Two things: Porn as sex ed and great sex writing

Image by the excellent Stuart F Taylor

Two things this week tackles a bizarre suggestion that keeps raising its head: that we should show porn in sex ed classes, so young people can learn the difference between porn sex and ‘real’ sex. I also want to recommend you a blogger whose writing I think is amazing. Oh, and a quick note about Black Mirror.

The bad: porn in sex ed classes WTF

There have been a few people recently who have – horrifyingly – claimed that as part of the Battle Against Porn we should show young people porn during sex ed classes. So kids can learn about how ‘real sex’ differs from ‘porn sex.’There are so many reasons why this is wrong, not least because it involves showing sexual content to people under eighteen, which is illegal, and making people watch that sexual content in front of their peers at an incredibly vulnerable time in their development (teens), in a place it may be difficult for them to leave. Suggesting we show porn in sex and relationships education classes shows a fundamental and drastic misunderstanding of consent, ironically one of the things that young people are requesting more education on. I urge you to go check out the full post, and please do challenge this idea when/if it arises.

If you want to find out more about just what a stunningly bad idea this is, last week Justin Hancock wrote a fantastic and thorough blog about it.

“I can’t actually believe I’m writing this, but some folk seem to think that showing 15/16 year olds porn in sex and relationships education is a good idea. So I’m gonna say why I think it’s a problematic idea: legally, ethically, practically and also why I think there are better and more valuable things we should be doing in SRE.”

The good: Insert Trans Here

I think the measure of a really awesome writer is if they can get you to see things from their perspective. One of the reasons I love sex writing is that it allows me to ‘get’ kinks and sensations that I wouldn’t normally enjoy in real life – because I can see them through the eyes of the writer, and understand what the appeal is.

Insert Trans Here is quite a new sex blogger, but she does this so beautifully that I thought I should tell you all to follow her. Her post on being a padded princess has given me a really interesting insight into diapers (nappies in UK) as a stress-management thing. And I adore her blog on wand toys, and how they changed the way she enjoyed her body. Follow her on Twitter here, and check out the blog links above.

Additional: Black Mirror

If you follow me on Twitter you’ll know I fucking LOVE Black Mirror. It is weird and funny and creepy and it appeals to my love of bizarre hypothetical questions. Consider this advance notice that on Wednesday I’m going to be talking about some of the episodes in the new series – specifically San Junipero and Men Against Fire. Just in case you’d like to watch before we dive into them and see what the sex tech implications are.

16 Comments

  • SpaceCaptainSmith says:

    Wow, that Bish blog made a really good argument.

    Besides everything else mentioned, it seems like teaching about porn just shouldn’t be a priority for SRE. There are other things that are far more important to cover. Given the limited time usually available for such classes, and the number of more important topics, I imagine a SRE curriculum designed by me would only mention porn in passing, if at all: “It exists, it’s not necessarily ‘real’, and it doesn’t make you a good or bad person for watching/not watching it. Try not to stress about it. Now let’s talk about sex in real life…”

    Also: darn, I really need to get Netflix. Black Mirror can be a bit hit or miss, but it’s always at a minimum thought-provoking. Can’t wait to get caught up.

  • JoSmith says:

    Bish says porn is a sexual act. OK. So doesn’t that mean any porn site that children come across without consent amounts to rape? Shouldn’t all porn be blocked until proof of consent is given? And if children can’t give consent, shouldn’t porn be illegal or banned from ever using the internet? How does this fit with the current porn industry opposing laws to block porn. Is adult access to wanking more important than tackling child exposure to porn? Because like it or not most kids see porn by the time they are 11. Often without consent. That’s a lot of child rape (if we assume all non consent sex is rape) the porn industry is doing nothing about in the name of ‘free speech’ and directly contributing to in the BME of profit.

  • JoSmith says:

    To clarify, sorry that was a bit garbled.: what i mean is that Bish says ‘that if we were to show young people porn, we are potentially making them have sex – against their will. Furthermore, other people in the room being potentially sexually aroused would also be a sexual act for other people – again, against their will ‘

    So if a child comes across porn without consent, isn’t that an act of rape by the industry. Don’t they have a responsibility to never show porn without consent. And if the technology isn’t good enough to be able to ask for consent properly, (it isnt) then why are they not responsible for child ‘neglect’ or t worse child rape, until such a thing is possible to gain consent, what right does the porn industry have to mass rape children because they didn’t ask for consent before purchasing ad space to sexually arouse random members of the public. And if bish is right, isn’t all sex / porn advertising, which is nearly never consentual, but unstoppable, non consentual sex. Mass rape of the public. Either that or bish is talking shit. I think bish is right. But the conclusions are far more reaching than he cares to admit.

