How to regulate pornography is one of the most pressing issues of the modern age. So Channel 4 commissioned the “The Sex Education Show vs Porn”, which bravely attempts to give kids the real facts about sex and make sure they don’t rely on porn for their views on the subject. A poll was conducted at your average school in suburbia and shocking statistics popped up at intermittent moments; “1/3 of teens watch at least ninety minutes of porn a week” being one of the most eye-watering.
When Anna Richardson asked an assembled group of youngsters if anyone knew where the clitoris was, a confident lad raised his hand and spoke into the microphone with dazzling forthrightness. “It’s above the labia minora”. If I had just switched over, I’d have presumed he was preparing for a Greek play.
The aims of the show are laudable. When a highlight-haired 16-year-old lad tells the nation he would tell a girl to “get rid of” her pubic hair because it’s unsightly, it is time to take action. There followed more explicit discussions about “shaven havens” which flew past me as I was crumpled on the floor in a hysteric heap of laughter, gasping for breath as a ‘typical’ group of boys were shown a myriad of vaginas on canvasses dangling from the ceiling like the rings from Gladiator’s “Hang Tough” and asked which was the most normal (or which they had seen in the porn they watch copiously).
The second episode focused on the male anatomy. Five robed gentleman swiftly removed their clothing, letting the kids sitting on benches in a dull school hall giggle for a few seconds before a GP pointed to lots of dicks and began saying long incomprehensible words.
The excitement reached palpable levels when the sizes of penises were discussed, especially in light of another statistic: almost 1/4 of boys are worried about the size of their dick. I thought that was the whole point of being 16. If some girl for whatever strange reason wants to sleep with you, a fear will course through your body, as you worry she will leap out of bed halfway through the act to pull out a bar chart depicting the size of your knob compared to her ex by using a Shwartz Herb pot and the Empire State Building respectively. That’s what growing up is all about.
Contraception was the theme for episode three, including enormous blue plastic penises with teenagers stretching and pulling a Johnny over them, instead of putting them to their proper use; water balloons. In a slight shock I actually learned something regarding female contraception. I had the feeling that my teachers skated around the subject of female protection during sex education and I could see why. It took at least half an hour of squinting and head-turning before I could even work out what goes in where and why. I swear one bit of kit looked like the diagrams you get in science text books showing the effects of Greenhouse gases.
My favourite moment of the closing episode was when the children asked their parents questions about sex. The youngsters were clearly revolted but nonetheless curious about their parent’s experiences. Let’s be honest, if it encourages one more kid to talk to their parents honestly about sex it will be worth it. Especially to combat playground idiocy.
I remember in Primary School there was always one kid, Ben Jones, who took great pride in knowing what everything did. He was a walking sex encyclopaedia. I still remember a school trip that culminated in James being picked on for not knowing what a blowjob was. Needless to say, we didn’t have a clue either but we were more than happy to pillory poor James while making mental notes to discover what a blowjob was later that day from a reliable source (Google).
The parents themselves were relieved to get questions like “When did you lose your virginity?” off their chest and the kids seemed to laugh a little, give their parents a searching look, before realising they must have been sixteen once as well.
Real women at various stages of pregnancy were paraded to another school hall with more testosterone flying around than a Captain Flash-Heart convention held in Ross Kemp’s back garden. This approach to sex education was a winner. The kids could see real people and not base their opinions on fantasy blue movies.
What have we learnt? Primarily, we must be honest with kids. Parents need to take some responsibility for teaching kids about sex and not leave it to teachers who have enough trouble keeping them under control, let alone teach them about embarrassing subjects like femidoms.