The Ask Amy column is originally written for The Denver Post and syndicated to other newspapers, including mine. The December 16th column caught my attention:
The columns are written by Amy Dickinson and great priority is given to allowing people to do whatever they want sexually as the answer to confusing relationship questions that are sent in. I don’t read it very often because the answer is always pretty much the same, “do what you feel like doing and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise…oh, and make sure you use a condom,” which is why December 16th caught my eye. I wondered how Amy was going to tell a teen to keep having sex with an older man or to tell the older man to keep having sex with the teen, all in the “express your freedom” and “free love” spirit of most of the columns. This is not a bashing session on Amy Dickinson, as she is only a reflection on the rest of our culture. A culture that thinks it can live by an “anything goes” rule for sex, without paying a price for it. Meanwhile this very culture is crumbling to bits on the micro and macro level because of this abiding rule, but we continue snorting the drug even more rapidly than before. There’s a reason Ask Amy is widely syndicated: people like being told they can do whatever they want sexually, with Amy even giving them a feeling of morality and good conscious to go along with it.
Now, back to the teen and older man…
At first glance when you think of “teen” and “older man” in a sexual relationship, what do you think of? Child molestation and pedophilia. Even in an “anything goes” culture, child molestation doesn’t go. Have you ever paused to reflect on why this is? Not on why you individually feel child molestation is wrong, but why it seems to be the only standard our culture has left (honestly, it might be the only sexual standard our culture has left, along with rape). Our culture is against forced acts against a person’s will. Hence why Ask Amy is so popular: as long as something is consensual, it gets the green light. Child molestation isn’t consensual, it’s an oppressor forcing their will upon a defenseless child. But what about statutory rape? Statutory rape is consensual sexual intercourse between an adult and a minor. Statutory rape will get you serious prison time and a lifetime stint on the sex offenders list, even though it was consensual.
Amy would never condone statutory rape, right? Even that is out of bounds in an “anything goes” culture and newspaper column. Out of bounds because minors are vulnerable–they are easily fooled, easily manipulated to trust and to obey orders by authority figures. They are groomed as prey and taken advantage of.
In the December 16th Ask Amy column, someone named “Perplexed” writes in to tell Amy she’s been babysitting “Matt’s” two children for the past two years, ever since Matt’s wife died. Perplexed was 16 when she began babysitting. She writes:
My relationship with Matt turned sexual on my 18th birthday and we sleep together now at least three or four times a week.
Do you think this happened overnight? This is a classic case of grooming a minor for statutory rape, even if the act of sex didn’t happen until it was “legal.”
I have a visceral negative reaction to your choices (and his), but at 18 you are legally an adult and you are free to be sexual in any way you want.
Praise God for Amy’s “visceral negative reaction” toward two years of sexual grooming, only to be followed by that word we all love, “but…”
…but at 18 you are legally an adult and you are free to be sexual in any way you want.
Cultural absolute on sex #7: If a sexual act occurs when someone is 17 years and 364 days old, it deserves the punishment of prison and a lifetime registry of personas non-grata, but if it occurs at 17 years and 365 days old, it’s all good. Even if the other person is 32 years old and has been grooming this teen since they were 16. And shame on anyone who takes a stand to say this is wrong.
Why is so offensive to actually warn people about how damaging sex outside of marriage is?
“Perplexed” says herself that she is “afraid of becoming the campus slut,” she doesn’t dare tell her mother about it, and that her best friend thinks its creepy.
Dear Perplexed, your best friend thinks you having sex with a 32-year-old perv 3-4x week is creepy BECAUSE IT IS.
Why can’t Amy write that? I am amazed at the lack of conviction, courage and standards our culture (and Amy’s column) has. It’s not normal for a high school senior to fear being the college slut or to have alienated herself from her mother and best friend because of a dark sexual addiction with a pervert. This poor girl has deep, deep issues now because of the two years of abuse she endured by “Matt,” but Amy can’t help her. An “anything goes” culture can’t help her. It’s a culture who thinks it can have its cake and eat it too, a culture who thinks it can have the best of both worlds; but it can’t. A culture that blindly follows its own authority rather than submitting to God’s authority. You reap what you sow. Actions have consequences.
Amy’s advice to Perplexed:
If you don’t want to be a “slut” in college, then don’t be.
As if sexual addiction can simply be turned off like a light switch. No Amy, it can’t. Years of conditioning can’t just be chosen away when the ramifications of that conditioning rear their ugly head. We are products of our conditioning. No one is brave enough to speak out against the conditioning, conditioning our culture celebrates: premarital sex, pornography, total autonomy, “Anything goes!” Who am I to tell you what sexual choices you should make, even when the ones you are making are killing you?
Amy concludes her advice with:
I urge you to pay attention to your studies and friendships. You must always use birth control and condoms to protect your health…
…You should get tested every year for chlamydia.
Dear lost, lonely, abused, empty, starved, addicted, objectified Perplexed,
Have friends and get good grades. Use birth control and condoms. And get tested for chlamydia. Live happily ever after. Sincerely, -Amy
This whole letter from Perplexed almost seems like a prank. Like someone who knows Amy always gives the same advice (“if you use a condom, it’s fine.”) and was wondering if she’d still apply it in a case of statutory rape. Oh, but don’t worry Amy, they had sex at midnight on her 18th birthday so it’s not actually statutory rape, so go ahead and copy and paste your reply.
The copy and paste answers are killing us. “Just use a condom” as if sex was about body parts and nothing more. As if choosing to have the same sexual habits as a stray dog was how God intended it, or as if those habits will not have any repercussions down the road (for an individual and for our society as a whole when this is gulped down by everyone). And I’m not referring to chlamydia. I’m talking about the mentality that sexual addiction creates, the mentality of objectifying others and objectifying oneself. Taking the dignity of being human and belittling it to pieces of meat from the grocery deli. A world in desperate thirst for love is addicted to the total opposite: selfish, consuming, instant-gratification. But don’t you dare tell anyone otherwise. Just use a condom, and you’ll still live happily ever after, just like you want.