The Sex Education Forum (SEF) in the UK has been reported this week as advising that sex education is currently at a poor standard. It believes that while more time should be given to the subject, it is also important to introduce porn into the curriculum, along with the understanding that it is not all bad.

I find it interesting that the SEF has been careful with its language, saying that porn “can” be a positive thing. Note this hesitant way of putting it. But I guess they should cover themselves, since the material they’re promoting is undeniably degrading to women.

Some might say that kids are bound to stumble across porn early on anyway, so why not educate them on it? I can’t disagree with the early part. But showing it in schools is bound to condone it in the eyes of kids, and confuse their natural aversion.

There is one point that I agree with, amongst the many that I abhor. I agree with the aim of helping young people understand that porn is fantasy and not at all a reflection of reality. However, the website also states: “But if you can separate the fantasy from the reality you’re much more likely to enjoy both.”

Wrong. What this leaves out is the fact that porn operates more on a subconscious effect. Though the research is hardly given airtime, it has been found that porn causes a recreational attitude towards sex, removes the need for affection before sex, and brings about a tendency to see women as play-things. It also interferes with normal sexual development, undermines well-being with feelings of confusion and shame, and fosters violent relationships. How exactly will people be satisfied with their relationships when their subconscious is operating in a fantasy world where these consequences don’t exist?

In a society dominated with sexual content, I do see the need for kids to be taught about porn to some extent. I’m not convinced that this responsibility should lie with schools however. Isn’t this a role for the parents? It can hardly be said that it’s a topic that people are embarrassed to talk about these days – I meet more people who are willing to offer their sexual experiences with me than any other information!

Maybe this is the solution: don’t educate the kids on porn in school. Educate the parents instead, in what to say and how to say it. What do you think?

Tamara El-Rahi is an associate editor of MercatorNet. A Journalism graduate from the University of Technology Sydney, she lives in Australia with her husband and two daughters.