Sex and the Young

youngRecently a reviewer of one of my novels commented on the age difference between the female and male main characters. In the story, the female is pushing forty and the male is a couple of years shy of thirty. Their first acquaintance, however, had been ten years earlier when she was a high school teacher and he was her student. Their attraction went unmentioned at that time, but now, ten years later, the connection catches fire.

The reviewer became uncomfortable with this dynamic, partly because the story follows a Dominant/submissive relationship. In the early weeks of training this new submissive, the female ‘domme’ uses the term ‘boy’ as a humiliation. This particular word choice added to the reviewer’s unease about the relationship because of the word’s implication about his age. She still gave the book four out of five stars, but her protest troubled me.

Perhaps we as a society have gone too far when even the use of the word ‘boy’ and an attraction that began while the male character was seventeen trigger thoughts of child molestation. I’m all for laws that protect young children from predation. But there’s a difference between a seven year old and a seventeen year old. There’s a difference between taking advantage of a youngster and reciprocating a mutual attraction. Today’s laws fail to note the difference.

Maybe it’s inevitable that initial efforts to address child molestation will necessarily overreach. For too long, children (as well as women and minorities) were used and abused by male adults. Whether beatings, forced labor, or sexual molestation, children were subject to the whims of whichever adult had ‘possession.’ Until the child grew old enough to fight back or escape, the abuse continued.

No one argues that child labor, beatings, and sexual abuse should occur in a compassionate society. Unfortunately, the current state of affairs easily descends into hysteria. Hardly a day passes without notice of an arrest where molestation charges are brought against the older partner in a consensual relationship with an adolescent. How often are these relationships not crimes but healthy interactions in a very long tradition?

Gaining sexual experience has always been a rite of passage for adolescent males who wish to discover the ‘secrets’ of sexual activity and achieve the confidence and self-development that accompanies this milestone. In the past, an older woman often served as a teacher and mentor in such matters. Stories abound of fathers or older brothers bringing the quaking younger male to a bawdy house where a friendly prostitute would instruct him on the finer arts of pleasing a woman. Thus informed, the initiated young man would go forward with greater confidence in all matters.

Is adult-adolescent sex harmful? New York Magazine published an article examining this topic. The author cites a study which remains a spear in the side of the ‘molestation’ argument:

In 1998, Bruce Rind, Philip Tromovitch, and Robert Bauserman (professors at Temple University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Michigan, respectively) published a study that has resounded through the psychological Establishment ever since. The article, published in the American Psychological Association’s Psychological Bulletin, was what’s known as a meta-analysis, an overview of the existing science, in this case on the long-term effects of childhood sexual abuse. The authors concluded that “negative effects were neither pervasive nor typically intense” and that men who’d been abused “reacted much less negatively than women.[i]

If we subscribe to the idea that a sixteen year old male is not capable of acting in his own interest in deciding whether to engage in sexual activity with an older woman, what does that say about our view of our youth? A hundred years ago—and virtually at all previous times—age sixteen was often seen as the start of manhood. Through the nineteenth century, census takers required a statement of ‘occupation’ for any household member age sixteen or above. Even at age ten, young people were expected to contribute to the family’s welfare by working in the fields or tending livestock, or cooking, sewing, and tending younger siblings as surrogate parents. Especially after the American Civil War with its widespread disruption of families and communities, teenaged males rode off to the West to find their fortunes.

By virtually all accounts, youth today is more worldly wise than any previous generation. With modern media, sex is no longer a secret whispered among adults in Victorian parlors. Both sexes have abundant opportunity to view naked human bodies, read about sexual encounters, and discuss sexual liaisons with sexually-active peers. We can’t assume that sexual activity with an older, caring partner is somehow inherently more damaging than sex with a peer.

Wisdom sufficient to properly conduct one’s affairs does not begin at the age of majority, although this is the age at which most nations allow its citizens to vote, engage in military service, and conduct any and all financial matters. Similarly, understanding and experience sufficient to ensure healthy personal relationships don’t begin at the age of consent. There are long years of effort, arguably a lifetime, required to gain excellence in either arena. Indeed, mastery in relationships and wisdom in conducting one’s financial affairs may never be accomplished. Are we to believe that delaying the onset of one’s involvement in these matters confers any greater skill?

Are adolescents capable of making decisions in his/her own best interest? Does age alone define the ‘power’ position in relationships? Does an adolescent know enough to decide whether a sexual relationship will cause harm? There simply is no hard and fast answer. The individual’s choice becomes part of the fabric of his/her life, for better or worse. A set of laws dictating that only one decision is the right one can only be right part of the time. The rest of the time, such laws cause as much or more harm than no law at all.

