They were like puppies that spilled all over each other. There were four or five of them, it wasn't easy to tell exactly how many there were. They had come to the Vermont sexuality conference and were there to have a good time. All of them were still in high school and they roamed the hallways of the hotel like a pack of boys.
I met them in my first session for self advocates on abuse prevention and again in my session on building healthy relationships. They were so full of testosterone that their hormones clustered in the air above them. They participated, fully and loudly. They put the 'boy' in boisterous. They were, in a word, charming.
It took me a bit to figure out who they were though. You see I had read the brochure of the conference and saw that there was going to be a session on 'self pleasure'. Masturbation. A whole session. When I read the description of the session, I noted that there were five or six people listed as instructors.
During my first session with the boys in attendance the let it slip that they were teaching a session themselves the next day. Yep, they were going to teach the session on masturbation. Teen boys, masturbation, it's not a great reach to figure that they'd be experts on that particular subject.
So I joked with them about their session and they laughed and hooted. They all said they weren't nervous about the subject or the topic. Indeed they seemed to be looking forward to it. Something about this whole thing really got to me. I was thrilled that these kids were that sex positive and I was moved that they had wanted to teach others to love themselves, their bodies and their sexuality.
As it happened, I was doing a session for care providers in the next room to where the boys (and girls I find out later) were teaching. At first I heard bouts of laughter from the group as the session started. And then an eerie silence. Whatever they were doing over there, it was obviously being taken seriously.
I rushed to leave as I had a long drive home so I didn't get to see them again. But I thank them here. They gave comfort to an old guys heart. They assured me, in their own way, that things are getting better. That times, they truly are achanging.
Do you think, maybe, there really is hope?