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?
There must be hope, because I know exactly which gaggle of teenage boys you're talking about, because I was thinking the same thing.
My first thought when I saw them was that people from my high school (which wasn't that long ago) would have seemed really different in some way. Yeah some of us joked around, but there was an undercurrent of fear and submission and general institutional stench at our school, and a desperation and fear in any apparent rebelliousness that happened, that I couldn't detect (and I looked for it) on those boys at all.
Oh yes! I saw that same group and had the pleasure of being in the workshop! As a support provider I I was in the workshop to offer support for the young lady I was there with. I must say by the time we separated into gender groups I was like a giggley school girl, never mind that I am 43 and married 25 years! As my face burned with inhibitions I thought I had lost years ago , I sat there amazed at the lack of inhibitions and the looks of complete interest and trust on the faces of the 25 or so women gathered around me. I must say by the time the class was over probably more than 10 people had peeked through the windows of our shut door to see what all the hooting and laughter was about and I was surprised at how much this old gal had learned!
Way to go GMSA!
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