A teen sex guru speaks

By Amy Benfer

Published January 13, 2001 1:23AM (EST)

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I am a 15-year-old female, currently attending the University of Las Vegas. I wholly and completely agree with Lynn Ponton. I've been trying to muster up the courage to recommend the kind of sex ed she endorses to our local board of education. I figure that hearing from a youth might bring new light to the subject.

I have never had problems with my sexuality and my sexual identity, but I've known girls who have. I know girls who think they want to make out and/or have sex, then suddenly change their mind and become scared. I know a guy who enjoys giving, rather than receiving, oral sex. I know teens who'd like to know all about oral sex and the like. I'm completely open about my sexuality and I see nothing wrong with it. I thank my mom for allowing me to learn about all aspects of sexuality, even if she disagreed with some of them.

I think it's time we had sex education that was unbiased and open. I'm tired of hearing about abstinence. I'm tired of hearing that oral sex isn't sex. I'm tired of hearing "slut," "hoochie mama," "crack whore" and the like.

I want my friends, and my nieces, cousins and nephews, to learn about all sex without being embarrassed to talk about it with an adult. Because, after all, a 15-year-old can give only so much information.

-- Aisha K. O'Brien

Your teen sex guru is completely wrong. Of course teenage girls are recipients of oral sex! I'm a senior about to graduate, and I'm going to study journalism in college. We read Salon.com for my high school journalism class, and the inaccuracies in some of the things that you publish concern us. Usually Salon is fairly knowledgeable about what's happening, but your teen sex articles are as old-fashioned and clueless as those printed in Time magazine.

The "sex guru" should have talked to some real teenagers, or more teenagers, to find out the truth. I've been reading all your sex stories about teenagers and the only one that came close to the truth was "Blow jobs and other boring stuff," in which both boys and girls admitted to how casually oral sex is treated and talked about things like the fear of sexual harassment. These are the things that are "new": Boys are much more aware of girls' sexuality than they used to be, and girls get more respect. Take it from an 18-year-old -- it's all OK. We're all learning, and girls know what's going on, and we're not victims like other generations of women have been.

-- Sharon Iverson

Once again, in an article called "Teen sex guru speaks," Salon editors failed to mention even once the needs of gay and lesbian students in abstinence-only sex education. Where are the voices of gay teens in all these federal studies of premarital sex? I'm guessing they're absent, but the assumption being made in all of Salon's coverage of this issue is that every student in the country is straight and that there is no such thing as a gay or lesbian teenager.

-- Erik Piepenburg

By Salon Staff

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