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Occasionally I wandered in where I was not wanted and gave truthful answers.
Sometimes I even did it deliberately. A little disruption now can prevent disaster later.

So much for avoiding the topic

Well, now I get to write about a topic I've been trying to avoid because it always gets me in trouble.

I've written before about sex and children. In my defense of Isaac Bonewits, it's been alleged that Isaac Bonewits "had clear issues with boundaries and attraction to and past action with persons well under the age of consent…"

So the topic I've been trying to avoid since forever has hit me straight in the face. Especially since Roy Moore ran for the Senate. Because in the South, sex between older men and teens wasn't unusual. I'm a son of the South, I knew that, although I'd rather not talk about it. It gets me in trouble.

And yes, in neopaganism, some advocate initiatory sex with teens. Gavin Frost was one. But I've heard rumors for years that some groups practice that.

Back in 2010, Brenden Myers spearheaded an effort to create a voluntary statement on sexual ethics. I joined because I didn't want to see things get even more complicated than they already were. That was before I routinely saved everything I posted to message boards. I remember some back and forth, but I don't remember much discussion about initiatory sex or sex with kids. I made a couple of contributions. I suggested we capitalize the word "Divine." And I suggested adding something to the effect that sometimes accusations of rape were false. I was thinking of the Duke lacrosse team case. I do remember when it came time for the "feedback on the draft," it was that bit about false allegations that got all the criticism. Myers remembers it differently. At least one other participant does too.

I hope I said something then against sex before the age of consent. But I don't remember. It wasn't important enough to me to remember. Since I hit college, I've always thought sex with teens was trouble. It's something I ignored because the sexually active teens I knew wanted to be sexually active.

Now there are some accusations against Bonewits and teen girls. They may have a basis. I don't know.

Sex between teen women and older men wasn't all that unusual in the 1970s and 1980s. Or in the 1950s and 1960s. Or in the 1930s and 1940s. Or so on.

I was born the same year as Brooke Shields. Her breakout role was as a child prostitute in Pretty Baby. Now home VCRs weren't around so not very many kids my age had actually seen that film. All of the boys wanted to see it of course. Man oh man, the notion that a girl my age would get NAKED in a major film for EVERYONE to see, well, that was thrilling. And she looked REALLY good. I sorta-kinda met her briefly when she was filming Wanda Nevada. But the next film I saw her in was Just You and Me, Kid. The very first glimpse of her in that film is in a car trunk with a flat inner tube draped over her breasts and her genitals but showing off her tight tummy.* Even in a PG rated film, they were capitalizing on her sex appeal. Mind you this was before The Blue Lagoon or Endless Love.

So what does Brooke Shields have to do with this? Other than her exceptional looks, she was of her time. Her career was built on sexualizing herself.

Nor was she alone.

The extended childhood is a post WWII American invention. What's more, it was mostly limited to upscale urban families. Rural families and poorer urban families usually had teenagers who started work and sex fairly early. My own grandmother was in her teens when she married. That wasn't unusual in that time and place. I went to high school with Diné teens who got pregnant at fourteen, fifteen, and sixteen.

The extended childhood is the exception, not the rule. And sometimes it meant young women with older men. Not just in the South, but in many urban areas too.

This is important to understand. The young women weren't entirely innocent. Many knew what they wanted and deliberately got it. In the wake of the sexual revolution, they were just more obvious about it.

Personally I didn't have that much sexual experience until college. And there I met someone who complicated things. By the time I unwound my head from her, I had decided on two sex rules that serve me well to this day. Consenting adults only. And if you promised to be someone else's one and only, you were off limits. That didn't stop me from collecting pelts and being a real bastard, but I tried to do better.

Still, there are young teens who show off their bodies and flirt. The word jailbait exists for a reason. And sometimes, more than we'd like to admit, we males let the wrong head make the decisions.

And that brings us to the initiations. I don't approve of older men having sex with young teens, but it has been happening from the beginning. The fact that it's scandalous today doesn't mean it was a scandal yesterday. Or that it will be a scandal tomorrow. If a teen is going to be initiated into sex and magick, I suppose it's better with someone who knows and respects them. I still don't like the idea.

Do I think that it was wrong for Gavin Frost to write what he did? Yep. Do I think that Kenny Klein was a predator? Yep

Do I think that Isaac Bonewits was a predator? No. I think he was a man of his time. The sexual revolution didn't end until AIDS grew widespread.

I really don't see an easy way out of this. The Politically Correct™ thing would be to denounce Bonewits and Anyone Else who dared look at a Woman in the wrong way. But I am not going to do that.

I don't believe that Bonewits had sex with children. He might have had sex with teens. I think if it happened, it was consensual.

I think it's asinine to expect men to ignore sexual signals. If our culture didn't constantly sexualize children and teens, it might be different.

*ETA - As I was reading over this, I remembered that wasn't Shields first scene in Just You and Me, Kid. Her first scene ends having her drop her towel and then her cute bare backside as she ran down an street. The point stands. Both she and the filmmakers were capitalizing on her sexuality.

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A narrow slice of life, but now and again pondering American neopaganism, modern adult pagans & the World.

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