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Jewish World Review /July 22, 1998 / 28 Tamuz, 5758

Don Feder

Don Feder Love in an Internet fishbowl

SURE IT WAS A HOAX. But the announcement that two 18-year-olds planned to lose their virginity on the Internet seemed both in keeping with the times and yet another sign of our culture's debasement of sexuality.

The couple, who called themselves "Diane and Mike", said they would have initial intercourse on Aug. 8, at 9 p.m. EDT, with a camera broadcasting the event live on their Web site. They described themselves as "typical all-American kids" and honor students from churchgoing families.

Probably not 'Mike' and 'Diane'
They said they wanted to show "the beauty of lovemaking" and to "change repressive sexual attitudes."

Diane and Mike never existed. But, assuming it was just a money-making scam, now that the idea is out there, how long will it be before an adventurist duo, armed with psuedo-idealism and sniffing a shot at the Guinness Book of Records, comes along?

This column is addressed to them. The sexually repressed attitudes you say you're combatting, where exactly do they hold sway? In the movies? On television? In our schools (where sex education reigns supreme), at art galleries (with their federally funded smut), with our voyeuristic news media? Where is reticence, or even discretion, on the rise?

One evening last week, the top three stories on the nightly newscast I watched were: 1) the administration's attempt to keep Secret Service agents from testifying about their possible knowledge of Don Juan di Pennsylvania Avenue getting it on with Monica, 2) Marv Albert (the back-biting, cross-dressing sportscaster) being hired to do a show on the Madison Square Garden Network, and 3) some geezer who's suing to force his HMO to pay for Viagra.

If that was too much life in the raw, you could turn on HBO, whose new series, "Sex and the City," is a worhty addition to its parade of pandering -- "Real Sex," "America Undercover" and "Taxicab Confessions."

The WB Network's "Dawson's Creek" is determined to make ABC's "NYPD Blue" look like Barney. A 15-year-old character in this swamp of adolescent hormones claimed losing her virginity at 12 "made me a better person." Imagine how much her character would have been refined if she "became a woman" at 11 or 10?

Hollywood has no monopoly on prurience. An 18-month survey of the Internet, completed in 1995, found 917,410 sexually explicit pictures, film clips and stories. Much of it was far kinkier than what's available on magazine racks, including pedophilia, sadomasochism and a barnyard cast of thousands.

As a result of this saturation, of those in their 20s, three-quarters of males and half of females first had sex between the ages of 15 and 19.

Jaded, world-weary teen-boppers are bad enough (a recent Time magazine story mentioned two 14-year-olds in Salt Lake City asking a nurse at a teen center how to find the "G-spot"), worse is a culture that encourages a soul-numbing casualness about sex.

Societies that take sex seriously don't have high rates of divorce and out-of-wedlock births, not to mention the pathetic phenomenon of 15-year-old girls with a past.

In this atmosphere, how hard is it to imagine a real Diane and Mike? Like everything else in our culture, it's not a matter of if but when.

So what would you tell them? How would you explain to a pair of bright, churchgoing, all-American kids that intimacy is a crucial aspect of lovemaking, that which differentiates it from copulation?

Making love is a gift two people give each other. That it's an experience for two, and not a spectator sport, is part of the enchantment.

Where is the intimacy at an orgy? How do you share yourself with one person while baring your body and soul to the world? How special can the act be if what you give your lover is simultaneously offered to total strangers?

It's only sex. Only the most serious thing two people can do with their clothes off. Only an act that contains the seeds of creation. Only an experience that consummates love and can bind a couple for a lifetime. Why shouldn't it be performed in the cyberspace equivalent of Macy's store window?

Richard Suhre was "appalled" and "repulsed." Oh, not by the prospect of virginity lost on the Internet. No, Suhre, a retired electrical engineer, told a court last week that he was disgusted by a display of the Ten Commandments in the Haywood County, N.C., courthouse.

He's suing to force its removal. Some things are just too shocking to be shown in public.


7/20/98: Ads bring ex-gay movement out of closet
7/13/98: Brian and Amy -- the children of Roe
7/13/98: Why are we scared of obnoxious 'activists?'
7/6/98: Fonda still resists reality
7/1/98: New York blesses domestic partnerships
6/29/98: Teddy and Calvin stood for virtue
6/24/98: Will Clinton betray Taiwan?
6/22/98: Big tobacco? What about big casinos?
6/15/98: Religion -- God for what ails you
6/10/98: Planning Clinton's China itinery
6/8/98: Republicans' Custer offers advice
6/4/98: Oh, Dems Christian-bashers!
6/2/98: Goldwater did conservatives more harm than good
5/27/98: A Clinton-hater confesses
5/15/98: Giuliani's assault on marriage
5/13/98: Hillary knows what's best for everyone
5/11/98: To honor her would not be honorable
5/6/98: Conservative chasm: pragmatism vs. worship of marketplace
5/4/98: Anglo-saxon me
4/29/98: Needle exchange programs are assisted-suicide
4/27/98: Chretien's mission of mercy to Fidel
4/22/98: School-choice is a religious freedom issue
4/20/98: Corporate execs deliver body parts to Beijing
4/14/98: National sales tax --- looks better all the time
4/13/98: The U.N. sinister? Hey, where did that idea come from?
4/8/98: Unions fight workers rights in 226 campaign
3/30/98: Africa's leaders should apologize
3/25/98: GOP shouldn't look to media for advice
3/22/98: You should care about Clinton's 'private life'
3/19/98: Color-coded reading, product of obsessive minds
3/16/98: Amendment will end exile of G-d from our public lives
3/9/98: Havana will break your heart
3/2/98: Vouchers Terrify Teachers' Union
2/25/98: Presidential politics starts at a resort hotel
2/23/98: Hillary's support comes at a price
2/18/98: How many times must we say "no" to gay rights?
2/16/98: Enoch Powell spoke the truth on immigration
2/11/98: Bubba behaving badly
2/9/98: A conservative dissent on the flag-burning amendment
2/5/98: We get the leaders we deserve
2/2/98: Send a signal that could penetrate boardroom doors
1/27/98: State of the president: hollow rhetoric
1/25/98: For Monica's playmate, we have no one to blame but ourselves
1/22/98: At Yale, bet on yarmulke over gown
1/19/98: Commission tackles America's fastest-growing addiction, gambling
1/15/98: Capital punishment and the hard case: no exceptions for Karla Faye Tucker
1/12/98: Partial-birth abortion and the GOP's future: the "big tent" meets truth in advertising
1/8/98: IOLTA: the Left's latest scam to crawl into our pockets
1/5/98: Connect the dots to create a terrorist state
1/1/98: The Unacceptables of 1997: Long may they rave
12/28/97: Hypocrisy is a liberal survival mechanism
12/23/97: Chanukah is no laughing matter
12/22/97: No merry Christmas for persecuted Christians around the world
12/18/97: Bosnia, Haiti, and how not to conduct a foreign policy

©1998, Boston Herald; distributed by Creators Syndicate, Inc.