:41 AM on February 3, 2006


My guess is that those kids posing etc are not being exploited, as said aboive. In fact, they would sign releases for thie photos to be shown in a magazine.

Girls, it seems, have the option of experienceing same-sex things etc and then at some point becoming what they were intended to be...this probably goes back at least to biblical times, when a woman's worth was measured by her retained virginity. Do what she could but keep that hymen. A man, by contrast, had to pass increase the size of his tribe so he was admonished not to spill his seed upon the ground (they had no kleenex back then).
posted by Postroad at 8:47 AM on February 3, 2006


Metafilter: beejers without a little quid pro quo
posted by shoepal at 8:50 AM on February 3, 2006


Early education that your choice of sex partner is your private business and reflects nothing on you as a good/bad or otherwise person is great. It should be mandatory. However, there is a power dynamic that can be exploited in this early sexuality that needs to be addressed. Of course teenagers are going to fuck, some of them can handle that, others cannot. Some will stay undiseased and unpregnant and un-emotionally damaged and others will not. This sort of super-braggy overt-sexuality is as bad in its own way as utter repression and for many of the same reasons. Of course being honest with your kids and hoping they will be honest with you is about all you can do.
posted by Divine_Wino at 8:57 AM on February 3, 2006


I know a middle school teacher in West Virginia of all places, who reports that a small, but significant number of the girls there have decided that they are lesbians. She, being the liberal that she is, thinks it's absolutely hillarious.

I have a feeling that television is to blame for this whole thing. And as a bi/poly/ambi-sexual, I wholeheartedly like it. GO TV!
posted by matkline at 9:01 AM on February 3, 2006


This sort of super-braggy overt-sexuality is as bad in its own way as utter repression and for many of the same reasons.

That was always my take on the kids in high school (and college) who acted like that. It's obnoxious and immature, and it suggests something's wrong with the kid's head... but seriously, if you get all scandalized that kids are having sex of any kind... you're dumb.
posted by rxrfrx at 9:02 AM on February 3, 2006


Suparnova writes "Ok, MeFi is going to hate me for this, but I am 14."

Won't somebody please think of the Suparnova!
posted by orthogonality at 9:07 AM on February 3, 2006


Thorzdad: Quite right. What has always confused me is that the fundies want to discriminate against sexual orientation because it is a life-style choice, but don't want to discriminate against religious orientation because it's a life-style choice. Don't you hate it when idiots are inconsistent?
posted by johngumbo at 9:07 AM on February 3, 2006


[pout]We never had cuddle parties when I was in high school.[/pout]
posted by Snowflake at 9:09 AM on February 3, 2006


Working with teenagers, I'm not really suprised that some are having *gasp* sexual relations. Even with *gasp* the same sex. The one potential problem I could see with this is that some will wrongly point towards it as evidence that sexuality is a choice, giving ammunition to the christian right who are hell bent on converting every gay to a god-fearing straight.
posted by dial-tone at 9:10 AM on February 3, 2006


Thanks guys for not telling me to fuck off join somethingawful.

Boys in my friends group are pretty adamant that if they saw a guy they thought was hot, they would go for him. But that is limited mostly to my friends, although I've always somehow thought (probably wrongly) that suburban kids would be more bi-friendly.

In response to Divine_Who is comments, yes. There are loving, consensual relationships in my school, and their are some that could be made a case for as rape.

Having parents who are also your friends helps kids, and I am envious of children who is parents are also their confidants. /Advice to parents/ start talking early (like beginning of middle school) to your kids about who is going out with whom, who they like and that kind of thing. Its hard to get that kind of relationship going late in the game.
posted by Suparnova at 9:13 AM on February 3, 2006


Hi Suparnova,
Shouldn't you be in school?
posted by Divine_Wino at 9:20 AM on February 3, 2006


The one potential problem I could see with this is that some will wrongly point towards it as evidence that sexuality is a choice, giving ammunition to the christian right who are hell bent on converting every gay to a god-fearing straight.
If there were ever a wrong reason to overly emphasize the genetic component of human sexual orientation, another social construct that you don't like is it.

Whether or not it is genetic, environmental, socially constructed, or simply a matter of free will doesn't matter, no matter how many votes your pet bigotry gets.

