A Slate columnist recently fielded a question from an “anxious” stepmom who was wondering whether or not she should buy her 13-year-old stepdaughter a sex toy considering the girl’s mother would most certainly not approve.
“Nervous in NY” writes that the child ” lives with her mom and grandma in another state but spends the summers with us. Over the last few years, she and I have become close. I try to always be open and accepting with my children. She came to me first to share that she is bisexual, and I’m the one she comes to and asks if she can dye her hair, get a piercing, etc.”
“Today,” the question continued, “she sent me a link to a vibrator and asked if I could buy it for her. She said she didn’t feel comfortable asking anyone else. They would freak out.”
While totally on board with buying the 13-year-old the device for the sake of being “sex positive,” Nervous in NY was a little worried that she might actually be overstepping her bounds as a stepparent.
“Her mom and I already have a strained relationship,” she wrote. “I don’t want to make things worse. Would I be crossing a line here?”
Rather than advise her reader that it would be beyond offensive to overstep the bounds of her husband’s ex-wife’s parental authority, particularly in an instance involving providing a sex toy to a minor, columnist Jamilah Lemieux extraordinarily recommends that perhaps she shouldn’t get the vibrator, but not because it would be outrageously inappropriate for her to do so, but because they might get found out.
We are not making this out.
First of all, Lemieux informs the reader she’d like to tell her to “just do it,” and “ask forgiveness later as opposed to asking for permission that you know you won’t get now.”
However, she continues, “13-year-olds are notoriously irresponsible,” although it doesn’t go where any sensible adult would imagine it goes upon acknowledging this obvious fact.
No, Lemieux thinks that it passes for sober, mature advice to inform this stepmother that if she gets the vibrator for the girl, “in all likelihood she’ll leave the thing out and have to answer for where it came from. You wouldn’t want to have her in a position to lie about you buying it, and in any case, consider how bad ‘This adult purchased a sex toy for my child’ can sound under, well, most circumstances.”
Yeah, like the circumstances in which adults decided it would be a good idea to publish this jaw-droppingly inappropriate discussion.
It gets worse, too. She goes on to recommend perhaps taking the child to a store and “turning your head the other way” while she buys the vibrator herself, so essentially pretending not to notice that the girl has bought it herself.
In other words, being deliberately conniving and deceptive to minimize any issues that could arise if it appears that she has knowingly purchasing sex toy for the minor child against the wishes of the girl’s mother, yet still knowingly facilitating the purchase.
She finally suggests that perhaps if the girl’s father is all right with it, they could go ahead and send her the vibrator, and perhaps accompany it with some information about puberty or period remedies to soften the blow to the child’s biological mother should it be discovered.
“Whatever you decide, just be sensitive that your partner’s ex might not simply feel slighted or angry, but that she could use a sex toy purchase as evidence of inappropriate behavior toward her child,” the columnist concludes with entirely feigned and hollow wisdom.
The elephant in the room here is that this writer is commiserating with this stepmother over how to make something obviously completely inappropriate somehow seem less inappropriate.
In reality, the very fact that this question was ever uttered into existence should have been instant confirmation to either of these women that it is, in fact, a no-brainer for this stepmother to avoid getting involved.
And yet, thanks to contemporary attitudes towards sex, Slate just published a conversation about how an adult might obscure, through deception, the purchase of a sex toy for a 13-year-old girl if it is abundantly clear the child’s mother would not approve.
This is real life.
Saints, pray fervently for our culture and the world in which we are raising up our children.
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