Pornography not real life
OPINION: We need to have an open, informed debate on sex education and pornography.
The issues, which are clearly related, are not going away and there is a real need for society to re-examine its attitudes towards them. What we see in the media, often is presented in a subjective manner, with the writer or presenter’s view skewing the message to what they want you to see.
Any closer examination made with the benefit of our own knowledge and experience will often mean we come to a different view and that is certainly the case with pornography.
Evidence suggests it is having an impact on young people’s perceptions and behaviour in relationships. What knowledge and experience do they have to know that what they see isn’t real?
Now, I’m not sure what you learned at school during health education classes, but I know in my experience that the archaic curriculum that teaches students how to use a condom, abstinence, and basic body anatomy definitely did not prepare me for the world of dating, relationships and sex.
For years, sex education focused on risk, ie. avoiding pregnancy and STDs, and that the ideal teen behaviour when it comes to sex is abstinence.
In a perfect world, if teenagers waited until their brains were fully developed to understand the risks and realities associated with intimate relationships, that would be ideal.
But let’s be honest, they aren’t waiting. And if they aren’t being taught how to ‘‘do it’’ in school, then why blame young people when they turn to the only alternative sex educator they know - porn?.
This is where a new concept of sex positivity may come in handy. Being sex positive means having a positive attitude about sex and one’s own sexuality. It means being open to learning about sex, understanding the importance of safe sex, being able to acknowledge that sometimes you or your partner might not want sex, which is OK, and not judging others for their own sexuality.
The concept of sex positivity must, however, be taken with a grain of salt. Some underground ‘‘sex-positive’’ proclaimers promote porn as good, without warning young people that porn isn’t reality and that what happens in porn isn’t what actually happens in real life.
Whatever your thoughts might be on sex positivity, we need a curriculum for sex education that teaches young people about sex and sexuality, and porn is definitely not the answer.