Sex Ed & Porn!

Sex education and Porn.

Today the National Youth Council of Ireland issued a report on sex education. Yet again it highlights the fact that most young people today are receiving their sex education from the internet or more especially porn sites.
This is very worrying particularly in the context of how young men view sex and how young women see themselves.
For boys today, through the prism of porn, sex can be seen as something where anything goes, where nothing is too perverse or extreme. Size and performance are paramount and girls and women can be viewed as mere objects in the pursuit of instant pleasure.
This can result in girls seeing themselves as objects who are there to gratify the mort extreme desires of others. An article by India Knight in the Sunday Times magazine of the 21st of November last explains this best. She describes how the effect of internet porn can lead to some feeling " full of fear, self disgust and body hatred".
How have we allowed this to happen?
In times past it was the exact opposite. We were left as young people in ignorance and darkness about our sexuality. Control of sex education and indeed sexual behaviour was handed over to the Catholic Church and look where that got us.
The only formal sex education I received in school were lectures on the possible long term effects of masturbation. Needless what little I did learn was from my peers at the back of the ball alleys from " dirty magazines".
Today we are in danger of handing control of how young people view sex over to the porn sites. Again a recent opinion piece by Deborah Fakeye in the Irish Times articulates this best. She explains how today most young people learn about sex through porn. The current Relationships and Sex Education curriculum is 20 years old and hopelessly out of touch with the realities of today.
The most recent figures on sexual assault and rape depressingly show where all of the is heading. Alarmingly over one third of all such offences are now committed by juveniles.
Schools obviously cannot do it all but we have to play our part. Sex education in schools has to be radically updated and changed. Young people have to be empowered to take back control of their own sex and sexuality, they have to be informed about consent and boundaries and they need to be reassured to know that not everything portrayed on porn sites is either real or proper.

Finian O'Connor

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