We live in a society where we are still not opening up as we should about our bodies. Our young people are still growing up wondering whether what their bodies look like what is considered as ‘normal'. This worrying view, that many of us still hold onto late into adulthood, can have major affects on self esteem, confidence and relationships with others.
A survey for a BBC documentary targeting those between 18-25 found that 55% of men said their main source of sex ed came from porn. With pornography more and more readily available on our phones nobody knows exactly how old most are when they’re first exposed to porn, with some citing it’s 11 years old, while others say as young as 8.
The BBC survey found 34% of women said the bulk of their sex education came from adult material, with 50% of female respondents expressing fears that porn dehumanised women. Our young adults are then comparing their bodies with others. This comparison can snowball feelings. In order to have a better grasp on how our bodies develop, and the fact we are all individual, they need the opportunity to discuss their current understanding to build on this and move forward positively.
When our young people are accessing porn, they are viewing bodies in a staged environment with high expectations. Our bodies are all different and unique. Porn is not supporting the young person with a rounded understanding of what a range of body types look like. We are not guiding them and supporting them in a controlled environment, instead they are watching and being left with many unanswered questions.
A survey by Glamour showed that 97 percent of the young girls surveyed are critical of their bodies and have an average of 13 negative body thoughts each day. Women believe pornographic content is actively creating "impossible" beauty standards. This teamed with social media with accounts filled with filtered and edited images is an increasing concern. We need to offer opportunities like the one our project offers to support our young people in an age where they are being subjected to conflicting, damaging content.
The government has announced a broader sex curriculum from September 2020 and in line with this, Lydia and I have created a workshop we believe every young person needs to be part of.