Adult What?

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Okay, I wasn’t going to write anymore on Chip’s Rants, but now I find myself with a rant, and it just belongs here.

Last week I was in Wisconsin, which appears to have more adult-themed businesses than any other midwestern state. I got to thinking that it was really a misappropriation of the term “adult.” We talk about adult movies, adult bookstores, adult magazines, and even adult superstores. What we really mean is sex. “Adult” is supposed to refer to someone who has become mature enough to know that not every desire should be gratified, that in fact, the gratification of some desires is harmful to oneself or others.

Of course, sex is supposed to be for adults, but even here we send mixed messages to our children. Most sexual activity between adults and minors is criminal, yet even a cursory look at what we teach in sex ed classes in the schools reveals that we expect our kids to be sexually active (but only with other minors, of course!) before they reach adulthood. And it’s ridiculous to expect a young man or woman to be suddenly ready for the absurd mish-mash of “adult” sex when he or she turns eighteen. But being eighteen is all that’s required to subscribe to (or even participate in producing) the most disgusting porn imaginable. There’s nothing mature or grown-up or really adult about it.
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