I found this short article to be quite interesting. I’d love to read more on the subject of “petting parties” of the 1920s.
One thing I noticed was the mention of how young women are pretty much the ones people were trying to stop from going to the parties. I suppose it’s not totally illogical, since if there aren’t girls then there’s no party. But it’s the attitude about the girls that seems to put the onus on girls to uphold all the morals. You know, the girls “allow” liberties. It’s too bad that the usefulness of this kind of sexual and social experimentation wasn’t seen as a gateway to healthy sexual behavior. I could see how parents might worry things would get out of hand. But instead of teaching sexual information, girls were maligned as the gatekeepers and therefore somehow the troublemakers and conduits to misbehaving. It seems later was twisted into an idea that if you wanted to open the gates, you were not a good person.
There is one thing that’s for certain – I think girls are often the ones being told to watch out for their chastity because they are the ones who can become pregnant. And ultimately, they are the ones who can be abandoned in a crisis pregnancy. Men can walk away. They can imagine themselves as innocent if they can convince themselves that she was with anybody else. It’s as though this one simple fact of biology has made all kinds of strange, teetering, oddly shaped social constructs around sexual behavior.
Very interesting topic. Also – I still use the word “spooning” but we definitely need to bring back “twosing.”