These are just some of the questions that we have been asked from young women around the topics of sex, dating, relationships, body image and more over the past couple of weeks.
Some of the questions turn my stomach to think of some of the things and situations that teens have to negotiate..
Some of the questions asked of us, if typed into google would bring up a whole bunch of answers from a whole bunch of sources…..
Some of which include sources which can be so damaging to the hearts and minds of young people… yes im talking about pornographic websites. My point is this: its natural, normal, important even, for young women to be asking questions about sex, their bodies, and the opposite sex. What must be considered however, is where that information is coming from.
The latest annual youth survey from Mission Australia indicates that young people are in fact getting the majority of their information on these topics from the internet. (72.8%)
[box type=”download”] Research now tells us:
- 60% of girls were exposed to pornography before the age of 18.
- 49% of young women say viewing porn is an acceptable way to express ones sexuality.
- Nearly half of young women watch pornography at least once a month. [/box]
While the topic of sexuality and surrounding issues can be hard subjects to broach with teens, the information that is passed onto young people from reliable sources such as caring parents, carers, teachers, youth workers etc is crucial.
When I talk to teen girls about the information around sexuality I always warn them to be cautious of the places they are getting their education on these topics. The examples of womanhood that are found in pornography can be damaging to the development of the belief systems of young women in many regards; what their role is in a sexual relationship, the expectation of men, the thoughts, opinions and expectations around their own body image and what is normal.
Why should the first viewpoint of sex that a young woman sees involve women who are objectified, abused, degraded and never represented as a whole person?
Why should the first viewpoint of sex that a young woman sees involve men who are violent, aggressive towards women and who show no regard for who the woman is as a person, but only what she can offer him sexually?
Young people are searching for answers. We owe it to them to do all we can to ensure their answers are coming from a reliable source.
“The problem with pornography is not that it shows too much of the person but that it shows far too little” John Paul II