Suparnova, rock on with your bad self. Just beware that sometime, at the worst moment, your age will be used against you on one of the colors of the MeFi rainbow. Remember: have a thick skin.
posted by sequential at 9:22 AM on February 3, 2006


I don't think we need to dumb down our working models of sexual orientation so we don't give ammo to dummies. That's like saying, "Hey man, it's hard enough getting people to believe in evolution these days -- we'd better keep that quantum physics stuff to ourselves!"

People are complicated, and sexual behavior is extremely complicated. The fact that every human culture on record, throughout history, evidences some form of homosexual behavior -- even when the penalty is death -- suggests that a certain amount of same-sex attraction is hard-wired in. But the fact that there has been a very wide variation in the expression of that behavior throughout history -- from Native American shamanism to Greek pedagogy to homophobic Roman ragazzi fucking each other like bunnies because the Church makes women less accessible until marriage to 19th century "adhesiveness" among otherwise hetero men to Shakespeare writing sonnets about the beauty of his younger buddy W.H. to the homo-emotional novels of Jack Kerouac.... suggests that societal, situational, and psychological factors also play roles in how sexuality is expressed.

I don't need to simplify myself so that Bible-thumping screeching closet cases understand me.
posted by digaman at 9:22 AM on February 3, 2006


I don't see nothing wrong with a teenage cuddly poodle.
posted by qvantamon at 9:23 AM on February 3, 2006


Possesives are indicated by apostrophes, not indicatives.
posted by orthogonality at 9:24 AM on February 3, 2006


68 comments on-topic and no one's linked to Technical Virgin yet? We're slipping.

There must be someone who hasn't seen it yet. Suparnova, for example, who was only - um - 8 or 9 years old when it was new.
posted by yhbc at 9:27 AM on February 3, 2006


Thanks for the support guys, and todays parent-teacher conference day, so I can legaly be on metafilter at home (as opposed to being on metafilter in the library).
posted by Suparnova at 9:30 AM on February 3, 2006


I have indeed seen that as well as the fade to black similar "hot dog bun" parody.
posted by Suparnova at 9:31 AM on February 3, 2006


By the way (sorry to triple-post) 69th comment!!!
posted by Suparnova at 9:32 AM on February 3, 2006


Thorzdad: For so long, the fundamentalists have held that being homosexual was a choice (not genetic) and, thus, homosexual behavior cannot be protected as a right. They use that stance to push such things as anti-gay-marriage statutes.

I'm forced to give fundamentalists more credit than that, which is why I find the choice/not-choice issue to be a bit of a red herring. Take as a counter-example, Deafness, a characteristic that is hardly ever chosen. The physicalness of Deafness has not prevented well-intentioned but misguided people from insisting on attempting to assimilate profoundly Deaf people into hearing society.

Fundamentalism is more than comfortable IME with essentialist views of human nature as divinely ordained character flaws that must be overcome. They can always point to Paul's own confession of an unspecified flaw that made his practice of Christianity difficult at times. Personally, having read more than a bit of history on this issue, I'd much rather fundamentalists work on this from a culture war perspective than to risk rolling back the clock to treating homosexual and bisexual people as medically ill inverts that need to be fixed using hormones and shock treatments. Believing that a discovery of a "nature" for homosexuality or bisexuality is really going to magically create acceptance by the most intolerant is the worst form of magical thinking.

And in regards to "choice." Well, there is still a bit of an old fashioned sex-positive radical in me who argues for good old-fashioned sexual liberation. I may not have a choice in the hormone rush I get with MOTAS that turn my crank, but I did have a choice in being out and vocal about it. I did make a choice in perusing the love affairs that I did. The language of some Ex-gay ministries reveals that they accept the concept of a life-long homosexual or bisexual orientation, but focus on the choice to engage in a divinely ordained heterosexual marriage (or failing that abstinence) rather than promiscuous meth-fueled bathhouse sex. Where as I would say that while I'm a monogamist by choice and inclination, my primary concerns regarding casual sex involve consent and safety.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 9:34 AM on February 3, 2006


Anytime anyone promotes Harmony Korine movies as something "everyone should see" to know "what really goes on" - that's a red light for me that said person has no fucking idea what really goes on with teens.

Harmony Korine's crap is exploitative horseshit.
posted by stenseng at 9:37 AM on February 3, 2006


Oh, can we also add "toothing" to our list of sexual hook-up methods that were probably rejected, along with the jelly bands?