    • Girl on the net says:

      The difference is that in the example Bish is talking about people are *actively choosing to show porn to children against their will*, in the other people make their best efforts not to show children porn.

      To compare the two is utterly bizarre. Your example relies on a) the porn ‘industry’ (by which I think you mean specific companies) deliberately choosing to show children porn, which they don’t and b) them not taking any reasonable steps to prevent this from happening.

      Furthermore, if you want to extend ‘don’t show porn to children’ to also include potential mistakes that accidentally lead to children *maybe* seeing porn then a) you need to prosecute any parent who lets an under 18 use a computer/phone etc unsupervised and b) there would be absolutely no point giving any young people education about porn, because you’d have somehow magically come up with a foolproof system that means they’d never see it anyway.

  • JoSmith says:

    ‘In the other people make their best efforts not to show children porn.’

    How? Advertisng (and not just for porn) actively shows people sexy or naked to attract attention against their will. That’s what advertising is. But as for porn sites itself. What efforts do ‘people’ make not to show children porn exactly? I don’t see any. Putting a tick box asking a child if they are over 18 is not an effort whatsoever. Ive seen no other efforts. Util there is a method shouldn’t they take respo isbiluty not to publish porn on the internet? Finally its ludicrous to say people make a n effort not to show porn. As an adult who uses the internet every day, I can confidently say porn imges thrust upon me when not asking or looking or consenting to them. So never mind kids, the question remains have I been repeatedly raped . according to bish I have.

    • Girl on the net says:

      To this point: I’m assuming you’re an adult? If you’d rather not see adult content you can use: safe search, adblocker, various adult blocking software available from your ISP or online. There are many options. You’re not just asking for people to not show *you* porn – you’re arguing that because you as an individual do not want to see it, then *no one else should be allowed to see it either.*

      • JoSmith says:

        No I’m arguing you should not show it to children. As you well know. You are unable to answer how you try and prevent that brcaue you can’t and don’t care. Also Why the fuck should I have to use an ad blocker not to be raped against my will? Also The state want to make those illegal (gotta protect the profits of the media industry)

  • JoSmith says:

    if you want to extend ‘don’t show porn to children’ to also include potential mistakes that accidentally lead to children *maybe* seeing porn then a) you need to prosecute any parent who lets an under 18 use a computer/phone etc unsupervised and b) there would be absolutely no point giving any young people education about porn, because you’d have somehow magically come up with a foolproof system that means they’d never see it anyway

    So the responsibility of porn industry raping peoples sexuality should be society? Anyone except the porn industry should be to blame? Does rape only count if its intentional? And I never said we shouldn’t educate kids about porn. If someone is violated and someone else doesn’t stop it. Is the person who didn’t stop it the one responsible? Sounds like classic victim blaming . but never mind that. You haven’t addressed the problem. Who do you think is responsible for preventing children from seeing porn if not the porn industry? Come to think of it, what do you do to prevent kids seeing your blog?

    Do you think that other business and industry should take no responsibkity for their harms on society if society can’t stop them? And don’t you think the harms of raping children is of too high importance to just shrug and blame parents for letting their kids use the internet unsupervised? Shoudo we not try and make people on the internet responsibke for their harms to others? What is the porn industry (any of it) doing to help children not be exposed to porn. I include the advertising industry here who use sexual imagery to sell products to people. When. I walk past a bus stop and see sexuakised images I find arousing, against my will, according to bish im being raped. That’s a big problem don’t you think?

    • Girl on the net says:

      There are clearly a number of things in your comment that I’m going to disagree with. Although I’m going to engage on the detail, I just want to point out that the ‘porn industry raping peoples sexuality’ is – to my mind – a ridiculous way of putting it. The vast majority of people who watch porn do it because they have sought it out. Porn sites do not actively seek out children under 18 any more than pubs actively market to under-18s. There is no benefit for the business in this instance whatsoever, because it would make people angry and have zero gain for them.

      What’s more, porn sites work with government and ISPs on reasonable measures to help prevent young people seeing porn – they comply with things like ISP blocking software that parents can install/opt in to on computers, they make sure that any advertising is targeted as best they can at people over 18, etc etc. And I think that porn sites – *and* parents – should take all reasonable steps to ensure that young people don’t access porn.

