For the past month, I have devoted myself to hunting down at-risk kids on social networks and encouraging them to meet me in person so that we can have an honest chat about sex together. Below are just the first few teenagers I met, spoke with and hopefully touched. I am cleaning up this coital mess one heart and mind at a time.
I found Adam in a forum arguing about the best sexual positions in cars. He had contributed pages worth of tips, some of them interesting, all of them confusing:
A lot of Adam's advice was not only ill-conceived but anatomically impossible. I suspected he was not 29 or a doctor as he had suggested in his profile, but rather a misguided kid trying one of his three hands at human sexuality. He seemed like an ideal candidate, right on the cusp of adolescence and in serious danger of making a bad decision, probably in a Saturn.
A breeding ground of bad decisions.
I sent him a message requesting that we meet. His response was immediate, asking only if I had big breasts. I told him, quite honestly, that they were average.
When I picked him up from his mother's house, he was wearing a suit and initially refused to get in my car.
"I thought you were gonna be a chick," he said, kicking the curb.
"I'm trying to protect your future. Get in the car."
He shook his head. "I'm not stupid."
"Yes. Yes you are, that's exactly the problem. Now get in the car."
Look at your tie, shirt combo. You have no idea what you're doing.
It took another five minutes of arguing and a promise to buy him some beer before he agreed to climb in. He kept his arms crossed and stared out the window as we drove around looking for a liquor store. He responded to all my questions with one word answers but I gleaned that his name was Adam and that he was only 15. When I asked if he was sexually active, he opened the door and rolled out of the moving car in one motion.
He didn't get far. I caught him easily after about 20 yards because his legs were shorter than mine and because he was working with two sprained ankles now. I sat him on the curb and gave him some frightening statistics on the likelihood of contracting a venereal disease from unprotected sex. I explained that women could still get pregnant even when you didn't look them in the eye, and that sex in general was not something to be stolen or rushed in the cramped front seat of a compact.
"It is a tacit agreement two lovers make with one anoth-" I stopped and for the first time noticed an ornately decorated sheath on his belt.
"Is that for a knife?"
Adam stared at me like I was an idiot. "It's the Elvish word for dagger."
"Where's the dagger?"
"I accidentally stuck it in a tree."
I threw my hands up and sighed. "Oh man! I just, I have to apologize for this whole thing. I didn't realize how far off from sex you actually were. I read your posts and I thought this was, like, an emergency situation."
"Can I go home now?" he pleaded.
"Oh. Yeah, of course. But, wow, right? I was way off with you. You've still got a lot of your own stuff to figure out, don't you?"
The opposite of sex.
Outside his house, I had to retie his tie for him because it had come undone during his tumble. When I finished the knot, I looked into his eyes and noticed he was crying.
"I thought you were going to kill me," he said.
I laughed and assured him that was probably for the best. "When the time finally does come for you and someone special, I want you to take a minute first and think of me, think of how scared you were tonight. That's how scared you should be of sex. Forever. I'm just trying to help you."
He nodded and limped into his house, still crying. I smiled after him. One down.