And of course when I was a kid, the panic was all about LSD-loaded temporary tattoos.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 9:38 AM on February 3, 2006


I wish there had been a Metafilter rainbow when I was in middle school!

Looks like Suparnova is blasdelf's younger sister. Who says MeFi isn't Family Oriented Entertainment?!
posted by shoepal at 9:41 AM on February 3, 2006


"MOTAS"

mystery Of Time And Space?
posted by Suparnova at 9:41 AM on February 3, 2006


Oh man; my ex-roomate moved out and left her New York supscriptions coming. More crap about annoying teens, written so yuppie New York parents can read, bitch, moan and quiver.
I had some fast times at ridgemont high, but I certainly didn't talk about it constantly. Also, the parents of these kids must have signed a release for this article- why? I don't think it reflects well on anyone. I can only imagine job interviews.

Well, according to your press clippings, you really like sucking dick. What do you think that experience would help you bring to our company?
posted by 235w103 at 9:41 AM on February 3, 2006


Very good observation shoepal. I must give the credit to blasdelf for introducing me a year or two ago (its been that long?). There is another sibiling, but he claims he " doesn't trust the internet, so won't pay for an account". Sorry to use this as a message board, but Bob, buy an account already.
posted by Suparnova at 9:44 AM on February 3, 2006


235w103 writes "Well, according to your press clippings, you really like sucking dick. What do you think that experience would help you bring to our company?"

Yeah, Corporate America prefers employees who bend over; only politicians want the cocksuckers.
posted by orthogonality at 9:45 AM on February 3, 2006


"...the 70's teens got sex, drugs & rock and roll, we got AIDS, Just Say No and synthpop. wotta gyp)"

Preach! I've always envied the kids (like my older brother) that were teens in the mid to late 70's/very early 80's. He got decent weed, easy chicks, prog rock and generally a less uptight H.S. experience. I got AIDS paranoia, drug paranoia, Duran Duran and a huge upswing in gang activity and racial tension.
posted by MikeMc at 9:45 AM on February 3, 2006


Whoops, meant to link to a description. They are old internet acronyms.

MOTSS = Member of the Same Sex.
MOTOS = Member of the Opposite (or sometimes Other) Sex
MOTAS = Member of the Appropriate Sex.

MikeMc: I got AIDS paranoia, drug paranoia, Duran Duran and a huge upswing in gang activity and racial tension.

And don't forget teen suicide paranoia. Does that make Heathers dated?
posted by KirkJobSluder at 9:49 AM on February 3, 2006


Fellatio is a (fairly) safe alternative to coitus and significantly minimizes the risks of pregnancy.

Significantly minimizes? I think you can use sufficiently stronger language, like "prevents pregnancy."
posted by odinsdream at 9:51 AM on February 3, 2006


um wait, so none of you have seen Hackers? damn that angelina jolie!
posted by arialblack at 9:55 AM on February 3, 2006


That fellatio prevents pregnancy is and is a safer alternative to coitus are not its primary virtues.
posted by digaman at 10:06 AM on February 3, 2006


I found the article fascinating, exploitive or not. It makes a good point, about the 'post-gay' thing. Homosexuality is much more widely accepted than just 10 years ago, and that is having very interesting effects on the minds of adolescents. I think it is a great thing, too. Hopefully now there will be fewer articles about gay teens getting beaten and killed.

And 'cuddle puddles' were originally from raves, when people were inclined to just fall all over each other on the floor and stay there, on MDMA.
posted by Espoo2 at 10:11 AM on February 3, 2006


And 'cuddle puddles' were originally from raves,

Maybe this time around, they are. But when I was in high school, they were "originally" from peoples' parents going on vacation and leaving their big sister in charge.
posted by tizzie at 10:15 AM on February 3, 2006


Possesives are indicated by apostrophes, not indicatives.
I agree with you, so please don't harm our cause by misspelling your correction.

posted by Aknaton at 10:24 AM on February 3, 2006


It seems like rainbow parties and cuddle puddles are two very different and separate things. It seems to me that they wouldn't be done by the same cliques/groups -- the first seems a drunken-cheerleader thing to do, and the second seems more like a lifestyle for emo-er, hipper kids who are on the fringes.

