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Teens Must Know The Difference Between Sex On Planet Porn And Sex On Planet Earth

We know teenagers replicate what they see.

23/03/2017 10:19 AM AEDT | Updated 23/03/2017 10:19 AM AEDT
Lisa Valder
Many teenagers are exposed to porn before they even have their first sexual experience.

Over the past few years I have spoken to several parents who became worried after discovering their young teenagers looking at porn. They just don't know how to approach the subject with them and they also don't want them to know they are 'spying' on them.

When they were young, porn was difficult to access -- they may have found X-rated magazines or videos at home, but the Internet changed all that. With the rise of smartphones and tablets, parents don't have much control over their kids' online activities. Children as young as eight or nine are already surfing the net and boys and girls are starting puberty earlier.

Keeping your teenagers away from Internet porn is practically impossible; you might think your children don't, but in reality most do.

Sexual curiosity is healthy but for many children, porn has become their primary sex education. They are given an unrealistic vision of what sex is about by watching graphic and often rough sex scenes before they even have their first sexual experience. As a result, boys and girls are going to have a pretty distorted attitude in terms of their own sexual boundaries and may feel the pressure to replicate what they see.

Boys should be told that slapping women during sex and calling them bitches or always expecting oral sex is just not cool.

Some online porn depicts high levels of violence and degradation, which is overwhelmingly directed towards women. Anal sex has become a standard part of heterosexual porn and a new trend in mainstream porn is for a scene to end with a man ejaculating on a woman. The disturbing fact is that it seems to have become the 'norm' and many young girls believe this is what boys like. They may check out sites to see what boys like and how they should look and perform to please them.

Ending a sex scene without any thought for the woman's pleasure and satisfaction after the man has climaxed, showing her being left with semen in her eyes, should not be viewed as normal sex. Boys should be told that slapping women during sex and calling them bitches or always expecting oral sex is just not cool.

For some girls, first-time sex can be a very unpleasant and disappointing experience. They often become anxious about the appearance of their genitals, which don't look at all like those of the women on screen. Many young women feel pressured to do things their partners have seen on the screen; they want to please but they don't want to do things they don't like, or things which are unpleasant or painful.

I believe it's really important that sex and relationship education in schools starts early to make sure children don't rely on the internet for their information. Australian secondary schools should be encouraged to introduce discussions about pornography in their sex education curriculum, which happens in several European countries where sex education is compulsory.

In the UK, a resources website called Planet Porn has been created for teachers, parents, youth workers and teenagers. It is aimed at helping young people to develop critical thinking skills. The resources are all downloads which can be printed out and purchased quite cheaply.

Here in Australia, Maree Crabbe, co-ordinator of the violence prevention project Reality & Risk: Pornography, young people and sexuality, and co-producer of the documentary films, 'The Porn Factor' and 'Love and Sex in an Age of Pornography', has developed a comprehensive resource to support secondary schools to address pornography's influence. The resource, In The Picture includes a manual and provides guidelines, suggested strategies and practical resources to assist schools to develop policy, equip staff, educate students and work in partnership with parents

It's really important that sex and relationship education in schools starts early to make sure children don't rely on the internet for their information.

The project's website, It's time we talked provides a range of information for young people, parents, schools and community organisations, including short video interviews with young people and porn performers, and seven parent tip sheets. Maree also delivers workshops on the issues for teachers, youth workers and others involved in young people's care and education around Australia and beyond.

According to Crabbe, there is growing awareness among parents, schools and the broader community that in order to equip young people for sexual relationships that are safe, respectful, mutual and consenting, we have to address pornography's influence.

"There is no question that it is challenging, but pornography has become an issue we cannot afford to ignore. It's a powerful influence and it is undermining young people's wellbeing. We need to help them think critically about what porn conveys and to aspire to fantastic relationships and sex."

Yes, it's time for teenagers to understand the difference between sex on Planet Porn and sex on Planet Earth.


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