Between the Sheets


Talking about our education

By Viv Steele, Hot For Teacher

Here at The Other Press’ sex-style column, we have two priorities: sex and education. So when I read in News 1130 that a local expert psychologist Alison Jones thinks that pornography should be included in sex education in British Columbia schools, my interest was piqued. Jones’ opinion follows a UK study out of Plymouth University that found kids as young as 11-years-old are “addicted to porn.”

Now I know you’re probably thinking, “That must just be those crazy, sex-addled Brits! It can’t be so bad in Canada!” I thought that too. But then I thought about my own pre-teen years of yearning for sexual knowledge and having nowhere to get it but the Friday night soft-core staple Red Shoe Diaries that used to air on Showcase (thanks, David Duchovny). It was out there, and there was no way I wasn’t going to watch it. I imagine most young teens probably feel the same way about the flood of easily accessible porn on the Internet—porn that shows a skewed sexual reality that can give teens the wrong impression. Experts like Jones feel that kids need to be educated about what they see onscreen so they can take the right approach to their personal sexuality.

Take condoms for example. If sex education in schools these days is anything like it was in my day, we were taught how to put a condom on a wooden penis. However, the vast majority of pornography on the Internet shows actors engaging in sex without condoms. Currently in Los Angeles, California, citizens are preparing to vote on something called Measure B, which, if enacted, will require porn industry actors to wear condoms. Proponents of this measure say it’s both for the protection of the actors and for the education of the public viewership. The idea is if you see your fave male porno star thrusting away at his leading lady with his pecker protected, the public might be more likely to suit up as well.

Using condoms in porn makes a lot of sense, but members of the adult entertainment industry say otherwise. The industry has mandatory testing for HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) every 28 days, and some actors choose to get tested more frequently. Because condoms are not 100% effective against STIs, regular testing is the best way to keep everyone in that specific industry safe (incidentally, regular testing is also the best way to keep sexually active citizens safe). It’s also been said that because performers engage in sex that is more rigorous and lengthy than standard civilian sex, condom use can be painful and damaging to the delicate mucous membrane of the vagina.

Whether Measure B is voted yay or nay, it’s clear that there is a disconnect between reality and what people view for their own pleasure. There is also a disconnect between what kids are learning and what kids are doing. I think more education can never be a bad thing, and that’s why I’m doing this column: to educate you, dear reader.

How was your sex education experience in high school? Was there anything you didn’t learn but wanted to? Or maybe you didn’t learn anything you didn’t already know. Feel free to send me an email with a question or a suggestion about what you’d like to see in this column!

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