I graduated from high school in 2004, so it's all pretty recent for me. I heard about rainbow parties from Oprah, and I'm not sure they're nearly as widespread as people seem to fear. I haven't heard about one in real life.

Cuddle puddles, on the other hand -- well, been there, done that. My high school was public, rural, and very small; that culture was present, mostly in the theater group (of course) but was nowhere near as rampant or omnipresent as described in the article. However, I also moved in different circles -- a big feeder theater program in the nearest city, lots of extracurricular groups with the top 10% or whatever from five or ten schools -- and in those, cuddle puddles were more or less as described, although with less bravado. And we certainly never called 'em cuddle puddles.
posted by booksandlibretti at 10:31 AM on February 3, 2006


*gets heebie-jeebies from all the sickeningly twee jargon*
posted by Hat Maui at 10:36 AM on February 3, 2006


Good for these kids! Coming of age in the 80s meant, by and large, very little of this kind of thing was going on around me. I got ripped off. It's nice to see that kids are once again able to have sex with each other.

Hopefully the last year or so of increased anti-sex crusading are a blip on the radar. The last thing the world needs is to relive the 80s. Sure, the video games were (a lot) better, but the fumbling teen sex was almost completely non-existant. We shouldn't subject another generation to that.
posted by majick at 10:38 AM on February 3, 2006


I graduated in '97 from a small (500 students) alternative high school in Michigan, and the First Floor was our equivalent of the "cuddle puddle." There was just as much bullshit bravado, though very few were actually having sex (far more were doing drugs), and especially not having sex outside of "long term" (we're talkin' MONTHS here, people) relationships. Yeah, everyone would be down there molesting each other, or making out, but it was mostly just a diversion for bored rich kids. Out of that group, most of the girls went to Ivies, a few came out as full-time gay (most ended up being viewed as "disappointingly straight" by the rest of them), and most of the guys ended up as creative fuckups of one calibre or another.
This trend is not new, because if we got it in the Midwest, it must have been popular on one of the coasts first, and isn't particularly scary. It does tend to be stupid, pretentious, theatrical and chock full o' drama, but hey, that's part of high school, isn't it?
The only thing that was different in the article, really, was the sense that homophobia had been eliminated at the school. While our school was progressive, there were still more than a few kids who had either hooked up with jocks and were all smear-the-queer, or were either into the Greaser look (and the nascent days of rockabilly revival) or the boot boys who had adopted a racism-free skinhead aesthetic, all of whom seemed to be at least anti-gay.
As far as this spreading into larger culture? Well, the other school (where I took my German classes and was involved with theater) that I attended had some hooking up, but for the most part was far more rigid in its views on sex and relationships, even in the theater department (which was, like, gay central at the smaller school). Whether this was a function of the size or the less liberal students, I dunno.
posted by klangklangston at 10:40 AM on February 3, 2006


It's nice to see that kids are once again able to have sex with each other.

Sadly, most of them won't. This kind of stuff happens to a select group of either very attractive, very hep/liberated, or very wealthy people. The rest will spend their adolescence battling beartrap brastraps and wooing their five novias named manuela.
posted by jonmc at 10:40 AM on February 3, 2006


I was a teenager in the 70's. I don't remember it being that great. Maybe it was different in my part of the US but weren't none of us getting beejers.
posted by Carbolic at 10:42 AM on February 3, 2006


I spent four years at that high school when it was still located on 15th Street. Not once did I come home from school with my junk resembling a bag of Skittles. Back then, the students who were exploring their non-mainstream sexuality weren't called the 'Cuddle Puddle'. They were called the Poetry Club.
posted by horsewithnoname at 10:43 AM on February 3, 2006


If you're a regular reader of New York magazine, you'll recognize this as [yet] another article in which they extrapolate the behavior of a small NY cohort into a 'movement.' Most of the stuff in that magazine is crap; this included.

Sheesh...in the article it's even noted that the participants in the Cuddle Puddle are a couple of dozen students in a school with several thousand.
posted by Sassenach at 10:57 AM on February 3, 2006


Sassenach: That's the best part of the NY Times as well. Remember 'man dates'? Or there was an article about how Brazillian women in NY both find American men not aggressive enough, and like it up the ass. Any time a NY Times writer has two friends who do something, it's a trend sweeping the nation.
posted by klangklangston at 11:08 AM on February 3, 2006


Look, we’re not trying to appeal to prurient intrests just for sales, it’s a real news story, see?