American society in the twentieth century moved toward a parental role for government. In the process, we have demanded a longer adolescence of our young people. More schooling, extended virginity, and parental financial support even into the late twenties are key features of this mindset. Meanwhile, biology hasn’t changed. Sexual desire arrives with the hormonal dictates of puberty, and while not all sexual desire should necessarily be satisfied by an older partner, the impulse to criminalize May-December relationships is as misguided as is the belief that young people can or should deny their sexual appetites.

An older caring sex partner can be a far better option for an adolescent than a peer who may or may not pay attention to important concerns such as birth control, protection against STDs, or the thoughtful management of tangled emotions. Perhaps even more importantly, the young male learns how sex is done in a caring exchange instead of relying on pornography and the inflated stories of his peers. Just as we need instruction and training in job skills, we need experienced teachers in personal relationships. There’s an argument to be made that initiation by older lovers could foster healthier long term relationships for young people.

We need to ask ourselves what we’re really afraid of in this rush to label any and all sex with minors as criminal activity. Is there a wish to enforce religious rectitude? Have we so enshrined a ‘youth culture’ that we want to paralyze our young people in an artificially-extended innocent state?

While seeking to protect young people truly incapable of self-defense, we’re harming young people ready to explore. Sexual attraction doesn’t see age. Rather, lovers are drawn to each other through lust, empathy, affection, and an instinctive desire for the spiritual epiphany that sex is uniquely able to bestow. We should welcome these pursuits between consenting partners of any age.

[i] “Dirty Old Women” by Ariel Levy, May 29, 2006

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Jarrod Bancroft — his time is now

Jarrod the novel copyIt started innocently enough. A rich young man in search of adventure in sadistic humiliation. An older woman intent on her profession as dominatrix. Their crossed paths should have been six weeks of a purely business relationship.

But things never go as planned.

The story of Jarrod Bancroft becomes much more than scenes of extreme sexual kink. Hope rejected, regret and anguish, terror in captivity, and an awful truth about Jarrod’s family emerge in this richly-presented series. Told in stunning detail, Jarrod Bancroft’s adventure reveals old lies, ugly threats, and the raw human need for love.

Averaging 4.5 star reviews on Amazon and Goodreads!

“…hotness, explosive sex scenes and most of all one of Lizzie Ashworth’s signature immersive plots, which keep me returning to her books.” Kirsty

I was pleasantly surprised by the caliber of writing and soon lost myself in the story.” Tracy

“…surprising revelations, steamy sex and desperation…” Donna

Book I ebook FREE at the following retailers:

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Book II and Book III ebooks only $2.99!

Paperback Jarrod Bancroft: The Novel includes all in Books I, II, and III

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The Stranger

elevator copyI told myself no. A chorus of reasons shouted in my head—that I didn’t know him, that we were standing in a hotel hallway waiting for an elevator. Anyone could walk up. Additional major point: accosting a stranger simply wasn’t something I would do. Jennifer Franklin wasn’t that kind of girl.

The handle of my heavy briefcase itched against my sweaty palm. I could assign this momentary insanity to fatigue. Like all such conferences, this one had turned into a three-day blur of classes on everything from specialty cost coding and catastrophe adjustment to the latest on defining a collapse under a property insurance policy. Shaking hands, remembering names, smiling through dinners with speakers droning on about an adjuster’s duty to please both the insurer and the property owner. Keeping up with the latest industry standards and procedures zapped me with fresh confidence. But I was ready for a long hot soak in my tub and a mindless couch session with a bottle of wine and my cat Winston.

Yet here I was at the elevator a few feet from this man who made everything in my mind turn to mush. There was this urge, whatever recess of hell it sprang from, that caused my thighs to clench. I licked my lips, hoping my libido would tuck its tail and slink away. Maybe if I gave myself a few more minutes and couple of deep breaths…

Nope. Not working. Jesus, how did anyone exude such sensuality?

Okay, Jen, reason through this.

He wasn’t my type. I went for the slightly shorter, less sinewy man whereas this guy loomed several inches taller with an almost lanky frame. In the past, my tastes had ranged from blond and blue-eyed to dark and dangerous. I’d never given much consideration to men with light brown hair and eyes that were—what, amber? I stole another glance.

Damn. He caught my brief examination. One of his eyebrows rose slightly, asking. I quickly looked down and broke out in a little sweat. Damn damn damn.

His lips fascinated me, halfway between full and thin, sensual with a little flare at the bow and curling upwards at the corners. Tan and weathered, his skin stretched over prominent cheekbones and a bold jaw. And his neck, which happened to be directly in my line of vision—if I ever looked up again–what was it about his neck? Its intriguing cords and hollows disappeared into the open throat of his white shirt.

Oh, I could almost taste the salt on his skin. Feel the pulse in his throat against my lips.

