Danish professor suggests including pornography in school’s sex education

independentA Danish sexology professor and expert on sexual education has this week suggested that schools should expose teenagers to pornography as part of their education.

Professor Christian Graugaard, of Aalborg University, claims that schools should make efforts to teach children the difference between pornography and real sexual relationships. According to him lessons on pornography would help young people to become ‘critical consumers’.

Prof. Graugaard is one of many leading academics interested in the growing influence that pornography has on young people’s understanding of sex. According to a study of Nordic students in 2006 around 99% of teenage boys and 86% of teenage girls claimed to have watched pornography.

Many experts worldwide are concerned that early exposure to pornography may hinder a young person’s sexual development. Many others are also concerned that the unrealistic depiction of sex seen in online pornography can lead to teenagers engaging in unhealthy sexual relationships.

Some are especially concerned about the effect pornography may have on young men. Pornography is often criticised for enforcing sexist and misogynist gender roles, as well as skewering teenage boys perceptions on consent and other important issues.

In a 2013 study by the University of Copenhagen, researchers found that regular exposure to pornography led to young people becoming more ‘adventurous’ in their sex lives. The study also suggested however that there is little evidence to show that sexually explicit content had a significant negative impact on young people’s sexual behaviour.

Although these findings may at first seem to indicate no link, experts claim that the survey, which took place in Denmark only, shows that pornography-friendly cultures may be better at also fostering healthy sexual behaviours.

Denmark was the first country to legalise pornography in 1969, and since then has been a world-leader in sexual education. Whereas the 2013 study may indicate that pornography and unhealthy habits may have not be linked Professor Graugaard’s work suggests that Denmark’s progressive attitude towards sex may be the main reason for young people displaying a healthier approach to sex.

In an interview with Danish broadcaster DR, Graugaard stated “I want us to educate young people to be critical consumers who see porn with reflection and critical distance”.

The Professor’s recent comments are supported by many educators and education experts. According to many teaching young people to understand the difference between pornography and real sex is key in keeping the unpleasant aspects of ‘porn culture’ away from the lives of teenagers.

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