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Porn and Sex Education

Can porn ever be a substitute, or, at least a supplement to modern day sexual education being imparted to kids at school? Given the contemptuous regard in which porn is generally held, in spite of its viewership, we can safely assume that the answer would categorically in the negative from parents, schools and curriculum developers alike.

However, the fact is that the modern state of sexual education is in a state of disarray. Several studies on the subject has demonstrated how sexual education, as it is being taught in schools today, is woefully outdated. And while there are several issues that should concern us about the porn industry as it exists today, it is far from the evil it is routinely and erroneously portrayed to be.

In particular, there should be no illusions about the exploitative nature of the porn industry as well as the unreal depiction of sex. On the other hand, there are so many blind spots in current sex education that there are legitimate reasons to be thankful to the porn industry.

Is sex education adequate?

The logical question is whether sex education taught today is adequate, and, if not, why not? Bluntly speaking, the answer is no for the simple reason that it is based on an archaic notions of abstinence. In other words, the sex education curriculum obsessively focuses on the don’ts, and rarely emphasizes the joys of a healthy sexual life. However, the fact is that teenagers are curious by nature, and, at their age, they are also driven by hormones. This clearly is a recipe for disaster as the sex education simply does not prepare them, emotionally and psychologically, about what it takes to enjoy a sexual relationship.

Yet another major gap in our sex education curriculum pertains to the strange treatment of female sexuality. In particular, there appears to be an unspoken diktat against any discussion of female capacity and need for sexual pleasure. Starting from kindergarten, where the penis is identified in naming of body parts but the vagina is omitted, the trend continues its way up in the sex education curriculum.

For example, while male sexuality is often described with explicit references to penis, erections, ejaculation, and hormonal drives, there is a no such equivalence when it comes to women. For women, the references start and end with diagrams of internal organs such as uterus, fallopian tube, and the ovary. It’s rare to see sex education reference clitoris and the biological capacity of women to enjoy sex as much as men. Given such a puritanical and outdated view of sex, it would be hard to fault male students if they think that women aren’t meant to enjoy sex or that their pleasure in only incidental and subservient to their own.

Can porn fill in the gap?

As mentioned above, the porn industry as it exists today has many ills. Indeed, porn can introduce an unhealthy and unreal set of expectations about the nature of sexual relationships. However, there is no denying that porn acts as an outlet where teens pick up all the knowledge that modern sex education wouldn’t provide them, or, is incapable of providing them.

Closing the Gap

Given this gap between the knowledge imparted and the actual sexual life of teenagers, there is no doubt that a responsible sex ed curriculum is the need of the hour, where porn can be used in a constructive fashion.