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  1. The Sex Education Show Versus Pornography

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    [suspended user]

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    Warning! Warning! Rant coming on! If anyone has watched this show I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts. I've just ranted on my blog about it so here are my thoughts, but what do you think?

    There's a rather ridiculous programme on UK television at the minute on Channel 4 called http://sexperienceuk.channel4.com/sex-education. Exactly, versus pornography. Not a well rounded debate about pornography. Not a documentary on its history and effect on modern society. But a show against it.

    It's designed for teenagers to discuss teenage sex. Now as the UK has a ridiculous teenage pregnancy rate which is downright shameful to be honest, discussing this topic is no bad thing. Trouble is the presenter, Anna Richardson, and producers seem to have assumed we must take a position to criticise pornography and generally anything to do with sex it seems.

    I was 16 when I first had sex. A pretty average age in the UK (and the legal age). In no way do I condone kids having sex before the legal age or before they are ready. But I am also not going to deny that teenagers (and younger kids) have sex drives. The show to me, represents teenage sexuality as a very negative thing. Ignorant kids watching too much porn which their parents are oblivious to and getting into trouble as a result. That's a pretty damning criticism and to be fair, it's not quite that bad, but it ain't far off.

    They are obviously trying to do some good work with some schools, by coming in and talking and showing normal human bodies and teenagers' experience of porn and sex. But I find the presenter's attitude so negative.

    Instead of an enlightened, genuine debate, she seems to come in with a rash of assumptions and we only really hear one side of the story. This is what the kids have seen and done and oh isn't it bad. Well actually no, it's not that bad.

    My main complaint is that this negative attitude as I see it, suggests that teenagers shouldn't be sexual at all. Instead of suggesting that we all need to know and respect our boundaries and experiment in a safe way. They are saying no to porn, criticising it heavily for its fakeness, instead of arguing for better, more realistic pornography.

    Even the sections on male and female bodies, which could be very useful, seem to have picked a very small selection of body types. Only thin people need apply! How is that helpful?

    I love porn. I find it very useful! But I do strongly wish it would be more realistic, less false, more loving. It's such a pity that a programme like this which could spark genuine debate, instead focuses on the negative aspects.

    The presenter is, as I type, speaking to people about their sex lives and sex toys. But her premise seems to be that we are all pressurised into sex and using sex toys. Um hello? What about the positive aspects of these toys? I do think that looking at the sexualisation of society is very useful, and talking to and helping people who do feel pressurised. But what about representing the other side? Do you really feel pressurised to be sexual all the time? Do you? I sure don't. So why not a more balanced look at this issue.

    She has just visited the major supermarkets, to find, SHOCK HORROR! that they sell cock rings and lubricants designed to pleasure. This again is represented as a negative thing by her.

    Why?

    I cannot see why on earth there is anything wrong with sainsburys (or in her words "middle class waitrose" ahem!) selling rings and gels. They sell condoms so why not? Why our her words on the rabbit vibrator - "what do you do with that?" said in a way in which it appears scary and weird.

    Last night they had a stat that two thirds of teenage girls shaved or waxed their pubic hair. This was suggested as evidence as to the sexualisation of society. But um, of course they do because they probably swim! Really, of course we all look after our pubic hair to some degree, we simply would not be allowed in a public pool if we did not! It is the use of this kind of statistic in this way that I have a problem with. It does not demonstrate the sexualisation of society. Trimming pubic hair does not equal sex!

    Another great TV generated moment from the show was when they showed some of the parents what their teenagers were watching porn wise. We only got to see the audience's reactions but everyone was completely horrified. Everyone? Surely someone would say 'nah that's ok'. Nope. This is mob rule. You are a parent so you must be horrified by porn. Oh come on! How does that help an informed debate?

    Oh and by typing porn into google as she did, you'll find child pornography within 45 seconds. Yeah right. Thankfully I have never come across child pornography. I feel this was far-fetched and designed to be alarmist and therefore 'good television'.

    So my biggest issue with this programme is that it is overly alarmist. Instead of brokering open discussion, it has taken a stance and by god it's going to mis-use everything it can to justify this side of the story. Pity that it won't create debate in an enlightening and useful way.

