Travails of Miley Cyrus Illustrate Need For Destigmatized Sex


It's probably just me. No, I'm sure it's just me but I'll ask the question anyway.:Is there something strange about Miley Cyrus jumping immediately from that Vanity Fair/Annie Leibovitz "scandal" -- where she was portrayed as, well, a bit more sexy than our sexually repressed society can handle -- to an appearance in the Body by Milk campaign, where she sports...white stuff all over her lips?

One could argue it's just a natural transition to the next level of, um, participation in the oh-so-seedy activity of -- OMG! -- engaging in dirty sex acts. But, that would be gross so let's just leave that stuff on the table.


One could also argue the immediate transition to scandalicious sexiness from the most wholesome of role models is simply just another step in the natural but meticulously planned trajectory of a Disney child star.

But the smartest argument anyone could make would be to leave the poor girl alone. A big deal has been made from nothing. She's 15. Fifteen-year-olds think about sex. A lot. Many actually have sex! While that apparently horrifies a lot of people, exploring one's sexuality is one of the most normal human behaviors of all. Nothing anyone can do or say will ever change that.


While we rate movies R for even the mildest hint of nudity or sexual conduct, a PG or PG-13 movie can blow the shit out on an entire city or country, killing millions in an instant, and no one bats an eye. God forbid a movie show prolonged shots of a person's boobs or ass -- or even the remote possibility of more than a kiss -- before the classic cut to "the morning after."

Oh no. Not in this country. Here, sex is bad. Violence is good. Sex is shunned and closeted. Violence is celebrated and rewarded. Like the ass-backwards relationship between obscenely low-paid educators and obscenely high-paid business tycoons, our relationship with sex and violence is twisted at best.


Oh sure, sex can kill you. Sex can result in unwanted emotional side effects. Sex can make babies who may not have a proper home ready for them when they enter this world. But because we've packaged up the topic of sex, stuffed it in a box and placed it in some dark, dusty corner of a warehouse, never to be spoken of again, the people that most need to learn about sex never do until, in many cases, it's too late and they've suffered one of the aforementioned side effects.


How we got from a Miley Cirus milk mustache commercial to the celebration of violence over the closeting of sex and the ill effects of having uneducated sex is unimportant. Of great importance is the fact nothing is done well unless it is first learned. But when it comes to sex, no one wants to talk about it. It makes people queasy, nervous, awkward. Parents don't want to talk to their kids about it. Kids don't want to ask their parents about it. That's partially due to the topic having been stigmatized year after year after year as some sort of taboo, off-topic subject never to be discussed without a giggle or a smirk or a squirm of embarrassment.


Right up there with love, the desire for sex is one of the most powerful human emotions. Like love, it can make people do stupid things. The full-on destigmatization of sex and proper sex education won't remove all possibility of error, but it will at least contribute to the mental tools at one's disposal when an important decision needs to be made.

Back in the day -- the caveman's day -- sex was pretty much for the exclusive purpose of procreation. It's still an integral component of procreation today, but along the way it became a form of recreation too. It was also inextricably linked to love. Sex. Love. The two are supposed to go together in an inseparable fashion.


Irrespective of how you categorize sex, one thing is clear: people are having it. They always have. They always will. There is no changing that. There is also no defined age range, old or young, when it comes to categorizing those that choose to have sex. If people are going to have matter any matter what anyone says...wouldn't it be smart to eradicate its stigma and make the sex education taboo a thing of the past?

by Steve Hall    May-15-08   Click to Comment   
Topic: Campaigns, Celebrity, Opinion, Trends and Culture   

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A bit off topic but with reference to sex.

Actually I was reading something from Cicero the other day. something how erectile dysfuncition in older men was a blessing, and had a particular advantage...but today's society sees ED only as a curse.

Seeing ED prevalence today is so out there... maybe we ought to redicover the value of dick's failing.

Posted by: Nancy on May 15, 2008 11:43 AM

Steve, this is a brilliant analysis of society's double standards -- between sex, which is bad, and killing, somehow more acceptable.

It's also noteworthy that there is a big difference between what people *say* they don't like and what they really react to in communications. Sexual imagery may spark controversy, but it also makes young stars famous and gets consumers to look at milk ads. If it didn't work, marketers would stop doing it.

