Okay, so I know we didn’t get to talk about this article in class this week, but it was the assigned reading for the week, and I want to talk about it.  I have read Gayle Rubin’s Thinking Sex: Notes for a Radical Theory of  the Politics of Sexuality a total of four times now.  I always find something new when I read it, something that I didn’t catch before that really gets me thinking (in a good way).  On the other hand, one point that Rubin makes has troubled me each time I’ve read it.  This latest read was no exception.  Rubin gives examples of certain sexualities and sex acts that are considered “bad sex” in moral society.  One of the sexualities she points to is “cross-generational.”  Now, I’m not here to criticize a relationship between two obviously consenting adults that happen to have some years between them.  Hell, my boyfriend is 8 years older than me, my dad was 14 years my mom’s senior.  The issue I have trouble with is sexual relationships between adults and minors.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think an 18 year old should go to prison for having sex with his 15 year old partner.  I’m talking about MUCH older adults and their relationships with children.  Rubin talks about the persecution of “boylovers.”  She says, “These men have been the victims of a savage and undeserved witch hunt” (147).  Yet, she doesn’t explain why.  I don’t necessarily think these men should be demonized just for lusting after young boys, but the problem comes when sex acts occur with the young boys.  Rubin asserts, “A democratic morality should judge sexual acts by the way partners treat one another, the level of mutual consideration, the presence of absence of coercion, and quantity and quality of the pleasures they provide” (153 emphasis added).  What I want to know is, how do you measure the presence or absence of coercion, especially when it comes to minor children?  Along with increased age comes power.  How can we know that these boylovers aren’t using their power of age and experience to coerce boys into sexual acts?  Some people can feel coerced without even realizing it in the moment.  And what’s more, where can the line be drawn between the point in a person’s life where they are not as prone to easy coercion?

In recent celebrity gossip news, a cross-generational relationship has received some moral judgment.  Remember that guy from LOST that was in the Dharma Initiative but then he got killed off?  Yeah, me neither.  But now I just know him as the 51 year old man that married a 16 year old girl.  Doug Hutchison and Courtney Stodden have been making the media rounds because of their non-normative marriage.  This media frenzy is an obvious example of society’s fascination and condemnation of cross-generational sex.  While Courtney is probably more able to give “true consent” (whatever that means) than a younger kid, I still wonder how much Doug’s age, and the power that goes along with it, played into what might be constituted as the seduction of a minor.  There really is no way of knowing.  There is no answer.  The amount of coercion involved in what ultimately leads to consent cannot be measured.  I know that in my personal experience of same-generational heteronormative sex, some coercion has taken place that has lead to my consent.  So, did I consent, or was I coerced?  I don’t know.  And my brain is nearly fully developed.  A child’s brain is a different story. -Stephanie Halsted