I had seen him around the hotel, once passing along the corridor when I arrived for the first day of the conference, another time on the other side of the cocktail lounge where I hid at a dark corner table and sipped my wine. He’d been alone there, and I fantasized that he would appear at my table. I would allow him to join me and we would sit smiling in the dim light to pursue witty conversation with just enough innuendo. I refused to imagine what would happen afterwards, but I dreamed about him that night and woke up wet.

What the hell was wrong with me? I’d been around. No virgin here. Mild wear and tear, enough to consider any potential hook-up through slightly jaded eyes. No big hope left that some special ‘one’ lurked out there for me.

Now this? I wanted to slap myself for being ridiculous.

But, damn it, here I was at the elevator feeling as if my body had disconnected from my brain and would do what it pleased no matter what I thought.

Maybe it was that we were both leaving and I’d never see him again. Really, it wasn’t a choice I made, now that I look back on it. I was standing there with my briefcase gripped in my hand and a garment bag slung over my arm, my other hand seized on the handle of my wheeled travel case. Hands sweating. Knees trembling. Wanting a stranger so much I was about to embarrass myself in public.

The elevator was taking forever. He was standing a couple of feet away to my right, looking up to watch the elevator numbers frozen on floor twelve. He too had a garment bag over one arm and his travel case handle in his other hand, looking so incredibly fabulous in that simple white dress shirt with the sleeves rolled halfway up those tan forearms and in khaki slacks that looked a little wrinkled. I even checked out his shoes, Sixties style cordovan loafers, winey brown color, well-polished and clearly loved.

I could almost hear the switch flip in my head. Brain turned off. Instinct taking over.

I turned into him holding my gear on either side of me. He accommodated me by holding his luggage away from his body. With only a brief glance up at his face, I registered on his amusement, his welcome. As if we had known each other forever and this was going home.

I nestled my full length against him and brushed my lips against his neck, and oh god he felt good. At every point of contact, which actually was the entire front of me, he felt good. The strength of his thighs, the solid press of his loins, his hard chest—right there against me, holding his own, not backing away. And his neck—Jesus Christ, it was chocolate and musky wine and that skin, that soft velvet flesh that had served its time in the sun, warm and strong and scented with a heavenly fragrance that was aftershave and soap and him.

My lips savored him in that brief moment, brushing along the column of his neck as if he was my last sip of fresh water in the middle of a desert. In those few seconds—minutes?—that I stood there pressed against him, I had no sense of shame, no regret, no worry, no question. My mind stood still. I wanted never to move.

And then it ended. I don’t know how it ended. Maybe it was the elevator that ended it. A musical ‘ding.’ We moved apart. I really couldn’t remember, later, when I fought to overcome the searing embarrassment of what I’d done. One minute I was in full body contact with a man I didn’t know, oblivious to anything but him, and the next minute we were on opposite sides of the elevator with six people in between us including two kids and a dog.

I wanted to cry.

Ah, the penis

ID-10027420Ah the penis, exquisite flower of manhood—it blossoms from the tenderest bud wrapped in gentle folds and delicate softness. Come forth! Rising to its mighty potency, the flesh stretches smooth as fresh pea skin, firm and sweet as the peach fruit that sends its juices out through a texture both rigid and pliable wherein its mysteries lie.

An object of magical construction, to grow so swiftly from boyhood to its full masculine promise, cords of silken vein and steely muscle shielded by thin parchment armor. Its heat rewards the mouth which laves it, velvet to the tongue its kindred member. Headed round and earnest, there is no disguising its desire or intention. A dew drop eager for its intended home springs up, sparkle of promise that here waits its gift, its eternal purpose to drive the spark to ignition in the endless loop of creation.

There it stands between us, erect in response to my ministrations, my prize, my penis. It is the handle by which I try to own you, or at least bend you to my need. There is an empty place carved out for it deep inside me, a place made ready by its mere presence, a home that longs for its warm appearance at its fiery hearth. It is, still in its rising, a penis of beauty—long and of respectable girth, a carving of ivory tusk in the voluptuous arched form of Shiva with her breasts exposed, a fruit of sweet musk ripening at my lips.

I could stay here forever, my head at your belly where your skin stretches smooth across your lean hips and there is the power of your thighs within the reach of my hand. Here in the nest of your groin, wooly with wire hair and the hidden hardening knots of your scrotum, my attention turns wholly to my task, me the thousandth generation of hetarie forever reborn to this exact instant when the sweet foreskin stiffens with astonishing speed and pleasure spears burn through us both. Your breath quickens, urging me to greater skill and enthusiasm, so that my tongue and my lips and yes, the broad worn surfaces of my back teeth and even the rough rasp of my upper mouth and the restrictions of my throat entry ply themselves in unity to this great purpose, this moment of conquest, when the entire existence of you is concentrated in this one fragile organ, this mighty creature, your cock.