29.4.13

Birds, Bees and Pornography

Every so often the subject crops up, should schools discuss (and maybe even show!) porn to the children as part of their sex education and personal development and of course many people shouted "NO!"


NO!!

NO !!!

what are you thinking!?

NO!!!!

But I wonder if the schools may have a point. Porn is everywhere and whether paraents like it or not it's unlikely to go away. Children (and I'm talking of early teens but each day the age seems to reduce) have smartphones or access to smartphones via their peers. One argument was along the lines of "I'd prefer to talk to my children about that myself!" and for a second I agreed but then the opposing view was put forward, and that is pretty clear, not all parents DO talk to their kids about sex and not all want to, in fact the original commenter went on the say

"we've all, as parents, had that horrible, cringeworthy, talk with our kids, about the birds and the bees"

and I thought 'have we?' I know I haven't, I've had quick questions about sex, I've had HILARIOUS conversations about where babies come from, I've read some quite genius children's books on the subject with DD, I've been amazed at the breadth of her knowledge and the breadth of her investigational questioning! But horrible and cringeworthy? Nope.

Because I've always just answered what was asked, always have (we bought Mummy Laid and Egg when she was about 3) . Seems to me like the most simple thing in the world. And even now that DD is 13 she asks questions that surprise me or make me laugh, but nothing that makes me cringe. (Saturday morning comment a case in point "Hmm you two are very jolly this morning, was there fun and frolics last night?" cue my husband and I crying with laughter (and *ahem* not answering! LOL)


But lately she has been asking other questions, questions that start "I saw on TV ...." and it's obvious that some things she sees are confusing (not least the fact she pointed out no one on TV uses condoms, they just cuddle and have sex, so she quite reasonably wanted to know when you would stop to put it on) and while I'm happy to discuss all this there are many parents that are not.

So I think schools SHOULD talk to kids about porn, and about the dangers of sexting, and the risk or pictures online, of photos on phones, of facebook, about respect about the fact that prawn isn't very 'real' (as many wags on twitter have pointed out "Porn gives young people an unrealistic and unhealthy idea of how quickly a plumber will come to your house.") That people come (unintentional pun honest guv) in all shapes and sizes, that sex can be funny as well as passionate, that stuff can go wrong and you can still be friends with and love your partner, even if there are fanny farts and lost condoms ...I'm straying off the point (another pun, good grief it's turning into a carry on film, not a porn one!)

any way - to cut a long (oh for goodness sake!) story short, I think porn should be discussed in school, and I think parents should talk about sex and relationships at home, and I think boys and girls should be taught respect and caring are as important as 5 minutes of fumbling fun.

what do you think?

13 comments:

  1. A very interesting point.

    The thing is, I'm not sure that porn needs to be shown, but it doesn't necessarily mean that it needs to be completely ignored. There has always been misinformation about sex, but if the facts are provided clearly and factually (including emotional effects, pregnancy, discomfort, STDs and alternative sexualities) that should hopefully combat lies and ignorance.

    I do agree that sex education has to take into account the environment in which children are gleaning information about sex.

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    1. I think the papers are exaggerating the 'showing' it aspect tbh, I think just discussing it is all that is suggested

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  2. I teach at Secondary school and have sat in on many a sex ed lesson. Last summer I was part of a fantastic workshop with an outside provider, that covered things that even the teachers didn't know the answer to! What continues to worry me is the lack of 'relationship' education. A lot of young people are very savvy now to STDs (especially the kid who ran out and puked at the session at my school) and staying safe physically, but not emotionally. I know everyone has different views but I teaching relationship skills (like communication) should be wedged in there alongside the prawn and honest family sex talk. Also, completely agree that TV should take more responsibility in showing condoms and examples of GOOD relationships.
    B. x

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    1. Thanks for your comment! I agree kids learn the 'facts' but not always the other bits and bobs associated with a sexual relationship.

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    2. Anonymous2/5/13

      I am a bit of a prude and find it very hard to talk about sex to my partner let alone to my children. So think it should be taught at school. I'm also quite odd as i have never watched porn and have very little experience of alot of things so even if i did talk to them i probably wouldn't know the answers to alot.

      i have had a bit of a talk with my 8 yr old daughter but she asks questions then doesn't want to know the answers.

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  3. I'm also concerned about that lack of relationship knowledge along side all the the technical (if you like) sex ed. By which I DON'T mean 'don't have sex till you marry and marriage is a one girl and one boy' AT ALL, but how to communicate, how to deal non-violently with conflict, enthusiastic, explicit consent NOT assumed consent, and don't rape rather than don't GET raped. All that stuff.

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    1. you so nearly started a rant there :-)

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  4. I get all sorts of funny conversations with my 5 year old about how babies are made at the moment. I think it's important to talk about sex and relationships at home and school, however I think talking to kids at school about how some people are paid to appear on tv or in magazines behaving in sexual manner, in my opinion, sends completely the wrong, and potentially damaging, message about sex.

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    1. Hi thanks for your comment, I'm interested in why you don't think schools should cover this?

      Once children reach 10 or 11 (often younger) they will see things on TV that will confuse them or (worse in my opinion) see things of a sexual nature that they will 'learn' from and come to regard as normal. Not all families are as open and chatty as mine (and probably yours) and those children need to have some guidance imo.

      A sensitive, trained, teacher tackling the images that children will see is quite important, i would assume that like sex education in general, parents could opt their children out of the lessons if they chose.

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  5. We have always answered questions honestly with our kids (who are no longer little), and now that they are older there are definitely some lively conversations at our house. I particularly enjoyed our conversations about condoms http://alwaysaredhead.com/who-knew-there-were-so-many-choices-condoms/ that we had dinner time.

    Sex education should be taught in schools, especially since there are parents who can't/won't discuss it at home.

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  6. I'm on the fence about this, it's something I would like to talk to my (future) kids about myself, but at the same time as you say some parents just wont discuss it with children. It's a toughie but it needs to be discussed with children somewhere

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  7. Despite the usual scaremongering by certain papers who are likely to imply that 5 year olds are shown Debbie does Dallas in Golden Time, I think acknowledging the existence of porn and discussing it may be a good thing. I'm sure it would be done in an age appropriate manner, so primary school children might be told about how some images they may see on screen or in print are often not a true reflection of many sexual relationships, and secondary school teenagers could debate the role of porn, objectification and the distorted view it can give of sex, particularly to their age group.

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  8. Gotta agree with Karen, there's also a descussion there as to prawn as a driver in tech (video/internet/smartphones), how actors involved in the industry use condoms/get regular STD tests, etc.

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