Pro-sex. Pro-porn. Pro-knowing the difference.

Embarrassed to talk about sex and porn? World, this is your wake-up call

I wrote this op-ed for the The Irish Journal.  It was originally published Feb 4, 2013


Today’s young women and men are being educated about sex by watching hardcore porn online for years before they ever have their own first romantic or sexual experience. For their sake, it’s time to open up about real sex

I DATE YOUNGER MEN – usually in their twenties. Which is how I began encountering, five years ago, an issue that would never have crossed my mind if I had not encountered it very directly and intimately: what happens when total freedom of access to hardcore porn online, meets our society’s equally total reluctance to talk openly and honestly about sex, and results in porn becoming, by default, the sex education of today. In not a good way.

Recent studies show the average age today at which a child first views hardcore porn online is 11, with some studies putting that number as low as eight. This is not because eight year olds go looking for porn. It’s a function of what they’re shown on someone’s cellphone in the playground; what happens when they go round to a neighbour’s house – because it doesn’t matter what parental controls you have in place at home, your kids live their lives in other places; or, because this is the most wired generation ever, an eight-year-old does something cute and innocent – they learn a new naughty word, they Google it – and one or two clicks away is something they never expected to find.

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