Skip to content

Adult content

16 September 2008

StumbleUpon is a social bookmarking web site that enables one to record interesting web pages one has visited and share them with others. When you add new pages, you are asked to indicate whether the page you are recording has “adult” content.

In this context, “adult” is another weasel word. It is one that has had all the meaning sucked out of it. It is a euphemism concocted by the porn industry that has spread to virtually every other field. Pornographers would label their products “adults only” so that they could not be accused of corruption of minors. They were “not for sale to persons under the age of 18”, like tobacco products and alcoholic liquor.

So in modern society, booze, smoking and a prurient interest in sex, but especially the prurient interest in sex, have become the hallmarks of maturity. “Adults” are not supposed to be interested in anything else.

What “adult content” ought to mean is that it is of interest to adults, but unlikely to interest childern. But what it does mean is “juvenile content”, likely to be of most interest to teenagers, who are still learning about sex and eager to learn more. It’s a strange inversion in meaning, and weakens language, because how can you now say that something is likely to interest adults, but unlikely to interest kids?

But no, one goes down the streets, and there are “adult shops”. Do those shops have adults for sale, like this sign we saw in a street in Colchester a couple of years ago. Were those Essex girls, going cheap?

Is there any hope that one day we will grow up and occasionally think of something else besides sex?


This post is the third in a row I have made on weasel words, and it is also part of this month’s synchroblog on “maturity”. You can see the posts from the other synchrobloggers by clicking on the links below.

  1. Lainie Petersen at Headspace with “Watching Daddy Die
  2. Kathy Escobar at The Carnival in My Head with “What’s inside the bunny?”
  3. John Smulo at with Christian maturity
  4. Erin Word at Decompressing Faith with “Long-Wearing Nail Polish and Other Stories”
  5. Beth Patterson at The Virtual Teahouse with The future is ours to see: crumbling like a mountain
  6. Bryan Riley at Charis Shalom is Still Complaining
  7. Alan Knox at The Assembling of the Church with “Maturity and Education
  8. KW Leslie at The Evening of Kent with Putting spiritual infants in charge
  9. Bethany Stedman at Coffee Klatch with “Moving Towards True Being: The Long Process of Maturity”
  10. Adam Gonnerman at Igneous Quill with “Old Enough to Follow Christ?
  11. Joe Miller at More Than Cake with “Intentional Relationships for Maturity
  12. Jonathan Brink at Jonathan with I Won’t Sin
  13. Susan Barnes at A Booklook with “Growing Up”
  14. Tracy Simmons at The Best Parts with Knowing who is from the beginning
  15. Joseph Speranzella at A Tic in the Mind’s Eye with Spiritual Maturity And The Examination of Conscience
  16. Sally Coleman at Eternal Echoes with Vulnerable maturity
  17. Liz Dyer at Grace Rules with “What I Wish The Church Knew About Spiritual Maturity
  18. Cobus van Wyngaard at My Contemplations with Post-enlightenment Christians in an unenlightened South Africa
  19. Steve Hayes at Khanya with Adult Content
  20. Ryan Peter at Ryan Peter Blogs and Stuff with “The Foundation For Ministry and Leading
  21. Phil Wyman at Square no more with Is maturity really what I want
  22. Nic Paton at Sound and silence with Inclusion and maturity
  23. Kai Schraml at Kaiblogy with Mature virtue
  24. Lew A at The Pursuit talks about Maturity and Preaching
14 Comments leave one →
  1. 16 September 2008 3:17 pm

    Colchester? When were you in Colchester?

  2. 16 September 2008 4:22 pm

    Good point. I think what be-weazles this word is its total co-option as a euphemism by an industry bent on keeping people immature in addiction and objectified views of the human, predominantly woman by men.

    A true subversion of this would be to help people grow into a healthy sexuality, but what this is and how to do it is quite another story.

  3. 16 September 2008 7:58 pm


    I was in Colchester on 15 May 2005.

  4. 17 September 2008 1:23 pm

    Lead the way, Steve.

    Sometimes I feel like an Essex girl.

    I read once that an adolescent male has sexual images or content cross his conscious mind (no telling what’s happening just below the surface) from either external or internal stimuli, like 5 times a minute (I don’t remember the actual number, just the shock of it)…and that an adult male has the same pattern, it just slows down to, say 2 times per minute. That’s biological. Can that pattern be reprogrammed?

    Thanks for the good work you’re doing on your site–

  5. 17 September 2008 1:41 pm


    I suppose it depends on how long those times last — five episodes of 5 seconds each is different from episodes of 10 seconds each. And much depends on what comes in between.

  6. 18 September 2008 11:36 am

    Interesting synchroblog topic. I wish I had time to read all the contributions. When I stopped being a Christian back in 1983 or so, one of the things I had noticed about it was that there was no concept of a spiritual journey or spiritual formation (you just got saved and that was it). It’s interesting to see that this issue is now being addressed (though I am sure there are some churches where it never went away).

    One of the things that attracted me about Paganism was that the concept of a spiritual journey was built-in to the tradition I joined; it was part of the language. Now I think people are getting blase about the spiritual journey, but I guess these things go in cycles.

  7. 26 September 2008 5:43 pm

    Hi Steve–
    You’re pretty funny.
    So…5 times 10 seconds..that leaves 10 seconds out of every minute to think about…cars (leads to girls); food; studies; work. No wonder our adolescent males are so distractable!

    And then the maturing male–a few more seconds to think of other things in each minute.

    I guess the question for me is: why do we think that those sexual images (not the perversion of them) are not from God?


  1. Stones Cry Out - If they keep silent… » Things Heard: e33v2
  2. post-enlightenment Christians in an unenlightened South Africa « my contemplations
  3. Watching Daddy Die (September Synchroblog on Maturity) — Headspace
  4. Synchroblogs — maturity and post-charismatic « Notes from underground
  5. The Foundation For Ministry and Leading | Life-Ecstatic
  6. Spiritual Maturity – September 2008 | synchroblog
  7. Moving Towards True Being: The long Process of Maturity | Beth Stedman

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: