What’s the Deal with Porn?

Date: August 27th, 2020
By:

Healthy Teen Network

Bring up pornography in any conversation, and you may just get an awkward silence…bring it up with sex educators, and you never know what you’re going to get. It’s complicated, to say the least.

We know young people are watching porn, and technology makes it easier than ever with fast connections and ubiquitous smartphones. It’s a typical part of adolescent development for young people to seek out more information about sex and relationships, and they may look to porn for sexual arousal, out of curiosity, or to find answers to their questions about sex.

And well, it’s not all bad. For some of us, that may be hard to understand, but research shows, for example, that for people of diverse sexual identities, porn consumption can serve as an important and positive space for sexual exploration. And contrary to what many may believe, young people may not be learning risk-taking behaviors from porn.

So, what do we know about young people’s porn consumption? What are they learning from it? What do we want them to know about porn? And what does this all mean for sex ed?

Well, for starters, to be relevant, sex ed should equip young people with the skills necessary to be informed consumers when they inevitably watch porn. One of the ways we can do this is by helping young people learn to “read,” to “unpack,” porn using media literacy skills. This is how young people can break down the messages they see in porn to understand it as an entertainment industry…that it is very different from “real sex.”

Piqued your interest? Join us for one of our #HealthyTeen20 featured conference sessions, What’s the Deal with Porn?, Wednesdsay, November 18. In this session, we’ll dive into the research we do have and what we know about young people and porn—why they watch it, how they feel about it, and more. You’ll be encouraged to reflect on how your values shape perceptions about adolescent porn use. We’ll wrap it up with concrete tips and opportunities to practice strategies to use a media literacy lens to have effective conversations with youth about porn.

And about that conference…

Back in 2019 (was that only last year?), knowing technology and sexuality have become so intertwined, we wanted to explore the theme of sexuality in this “connected age.”

Today (thanks, COVID-19), our theme is more relevant than ever. Just about everything is virtual for most of us these days. And we know that is making a difference for the youth we serve.

What can you expect from #HealthyTeen20?

No, we can’t gather in-person, but you’ll still get the chance to expand your skills and knowledge while also connecting with other professionals. Much has changed, but much will be the same, including a pre-conference institute, inspiring keynotes, a thought-provoking plenary, and of course, workshops, posters, and panel sessions.

Register today!

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About the Author

Healthy Teen Network envisions a world where all adolescents and young adults lead healthy and fulfilling lives. Founded in 1979, we promote better outcomes for adolescents and young adults by advancing social change, cultivating innovation, and strengthening youth-supporting professionals and organizations. We serve as a leading national membership organization (501c3) for adolescent health professionals and organizations, promoting a unique and holistic perspective—we call it Youth 360°—to improve the health and well-being of young people.

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