On July 7th, the popular Teen Vogue, aimed at 12-17 year-olds, published an online article “Anal Sex: What You Need to Know/How To Do It The Right Way that has Conservative right-wingers working themselves into a lather. Some parents have called to cancel their children’s subscriptions to the publication and started a backlash on social media #Pull Teen Vogue.
Backlash from Unprepared Parents & Schools
One mother of ten named Elizabeth Johnston, author of The Activist Mommy blog showed herself, in a nod to Nazis’ book burning, destroying a copy of the magazine (even though the article appeared only online) in her backyard campfire and the photo went viral. Accusing the magazine of promoting sodomy and peddling to minors, Johnston was joined by other parents who erroneously think that education leads to encouragement.
Truth is kids are having sex earlier these days. If they’re not, they are nevertheless curious. Sex education, according to Dr. Michael Newcomb of Northwestern University’s Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Health and Wellbeing, is lacking. Usually, educators “can only talk about LGBTQ sexuality as a morally incorrect approach or as a risk factor for acquiring HIV.” Most parents would not be equipped to provide discussions, complete with visuals, about the mechanics of anal sex so they should be grateful for the widely-read Teen Vogue on-line article.
Anal Sex Not Just For MSM (Men having Sex with Men)
But education does not lead to promiscuity. Says the author of the article, Gigi Engle, “this is anal 101, for teens, beginners, and all inquisitive folk.” Kids should know about anal sex that is also practiced by heterosexuals, according to the Centers for Disease Control. “Anal sex appears to be more popular than possibly expected among the heterosexual couples under forty-five. In a report titled “Sexual Behavior, Sexual Attraction and Sexual Identity in the U.S.” which reportedly polled thousands of people between ages of 15 and 44 from 2006 through 2008, found that 44% of straight men and 36% of straight women admitted to having anal sex at least once in their lives.” In other words, anal sex is not just for gay males.
High School boys brag that they have done it. Girls know they will not get pregnant if they engage in anal sex. Philip Picardi, the digital editor of Teen Vogue, defended the article and stated that not only is the article “rooted in homophobia, but laced in arcane delusion about what it means to be a young person today.”
As a writer, the only shock about the article for me was the fact that it omitted on the first go-round the importance of safe sex: using condoms. That point was only added later and was the most salient takeaway message.
When Your Child Is Gay: What You Need To Know
For more detailed advice, see book, co-authored with a mother of a gay son and a psychiatrist, Jonathan L. Tobkes, M.D.