Variety is not only the very spice of life, it is also the very spice of sex: the relish and the zest of all erotic life.
—Simon Van Velikoff, sexologist
Everyone knows that boys will be boys and that when boys are busy being boys, the one thing they do is sow their wild oats. To “sow wild oats” refers to sowing bad grain, that is to say, wild grain rather than the good, cultivated kind. The phrase encompasses a variety of youthful excesses which, under the circumstances, meet with greater permissiveness and indulgence than those same boys could hope for later in life.
Since it is also indisputably true that girls will be girls, we need an equivalent term for their experimentations conducted in a spirit of frivolity and exuberance. Shall we describe such behavior as merely “sampling the wild rhubarb”? (Rhubarb, incidentally, really does grow wild. It has a familiar color and a straight turgid stalk, and although some parts of it are known to be poisonous, other parts are purported to have medicinal properties.)
Sampling wild rhubarb is quite unrelated to long-term goals, such as falling in love and getting married and having children. It is simply fun and merriment for its own sake.
While sampling the wild rhubarb may, at first, be enticing, it is not likely to do well as a steady diet. Like other kinds of youthful excesses, it is likely to be a self-limiting condition, succumbing to boredom or fatigue if nothing else. As Jessamyn West observes in South of the Angels, “Enough tom-catting sooner or later acts as its own cure. There are more reformed rakes than reformed celibates.”
Sowing wild oats and sampling wild rhubarb in today’s world of HIV/AIDS, combined with the resurgence of sexually transmitted diseases, presents risks that cannot be ignored. Plan to discuss the perils and risks of sexually transmitted disease in future blogs.
- Women on Top: The Decline of the Double Standard (pickingalover.wordpress.com)
- A Woman’s Quest for Fulfillment (pickingalover.wordpress.com)
- Adolescent Sexuality : Introduction (socyberty.com)
- Fewer Teens Are Having Sex (teens.webmd.com)