One of the ongoing dilemmas faced by proponents of inter-generational relationships between adults and girls is the question of permanence in relationships, and whether sexual relationships with young girls based solely on physical desire are morally and ethically acceptable. In this debate, two major schools of thought have emerged. The first contends that since young people inevitably grow up and ultimately pass out of one's age of attraction, all such relationships are by necessity temporary, and that stronger bonds of love that one might form with an adult partner should not be encouraged. The second viewpoint argues that the basis of such relationships should be nobler than pure lust, and that it is morally repugnant to discard one's young lover simply because she has grown 'too old'. Whilst I am primarily an adherent to the latter opinion, I must also admit that, theoretically, there can be a valid ethical basis for certain parts of the first viewpoint as well.
The Normalization of Recreational Sex
The first viewpoint introduces to the intergenerational love debate a conundrum which has long existed even in the wider arena. This is the question of how to treat sexual relationships which arise purely out of the need or desire for sexual contact, with no thoughts of any deeper relationship. Western society has traditionally taught us that sex and love are inseparable, and that sex should be treated as a by-product of a love relationship, rather than the primary focus of a relationship. These values are the legacy of the Judeo-Christian moral code which has formed the basis for moral behavior for two millennia.
Whilst rebellion against this moral code has been commonplace throughout its existence, the twentieth century saw two major changes: firstly, the rebellion emerged into the open and became a primary topic of debate; secondly, women won the right to rebel as openly as men. The result has been a major shift away from traditional morality and a questioning of their continuing validity in post modern society. Sex has now become widely accepted as a form of recreation which any consenting adult ought to be able to enjoy with any other consenting adult. Indeed, enjoyment has emphatically been affirmed as the primary reason for sex over that of reproduction.
Whilst wanton promiscuity still has a certain stigma attached to it (unfairly, this applies much more often to women than to men), society largely accepts that love is not a prerequisite for sex, and that many people often have sex purely to satisfy their lust and their physical desires. Yet it is important to note that hedonism has not totally replaced more traditional views about it, it has simply become another acceptable option alongside it. Therefore, while many people may spend a period of their life exercising a degree of promiscuity, the majority of people ultimately hope to attain a monogamous relationship with a long-term partner. In other words, most people have realized that sexual compatibility is just as important a factor in a long-term relationship as other factors such as personality or intellect, and have chosen to include a testing of one another's sexual compatibility into the courtship process.
This being said, a large number of people continue to engage in promiscuous activity even after the courtship process has culminated in the formation of a long-term relationship. Many reasons exist for such extra-relational activities, but one of the main reasons remains physical attraction and lust. While such relationships are still frowned upon as a whole by society (with severe financial consequences for those who are married), they are increasingly looked upon with much greater sympathy, and people caught engaged in them are much less likely to be condemned or ostracized by society.
Recreational Sex with Young People
It seems obvious then, that sex purely for physical reasons is, and has been, an important part of the human condition, and there is no reason not to believe that younger people may desire sexual stimulation and satisfaction for the same reasons. It has already been well-documented that young people engage in a wide variety sexual play amongst themselves. Often, curiosity is the original motivation behind such activity, but pleasure is certainly an important factor as well. Theoretically then, there is no reason to believe that sexual relationships with no deeper emotional bond between adults and young people should not take place as long as both of the participating parties take part of their own free will.
In practical terms, however, promiscuous behavior between adults and young people is much more difficult to defend for two main reasons. Firstly, society has only recently begun to view such relations between adults favorably, and still views any sexual relations between adults and young people unfavorably. Secondly, there is the question of whether or not young people fully understand the physical and emotional consequences of such activities and the reputation it could earn them. Here, it is important to point out that there appears to be a significant gender difference in how such relations are viewed. There is evidence which suggests that boys involved with older men are quite happy with a physical relationship and are not always interested in a deep emotional relationship. On the other hand, it appears that young girls, like their adult counterparts, tend to place a much higher importance on relationships. These gender differences are most likely due to evolutionary
hard-wiring more than anything else, and are likely to remain in place to some degree for quite some time.
Therefore, I would suggest that it is unwise and very possibly counter-productive for child lovers to advocate relationships which are solely based upon physical satisfaction. In the current environment, such relationships would very likely be perceived to be reminiscent of the exploitative relationships forced upon many young people by child molesters. Before such relationships can ever be expected to be accepted by society at large, child lovers, who ought to be inclined to uphold a higher moral standard than the remainder of society, need to prove that they are capable and willing to cultivate deeper relationships based upon friendship and genuine interest in the younger person's welfare. Such an effort would achieve two things. Firstly, society would be better inclined to accept that there is a vast difference between childlovers and child molesters, and that childlovers in fact do not wish to bring any harm to young people. Secondly, once this has been achieved, there will be a more positive atmosphere in which young people can become more open about their sexuality and its expression, making them better-equipped to decide which types of relationships they wish to be involved in.
Relationships with Young Girls
The second important issue to be addressed is how romantic relationships with young girls ought to be approached, considering that they inevitably grow older, and thus pass out of the primary age of attraction of the girllover. Some girllovers have decided to approach this by asserting that such relationships are necessarily of a temporary nature, as they will lose sexual interest in the object of their affections once she has grown ‘too old’. I believe that this approach is both unsavory and foolhardy. The primary reasons for my objection to this approach are that it emphasizes a wholly superficial relationship and sends a strong negative signal to the young girl involved that one of the processes she ought, quite rightly, to be proud of, that of growing up, is actually negative and undesirable.
