President Barack Obama has recently been making sexual jests - and warnings - about his pre-teen daughters.  Does he have sexual hang-ups we will get to witness regularly throughout his presidency?


The Stanton Peele Addiction Website, July 19, 2010. This blog post also appeared on Stanton's Addiction in Society blog at

Is President Obama Hung Up Around His Daughters' Sexuality?

Barack Obama has made several recent sexual references to his children, most especially his stunning older daughter, Malia. Last week he said:

"You know, the - I don't have teenagers yet - Malia's just turned 12. She's my baby. She's going - even though she's 5'9" now, she's still my baby. And she just got braces, which is good, because she looks like a kid and she was getting - she's starting to look too old for me."

This halting, revealing statement was spoken at a public, fund-raising event before an audience - and, of course, the press. Most people interpreted this to mean - well, here's The Christian Science Monitor's take: "Maybe he thinks braces will keep the boys away."

What's that about? Most parents know not to discuss their preadolescent daughters' sexual maturity.

But Mr. Obama has gone even farther in this icky direction. In May, he gave this riff:

"The Jonas Brothers are here; they're out there somewhere. Sasha and Malia are huge fans. But boys, don't get any ideas. I have two words for you, 'predator drones.' You will never see it coming."

People laughed, but I believe this translates into: "If you young stars think you can get any sex off my daughters, I'll kill you." He was speaking about an 8-year-old and an 11-year-old!

I've heard many fathers make jokes like this - although I don't recall any doing so from a presidential podium, and with girls this young. George Bush, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton avoided discussing this aspect of their daughters' lives. I think everyone - their daughters especially - appreciated such reticence.

What are men thinking when they say, "I'll kill any guy who tries to have sex with my daughter?" I'll leave this as an assignment for PT readers who are, after all, insightful on such psychological matters. But, tell me - what would you think if you were at a middle school meeting and a parent got up and said something like that in front of a group of parents and teachers who knew his kids? The least of it would be that the comment was in extremely bad taste.

In some quarters, perhaps, such gruesome ruminations might be taken as a sign of a parent's healthy worry that his children not prematurely have sex. Is that what the President is primarily concerned about with a daughter who just turned 12 (I won't even talk about how inappropriate the Jonas brothers comment was in relation to Sasha)?

I have these two thoughts: Is it really effective for keeping your daughters from having sex to begin chiding them about doing so when they are pre-teens? Second, when his kids actually reach sexual maturity, how far will the President take this preoccupation?

Oh, I have one other thought. Don't many Americans think this is peculiar, or is this simply the way all preteen girls' parents in America are thinking? That is, have we both sexualized childhood, and yet are terribly frightened by young sex?