    Ultimately, I see it as evidence that the times they are a' changin'. Kiss goodbye to the glory days of open pornography on the web. The shutters are coming down fast, welcome sanctions and restrictions. I think our attitudes to pornography go through cycles of boom and bust. For example, 1970s mainstream porn films to porn being shut firmly away in licensed sex shops in some areas only. We've had the open and free internet, hope you enjoyed it while it lasted because I think things are changing for the worst.

    Anyway as to the programme, it's on for the rest of the week so go make up your own mind.

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    red_queen [sign in to see picture]
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    I'm totally with you on this.

    The first series that just looked at Sex Education was quite helpful for starting discussions with our students and they only touched on pornography, but with the same section where we saw the parents shocked reaction. Even then the teenagers were watching pretty over-the-top scat stuff that was mostly viewed for a joke.

    I bet that most of those parents have watched porn and probably have some in the house!

    Teenagers aren't stupid...they don't really believe that all women are shiny and blonde and plastic looking or that all men have a six-pack! I think we should give them some credit

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    Lava_Twilight_x [sign in to see picture]
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    Hehehe I only watched it for the sex toys bit....the penisis on screen put me off my dinner! :D

    I agree RQ, the 1st series was interesting, & I did learn a thing or two. Can't say much for this series though!! x

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    sxe_couple21 [sign in to see picture]
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    I have to agree with all of the above; alarmist comments and leading questions (and responses, what, not a single person disagreed throughout all of her questioning?).

    Poor show and not at all helpful...

    I can't really see how this helps avoid teenage pregnancy or better educate people about sex and pornography. As part of a couple who've been together relatively long (for our age) we enjoy porn together and we're not that f*cked up.

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    Oh good it's not just me then! Sometimes I really need to get off my soapbox. I've found all your comments really interesting thanks. But I suppose we all likee porn and are biased the other way. but I just don't like the preaching and alarmist nature. It's such a pity that it can't help everyone more because these programmes could be so good.

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    Naughty40 [sign in to see picture]
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    imelda - Im sat watching this as well.

    Your post is very well written and puts into words exactly what I have been talking to another LHer on msn about the programme.

    But yes the presenter is so.....umm...stuffy.

    Not at all helpful. Not a programme I would insist my 17 year old son to watch.

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    sweetlove666 [sign in to see picture]
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    i agree with imelda. it is way over the top. ad the way they handeled the sex aids in supermarket. theyve made no coment about how sex toys enrich and help people learn about their bodies and what they do aand how hey like things. and no coment abou how the sex shops of ysteryear used to be intimidating and frightening to many people.

    they also made comments about how readily available sex toys and porn but not that any online sites check your age though your bank card and ost shops will throw out people who arnt of age!

    i'm still a "teenager" and i watch porn but in all the time i have watched porn i havent found anyhting even remotley extreme or upsetting. i question her search terms on google.

    and as they made a big deal of girls shaving. apparently we all do it for men, not becuase it feels absolutley devine ;)

    apparently most teenagers watch 90 minuetes of porn a week ( i have a LOT of catching up to do)

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    Lubyanka [sign in to see picture]
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    ImeldaImelda - What you said. :)

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    Bug Dude [sign in to see picture]
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    Apparently:

    Porn has made teenage boys want bigger willies. No that's just part of being a boy.

    Porn has clouded their poor fragile minds about how much men ejaculate. Because of course, none of them have ever shot their own load.

    Porn has made teenagers think that (Let's be honest) nasty looking genitals look nasty.

    The idea that supermarkets should sell a cock ring or lube is pushing the moral envelope too far.

    This program could have been useful; as a parent I'm concerned over what my sons will find on the web when they get older. But it's up to me as a parent to guide, teach and protect them. All this program did was to scare monger and expect the big corporates to do the parenting instead.

