Are Educators Really Suggesting 'Ethical Porn' in Sex Ed?

high school students
A resource called ‘Planet Porn’ was recommended for use in secondary schools. [Picture for illustrative purposes only.] (Fotolia/michaeljung)

A resource that encourages young people to create “ethical porn” with cartoon images and is recommended in recent sex-education guidance has been panned by a family campaigner.

Writing online for The Telegraph, Norman Wells of the Family Education Trust criticizes various resources which were listed as “useful” in sex-education advice produced for schools last month.

The guidance was produced by a number of groups that lobby for sex education to be compulsory in all schools.

Wells says that following the advice “would merely compound the problems associated with the sexualization of children.”

He criticizes a resource pack called “Planet Porn,” which is included in a list of “useful resources” within the non-binding guidance.

Commenting on an activity in the pack called “Porn Debate,” its publishers say it “tries to be even handed and doesn’t attempt to tell people whether porn is good or bad.”

Wells points out that this is “fully consistent” with a “relativistic approach.”

He says parents assume their children will be taught pornography is wrong in school and would be discouraged from viewing it.

“They don’t for one moment think that it will be presented as a topic for discussion, devoid of any moral framework or direction,” he says.

Another activity, called “Porn Challenge,” encourages young people “to think of ways to present sexy scenes and images which are safe, promote equality and diversity and don’t make assumptions about who may be watching porn.”

The activity also involves using cartoon images from the pack or stickmen to create “ethical porn.”

The guidance recommends another resource that tells teachers pornography is not necessarily “all bad” and to bear in mind that it is “hugely diverse.”

The e-magazine, entitled The Pornography Issue, also recommends a youth forum website that tells teenagers “porn can be great” and aims to tackle a series of “myths” on the subject.

Wells says, “There is widespread agreement that the prevalence of pornography in society in general, and on the Internet in particular, presents enormous challenges.”

“However," he adds, "before we determine that the solution lies in adding pornography education to the school curriculum, we need to ask searching questions about precisely what such lessons would consist of and about the moral framework within which the subject would be addressed.”

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