Sensible sex tips in teen 'zine

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The German teen magazine Bravo is the exact equivalent - in terms of the intended audience - of Tiger Beat in America. Even the pop star photos and layouts are similar. But a couple of articles are potent evidence of the gulf between European and American attitudes toward sex. Translated below are excerpts from Bravo's regularly featured sex education column. Titled Aufklarung in German, which translates literally - and significantly - to "clearing up," the column often includes readers' first time experiences. The young readers' questions are answered a woman, Dr. Kappier. Here's a letter that would really get the riot troops out over here. It's like written by Bjorn and Jorg, and the headline translates: We Groped Each Other.

"We were recently at home all alone and had just read a porno magazine, which got us all horny. We both had a hard on. We looked at each other and grinned. Then we sat down on the bed and started to grope each other. It was a beautiful feeling for both of us, although we both later had a bad conscience. What should we do in the future? Does this mean we're gay?"

Her answer is "Many boys of your age experience same-sex contacts. This is due to the fact that every person has a homosexual component; only its manifestation varies from person to person. In addition, most youth of 14 don't have any other way of having their first sexual experience except with their best friend. When you both looked at the porno magazine, you became sexually aroused, which in turn led to sexual activity and pleasurable feelings. Take it for what it was, namely, a new experience. Don't torture yourself with questions of whether you're gay or not. For starters, that can't be predicted for 14-year-olds. One can only characterize people as homosexual when they are emotionally and physically more mature and then feel attracted exclusively to people of the same sex. In no case should you have a guilty conscience; after all, you didn't do anything wrong and you didn't hurt anyone. How your friendship will develop in the future and whether your sexual inclinations will play a role in that development cannot be predicted, as I said. But you can contribute to each other by talking about what happened, so that, above all, your friendship will not be broken up by it."

It's like a breath of fresh air, isn't it? I, like you, might quibble over a few details, but, by and large, I think it's a very human, constructive and realistic response. What I wouldn't give to see a similar response over here. Instead, if there would ever be such a feature and such a letter printed in the first place (unthinkable), both boys would be told they should seek professional help before it's too late, not to mention all the moralizing babble that would go along with it. The regular section about readers' first experiences is titled So War's Bei Mir.

In the same issue as the boy's letter, 15-year-old Marion tells us about getting it on with a 21-year-old. The big headline underneath the title translates as "His Sperm Landed on My Belly." Absolutely no comment anywhere about the fact that he was 21, she only 15. Here there would almost certainly be something hysterical about "child abuse."

source: < Sensible Sex Tips in Teen 'zine >; NAMBLA Bulletin, vol 11, n. 2; March 1990