    Total Bollocks

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    Bug Dude [sign in to see picture]
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    Oh, and if she does win her, "Lets have locked down protection sofware on all PCs" campaign, chances are most of those PCs would block access to the shows own Channel 4 SEX education website. hmmmm

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    Roxy1990 [sign in to see picture]
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    I watched it as i watched the last series. It is shocking that 11 year olds are watching porn, at 11 years old i didnt even think about doing that. I think jumping on ISP's and computer retailers isnt the way. The bottom line for all parents, is to watch what your 11 year old child is doing. Banning porn alltogether isnt the answer. As a parent like you Bug Dude, i worry what my daughter will find on the internet when she gets to that age. Ive got at least 11 years to not worry about that. I think that if i let her have a computer with internet access in her own room then wondering why shes watching and finding these things then i would be the bad parent for not keeping an eye on my own child and protecting her myself. Its not the porn industries job to do it. Afterall, I'm a member of a forum on a sex toys website, who am i to say lets take all sexual content off the internet? There is plenty of sexual content in films that are rated 12A yet no one says hang on 12 year olds shouldnt see this.

    Although i think this, i do like the programme. The only part that has made me angry with the IPS's is the fact that a video with a 6 year old child in it was found in such a small amount of time. That shocked me. Ive never found anything like this, but i worry that one day i will stumble across it.

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    RotorTorque [sign in to see picture]
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    Utter bollocks, the lot of it.

    There's a good thread about it on Digital Spy here

    http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=1010922

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    Roxy1990 [sign in to see picture]
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    Sweetlove - I agree on the shaving comment. I dont do it for my man but for myself. I trim and occasionally wax/shave because i feel cleaner, smoother and sexier in myself not for the viewing pleasure of men. Lets face it a nice tidy pubic area is so much nicer to look at personally.

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    sxe_couple21 [sign in to see picture]
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    Roxy1990 wrote:

    Although i think this, i do like the programme. The only part that has made me angry with the IPS's is the fact that a video with a 6 year old child in it was found in such a small amount of time. That shocked me. Ive never found anything like this, but i worry that one day i will stumble across it.

    Sorry but i've been browsing adult sites for a while now and never have I stumbled across anything like that (thank god) in any of my searches or even any references to that kind of material. I wonder what they put in as their search criteria?

    As the rest of the program was so unbalanced I struggle to see that section as genuine. If it was then I too am shocked but think thats more a matter for the Police and the hosting companies rather than the ISP's.

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    JayGee [sign in to see picture]
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    I'm going to sound like a weirdo here but I don't have a telly so haven't seen this programme. I did see some of the first series last year and thought it was OK. Is it a different presenter? I remember the one last year seemed quite sussed - there was a good segment about showing teens images of STDs and they were all shocked to see that for chlamydia there are none visible!

    Anyway, as a parent I am involved in the parent council at our local primary and secondary schools. At the primary school, we have been asked to come on board with the school to support the new curriculum of Sex and Relationships education, as it is taking what they fear some parents might think of as radical steps (e.g. teaching primary 1s "penis" and "vulva" as the proper names for part of the body, talking about gay and lesbian relationships in P7). We got a lot of information about how the average ages for first sexual encounters, first experience of oral sex, etc. are falling as low as 13 in the UK and more alarming the continued ignorance about contraception that still exists in 2009, leading to rates of teen pregnancy second only to the US. With a 12 year old daughter, I am much more concerned about the lack of information, as opposed to further "safeguards" (for that read censorship) and the demonisation of the sex industry. If we educate our children and introduce them to sex as a wonderful part of life to be celebrated and enjoyed and not something seedy or "dirty", then it will be seen less of as a mystery and something "forbidden". Armed with that knowledge and confidence, young people will be able to make decisions for themselves as to what is useful to them and what can be discarded or ignored.

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    angelarwen [sign in to see picture]
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    I'm going to go and watch this programme online so that I can comment properly. However, from what everyone here is saying, it sounds like it's an extremely closed-minded and biased show. I'll be back to report

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    sxe_couple21 [sign in to see picture]
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    I have to say I'm intrigued to know how she scrubs up in the 'porn look' tonight... series linked (so I've got plenty of ranting material of course)...