Yeah. Ah, well. Woefully straight and married me. Un-Emo, hairy, thick of limb, scarred, greying and gutty cyborg. I guess my life sucks. Guess I’ll wear a t-shirt that says “I’m only not heteroflexible because you won’t fuck me.”

Seriously, what’s the gist? It’s not any kind of serious study. And if it’s a trend - so?
I suspect they’re dodging the emotional work of polyamory only because they’re socially hermetic kids.
I’m no expert, but insomnia_lj’s (I believe) has commented that it’s a lotta work keeping just a trio balanced and happy.
I can’t imagine this group would be - long term - without jealousy, etc. and wind up with some serious problems as a result.
That is if they weren’t just dabbling or play-acting.

In which case we’re back to - so? Kids playing around with sexuality and intimacy within the safe confines of their peer group - yeah? And?
Oh yeah, the hawt sex, right...uh huh.
I guess I’ll subscribe. Oh, and shop elietahari.com. (etc.)
posted by Smedleyman at 11:22 AM on February 3, 2006


MetaFilter: just an unsatisfying fumble in the dark.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:28 AM on February 3, 2006


klangklangston:
"I graduated in '97 from a small (500 students) alternative high school in Michigan, and the First Floor was our equivalent of the "cuddle puddle.""

You guys did it in the first floor of the school building? At my school is was mostly isolated to the football players' locker room.
posted by papakwanz at 11:50 AM on February 3, 2006


Well, the following was true of high school 20 years ago, and clearly not much has changed:

1. Kids will have sex, sometimes to be shocking.
2. Some kids will lie about the shocking sex they're (not) having.
3. Kids (especially girls) will play around with gender roles; some do it just to be "trendy"
4. Blowjobs are not 'hard core'

Every generation thinks they invented sex. Sadly, for every generation there's a magazine writer willing to play along in order to titillate readers.
posted by stefanie at 12:34 PM on February 3, 2006


stefanie every generation has to invent sex because the previous one keeps misrepresenting it.
posted by Space Coyote at 12:37 PM on February 3, 2006


MetaFilter: Blowjobs are not 'hard core'
posted by rxrfrx at 12:39 PM on February 3, 2006


Stefanie, you nailed it. Glad you said it cause I don't have time to post more than this.

But what's a "metroflexible"? town and country?
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 1:01 PM on February 3, 2006


Speaking as a human male of something I know a bit about from dozens of years of experience, human males are "hard-wired" to try to stick our schvanzes into damn near anything, such as human females, other human males, quadruped mammals of various species and either sex, holes in mattresses and nozzles of vacuum cleaners. Then there are those guys who shove things up their butts, and even those depicted by Mapplethorpe who insert things into their penises. That is, we're made to seek sexual stimulation of some kind, which kind being a matter of opportunity, indoctrination, inclination, desperation, curiosity and (gasp!) choice. I'll believe people can be hard-wired to be "gay", or for that matter "straight", when you show me scientific proof that some guys are genetically programmed specially to fuck sheep (even when they can get real "hot coeds").

As to whether we should be allowed to have sexual stimulation with the "sex object" of our choice, the issue is whether the sheep consents and gets something good from it too. If so, it ain't nobody's business but your own.
posted by davy at 1:45 PM on February 3, 2006


papakwanz beat me to it. The "cuddle puddles" in my high school were the football and lacrosse teams (92).

This is an interesting topic, but I'm always skeptical of "trends" in teen sexuality. It's a hormonal, cultural, and social mess no matter how you cut it, and I have a hard time thinking the data source (awkward fumblings between awkward beings) has really changed nearly as much as the exposure--sensationalist rags like NYMag, Oprah, myspace, etc.

