JESUSLAND—Some of AVN's more worldly readers may have tipped to the fact that kids are having sex at younger and younger ages, getting pregnant (the girls, anyway) at younger and younger ages—thanks, Congress!—sexting each other at younger and younger ages ... and of course, watching porn partly in a misguided attempt to learn about all that stuff.
Trouble is, The Law has established the magic number "18" as the demarcation line between many things adults can do but kids can't; for instance, die for their country in a war, vote ... and not have any sexually explicit movie they appear in be deemed "child pornography."
But now Charles Lane, a Washington Post (WaPo) editorial writer who specializes in "economic policy, financial issues and trade," has decided he's also an expert on sex, and particularly on at what age people should be allowed to perform in adult movies.
We won't keep you guessing: It's 21.
His take-off point is, of course, Melissa King, the 18-year-old Miss Delaware Teen USA who, shortly before receiving her tiara, had appeared in a hardcore scene because "I thought it would be fun and ... I needed the money"—and, according to the filmmakers, wanted to do more, but they reportedly turned her down because her performance had been too "frigid." (Probably one of those kids who learned everything she needed to know about sex from those abstinence lectures.)
But Lane would deny King that choice because, "I would think that having sex with a stranger for money and on camera belongs on the short list of risky behaviors that one can’t legally engage in before age 21. That list includes: buying a handgun from a federally licensed dealer; gambling in most casinos; working as a stripper in a bar; and smoking pot in Colorado."
Of course, we're not sure where King shot her scene, and with whom she worked, but if it had been in Porn Valley, chances are she would have known something about her partner before the scene by talking to others in the business, and she and her partner would have been tested for STDs before any penetration took place. So much for the "risky behavior" aspect, assuming that whoever she did shoot for played by the Accepted Rules of Porn.
But Lane has some weird ideas about what 21-year-olds should be able to do that, in his mind, 18-year-olds shouldn't. For instance, he's happy that Carnival Cruise Lines won't let an under-21 book a stateroom, but considering the recent shipboard disasters that left passengers without food or working toilets, maybe they should restrict over-60s from booking those rooms as well, since the "elderly" reportedly didn't do so well waiting more than three hours for food, having to navigate hallways flooded with piss and shit, and sleeping on deck to escape the heat.
And in case anyone doesn't know, acting in a porn movie is a lot safer than that, as is dancing at a strip club—though buying a handgun could prove unsafe at any age.
Another problem Lane has with under-21 performers is that in the modern age, with cellphone cameras, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, not to mention those shining sexual examples the Kardashian sisters, "mistakes like King's are much easier to make but much harder to erase."
But that "problem" is exactly backwards: Sex is the primal natural function of humans; it's how the race survives. So the idea that sex between otherwise unencumbered youth, once their hormones have kicked in, is not only natural, it should be encouraged. In many (if not most) cases, it's not a "mistake," and it most definitely should not be the subject of societal disapproval—and in any sexually sane society, it wouldn't. In fact, there are still many cultures where female fertility is a cause for celebration, not for sending the participants to their rooms without dinner (or whatever punishment the sexually repressed are meting out these days).
But for Lane, it's that old conflict between money-grubbing pornographers (though he does cop to the concept that there may also be "some artistic or political point" to be made "by exhibiting films of 18- to 21-year-olds engaged in sex acts") and what he thinks is "a justifiable regulation of speech," and opines, "If Congress raised the porn-participation age, I doubt the courts would favor the marginal First Amendment interests on the other side."
But then Lane's article takes a turn for the weird. Having learned that King was in foster care between the ages of 12 and 18, and after admitting that he has no idea why The Man would have legally separated Melissa from her parents—though he notes that "Delaware law prescribes foster care for children whose parents abused them sexually or physically, or neglected to provide them food, clothing and education"—he leaps to the conclusion that "The fact that they were never reunited implies a pretty serious problem," and wonders whether King "suffers from post-traumatic stress, as foster children do at a disproportionately high rate."
Yeah, that's why she decided to fuck on camera: Not for the fun of it (or the money), like she said, but because she's got PTSD!
From there, Lane takes off on a tangent about how poorly foster kids are treated in American society, noting that even after the kids reach 18, they're still eligible for some government scholarships and services, which expire when they reach 21—and decides that if the feds can help foster kids like those, Congress should also pass a law that prevents them from working in porn, presumably so that King, who may in fact be completely sane, can't get a job in one of the few industries that doesn't require even a high school diploma nor any previous job skills.
Thanks, Chuck ... but maybe those gals who are old enough to vote and, what with the new rules, possibly even die in combat overseas might just be mature enough to decide whether they want to fuck for a living.
Pictured: Melissa King, ready for action