THE TERMS adult books, adult movies, and adult entertainment imply that, whereas the young must be somehow protected from all those bare breasts and heaving buttocks, adults will simply take them in their stride. Possibly the reverse is closer to the truth.

The young seem to have a knack for coming through all sorts of heady experiences relatively unscathed, and paperback prurience and video venery are less apt to turn them on than to turn them elsewhere. The middle-aged, on the other hand, having fewer else-wheres, settle for what they can get.

After a while, the X-rated titillations tend to turn tawdry and tedious, but even days later, they keep on flickering away somewhere in the back of the mind to a captive audience of one.

The chances are that the loneliness and sadness of it then may leave deeper scars on a forty-five-year-old adult than the gymnastics of it on a thirteen-year-old child. 

-Originally published in Whistling in the Dark and later in Beyond Words

To receive daily Quote of the Day emails, sign up here.