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    angelarwen [sign in to see picture]
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    Well, I've just finished watching both of the episodes I've missed on the on demand thingy. On the whole I agree with pretty much everything that has already been said here. There were a few specific things that really annoyed me though;

    This first thing is quite a niggly and silly thing really, but somehow it just irritated me. When they first showed the 'real' women models, we saw them having make-up put on. While I know that a large number of women wear make-up every day, wasn't the whole point to show the kids the bare bones of what a real woman looks like? Women don't get up in the morning with their faces made up. Like I said, I know it's a silly gripe, but there you are.

    Another thing that I found ridiculous was the boob line-up, where the kids were asked to choose which pair of breasts (out of 9 real and one fake) they thought was most attractive. The whole point of breast implants for cosmetic purposes is to make your boobs look more attractive. I'm not in the least bit surprised that all the kids chose the fake breasts. It's sad that that's the case, but not necessarily the fault of porn and certainly not the fault of porn alone. I hate my boobs. That's not because society and porn have MADE me hate them, I just do.

    Likewise was the claim that girls feel pressured into shaving off their pubic hair. I may be generalizing, but I think that the majority of women who shave or wax do so for their own reasons. It may be to appear more appealing for a man, but if so, that is still the woman's individual choice until some dickhead (sorry) comes along demanding it of them. And if that happens then she should kick him to the curb anyway. But there are other reasons for doing it too, which is something the show seemed to feel was acceptable to gloss over in the interests of their shock tactics.

    The male porn star they showed claimed that he didn't lose his virginity until he was 14 and that most of his generation had lost it at 12. Prey tell, which generation was this exactly?! He's 21. I'm 23. What god-awful warping of the universe occured during those 2 years that meant that suddenly every 12 year old was sexually experienced? I know it happens and isn't rare, but I'd hazard a guess that this claim was quite an exaggeration.

    Like Imela, I also took issue with the parents who were viewing the porn their children supposedly watch. I have no doubt that there was probably some quite explicit stuff shown there, but I can't help but feel they were shown the MOST explicit clips (other than the illegal clips which they were naturally unable to show). Even in that case, the reaction was not, in my view, a realistic one. I highly doubt that every single parent in that room was shocked and appalled by everything they saw. But what did the makers of the show expect? It's unlikely that faced with being surrounded by other parents and viewed on national television that any of them were ever going to admit that they didn't think it was that bad and had watched some themselves!

    Finally, another slightly petty annoyance but one that I found extremely irritating, wasthe presenter's constant claims of 'I don't even know what that is. Where on earth would you put that?'. I can appreciate that there are sex toys out there that may look a little obscure and, hell, there's probably some that I wouldn't recognize myself. But the stuff she was looking at was fairly mainstream. What exactly was it that made a product very similar to this one http://www.lovehoney.co.uk/product.cfm?p=14533 so difficult for her to decipher?! I think it's fairly obvious where that goes, don't you? I just found the whole sweet and innocent angle very patronizing and implausible. She made it seem as if to enjoy these items made you a sexual deviant.

    Well, I know that was a very long rant and I'm sorry to all who had to read it. Like sxe_couple, I'll be watching tonight's episode, mainly so I can moan some more about it as that's one of my favourite pastimes!

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    diamonds [sign in to see picture]
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    The male porn star they showed claimed that he didn't lose his virginity until he was 14 and that most of his generation had lost it at 12. Prey tell, which generation was this exactly?! He's 21. I'm 23. What god-awful warping of the universe occured during those 2 years that meant that suddenly every 12 year old was sexually experienced? I know it happens and isn't rare, but I'd hazard a guess that this claim was quite an exaggeration.

    im 21 same age as him and i didnt lose my virginity till i was 19, i think i was a bit of a late starter but to be honest i cant say that everyone i went to school with lost theres at 14, was a few but it wasnt the norm. most people of my age seem to lose theres from 16 to 20 id say. so i agree with u that this seems very much an exaggeration.

    i havent watched this serise so i cant really comment on wots on the show, but i did watch the show last year about sex education and found that, that was very useful and imformative. i was very shocked at how many people didnt know about STD's and controcaption in this day and age there is no excuse to be ignorant of such things.

    Dxx

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    tallboy247 [sign in to see picture]
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    Well we will all just have to volunteer to take part next time around, they can only work with those who turn up !! We do get asked from time to time!!!

    TB

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