Teaching Porn

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School porn

“Teachers need to know that pornography is not necessarily ‘all bad’ and can sometimes be ‘helpful’, a group of sex education experts has suggested. A new publication advocates pupils being taught how to view pornography in school sex education lessons. The Sex Education Forum wants pornography taught in terms of “media literacy and representation, gender, sexual behaviour and body image” – BBC Website

I had to take a cover class today for Social Education and the First Years were sitting watching a DVD from around 2001 about puberty and their first real physical sexual experiences. Now it’s not the most comfortable thing to have to sit through with a group of kids who are completely embarrassed by the fact they are having to sit and watch this with their mates with a grown up in the room. I’m all for honesty about sex, drugs and alcohol in schools because if you get rid of the awkwardness of talking about these things early enough they stop being an issue and can be discussed more openly.

The group is effectively saying we should make kids aware of the truths behind pornography and that these are actors, they are paid, it’s not real and so on. I understand this and yes within sex education it would be good to include this but sex ed really hasn’t changed much since “I were lad”. Today’s lesson finished with the kids having to work from a textbook and the boys did boy pages and the girls were supposed to do the task about girls – that was the issue twenty years ago when I was at school, if we’re not actually going to educate kids about each others bodies and experiences can we really worry about porn? Why separate the sexes when discussing the issues – both groups need to be aware of the changes in the other and the mechanics of it rather than segregate them.

I think porn is something that needs to be discussed in sex education classes. Think back to when were kids and you found a dirty mag in the woods and you all crowded round to see your first naked woman – that was our access to porn. Now kids can jump on the computer type “porn” into a search engine and away they go. The most resistance they might be faced with is the question “Are you 18?” Is that really going to stop a horny teenager looking for graphic images? They need to be aware of the reality behind the fantasy. Louis Theroux did a brilliant “Weird Weekend” on porn and I’d have Social Ed teachers show that because I was brutally honest in its depiction of the industry.

But the issue for me is that schools are not really dealing with the issues properly – rather than sitting down and talking about these things they show videos and hand out textbooks. Talking about it is going to do more good than hoping they get the point of James Nesbitt’s commentary on a twelve year old badly acted film about the changes puberty has on teenagers. With the rise of STIs and AIDS becoming an issue again if we cut the crap and just discussed sex properly there wouldn’t be the same sniggering and ignorance as there is now. Mind you the parental complaints there would be if you actually dealt with the issues honestly doesn’t bear thinking about.

As long as we don’t have to follow John Cleese’s lead from “Monty Python’s Meaning of life” we should be okay!

JD

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