Every day I work with teenagers, and every day I hear more sexual comments, jokes, and questions than seem humanly possible. Most days I chalk it up to teenage hormones and discovering life. As an adult, I laugh about the innocence behind their comments and hope that their exploration doesn’t lead them to destruction as they figure it out.
At some point, we have all heard such stories. Let’s be real, we have all been teenagers navigating our newfound sexual awareness. In which case, the emotionally and sexually healthy adults laugh off those silly teenage desires and assume that they too will disentangle their sexuality, as most do.
Rarely, do we think about who is going to teach them the boundaries of sexual desire. We assume that every person’s perception of sex, relationships, and the opposite sex is intact enough to keep sex inside normal limits. At the same time, we ignore the epidemic of continual access to sex at a moment’s desire. We dismiss pornography and never acknowledge that pornography is the main source of sexual information for teens and adults. We fail to understand that pornography is the sexual reality and the sum of many teenagers’ sexual experiences.
Sexual exploration, casual sex, sexual desires, and sexual needs are as common as a morning cup of coffee. I have heard teenagers refer to sexual innuendos as mannish, revealing a culture in which manhood is defined by sex. I often hear the concept of extramarital sexual affairs discussed as a matter of “what if…” indicating that if circumstances are right, a person will have no choice but to pursue a sexual relationship outside of marriage. Likewise, the media is littered with sexual scandals.
Sex. It’s all fun and games until 16 million people are held by threat, force, coercion, abduction, fraud, or deception in exchange for commercial sex in bondage around the world. 16 million people are slaves for the sole purpose of satisfying our culture’s sexual desires.
Sex. It’s all fun and games until Human Trafficking is a flourishing industry that profits because of a demand for commercial sex. From a trafficker’s perspective, the demand is high and but the risk is low.
The demand is a culture influenced by sexual constructs and pornography. The demand is bodies available for sex. The demand is the teenage girl next door, the child you saw this morning, the mother at the grocery store. The demand eats at your table.
16 million are victims of a society that has appropriated bodies. 16 million have their future determined because sexual promiscuity is mannish.
We have cultivated a culture in which attitudes and perception of people have created an environment in which sexuality has been normalized. As we look with disgust at those arrested for human trafficking, let us never forget that the demand lies in the normality.