The Low-Class List — Installment of December 30, 2020:

Teen Vogue Teaches Kids to Masturbate

Traditional Tradesman
6 min readDec 30, 2020


by Alexander Zubatov

As I said in my recent Year-End Low-Class List, my intention is to be more diligent about keeping up with the low-class people and behaviors proliferating daily in our midst, and surprise, surprise, just one day later, here we go.

Here’s something from Teen Vogue that Flipboard sent my way this morning:

I have no idea what I did to deserve this rare gift from Flipboard. All I can possibly think is that this is the algorithm’s misguided interpretation of my interest in articles on the general topics of health, wellness, fitness, etc., and no, I have not been googling masturbation, teens, masturbating to teens or anything of that sort. I have never even read an article from Teen Vogue so far as I’m aware. My general impression has always been that it’s a low-end, unsavory publication that does its part to inculcate our youth into trash celebrity culture so that they can eventually mature into readers of the adult version of the same kind of trash represented by the likes of Vogue. And, after perusing this particular article, you can be sure I won’t be reading too many more from Teen Vogue in the future.

Apparently, however, this isn’t the first time Teen Vogue has gone in this direction. In fact, it’s something of a specialty they’ve honed over the last few years. Here are some of the lowlights:

(Okay, now I admit I did have to google some combination of “Teen Vogue” and “masturbation” to generate those shameful results, but I did it in “incognito” mode to avoid my search history being tarred by this kind of filth.)

Look, I have nothing against the kind of basic sex education that presumably goes on in health class … although, having had my last such class in the early 1990s, I have to wonder what the current alternative entails. Like, do they now just present the kids with an open menu of gender and sexual identities, preferences and positions to choose from? In general, however, sex ed of a certain traditional variety is a good idea because it serves the important goals of (1) getting kids’ minds to grasp the clear cause-effect relationship between various sexual acts and STDs, as well as between intercourse and pregnancy, as well as to dispel lots of misconceptions circulating around these and similar topics; and (2) saving parents the embarrassment and discomfort of having to about to talk to their own kids about this stuff, a conversation that will likely cause the kids themselves still more embarrassment and discomfort and scar them for life with one of those indelible, cringe-inducing memories. The reality, as we all know, moreover, is that if the health teacher didn’t teach kids these things, then they’d be learning them solely from their friends, online porn and other dark corners of internet. The other reality is that those dark corners exist, and there’s nothing we can do about it unless we vastly overhaul our approach to the internet as a whole.

So, in light of the fact that teens can go online and watch porn of every conceivable variety, why am I so concerned about Teen Vogue trying to do a little bit (or, really, a lot) of education on the topic of masturbation? Well, in a word, it’s because Teen Vogue isn’t Pornhub! Just as there is a big difference between adults going naked in the privacy of their bedroom or their shower and adults going naked at work, it’s one thing for graphic sexual content to be hidden away in those quasi-illicit, embarrassing dark corners to which it is consigned, and it’s another thing entirely for it to be out there in the open.

Where those let-it-all-hang-out species of liberals make their mistake is that they imagine that those of us who care about things like this are either hypocrites along the lines of those ostensibly celibate priests who sexually abuse young boys entrusted to their care or else that we’re psychotically disgusted at the thought of our own bodies, other people’s bodies or the entire realm of sexuality. There are some people like that, I’m sure, but the more psychologically healthy among us are not protective of the realm of sexuality because we think it’s profane; quite the opposite, we are protective of it because we think it is, or should be, sacred. Some mean “sacred” in a religious sense, but I’m not religious myself, so I simply mean the word “sacred” in the sense, roughly, of “this is something that should be treated as special, i.e., with respect and reverence and ritual and gravity, rather than being approached flippantly and casually.” It’s my contention that a society is healthier when we do things that way.

As any member of or sympathizer with the #MeToo mob should be able to acknowledge without too much difficulty, touching other people in intimate ways is something that should not be undertaken lightly or casually. Except in people who are emotionally stunted or deadened, sex rouses up intense passions and emotions and can have enormous consequences (procreation being just one of these) for our relationships and for the path our lives will take. And, frankly, it’s nice for something that is physically and emotionally pleasurable to be held sacred rather than profaned in the open light of day. I have no desire to ban porn, brothels or anything else of that sort. These have been with us in various forms since the dawn of civilization. But what we do not want to do is to parade porn out in the open or turn all of society into a brothel. That is what we are doing. That is what it means to be low-class.

So, Teen Vogue, as far as the topic of masturbation is concerned, here are my two cents: let kids figure that one out for themselves. I have faith in them … but just in case, there are many resources out there in those “dark corners” without your having to give this ignominious topic the imprimatur of mainstream press coverage. We already have the likes of Jeffrey Toobin publicly masturbating on Zoom calls. Do we really need more instructional articles? Our society may be increasingly low-class, but each one of us, whether as an individual or an institution, still has the ability to refrain from sinking to those depths. Let’s try to remember, each of us, to use that power for good.

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Alexander Zubatov is a practicing attorney specializing in general commercial litigation. He is also a practicing writer specializing in general non-commercial poetry, fiction, drama, essays and polemics. In the words of one of his intellectual heroes, José Ortega y Gasset, biography is “a system in which the contradictions of a human life are unified.”

Some of his articles have appeared in The Federalist, Quillette,, Tablet, Times Higher Education, Areo Magazine, Public Discourse, The Imaginative Conservative, Chronicles, Front Porch Republic, The Independent Journal Review, Acculturated, PopMatters, The Hedgehog Review, Mercatornet, The Montreal Review, The Fortnightly Review, New English Review, Culture Wars and nthposition.

He makes occasional, unscheduled appearances on Twitter (



Traditional Tradesman

I am an attorney specializing in general commercial litigation. I am a writer specializing in general non-commercial poetry, fiction, drama, essays & polemics.