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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.

Taproot: Taboo

Another of those entries I really don't want to write. But considering what happened, I suppose this is as good a time as any. I'm not entirely happy with this entry yet, which means it just became a Taproots entry.

There are things I freely admit, if you didn't know already.

I am a naturist in both senses of the word. I like the way the sun and the cool breeze feels on my skin. Especially my dangly bits.

Yes, I think more people should go naked and not just those with visually appealing bodies.

Just because I like nudity doesn't mean I am grabbing random females to slake my lust in the bushes. Nudity does not mean sex. Just because someone sees my genitals doesn't mean instant sex. It also doesn't mean I'm aroused by being naked around other people. Well, within reason.

Mainly out of respect for my neighbors, I don't go nude outside my front door. I am nude most of the time in my house or out in my back yard. My back yard has a privacy fence, so it's not like I'm flaunting my privates in someone's face. I seldom go nude in public, and then mainly in remote areas.

Unfortunately American culture doesn't deal well with nudity and near nudity, so some very strange customs are enshrined in law. I don't want to be arrested and I don't want to be on a sex offenders list, so I keep my nudity private. Right now we're at a point where men in general and specifically single adult men "can't be trusted" around women and children. We'll sexualize the women and girl children (and occasionally boy children), but by custom men aren't supposed to notice.

Often the point of a swimming suit is not to hide something but to highlight the very things you aren't supposed to notice.

Oh, and by the way, I just broke half a dozen customs by mentioning that.

This is very important. Nudity is not sex. Nudity does not promise sex. Nudity doesn't create sex. Nudity is not sex.

Our culture also confuses sex and love. Love and sex are not the same thing. Sex is hormones and sweaty bodies and emotional thrills and peak experiences. Love is commitment to the other person that moves beyond yourself. Sex is easy, love is hard.

Love doesn't have to have anything to do with sex. Nudity doesn't have to have anything to do with sex. Nudity, sex, and love are three entirely different topics. But our customs mix them. That mixes up our expectations. Especially among youngsters who don't always have the experience to sort everything out.

I have two unbreakable sexual rules. First, consenting adults only. Second, if you promised to be someone's "one and only," you're off limits. Your honor is more important to me than mine. I adopted those rules because most of our interpersonal problems in America today come from situations covered by those two rules. But let's face it, the first one is a compromise. It's a good compromise. Because of my sexual practices and my faith, I'm an easy target. It's one reason why I am not more public. The last thing I need is a sex offender label.

I'm in a committed polyamorous relationship with two wonderful ladies. We're not exactly exclusive, but I'm pretty sure I'm their main sex partner. I care for them very much. For me, a companion is something more than "friends with benefits" and something other than spouse.

I used to collect pelts when I was younger. I'm not proud of that.

I am straight but I do not think my sexuality should necessarily be your sexuality. That's up to you. I also think that our sexual preference can be more fluid than we want to acknowledge, but it's not something I'm eager to explore. That's OK, it's my choice. If you want to explore that, find someone willing and do that. That's OK too. Consenting adults, it's my first rule. But if you and I aren't going to have sex, then it shouldn't matter to you who I fuck and it shouldn't matter to me who you fuck.

Except that adult thing. That's really something we should discuss. By law and by custom, kids are off limits sexually. These days we're not even supposed to look at naked kids.

And that brings us to the heart of this post.

Children are sexual beings. Yes, even the prepubescents.

Our culture sexualizes children. We have for decades. We have eight year old beauty pageant contestants wearing more makeup than a twenty-two year old who is club hopping.

Blazes, someone explain to me why we have eight year old pageant contestants.

But we're not supposed to discuss child sexuality. We're not even supposed to acknowledge it. Not in polite company. Not in ANY company.

There's a disparity that we certainly don't talk about. If a young teen boy has sex, Americans tend to cheer him on for proving his masculinity. If a young teen girl has sex, Americans want to lock her away and never ever talk about it again.

That's not all. The really "dirty bit" is that some pagan trads do initiate children sexually. It happened before 2002 and it happened before 1972. Does that make it right?

That's the key question, isn't it?

Chas Clifton tries masterfully to put some of this into a historical context.

I know of a couple of cases of line initiation, where the magick had to be passed on with sex. That's usually a one time thing between master and student. In at least one case I read, the student was a ten year old boy.

Those facts make pagans Really REALLY Nervous. We don't want the Bad Christians punishing us for the "sins" of a few. Remember what I said above?

