Skip to content

Get my new book, signed and personalized!

The fourth book in my series, Lather, Rage, Repeat is the biggest yet, and includes dozens of my very best columns from the past six years, including fan favorites “Bass Players”, “Sex Robots”, “Lawnmower Parents”, “Cuddle Parties” and many more. It makes a killer holiday gift for anyone who loves to laugh and has been feeling cranky since about November, 2016.

Personalize for:


Also available at Chaucer’s Books in Santa Barbara, and of course Amazon.com

Is Porn the New Sex Ed?

The Conversation You Need to Have With Your Kids. Now.

Arizona and Washington are debating this month whether to provide sex education in schools. Colorado’s deciding if parents can opt their kids out of the curriculum. And North Carolina parents are protesting their high schoolers’ sex ed, saying it “encourages promiscuity” and “destroys childhood innocence.”

What none of them seem to realize is this: Sex education is happening. It’s happening. The only question is whether you want it to be accurate, or you’re comfortable with your kids getting their titillating tutelage from Alexis Texas and Kendra Lust on pervclips.com.

Despite what we’d all like to believe, studies show that kids are seeing hardcore pornography online as early as 8 or 9 years old (talk about destroying childhood innocence) and many — especially boys — are watching it regularly by age 13 or 14. (Don’t believe me? Take it from the teen in the first episode of Netflix’s popular and delightful series Sex Education, who advises, “You should get on Pornhub. There’s loads of stuff on there. You can watch a CGI demon #^¢% a horse.”)

No one talks much about our kids’ instant, anonymous, free, 24/7 access to porn because, like global warming, the idea paralyzes us with guilt, terror, helplessness, and a sense of queasy doom. But if we pretend it’s not happening, you guys, the next generation will grow up believing fluorescent-lit gangbangs are what sex actually looks like — which, in the god help us what have we wrought?! department, almost gives scorched koalas a run for their money.

I’m not anti-porn. Who among us hasn’t popped open an incognito browser window to gawk at a raunchy romp between exorbitantly endowed strangers from time to time? Live and let lewd, I always say (note that I’ve never said that, but I’m going to start now; I dig it). But it’s a problem when those scenes — with their absurd scenarios and bogus interactions — are viewed by people with little to no experience with real human intercourse. For example, some teens who’ve grown up watching this stuff say they don’t consider kissing to be part of sex because it’s rarely depicted in XXX videos. 

So much porn centers around male sexual entitlement with women treated as literal objects whose only function is to serve some sweaty dude’s pleasure and submit to his often aggressive and occasionally freaky desires. As Boys & Sex author Peggy Orenstein wrote in the New York Times this month, “the most readily available, free content portrays a distorted vision of sex: as something men do to rather than with a partner.” No one asks for consent. No one uses protection. Hell, no one even locks the door.

So how do we address the sea of smut in which your child (sorry) is likely going for an occasional midnight swim? We’ve got to talk about it (sorry again). If we want our kids to have healthy sex lives, we don’t have the luxury of bashful silence. We have to launch early discussions about how different genders are portrayed in the media: Why do you suppose she’s dressed that way and he’s not? What do you think is this music video’s message? Does it seem fair to everyone? Respectful? How would you feel if someone treated you that way?

And by the time puberty hits, we’ve got to be talking about porn. Since we can’t stem the tide of genuinely disturbing stuff out there, we have to contextualize it for kids before they see it. You might liken it to junk food: something people turn to for quick, artificial satisfaction that’s nowhere near as nourishing as the real thing. Or WWE fights: phony but riveting spectacles concocted purely for entertainment. My own kids have heard me compare porn to watching an action movie: It’s designed to quicken your pulse and push your dopamine buttons and it’s fiendishly good at doing so, but don’t try to jump a Corvette across a drawbridge in real life, okay?

Only 26 states currently mandate sex education at all, and even fewer talk to students about healthy relationships and consent/sexual assault. That means kids from half of our nation are learning elsewhere — most likely from Alexis and Kendra, who happen to be giving free lessons after school today.

Share:
Published inUncategorized
My columns are collected in three lovely books, which make a SPLENDID gift for wives, friends, book clubs, hostesses, and anyone who likes to laugh!
Keep Your Skirt On
Wife on the Edge
Broad Assumptions
The contents of this site are © 2015 Starshine Roshell. All rights reserved. Site design by Comicraft.