The fact that marketers use sex so much, and push the envelope, is a hint that people respond. That's right, consumer: The blame ends with you.

Posted by: Ben Kunz on May 15, 2008 1:06 PM

I've never even heard of this alleged scandal.

Posted by: LeChuck on May 15, 2008 1:56 PM

I used to avoid adrants after trying an initial courting with the advertising community. I now come here to celebrate my celibacy. It's amazing what a bunch of young boobs and constant sexual references can do to turn me off. I know I must be alone.

Posted by: nancy on May 15, 2008 2:19 PM

Steve, I am going to take a guess you don't have adolescent children...
the issue isn't about sex, rather it is about the premature "sexualization" of children. Many of us parents get the feeling we are salmon swimming upstream. Our children aren't allowed to experience childhood. Rather they are pushed to become mini-adults.

Posted by: Mark on May 15, 2008 2:21 PM

I totally agree!!!!!!!!!!! I think there's nothin wrong with those pics of her in VF. There's waaaay too much violence in the media. How do think all this violence you see on the news get to be such massive scales. I'm not saying that the media is all at fault don't get me wrong. But I don't think it helps. And I don't understand why sex is such an uncomfortable subject. It IS one of the most natural things in the world. This is a wonderful artical. It is insightful, and well written and makes a very good point.

Posted by: Karla on May 15, 2008 4:15 PM

she is such a slut and doesnt know how all of this is going to look in the long run shes hanging out with the wrong people i wouldnt b surprised if she started using drugs or got pregnant at a young age

Posted by: me on May 15, 2008 6:18 PM

"me" that is uncalled for an rude. She is not a slut. She's a normal teenager who happens to be famous so everything she does is placed under the microscope. She hasn't done anything wrong.

She is, however, getting to the age where things can go wrong if she's not careful. I'm sure her father and handlers will guide her well. At least I hope they do.

Posted by: Steve Hall on May 15, 2008 8:37 PM

I'll echo the comment above. It's less about sex and more about presenting a 15-year old in an overtly sexual way. People who get upset with this are worried about their young kids seeing this. I think there's also a concern that you're providing fodder for sick bastards who get off on underage girls.

That picture of father and daughter doesn't look appropriate to me and doesn't instill confidence that her dad and handlers will keep it under control.

They have only 3 years to work with her as it is. Once she's 18 she can become a Britney clone/white trash train wreck if that's what she wants.

Posted by: pat smith on May 15, 2008 10:02 PM

Meh. Let her do what she wants. Just let it be in private, and not the public eye. Exhibiting sexual images at the age of 15 rubs even me, (still a teenager at 19), the wrong way.

Posted by: Jordan Sedgwick on May 15, 2008 10:11 PM

Meh. Let her do what she wants. Just let it be in private, and not the public eye. Exhibiting sexual images at the age of 15 rubs even me, (still a teenager at 19), the wrong way.

Posted by: Jordan Sedgwick on May 15, 2008 10:12 PM

Having read this well-thought-out post, and all the provocative commentary, all I can think about is how pleased I am to have never owned a lime green bra.

Posted by: Angela on May 16, 2008 1:19 PM

there is a difference between love and sex. it's zakeed. miley will find out

Posted by: zakeed on May 18, 2008 7:13 PM

i dont agree at all. shes only 16 now and she is the one giving out those pictures. she is the one who chosse to be famous no one else. maybe they mite have helped her get there but its her own fault they are so on her! especially cuz she is suppose to be a role model.
that picture of her in her bathing suit, SHE had to have givin it to on of her publisists or someone because there is NO way they could've goten that picture you can clearly see that it was taken by herself!
yes, she is a Slut! haven't you noticed that she pretty much has a different boyfriend EVERY other week! Thats stupid no wonder she isn't maturing!
And i cant believe your ok with teenage sex! you dont relize that they mite just wanting to do this to be popular or cuz its the kind of person thay HAVE to be! so think bout it the next time you talk to your kids!!
p.s. that violence we do consider is bad, but the sex is sumthing they dont want there kids to know bout so that the kids dont get the wrong impression! but the kids r the blessing but the sex is when they make a big mistake especially if they catch sumthing!

Posted by: angela on August 18, 2009 10:47 AM