Porn Is Not Real Sex Ed


porn is not real sex ed picture

 

My name is Stephanie Mitelman, and I am a certified sexuality educator. In this blog I will be addressing readers’ questions on sexuality, health, and relationships. Please don’t be shy to send me a question you have! I will be happy to answer one every month!

 

Porn Is Not Real Sex Ed

My daughter is 12. There is a lot of discussion about pornography on the Internet now. What should I be concerned about and how do I handle this?

Excellent question! Porn is huge issue in the media and it’s hard to tell real concerns from good-looking headlines. New technologies keep making it easier for teens to watch porn, and having it anywhere on a smartphone has definitely changed the teenage culture around sex.

Every generation is exposed to sex and sexuality in new ways with new technologies, and dealing with the issues that come up, is something every generation has needed to do. I want to stress that today’s teen culture around sex is different, not worse. Accepting this and asking your daughter about her life can start a conversation about what she’s really seeing and living with. And as parents we are faced with a new challenge: helping our teens navigate through the world of pornography, like never before!

The realities of the type of porn and the accessibility of today’s images means that;

-girls are learning a certain type of sexuality that is generic and robotic from early ages.

-they learn distorted views of their bodies and giving and receiving pleasure.

-they learn a hypersexualized version of what it is to be female.

-they are taught to be vulnerable and submissive when it comes to sex.

-they learn to remove their clothes to gain what they feel is power. But removing your clothing is always (and will always be) a position of subordination.

I have recently started an awareness campaign that may help you make this shift with your daughter, pornisnotrealsexed.com. We advocate for more sexuality education in the face of teens watching more and more porn. These discussions need to take place!

While there are a number of concerns with our youth watching porn, here are some of the key issues:

-          93% of boys and 62% of girls are exposed to internet porn before the age of 18.

-          Watching porn is the number one predictor for having sex earlier for boys and girls, above early puberty.

-          Teens who watch porn are more likely to try the kinds of sex they see, like anal sex.

-          After seeing internet porn, boys are more likely to believe women should be submissive.

I have the same talk with teachers all the time. Most sex ed programs are stuck in the 90s, when teen pregnancy and HIV were the biggest worries. Largely because of porn, this focus needs to shift to what kids really need to learn about today—healthy relationships, consent, and critical thinking on sexual media like porn.

A real concern is seeing certain types of sex, or even how sex works, as normal. This idea of what sex is also rarely includes discussion of safety, and negotiation…. that don’t make the cut.

What can help is teaching girls to watch all media with a critical eye. This can be as easy as watching TV together, reading the same magazine, or going to the movies as mother and daughter. Parents can talk about these as fiction, meant to entertain, with strict casting, stereotypical characters, professional makeup, perfect lighting, and hours of photoshop. In other words, you need to teach your daughter how to challenge what she is seeing as not as “real”.

Despite what you might hear, teens who talk to their parents, and who have good sex education tend to have their sexual debut later than those without it. Parents can push for schools to offer this and direct their teens to trusted books and websites. And parents need to understand that the porn that their kids are faced with today is not the same as your father’s playboys. It is far more graphic, and is available 24/7 through various mediums.

You don’t need to dive in with a full on “porn talk” or “sex talk” with your children. You can talk about sex in small pieces, like any other topic. Try discussing it while doing something else, like preparing a meal or walking the dog. Driving in the car is also a good time for discussion. Teenagers do listen to their parents, even if they behave like they do not. They need explanations and boundaries on pornography and sexuality, like any other subject. While you may both be uncomfortable discussing this at times, and probably a little shocked by the images available to them, your daughter will secretly (or possibly even openly) thank you for bringing this up!

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