Tuesday, August 31, 2010
I am not at all opposed to sexually active teenagers getting tested for STDs. (I'm pretty sure that sentence has never begun a post on MoJ.) I am troubled, though, that casual sex is such an accepted part of our youth culture -- a youth culture that is shaped in many ways by adults -- that MTV is running a sweepstakes in which prizes are given for announcing your presence at an STD clinic to all your social media contacts on Foursquare. Much of the social stigma associated with STDs, I have always assumed, is not just that you contracted one, but that you were engaged in behavior that potentially exposed you to one. Even accounting for the different social expectations of young men and young women when it comes to sexual "conquests," I would find it jolting to find a teenager who considered it a badge of honor worthy of proclamation to the world that he finds himself in the position of needing to visit the clinic. I find this development to be a fascinating (in a car-crash sort of way) snapshot into the confluence of diminishing private/public boundaries and increasingly permissive sexual norms.