If you’ve been on the Internet this week, then you’ve definitely heard something about the controversy surrounding Lena Dunham’s new memoir, Not That Kind Of Girl. In the book, Lena discusses how she explored sex as a child, and there are a few memories she shares about exploring sex with her younger sister. Here’s one:
One day, as I sat in our driveway in Long Island playing with blocks and buckets, my curiosity got the best of me. Grace was sitting up, babbling and smiling, and I leaned down between her legs and carefully spread open her vagina. She didn’t resist and when I saw what was inside I shrieked. My mother came running. “Mama, Mama! Grace has something in there!” My mother didn’t bother asking why I had opened Grace’s vagina. This was within the spectrum of things I did.
Lena also recounts memories of masturbating in bed next to her sister while she slept, and even loosely compares herself to a sexual predator. She said: “As she grew, I took to bribing her for her time and affection: one dollar in quarters if I could do her makeup like a ‘motorcycle chick.’ Three pieces of candy if I could kiss her on the lips for five seconds. Whatever she wanted to do on TV if she would just ‘relax on me.’ Basically anything a sexual predator might do to woo a small suburban girl if I was trying.”
The comments and stories have a lot of people in a total uproar. People are uncomfortable and unhappy what she wrote, and some critics are even going so far as to say that Lena sexually abused her sister. Lena has responded, saying that the claims are ridiculous and offensive.
Is this stuff weird? Yeah, it definitely is. It’s not the most comfortable thing in the world to read about a kid masturbating or looking at another kid’s genitals. But is it abnormal? No, it’s not. Does it make Lena an actual sexual predator? I don’t think it does.
Kids are weird and they do weird things, and yes, that includes sexual exploration. Kids don’t know exactly what sex is, they don’t understand being “turned on,” and they don’t know what masturbation is. They have a vague idea of what is taboo and what is not okay, but they don’t truly understand. They do, however, have urges and they’re curious, even if they don’t know what they’re doing. I know that it’s uncomfortable to think about a kid doing and thinking about this stuff, because children are sweet and innocent and young. I totally get that. But it doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.
Things get shady, wrong, and just plain illegal when kids explore this sexual stuff with adults, or even teenagers. If a 16-year-old girl looked at her two-year-old sister’s vagina, I wouldn’t be okay with that. But if two young kids are exploring together, I don’t necessarily think that’s wrong. I think it’s normal, healthy even, and understandable.
I haven’t read Lena’s book, so I still don’t know all the details about her age during these times, but I have to say that I’m kind of happy she wrote about these experiences, simply because it brought up an important discussion. No one wants to talk about kids doing this stuff, but maybe it’s something we should be talking about so that kids don’t feel so ashamed of themselves when they do it.
While there are plenty of critics against Lena, there are also plenty of people who have the same line of thinking as me. Someone even made a Tumblr called ThoseKindsOfGirls. It’s a blog dedicated to discussing children and sexual exploration. The Tumblr lets users submit anonymous stories about themselves and the weird sexual stuff they did as kids. There have been SO many submissions, and there are so many similar stories on there. Some people have written in just to say that they now feel less alone, less weird, and less ashamed and guilty. I think that’s amazing!
Here are 15 real stories about kids exploring sex that may make YOU feel less alone and less strange, taken from ThoseKindsOfGirls. Many of you may have similar experiences from the past that you’ve been carrying with you. You should know that exploring sex stuff as a kid by yourself or with other kids is generally okay. Don’t let people tell you you’re a freak.
Being Ashamed Of MasturbatingIllustration Source: ShutterStock
Experimenting With GirlsIllustration Source: ShutterStock
Thinking Humping Was A Form Of ExerciseIllustration Source: ShutterStock
Getting Caught MasturbatingIllustration Source: ShutterStock
Playing Doctor With Her BrotherIllustration Source: ShutterStock
Masturbating Next To SomeoneIllustration Source: ShutterStock
Pretending To Be Husband and WifeIllustration Source: ShutterStock
Exploring Each Other's BodiesIllustration Source: ShutterStock
Playing Bride and GroomIllustration Source: ShutterStock
Pretending To Birth A BabyIllustration Source: ShutterStock
Making Dolls Have SexIllustration Source: ShutterStock
Walking In On Your ParentsIllustration Source: ShutterStock
Looking At Each Other's GenitalsIllustration Source: ShutterStock
Playing Tongue To TongueIllustration Source: ShutterStock
Feeling AcceptedIllustration Source: ShutterStock
What do you think about these confessions? How do you feel about what Lena wrote? Do you have any stories you want to share about kids exploring sex stuff? Tell me in the comments.