Decade after decade, people want to try and romanticize what is inherently anti-romantic. Teenagerdom provides some damn good thrills, but mostly it's just a clusterfuck on all levels. Or as my best friend from high school put it, there's two types of people--those whose "best years" come before the age of 18, and then the rest of us.
posted by bardic at 1:50 PM on February 3, 2006


(It's funny how the author of the NYMag piece so desperately wants to be one of the teens invited to the so-called rainbow party. Or as stefanie points out, manages to titillate an audience that wishes they'd been the cool kids invited there.)
posted by bardic at 1:54 PM on February 3, 2006


I'm at a rainbow party right now! it's awesome!
posted by mcsweetie at 2:06 PM on February 3, 2006


How many colors are you up to?
posted by Suparnova at 2:09 PM on February 3, 2006


And the idiot fundies STILL try to push abstinence. heh.
posted by drstein at 2:17 PM on February 3, 2006


If there is any neologism I'd like to see banned from use, it's metrosexual. Dandy and fop describe it well enough.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:44 PM on February 3, 2006


If two rival gangs of teens try to have a cuddle puddle in the same hallway, do they have to have a cuddle puddle battle? And if they battle with paddles, is it a cuddle puddle paddle battle? And if it's packs of dogs instead of teens, is it a poodle cuddle puddle paddle battle?
posted by rodii at 5:16 PM on February 3, 2006


My grade 12 class in highschool used to have cuddle piles. We called it "cozing". It was very much like a pile of hamsters. And trust me, it wasn't leading anywhere exciting. It was cozy, comforting, and really sibling-like. If it had been sexually charged, I certainly wouldn't have been able to relax.
posted by jb at 6:03 PM on February 3, 2006


I'm glad you didn't call it "coozing."
posted by bardic at 7:41 PM on February 3, 2006


Hey, Suparnova. Get off my lawn!

(Well, somebody had to say it :-)

Honestly, cuddle puddles and rainbow parties. What's wrong with a good old round of spin-the-bottle or feather-and-the-blanket, eh? That's how I learned to snog and became the tonguemeister I am today. But no. No! Not good enough for generation whatever-the-hell-it-is-today-but-we-started-the-whole-generation-something-thing-anyway
It has to be multi-hued lipstick round the dongular parts instead of rereading the red badge of courage - and the taste of santorum instead of happy hours worried about whether it's supposed to be bent like that. "Oh, we're all so ambisexual and labelless". Yeah, right, you brand name fetish monkeys. You wouldn't know ambivulent if it came up and had sex with someone you'd never met. You wouldn't know nonchalent if it went to that emo gig with the guy with the flippy hair and only one earring through his nose and left halfway through the set because it wanted a clove cigarette. Well, let me tell you something, young'uns...

You know what? I have completely forgotten.
posted by Sparx at 8:22 PM on February 3, 2006


And what if your lawns the perfect spot for coozing?
posted by Suparnova at 8:35 PM on February 3, 2006


wait a second, what the heck is "Feather And The Blanket?"
posted by mcsweetie at 8:48 PM on February 3, 2006


You know, where you all sit round a blanket boy girl boy girl and try and blow a feather between two people but if you're sitting next to someone you like you don't blow very hard so you and her then have to go under the blanket for ten seconds and snog and then you take the blanket off and everyone goes "Wow, how was it?" and she says not too bad and you say that was actually the first time I've ever snogged anybody and everyone goes ORLY? and you go YESRLY and she goes WAY! and freaks but in a good way and you just buzz because she said you weren't too bad without knowing that it was your first time so your cred is wicked and you've had a crush on her for like two years and you write a poem about it later that gets published in your yearbook but no one else knows what its about.

I thought everybody did that.
posted by Sparx at 9:01 PM on February 3, 2006


oh yeah!
posted by mcsweetie at 9:40 PM on February 3, 2006


Aww, my little sister doesn't have to settle for somethingawful.
posted by blasdelf at 4:48 AM on February 4, 2006


"Pansexual" isn't exactly new - it's a term for people who recognize that they can be attracted to anyone regardless of gender - including intersexed people, transgendered people, genderqueers, and anyone that doesn't fit the male/female template.

jd: ha, "cozing" could be used to describe our crew too. (youngest were 18 - 2 people - and oldest was 35; average 23) Extremely touchy-feely - hugs and hand-holding were constant, and there were the occasional kisses on the cheeks or heads. Kisses on the lips were less common, usually amongst established couples; anything more intimate would have had us kicked out so if it was attempted, no one else knew. Like you said, it was more sibling-like; more like everyone being very comfortable with each other.
posted by divabat at 7:20 AM on February 4, 2006


jb not jd oops!
posted by divabat at 7:21 AM on February 4, 2006


jb: Those hamster piles aren't as safe as they look. Have you seen their incisors ‽ One has a bad day and suddenly it's blood everywhere.
posted by arialblack at 12:34 PM on February 4, 2006


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