This is not to say that one ought to expect that every relationship he has with a young girl will result in a long-term partnership which will endure long after she has grown to adulthood. It merely means that a girllover ought to be open to the possibility that the love he shares with his little princess could very well flourish into something longer lasting. The fact is that most such relationships will end, as do most relationships between adults. They may end because the girl, as she learns more about her own sexuality, decides to pursue a different type of relationship, most likely with somebody closer to her own age. As happens in many more conventional relationships, the two partners may simply grow apart and decide that they do not wish to continue in their romantic attachment. This being said, the young girl should have a reasonable assurance that the relationship will be allowed to run its full course, and that her adult lover sees her as more than an object to satisfy his or her sexual appetites, and values her affections highly enough not to simply discard them on the basis of her level of physiological development.
Another issue which the girllover needs to consider is that, very possibly, his young lover is experiencing the emotions related to romantic relationships for the very first time. First experiences of any sort are extremely valuable and crucial in determining how a person reacts to similar experiences throughout his life. A girl whose first romantic experiences are with somebody who treats her merely as a sex object and treats the relationship as a phase or some sort of temporary experience could very well emerge from the experience with negative feelings about relationships in general. This could well result in a fear to form further romantic attachments due to an aversion to rejection, a tendency to treat subsequent liaisons as temporary herself, the emergence of unnecessary anxiety when she experiences changes in her life or the adoption of a needlessly promiscuous lifestyle.
Girllovers contend that they are proponents of youth emancipation and of treating their puerile lovers as equal partners, yet the model we have just discussed is not consistent with this model. The girl is treated as a lesser partner with an irremediable disability which will ultimately cause the relationship to end. For the girl to be truly taken as an equal partner in the relationship, the adult must consider her feelings and needs and exhibit a willingness to provide her with a level of commitment which takes into account the massive changes taking place in her body and her psyche. Especially in the case of a pubescent or adolescent girl, the girl lover needs to understand that the girl is not in control of what is happening to her. Indeed her world has turned into a chaotic place where she is struggling to realize her own identity. She may rebel against her parents and other authority figures, but needs at least some point of stability in the midst of it all. She may seek this stability in this relationship.
On the other hand, she may not; indeed it is quite possible that she will exhibit highly erratic behavior and an infuriating lack of commitment. Yet this is not inconsistent with the period of life she is experiencing, and ought to be expected as part of the experience of having a lover at this stage of development. Rather than responding this type of behavior in kind, the adult lover ought to treat it with forbearance and understanding. After all, he is the one who has chosen to enter her world, and should be prepared to accept some of her inner chaos as a matter of course.
Ideally, the girllover, ought to provide a model to the girl of what she should expect from any future partners. That is, he should treat her with the respect and care which she deserves, and in a manner which affirms her femininity and individuality and fosters within her self-confidence and self-respect.
Ending Relationships with Love
While not inevitable, the fact still remains that most intergenerational relationships do end. As the more experienced party, it is the responsibility of the older lover to effect or allow the dissolution of the relationship in such a way as to minimize the trauma and pain which inevitably accompany such breakups. Once again, how he handles this delicate situation will leave a lasting impression on the girl. If he handles the situation skillfully, he may well be rewarded with a lasting friendship and the continuing respect and admiration of his lover. If he botches, it, he will not only cause the girl more pain than necessary, but he will also earn her derision and dislike.
If the older partner feels it is necessary to dissolve the relationship himself, he ought to be certain that his reasons for doing so are valid within the framework of a partnership of equals. Like we have stated before, leaving the relationship simply because the girl has grown up, a matter over which she has no control, is patently unfair, and such a person should probably avoid such a relationship in the first place if he is inclined to be so superficial. Valid reasons, do, however, exist to end such relationships.
Of paramount importance is honesty. Especially if the girl is still in love with him, it is to be expected that his desire to end the relationship will cause her great pain. This pain will be especially acute if it is her first major romantic attachment. Sensitivity and compassion are imperative in order to ensure that the girl retains a healthy sense of self-worth and the ability to learn from the experience and move on productively in her life. She needs to be assured that she remains a beautiful and special person, and that she still has much to offer others.
In the opposite case, that the girl initiates the dissolution of the relationship, it is still extremely important for the girllover to respond with maturity and sensitivity to her needs. Jealous and spiteful behavior is unbecoming. Indeed, if he continues to love her, the girllover ought to give the girl the freedom to find her own way and to end their romantic involvement amicably. While he may be extremely sad at losing her romantic affections, he needs to treat her decision with respect in order to show her that she is in control of her own life without undue pressure or coercion. He may very well choose to leave the door open to a continued friendship, albeit on a platonic level, and she may choose to accept this altered relationship. She may indeed welcome it, and may continue to seek him out for guidance and advice as she continues in her life journey. Whatever the case, a lover who withdraws gracefully at the girl's request will likely earn her continuing respect allow her to cherish the memories of their time together untainted by an unpleasant breakup.
It may appear to some that the ideas I have presented here seem to leave a disproportionate share of the responsibility on the older partner, whilst giving the young girl a great degree of latitude and freedom in the relationship. Indeed this is the case, and the way it ought to be. No matter how mature or educated a young girl may be, she is still growing and developing, and therefore needs to be afforded the maximum flexibility to discover herself. She cannot be expected to be consistent or rational during a turbulent period when she is constantly undergoing complex physical, hormonal, emotional and psychological changes. Her lover is merely a passenger and needs to hold on and enjoy the rollercoaster ride which can be exhilarating and exasperating at the same time.
At the same time, there are times when the girl seeks the calm assurance her lover can provide and seek out his advice and experience to explain the things about her that she does not understand. The sensitive girllover will be didactic without being condescending and will never forget that he can learn as much from his young angel as she can learn from him. If he seeks the companionship of a young girl solely to satisfy his sexual desires, then he truly robs himself of a deeply enriching experience and the opportunity to create a relationship with a unique person who will unlock the beauty of life for him in ways he had never imagined possible.