Back to school for the government: Sexist porn regulations highlight once more the inadequacy of sex education

7 Dec 2014

 

The Coalition’s attempts to regulate pornography in Britain is considered by many to be something of a running joke, so ill-conceived and ineffectual have the attempts been. However, the government have really outdone themselves this time. Their latest attempt, which has banned (amongst other things), female ejaculation, seems to have the main purpose in mind of protecting the public from women’s enjoyment of sex and sums up Britain’s problem with not just how we view sex, but also how we teach children about it.

 

Supposedly, the point of this hapless attempt of legislation by the government was, after all, to make the internet a safer place for under-18s. But legislation on the porn industry, which outlaws acts concerning female pleasure and blithely ignores acts concerning male pleasure, only sends out the message to children that women are not supposed to enjoy sex.

 

Personally, I can’t see why the act of climax by either or a man or a woman should be outlawed, in an industry which gives young people a completely false impression of what sex is, ejaculation by a person of any gender is one of the view acts that has any semblance in reality. But if the government are intent upon outlawing the act, it has to be the same across the board. It’s not, and it sums up what is wrong in how we teach our young people about sex and relationships.

 

Last month, the Mirror reported how a 13 year old boy in North Wales raped a girl of the same age after a sex education class before telling her: “you can go now.” The aftermath led to school chiefs ‘looking into’ how sex education could be taught more safely in schools, but what it is likely to lead to is watering down of the ins and outs of sexual intercourse.

 

The problem with how sex education is taught in schools is the emphasis on the act sex; classes are essentially an extended biology lesson when what is desperately needed for these classes to have any point when looking at how they affect the mindset of kids when looking at the question of sex is a focus on relationships and respect.

 

For all the pressure that there is on young women in our society to have perfect bodies, to shave every inch of their body, to have thigh gaps... There is significant pressure on young men as well, which is something I have written on previously. Young men feel pressure to go to the gym, to play sport, to have six-packs, and they feel pressure to prove that they are ‘real men’ by having sex with as many girls as possible. That is to say, showing any feeling towards a girl other than animalistic lust is seen as a sign of weakness by their peers.

 

Young men egg each other on and put pressure on each other to behave in a certain way towards the opposite sex and the end result of this is that insecure, under-pressure teenage boys get caught in this cycle of wanting to prove something to their peers all the time and their self-worth depending entirely on what their peers think of them, and inevitably, they become socially difficult adults. This is the result of unsatisfactory sex education and a lack of positive male role models and an age in which young men gain most of their knowledge about sex and about other people’s bodies through porn.

 

Likewise, they get away with behaving this way as young men because of the way sex education as it is taught in our schools fails girls. Even before we get onto the question of sex education, schools teach young women to feel ashamed of their own bodies on a daily basis and through sex education, fail to teach them that they have a right to basic respect from boys and from each other; in exactly in the same way in which they fail to teach boys the importance of giving basic respect.

 

This is something which has been damaging in past decades but which is particularly harmful today, when kids as young as 11 are watching internet porn. In past decades, watching porn would not necessarily have been as damaging in terms of gaining perceptions about sex, given that the porn of past generations was of a more ‘real’ nature. However, the airbrushed nature of porn today means that from a young age, kids are getting a completely unrealistic impression of what other people’s bodies looks like and what sex looks like.

 

The government’s intentions are not in question, their outlawing of abusive language during sex, for example, is an important step in the right direction, but their methods certainly are. Getting rid of some of the more extreme porn available on the internet has little effect if an abundance of pornographic material which depicts women as passive pawns and men as the domineering, all-powerful kings on a sexual chessboard, is readily available.

 

Furthermore, the government’s own regulations further this illusion already perpetrated in sex education classes at schools that sex is something which men like and spend time and energy attempting to coerce women into, rather than something which men and women enjoy and which should be an equal partnership.

 

Until the government realise this and drastically alter the way in which they look at how internet porn affects young people’s perception of sex and make serious changes to how sex education is taught in schools, Britain’s porn problem will continue.

 

By Alex Shilling

 

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