“Mommy, What Does ‘Sexual Activity’ Mean?”
So my friend’s nearly sixteen-year-old son is going on a “service trip” with his longtime summer camp. He received a list of rules for the trip, the breaking of which would warrant being sent home. He read the list, “No recreational drugs, no weapons, no sexual activity,” and, being a smart child, as well as being a fifteen year old dude contemplating six weeks abroad with a group of fifteen year old co-eds, balked at the last prohibition. Not on principle, but because he was baffled as to what it meant. How can you follow a rule so broad as to be incomprehensible and incapable of being applied fairly?
“Mom, what does that mean, like specifically?” He said. His mother, being a close friend of mine as well as a genius, became incensed at the camp. What did it mean? Who writes something so vague? Thinking is an activity – does that mean horny thoughts are grounds for early expulsion from the trip? Hand-holding? Kissing? Masturbating? Embarking on a quiet walk a deux that might lead to something physical? And why are they making this rule? What are they trying to achieve here?
I was also perplexed. “You have to ask the camp to give a better definition of what they mean, these kids are fifteen!!!!” I said to her, concerned for the next generation’s sexual well-being.
My friend: “His father says I should leave it alone and let him figure it out.”
“Oh great, like the rule is actually ‘don’t get caught.’ That’s great, ‘here’s your intro to sex: it’s not okay and you need to hide it and be ashamed of it and if you get caught you’ll be punished.’ That’s super-healthy.”
“That’s what I said!”
“You are right.”
“Ugh I so don’t want to deal with this.”
“You have to. They probably don’t even know what they mean. What are they trying to achieve? Is this a liability thing? A group dynamic preservation thing? A random thing?”
“So I’m trying to figure out whether or not I send him with condoms. I don’t want to give him condoms because then he’ll have sex.”
“Listen to yourself. Are you kidding me? You’re saying that? Where’s my friend? You think a bunch of fifteen year olds who wanna have sex are going to not have sex because you didn’t pack condoms? Seriously? You don’t think they’re for sale where they’re going? Please.”
“You have to talk to the camp.”
“Ugh. I know.”
“Ax asked his friend Melody to have a naked party with him in his circus tent the other day. They’re five.”
“What did you say?”
“I said that in Melody’s family the custom is to wear clothing for play dates and so they should just have a regular party in the circus tent.”
“How’d they take it?”
“Ax was cool with it, the girl was a little bummed out.”
“And so it begins.”