ST. LOUIS—Andrew Zollner, a teenage male born and raised in the U.S., has somehow developed an unhealthy attitude toward sex and human sexuality, sources close to the 16-year-old report.
Unlike the average American teen, who views sex as a healthy, mutually satisfying act between consenting adults, Zollner sees it as dirty, dangerous, illicit, shameful, mysterious, and frightening. But in spite of such negative associations, he places an exaggeratedly high value upon the physical act, calling it "the best" and "the only thing I think about."
Even more baffling and contradictory, Zollner regards beautiful women as sex objects simultaneously deserving of worship and disrespect.
"Hot chicks are, like, the greatest thing in the whole world," Zollner said. "But it's weird, 'cause even though they're so awesome, most of them are, like, these total dumb bitches."
Martin Zollner, Andrew's father and self-described "best buddy," expressed confusion over his son's attitudes.
"I don't know how he got these thoughts into his head," the elder Zollner said. "I've always tried to make sure he has a healthy interest in girls. I try to point out the best-looking ones to him, in real life as well as in those Victoria's Secret catalogs. I also give him lots of encouragement, telling him he's going to be quite a stud someday. And just to show him I'm not uptight, I josh him about the girls he's dated, asking him what 'base' he got to. If he has any specific questions about sex, I make sure to send him to his mother, who's better at explaining this stuff."
"My son is a nice boy," said Grace Zollner, Andrew's mother.
Zollner's confusion and ignorance about sex is all the more inexplicable considering that, as a U.S. teen, he has enjoyed a substantial amount of exposure to the subject. Among Zollner's many sources for sexual imagery and information are rap videos, the 1999 film American Pie, the St. Louis Rams cheerleaders, the midriff-baring outfits worn by female classmates at school, hundreds of hours of school-hallway and locker-room talk, and the videotape Your Body And You, which was shown to Zollner's health class on the last week of freshman year by physical-education teacher Greg Erstad.
"We did what we do every year," Erstad said. "We split the boys and girls up, and showed them the version of the film appropriate to their gender, so as not to overwhelm them with information about what's happening to the other sex. The Your Body And You tapes tell kids what's happening to their bodies at this time of life, with a special emphasis on disease and pregnancy. Then, we give the kids a pamphlet, usually on the last day of school, and there's a question-and-answer session, and that's it for another year."
Added Erstad: "Andrew didn't seem to have any questions. He was quiet through the whole thing."
According to therapist Dr. Michael Snyder, today's teen has a far healthier attitude toward sex than those of generations past, thanks to improved access.
"In more prudish times, sex was never discussed," Snyder said. "But these days, teens are free to openly talk about sex. And their access to sexually suggestive or even explicit material is virtually limitless. So it's odd that Zollner, given the amount of sex he sees on TV, in movies, and in magazines, still has somewhat warped views about it."
Zollner declined comment on the matter, saying, "I don't want to talk about it."