Right under our noses, girls are trading oral sex for pretty shirts and sex for money.
For her new book and film Oral Sex is the New Goodnight Kiss, Canadian journalist Sharlene Azam interviewed teenage and pre-teen girls about sexual attitudes and found many who use sex as currency.
Even in middle-class Canada, girls are being recruited — often by other teens — to provide sexual services to groups of men and boys.
“I was most surprised to learn that there are girls recruiting other girls,” Azam told Metro. “It is chilling to sit across from a teenage girl who talks about targeting a pretty, popular girl at her school because she thinks she has everything and is jealous of her.”
Parents often believe that their daughters are safe when they are at school, at the mall or chatting on the Internet. But Azam found girls as young as 12 were actually giving oral sex to groups of boys and telling their parents they were hanging out with friends. All the boys had to do was say they “want a piece” of her, and she’d perform oral sex while the others watched, reports Azam, who splits her time between Los Angeles and Vancouver. She also interviewed girls who were willing to pose nude on their webcam and get paid to send the pictures to anonymous men.
“There is very little education or awareness of what is happening to girls because the problem is so new and it is well hidden.”
Why are girls today more promiscuous than in the past? “The Internet has sped up teens’ sexual willingness and behaviour,” says Azam. “Girls are surrounded by a hypersexualized culture where they are being groomed and encouraged to think of themselves as: Hooter’s Girl, Stripper, Porn Star. Exposure affects behaviour.”
Girls who are looking for attention know that a sexy video or picture can give them power and launch them into fame.
This behaviour can have long-term health effects. It could affect the girls’ ability to trust men later in life and to have normal, living relationships, says Azam, who is married with a young daughter. In addition, many girls are getting STDs. One public health nurse told her that at the four schools she visits, hundreds of kids have Chlamydia.
Azam suggests that parents pay close attention to their daughters during their teen years and have regular conversations with them about sex. “The parents that I interviewed wished they had paid attention to the warning signs. When you learn that your daughter has traded sex for $60 or has sold her virginity for $1,000, your whole life stops,” she says.
A revealing read
• Oral Sex is the New Goodnight Kiss by Sharlene Azam is available through www.thenewgoodnightkiss.com and Amazon.
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