      The key here is ‘reasonable’, though: no matter how many reasonable steps people take, young people will never be 100% free from accidentally seeing adult material (or, indeed, deliberately – many young people will actively get round porn blocks, show porn to their friends, take nude selfies, etc). It is not ‘victim blaming’ to suggest that parents and guardians take reasonable steps to monitor children’s internet usage, as it is not ‘victim blaming’ to suggest that parents should supervise children when they’re crossing the road before they’re old enough to do it alone.

      I’m not sure what you are suggesting porn sites can do better than parental supervision – to my mind any steps sites themselves could take would always fall massively short of parental supervision when it comes to protecting children from seeing things they shouldn’t. It seems to me like your complaint is that porn sites don’t just shut themselves down in order to prevent young people seeing porn.

      There are three options primarily for someone who runs an adult site if they want to prevent kids seeing it:
      1. implement a credit card verification system – put everything behind a paywall. Obviously I don’t do this: if I did it would be prohibitively expensive. If this system were implemented, the only sites which could afford to remain open are the big ones: PornHub, YouPorn, etc.
      2. put a tick box that says ‘I am over 18’ on a pop up. I used to have this, as I think most sex bloggers did, but that system has fallen out of favour mostly because it does basically nothing to prevent anyone accessing it.
      3. only ever market to over 18s. This system relies on a number of things in conjunction – Google’s segregating of adult content (Google has algorithms which try to work out of people searching are under 18, safe search mode etc)

      Finally, this: “When. I walk past a bus stop and see sexuakised images I find arousing, against my will, according to bish im being raped.” I highly doubt that is what Bish would say. Bish is not arguing that when children accidentally (or deliberately) see porn it is rape. He is pointing out that adults deliberately showing porn to children is illegal – which it is. And that doing so in an environment where there is dubious consent (the young person may not necessarily feel comfortable opting out of that sex education class) is unethical. You are taking his very important point about young people and consent and twisting it into something that is out of all proportion, which I don’t think is in any way helpful to the debate.

      • JoSmith says:

        So your points 1 to 3. You don’t do any of them. Nothing. Be sue its too expensive. So actually you rely 100 percent on parents not allowing their kids access. Do you have any idea about the practicalities of doing that without literally standing over your child every time they use the internet or phone. Your profits are everything. There is nothing you do to help. Nothing.

        • JoSmith says:

          Also point 3 : you think we should leave it to google? They don’t work anyway. And what about other search engines. why should they be responsible for the shit the internet produces. People who produce shit should clean up their shit.

        • Girl on the net says:

          I don’t make any profit at the moment. This site loses me money.

      • JoSmith says:

        ‘He is arguing that deliberately showing children porn is illegal. ‘

        Yes and how about adults and children at bus stops? ? Ads are deliberately desined to arouse people with sexualised imagery. As I said if its sexual imagery forced upon me then that meets bishes criteria. And you are wrong about the porn industry not targeting kids. All users make them profit. Some may not. Some may shrug. But in the end they couldn’t give a fuck. Because the most important thing is profits. As your site proves. Any child googling anything on the internet often comes up with porn sites and or ads for porn. At the very least, don’t you think porn advertising should be banned? Because the very nature of ads is to draw their attention away from what they are doing against their will. Also Ad blockers don’t work. They are not a solution and the ad industry is actively trying to make them unlawful.

        • JoSmith says:

          Also Youve argued you are opposed to isps censoring porn sites so I have no idea why you resomnened that as a solution. So you are left with the porn industry having zero solutions. Children’s futures, thier normalisation of violent sex and abuse of women through porn being so easily acvecible and uncontrollable is ruining their futures and the future of feminism. And the porn industry really doesn’t give a fuck. It won’t lift a finger to help. Instead just shouting down anybody who gets in their way if profits and wanking. It leaves me enraged what your industry does to girls and boys. You won’t even acknowledge there is a problem. I think its willful patriarchal oppression in the peesuit of neo liberal agendas. Disguised as feminism. You are no feminist. Your comments about parental responsibility are woefully miss informed and viciously unfair and unrealistic.

          • Girl on the net says:

            ISPs can censor porn sites on an opt-in basis: i.e. you (or an adult who is responsible for care of a child) can opt in to censor porn. This solution exists already.

  • JoSmith says:

    In the uk 40% of kids have seen porn by the time they are 11.

    There is no *maybe* about it. Your playing down the reality. And proposed no solutions except to blame parents.

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