Adolescent sexuality is one of the most anxiety-producing and confusing situations confronting parents today. The combination of unexpressed misery, neurotic anger and rebelliousness resulting from the adolescent’s intense sexual frustrations makes this a particularly difficult time for adolescent and parent alike. The problem becomes compounded because of the following complicating factors:
1. Unrecognized and unresolved sexual and other problems in parents themselves.
2. The breakthrough of enormous quantities of anxiety in the younger generation resulting from the breakdown of the authoritarian family.
3. The sexual over-stimulation and unbridled economic exploitation of an already over-stimulated younger population by the media including, in particular, the entertainment industry.
4. The abundance of sexual misinformation that is being circulated as gospel: The general acceptance of every kind of neurotic (pre-genital) sexual activity and the evasion of any discussion of healthy, genital, heterosexual activity.
The confusion generated by this highly charged and volatile social state of affairs easily triggers the expression of all forms of the emotional plague. In the case of adolescent homosexuality, the line becomes drawn between those who favor a laissez faire attitude and are willing to permit it and those who see it as a sign of emotional sickness and discourage it.
Unfortunately, both groups see the problem from a superficial, symptomatic perspective. Even in our age of sexual enlightenment, neither group fully recognizes the particular importance of the role that the sexual function plays in regulating the healthy adolescent’s emotional life and this widespread ignorance and evasion of the essential directly gives rise to these contradictory and irreconcilable points of view.