A friend of mine confessed to me recently that her mother was an alcoholic, in part, because of sexual abuse by her brother when they were adolescents. I recently discussed something with my sister that we did when we were kids, and wondered what our own children have done, if anything.
My sister, whom I'll call Brunhilde, was rather uncomfortable discussing it, but came back to me a few hours later and said that it probably didn't do her any harm, or me, as far as she could tell, but on balance wishes that it hadn't happened which is why she'd put it out of her mind.
When we were kids, she and I bickered like an old married couple. However, once I think I had a partial erection and she eyed it in my PJs when we were watching TV. Not the next day, but a day or two later she wanted to ask me a question. Now, in retrospect, I could see that she both wanted to know, but also didn't want to look dumb. She was really struggling with her question.
She said that I probably thought she was stupid.
'No,' I reassured her, thinking all the while that of course I thought she was as bright as a packet of bunt bulbs: she was my sister, after all.
Finally, with much waving of the hands, and sort of backing up and starting over fifteen times, she asked what she wanted to know: what happens with the scrotum when a boy orgasms.
Well, like most boys, I was entirely content to leave my scrotum to its own devices, so I'd never thought much about it. Basically, she was wondering how much voluntary and involuntary control a male has. This, from an adolescent girl's perspective, is not a completely oddball question. I explained that the muscle tensing you make to halt the flow of urine makes the scrotum rise and descend, during masturbation (I immediately regretted saying that, admitting, defacto, that I was a virgin), that the testicles rise to help the sperm jump out.
'Can you...' she stopped herself.
'Show you? Fuck off!'
This intellectual reply descended into the usual carousel of insults until we stomped off to our respective corners. She came to sneer into my bedroom door that she saw I had a hard-on.
'Well, so do you!' I said and turned on the TV. Thank goodness I never became a speech writer for some politician.
Well, again a few days later, I asked her about something related to women's cycles or something and she didn't answer but said we'll talk later. When our parents were out, as I recall it was Friday evening and they were going to the Legion, she and I began to talk. At this time, I think I was eleven and she was thirteen or so. There's sixteen months between us.
She proposed the 'I'll show you mine if, and only if, you show me yours first.' To make a long story short, with as much trust as there was between the Soviets and the West, we both stripped off.
Instantly, I got hard and, figured that I might as well be hung for a wolf as well as a lamb, I put my hands on my hips and struck a pose.
This bravado was to cover the sound of the blood pounding in my ears.
'I didn't think I'd feel this way,' she admitted.
Well, we lay down and she took a look a what she wanted to see. I lifted everything to show her this and that and then she got all shy when it was her turn, but, bless her, she was true to her word unlike the time she borrowed my bike without telling me for a four day camping trip with her friend, that demented bitch, Sally.
I really wanted to see the clitoris but it turns out that hers is quite shy and only comes out when she's very aroused. But, there was her warm, wet treasure and she showed me how she could put her finger inside her self and that sort of delightful thing.
We got dressed and both remembered something we had to do which gave us a chance to go to out own bedrooms and masturbate.
That was our encounter and we were careful; no precum ended up anywhere that might have risked a pregnancy.
I asked later what it meant to get wet and whether it was true that women leaked all day on and why didn't they do anything to stop it.
'Well, why do boys leak verbal diahorreah all day long, and can't you do anything to stop it?'
It turns out that cleanliness was a bit of a thing for her as she'd not gotten used to the changes in her body yet.
We didn't do things ever again but we certainly talked about biology a bit more openly, which proved very useful to avoid any of the usual mangled schoolyard conceptions of men and women.
I believe, on balance, that sexual exploration between teens and adolescents will always happen and as long as there is no coercion, that's great but the risk that young people will not be able to process the information and end up with issues in adulthood is too great. I don't think it had much impact on my sister and I, but I can see, easily, how it might and think that on balance, it should be discouraged.