Over the weekend, The New York Times published a must read Op-Ed titled When Did Porn Become Sex Ed?
It chronicles what we at O’actually have been saying for years: abstinence only + the onslaught of Internet porn and the early ages at which kids first encounter it (about 8 yrs old for boys and 11 years old for girls) = mainstream porn as the default sex educator.
Outsourcing sex-ed to mainstream porn and then being surprised that young adults don’t prioritize or even really consider the importance of female pleasure in sexually intimate experiences is like having someone who doesn’t know how to swim teach swimming lessons and then being surprised when the students struggle to stay afloat.
It’s not so much the fault of the swim teacher, now is it?
Porn is what it is. And for the most part it is a visual aid to assist in male sexual arousal. It’s not designed to be sexual education, so let’s not fault it for being a crap educator. Rather let’s step up on actual sex education.
A little while ago, I asked the O’actually community to be in touch if they had ever experienced an educator who mentioned the word pleasure during a sex-ed class. I got exactly zero responses. We can wait for the hope of better education in the school system, or we can be the grown-ups we wish we’d had in our formidable years and mention – better yet, highlight – the importance of mutual pleasure as an expectation for sexual relations.
As the NYTimes points out, it’s not like it’s some kind of impossibility for adolescents to understand the concept of mutual pleasure. If the Dutch can incorporate pleasure into sex-ed and reap the societal benefits from doing so, then I’m pretty darn certain we can too:)
The more society in general promotes pleasure, the more that will positively impact us all, regardless of our age.
So please, pretty please with a cherry on top, talk to the young adults in your life about pleasure. Particularly women’s pleasure (because it is particularly left out.)