Will Pornhub’s ‘sex ed’ series be valuable to Gen Z?

Pornhub has launched a new sex education series to bridge the gap between porn and actual sex. Will it work?

The largest host of digital pornography in the world has released an educational series to offer ‘real talk about sex from those who know it best,’ and its resources could prove to be pretty valuable for young people.

Delving into a sexual smorgasbord of topics including masturbation habits, gender fluidity, condom etiquette/ proper use, female anatomy, and a general overview of what should (and should not) constitute a healthy sex life, 11 short videos presented by certified sex therapists and doctors have appeared on the site this week. No, Otis’ mum isn’t part of the initiative, leave Gillian Anderson be.

Like Sex Education though, these videos are clearly aimed at Pornhub’s younger clientele who, in a normal year, would probably be out in the field… experimenting. In the meantime this range of mini lessons is intended to stop an increase in porn consumption warping a generation’s expectation of sex.

Now, I know what some of you may be thinking, ‘Where does Pornhub get off (no pun intended) thinking it has the credentials to teach young people about the nuances of sexual decorum and mutually loving relationships?’ and considering the industry’s bleak history, well, fair enough.

 

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On the one hand, porn is a multi-billion-dollar business that’s been shrouded in controversy over female mistreatment and exploitation for decades. