Stevie Martin | Staff Writer | Thursday, 29 January 2015

Students Are Turning To Porn For Sex Education, And It's Damaging Their Views On Sex

The Debrief: Oh great, a generation of people who learned about consent via YouPorn...

Well done internet, you’ve ruined the whole mum-awkwardly-pointing-at-anatomical-diagrams thing forever, because now 60% of schoolchildren are turning to porn to find out what sex is.

And that’s absolutely terrifying, when you think about the sort of porn they could be stumbling across – I mean, would you want to learn about sex via a clip of a large-knobbed man upside down in a sex swing with a candle stuck up his arse? Just something an old flatmate showed me one evening. 

The NUS survey  found that 40% of kids used it to discover more about sex – which makes sense considering what happened when we asked loads of teenagers what they knew but, hearteningly, 75% of them agreed that it provides unrealistic expectations about sex.

We won’t go into details here because we’ve all seen porn and we all know how much of it is reflected in the bedroom (apart from when that one night stand dude/girl did that thing that was totally from a YouPorn clip they’d watched). It’s mostly all about the visuals, and hardly ever about the pleasure. Or, at least, hardly about the woman’s pleasure. 

‘We now urge all political parties to commit to statutory SRE [Sex and Relationships Education] in their general election manifestos, and accept that simple biology just won’t cut it. Sex is not a science lesson. People are being left with gaps in their education,’ says Colum McGuire, NUS Vice President.

‘Inadequate SRE puts young people at risk. I find it alarming that sexual partners are listed as a top SRE source by our respondents. Consider this in light of the fact that consent was never even raised for two thirds of respondents.’

There are certainly a number of serious limitations when it comes to SRE, though, with the survey’s summary stating: ‘Real life is absent in the classroom,’ reads the survey’s findings.

‘SRE is treated as a science lesson with puberty (87%), contraception (87%), sexual health (82%), bodies and anatomy (75%) listed as the top topics covered. Consent was never touched upon for two thirds, with relationships covered for less than half, and not even a fifth discussed LGBT in SRE. Unsurprisingly more than a third felt their SRE did not rate positively on equality and diversity.’ 

The fact that consent isn’t touched upon is totally ridiculous, especially considering the widespread issue of low conviction rates in terms of rape cases – and the fact that the law is now changing to focus more on the issue of consent. It’s one of the most important aspects of sex. 

‘Consent and relationship safety are real issues affecting students and sadly they are leaving school with little or no discussion on these topics,’ Jane Lees, chair of the Sex Education Forum told The Guardian. ‘These survey findings hand young people the loudspeaker in calling for statutory sex and relationships education.’ 

Apparently, the Labour and Lib Dems are all for introducing compulsory SRE classes to all schools, but the Conservatives haven’t yet weighed in. Either way, if it does become compulsory, schools had better make sure they’re covering the right bases. Because nobody wants a generation growing up having learned about consent via porn. For obvious reasons. 

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Tags: Education