It's a good compromise. Because of my sexual practices and my faith, I'm an easy target. It's one reason why I am not more public. The last thing I need is a sex offender label.
The comments threads here and here get downright vicious. And every bit as Puritanical as anything I've ever seen from any Christian.

We pagans need to admit that we don't want to be blamed for the actions of a few "bad eggs."

But are they "bad eggs?"

First let's take a step back. We live in a culture that goes after a mother for leaving her child in the car for three minutes. We live in a culture that panics when a man hands out teddy bears.

Parents are not arrested for bringing their children with them on airplanes. In contrast, parents are arrested and prosecuted for allowing their children to wait in cars, play in parks, or walk through their neighborhoods without an adult.
…our fears of leaving children alone have become systematically exaggerated in recent decades—not because the practice has become more dangerous, but because it has become socially unacceptable.
— Pat Harriman and Heather Ashbach, Why are we so afraid to leave children alone?
There are things that I did as a child that would get my parents arrested if I were underage today. Everything from going to fly a kite to walking to the library. I walked to the library quite a bit, I checked out six or eight books at a time. And I usually had them back in a week.

And then there's this Arizona law that could get parents arrested for changing diapers.

Somewhere we've forgotten that children need to explore the world. I don't know when, but I know some parents began fighting back. And that's before sex or nudity.

I am not advocating sex with children. Regardless, pagans should examine things more closely. We should admit that nudity and sexuality aren't necessarily something that should be hidden when the young uns are around.

And yes, it's ironic that the naked pagan unmarried childless man is writing about child sexuality while trying NOT to be called a sex offender.

Children don't come with their sexuality wrapped in ribbon until their eighteenth birthday. In America the extended childhood thing is post WWII. Even there, it's not universal. My grandmother married as a teenager. I went to high school with girls who got pregnant. Among the Diné, that's a rite of passage.

Since children don't magically grow into sexual beings, sometimes some children can and do initiate sex. Even if it's their first sexual experience.

I've said before that there are people who are forty that I wouldn't trust to tie their shoes. And there are fourteen year olds that I would trust with my life.

Because that whole age of consent thing is pretty arbitrary. In most states there's a fudge factor. There have been cases where a girl was physically developed enough that she could pass for someone older.

Remember, kids do not come with their sexuality wrapped in ribbon until the age of consent.

So do I think that kids can be trusted with sex? Do I think that kids should be sexually initiated by someone who loves and cares for them?

There are thirteen year olds that I would trust to drive my car. And there are people who are forty-two that I think should be banned from driving anything more than a tricycle.

The fact is that humans are sexual creatures from birth. We like being held so our skin feels another's skin. We like being touched. We like gentle stroking.

Some kids figure this out pretty early. They play with their own nipples. They masturbate. They rub up against things. And people.

We like being looked at. We like being admired. Most kids learn flirting early.

Yes, prepubescent children can have sexual feelings. And sometimes they can have release.

But does that mean kids should have sex? Does that mean that adults should teach sex to kids?

There are twelve year olds I would trust with a gun. And there are people who are fifty that should never ever touch even a Super Soaker.

Humans are sexual creatures. Children do not come with their sexuality wrapped in ribbon. These are facts we can't deny.

The "no sexual messing with kids" is a cultural restriction. And it's not universal.

It's up to the individual child and their parents. There's no universal rule that applies. I'm certainly not going to tell you one. "Live and let live" is one of my credos. If you want to keep your kid from seeing another human naked until they are sixteen, I won't stop you. If you want to ignore their sexuality, that's your choice.

But THAT means you can't tell someone else how to raise their kid either. Even if they run around nude with their children. Even if they choose the child's 13th birthday to go all out.

Think about that one. Carefully. And yes, I just threw one of my parity tests at you again.

And yes, I know that some parents don't like their kids exposed to the nudity and sex that happens at some pagan gatherings. That's their right. Pagans should make every effort so some events are family friendly. But not every event should be nudity and sex free. And not all kids should be banned from those events. It should be up to the parents.

I don't approve of sex with kids. But we can't deny that children are sexual beings too. We can't wait until the hormones start carbonating and hope everything goes well.

It amazes me that for a "community" obsessed with sexual openness, pagans won't accept child sexuality. We won't accept that maybe wrapping it in ribbon doesn't make it go away. We're afraid to admit that children are sexual.

I'm not advocating massive sexual training of children. But ignoring the subject isn't working.

You can't childproof the world. You can only worldproof your children.

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