TORONTO, CANADA – A new documentary by a Canadian author and filmmaker aims to shed light on the sexual behaviors of teens.
Sharlene Azam said she wrote the book and made the film, both entitled Oral Sex is the New Goodnight Kiss, in order to educate parents about attitudes, values and behaviors of which they otherwise might be unaware.
Four years of research led her to the conclusion that for contemporary teens as young as 11, oral sex is as common as kissing, and being paid to strip or have sex at parties is neither rare nor frowned upon, she said.
“If you talk to teens [about oral sex] they’ll tell you it’s not a big deal,” Azam told ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “In fact, they don’t consider it sex. They don’t consider a lot of things sex.”
Azam’s research conclusions closely parallel those in a 2005 study by the Center for Disease Control’s National Center for Health Statistics. The CDC’s figures indicate more than half of all teens 15-19 have engaged in oral sex.
What may be most shocking to parents, according to Azam, is that the girls who take money for casual sex aren’t the usual suspects.
“The prettiest girls from the most successful families [are the most at risk],” Azam told “GMA.” “We’re not talking about marginalized girls. [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?”
Some of the sexual behaviors hint at larger societal issues, Azam suggested. Several of the girls in the documentary see sex not as a way to obtain worldly goods, but as a defense against rejection and abandonment.
“A lot of girls are disappointed in love, and I think they believe they can hook up the way guys do and not care,” Azam said. “But unfortunately, they do care.”
(Photo: Aleksandra Banic)