Teens: Oral Sex and Casual Prostitution No Biggie
Teens in Documentary Say Oral Sex 'Not That Big of a Deal' and Get Paid for Sexual Favors
By CLAIRE SHIPMAN and COLE KAZDIN
May 28, 2009
They don't give their names, but viewers can see their faces plainly and what these teens are saying is shocking parents.
"I ended up having sex with more than one person that night and then in the morning I was trying to get morning-after pills," one of the girls said. "I was, like, 14 at the time."
It's just one of dozens of stories from teenage girls in a new documentary by Canadian filmmaker Sharlene Azam that aims to shed light on the secret, extremely sexual lives of today's teens.
After four years researching for the documentary, Azam told "Good Morning America" that oral sex is as common as kissing for teens and that casual prostitution -- being paid at parties to strip, give sexual favors or have sex -- is far more commonplace than once believed.
"If you talk to teens [about oral sex] they'll tell you it's not a big deal," Azam said. "In fact, they don't consider it sex. They don't consider a lot of things sex."
Evidence of this casual attitude may be seen in the fact that more than half of all teens 15 to 19 years old have engaged in oral sex, according to a comprehensive 2005 study by the Centers for Disease Control's National Center for Health Statistics.
'Oral Sex Is the New Goodnight Kiss'
In the documentary, "Oral Sex Is the New Goodnight Kiss," girls as young as 11 years old talk about having sex, going to sex parties and -- in some extreme situations -- crossing into prostitution by exchanging sexual favors for money, clothes or even homework and then still arriving home in time for dinner with the family.
"Five minutes and I got $100," one girl said. "If I'm going to sleep with them, anyway, because they're good-looking, might as well get paid for it, right?"
Another girl talked about being offered $20 to take off her shirt or $100 to do a striptease on a table at a party.
The girls are almost always from good homes, but their parents are completely unaware, Azam said.
"The prettiest girls from the most successful families [are the most at risk]. We're not talking about marginalized girls," she said. "[Parents] don't want to know because they really don't know what to do. I mean, you might be prepared to learn that, at age 12, your daughter has had sex, but what are you supposed to do when your daughter has traded her virginity for $1,000 or a new bag?"
Sex Favors Traded for Relationship Stability
For some of the girls, the sexual favors are not about clothes or money, but used to keep a relationship together in a chillingly objective way.
"I think there's very much trading for relationship favors, almost like 'you need to do this [to] stay in this relationship,'" one girl told "Good Morning America."
"There's a lot of social pressure," said another. "Especially because of our age, a lot of girls want to be in a relationship and they're willing to do anything."
The girls laughingly admitted they never talk to their parents about their sexual activity.
"I mean, we're not looking for our future husbands," one girl said. "We're just looking for, maybe like ... at our age, especially, I think all of us, both sexes, we have a lot of urges, I guess, that need to be taken care of. So if we resort to a casual thing, no strings attached, it's perfectly fine."
Azam said she thinks the "no strings attached" romances could be a defense mechanism against a greater disappointment.
"A lot of girls are disappointed in love," she said. "And I think they believe they can hook up the way guys do and not care.
"But unfortunately, they do care."