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Article on Children's Sexuality Provokes Sharp Responses

June 17, 2002

Regarding the article "About Kids and Sex" (June 3): On what basis can a child make informed consent about their sexual choices?

They haven't had the experience of adulthood, with its responsibilities and obligations. It is a rare 14-year-old who can make wise decisions about birth control, pregnancy, parenthood, venereal diseases, abortion and a responsible mate.

Sex brings a lot of issues with it. Adult issues. Is it fair to ask a young person with only childhood experience to make adult decisions?




I am at a loss as to why the L.A. Times would print a seemingly favorable article about Judith Levine and her despicable theories.

I realize that your argument in favor of presenting such an article would run along the lines of promoting healthy discussion, but there is nothing healthy, no matter how you slant it, about adults having sex with children. The only healthy response to this piece of misguided journalism and Judith Levine is revulsion.

I will never again buy another Los Angeles Times.


Lake View Terrace


What are you thinking? Are we actually discussing kids' need for sexual pleasure? If that's not bad enough, having them engage in sexual pleasures with adults? I don't know of anyone, with the exception of James in your article, who says they are fine or better off for their sexual relations as a minor. Most people say they wish they had waited to have sex.




I read with interest the articles regarding acceptance of teenage sexuality, and I must categorically disagree with the arguments presented. I fear grown-ups who seek casual or strictly sexual ties with the young are the worst kind of predators. For the most part, the older partner has no desire to watch a younger partner flower, intellectually or emotionally. He merely wants a fresh young body, which will be in thrall and--for desperation and loneliness--will do what youth is wont to do, follow the older lover's directions. The directions will soon cover every aspect of the younger person's life. For the lover of a minor is basically a bully.


Van Nuys


Harris Mirkin and Judith Levine and the others cited in the article should say what they actually mean: Let the kids copulate. Don't give us this line about letting them experience "intimacy" in a "consensual" situation. Kids are learning to clean their rooms, shower daily, operate automobiles, turn in homework assignments and socialize constructively with their peers. They are not, by and large, capable of the complex emotional and psychological intimacy that accompanies every act of sex, consensual or not.

To pretend that the adults who prey on the confusion and vulnerability of adolescents in order to sexually gratify themselves at those kids' expense are in any way functional, mature or healthy damages everyone.


Fountain Valley


I wonder if most of the psychological harm and moral scarring done to today's kids is a result of them being made to feel guilty, dirty and ashamed by the almost hysterical attitude that prevails. It seems to be a sort of sexual McCarthyism that is doing more harm than good. There must be a better way to cope with this situation than the way it's being handled now. I hope we can arrive at some method that will stop damaging so many young people.


Santa Barbara


As a pediatrician, I see the harm that comes from the denial of children's sexuality. Of course, there is no such thing as consensual sex between a child and an adult--that goes without saying. But parents are shocked by the normal exploration and interest that children have in their bodies.

Worse than that, however, is the inability of parents to deal with sexuality in a rational and educational manner.

Giving the "growing up" talk to a group of girls and their mothers at a school recently, I mentioned masturbation for about 30 seconds. The total message was that some people say it is wrong but the most important thing for you to know is that it cannot hurt you. Three parents objected that I dealt with it at all and one mother grabbed her daughter and left. I feel sorry for those children. We know that education gives girls the tools to take responsibility for their bodies, and the more we talk about it, the later they initiate sex and the fewer partners they have.


Santa Monica

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