The porn industry is branching out. Diversifying, if you will. Pornhub, the world’s biggest porn site, is now attempting to offer actual sex education.
With all the voices out there saying that porn is a terrible sexual educator, some within the industry have tried to have a go a sexual education. PornHub launched an online sexual wellness centre that gives a range of sexual and relationship advice. You can read about it at the Guardian here.
As nice as it is to consider that the good people at Pornhub are wanting to give a more realistic depiction of sex and help their viewers out, the fact that they are doing so raises a number of concerns.
Firstly, pornographers are targeting minors. Surely that’s an issue. Young people are a big market for pornographers, but seeing as the content is illegal for minors to view, that they’re targeting them is a problem.
More than that, pornographers don’t care about the sexual health of their viewers. They care about money. Sure, they know a fair bit about sex; they’ve seen more than their fare share. But they probably shouldn’t be trusted to give advice on sexual health when they’re making money, in many instances, from a distorted view of sex.
By creating videos designed to give an education to young people, these porn sites are also acknowledging that porn is a bad sexual educator. They’re admitting the charge that so many have made.
In light of this, there are a few options for parents and schools.
We could do nothing and hope that young people don’t get their sex education from porn. We could all leave sex education to Pornhub and trust that they have the best interests of our kids in mind. Sound good?
So if that doesn’t sound like a great option, parents and schools could work together to begin a more honest conversation about sex. Parents need to take the lead, but schools can go beyond sex education that is simply about plumbing. Sex education needs to answer the questions young people are asking, so that they don’t feel the need to head to PornHub for their education. In fact, if this were happening, when they went to porn they’d be able to see what a poor educator it is.
Parents, are you having that conversation with your kids? Are you creating an environment where they can ask you difficult and even confronting questions? If no one loves your kids more than you do, then you are the best person to teach them about sex.
As to schools, I often have people comment and say that schools should stick to teaching Maths and English. That they shouldn’t take the place of parents. Schools absolutely should teach the basics and not try to be parents. But to say that schools should do nothing is to ignore the fact that they are so often dealing with inappropriate sexual behaviour. Schools deal with behaviours shaped by porn. It may be sexting, teen pregnancy or habitual porn use that leads to declining academic results. And so to say they shouldn’t talk about it is like telling a doctor to just treat symptoms and ignore the cause.
We can do sexual education better than pornographers. So take a deep breath, and start the conversation today.