Debate Guide: Child sexualisation and objectification

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"If kids are constantly having sex, what is to stop them interpreting every relationship as sexual, and most dangerously, believing that they must act sexually to please adults, or that they are only valued as sex objects?"

So what if adults are "constantly having sex" (however you define that)? The assumption in your argument is that sexual arousal and gratification is going to be the status-quo, even if younger people are simply allowed to take part within the law. You assume that of all emotions, sexuality will be the ultimate "force" that "poisons" or "takes over" all of a child's relationships. This is nonsensical. If it is not the case for adults, what reason can you provide to suggest that it would be the case for younger people? And what could your argument be tacitly admitting about the normal, sexual drives of those who are currently prohibited from sexual activity?

This argument is also nonsensical because it is built upon the assumption that the success of a sexually bonded adult - minor coupling is only to be judged against a sexual standard. This article goes into detail about how this is a rather basic flaw in thinking about alien concepts. Another assumption is that the freedom to pursue these contacts brings about the "risk" of nearly every relationship of that minor turning "sexual". At the same time, we know that children learn the relevance of various forms of care, responsibility, etc. Moreover, we know that even babies can soundly rely on different adults for different life purposes - mother, nanny, doctor, affectionate sibling, for example. Young people know what their elders value and when allowed to, act rationally to satisfy these preferences in "normal" relationships. So why should basic sexual pleasure be any different in a sexually emancipated, taboo-free society?

There are also problems with your seeing sexual relationships as especially 'objectifying'. All this demonstrates is that your views regarding these, if not, all sexual relationships and behaviours are fundamentally negative! We have to be careful before casting externally derived self-worth in a negative light. On many issues (including sex but also economics, religion, and platonic relationships) there are many popular sentiments for which people are obligated to others first and themselves second. Nevertheless, one could say that children in particular, need to be taught to operate by their own judgement and in their own interests first and foremost. They must be taught that all adults are fallible, and that they have an obligation (to themselves) to question the motives and judgement of others if the need arises. If each partner respects the other's self-worth, rational self-interest will lead them to work together with an enthusiasm not otherwise possible.

Finally, if sex objectifies, just how many other things else can? If sex objectifies because of its seductive power, then why are we problematising it as something negative and not only forbidding certain people access to sexual outlet with partners of their choice, but hiding from sight the sexual meanings that will allow them to deal with this power?

See also