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“Because that’s how they do it in porn” – Why we can’t protect young people from pornography anymore.

With any kind of pornography available at just the swipe of a finger or tap of a screen, it’s no wonder that the average age of first exposure to porn is 11 years old.

Despite parental attempts to block adult content on computers, parents can’t stop others showing their children porn on the bus, or in the playground on their mobile phones, or stop them picking up a left behind copy of Fifty Shades of Grey.

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I believe we live in an age where you simply can no longer protect children from the internet and what’s on it, including porn. Furthermore, with lacking sex education or teachers who are uncomfortable talking about the ins and outs of how sex works, young people turn to porn as a form of education. Sometimes it is the only form they receive.

Now, I’m not saying porn is all bad. There are benefits of porn which can enhance relationships and sex lives. In her video, ‘The Benefits of Porn’, Hannah Witton outlines some of the ways porn can benefit the consumer. I’d highly recommend watching it if you haven’t already, as I couldn’t have put her points any better myself. However, the line between fantasy and reality in porn can be hard to understand and distinguish. Those who are new to porn and active sex lives, in most cases young people, tend to find it the hardest to figure out the distinction. Therefore, when we don’t talk to young people and children about what they consume and what it means, it’s not always going to be an easy journey. This I have had to learn the hard way myself.

From the way the bodies of actors in porn are presented to us, to the actions they perform, porn is a roller coaster of guessing what is real and not real when you’re learning on your own. If we don’t teach young people about body image and realistic expectations for themselves and others, they will often end up with warped perceptions of the naked body and sexual organs. If we don’t teach young people about sexual pleasure, how long will it be before they enjoy sex or have their first orgasm. If we don’t teach young people about consent and boundaries, they will unintentionally cross the line or submit to actions they are not comfortable with, because that’s how they do it in porn.

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Open end discussions and guidance in schools, at home, and in friendship groups will at least get young people thinking and talking about porn and its effects. You can’t protect them from porn, so why not help them learn and understand about it instead?

‘Let’s Talk About Porn’ has been the theme for the Family Planning Association’s Sexual Health Week 2017. For more information on how to talk about porn click HERE to go to their site. 

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