Misleading, and moral panicky as ever, The Mail headline reads ‘Could teenage boys get lessons on porn?’, but the actual story here is that the Family Planning Association has begun to train youth workers to engage with teenagers who use porn:
Julie Bentley, chief executive of the FPA, a government-funded charity, said organisations had to respond to the fact that teenagers are getting the wrong information.
This leaves some girls thinking they can’t get pregnant the first time they have sex and gives others unrealistic ideas about how their bodies should look. She added: ‘If young people are accessing pornography, it can give them conflicting messages about the reality of sex and relationships and have a negative impact on things like body image and self-esteem’.
Increasingly, young men are saying that they get much of their sex and relationships education from pornography. With most young people using the internet and mobile phones, pornography is more accessible than it has ever been. Professionals working with young people sometimes struggle to know what is legal, and how and whether to support young people using pornography. This course provides factual information about the types and availability of pornography, looking at what is legal and what is not. It addresses how the media can impact on young people and provides strategies for working with young people in this difficult area of work.
I think this is an excellent idea: while things should hopefully change once sex education is made a compulsory part of the curriculum, at present the often unrealistic and frequently sexist and misogynistic portrayals of sex in pornography could easily constitute young people’s first exposure to sex. Anything that can counteract the potentially harmful messages porn sends out about women, about the way in which we should treat the people we are attracted to and the way in which we should have sex, can only be a good thing in my eyes. Hell, even porn performer Renegade Evolution argues that pornography makes for terrible sex education [NSFW].
Of course, the Mail rolls out sweet little Norman Wells of the uber-conservative Youth and Family concern, who argues that:
…the FPA fail to appreciate that talking freely and openly about sexual matters can break down young people’s natural sense of reserve and encourage casual attitudes towards sexual intimacy
Oh no, not the casual sex, ruuuuun! What Wells fails to appreciate is that many teens are hornied up little monsters who need to be encouraged to develop healthy and mature ways of dealing with their horniness, and spending hours watching men use women as masturbatory toys probably isn’t the best way of doing this.