Columnist's views on teen-age libido 'nonsense'


Jamie Kanter's Nov. 20 column, "Make way for the rhino that is the teen-age libido" cannot pass unanswered.

Teen-agers should be insulted by his portrayal of their group as nothing more than rampaging animals. You can rest assured that Mr. Kanter does not speak for all and that his views do not represent the current outlook on the sexual activity of teen-agers.

His appraisal of teen nature as depraved and flat-out wrong. Teens are not physiologically programmed "to have sex...smoke pot...(and) drink until they puke." Many do not, with no regrets. And no teen has ever "burst" as a result of abstaining from sex despite his claim. To be sure, adults are very much aware of what it is like to be young. Hence recent surveys in which adults who participated in some of the above described behavior as adolescents indicated their desire that their children not follow in their footsteps.

His idea that the availability of birth control is the answer to teen pregnancy is indefensible. He suggest that teens behave as animals in heat, yet be mature enough to use birth control every single time. In the real world, that is called a pipe dream. The only 100 percent effective prevention against teen pregnancy and STDs is abstinence before marriage and absolute fidelity within marriage. Telling teens they must live at the mercy of every appetite and passion is exactly the opposite of what they need to hear. They need to hear that they can and indeed should abstain from such destructive behavior.

Reality does not permit Mr. Kanter's cavalier attitude toward the dangers facing teens today. Too many teens are in too much trouble. Are we going to lift them up or allow them to wallow in the mire by destroying their sense of self-control? As for his role as a counselor, I would be extremely wary of anyone whose answer to teen pregnancy, drug use and binge drinking is the following jewel of puerility: "That's all they have and that's all they know. Give the kids a break and let them have a little fun."

Mr. Kanter's metaphoric "rhino that is the teen-age libido" is accurate only in that this rhino, left unabated, usually crashes and falls flat on its face. The "manure" moniker is more correctly applied to the absolute nonsense he spewed forth on Nov. 20.

Aaron M. Petersen
first-year medical student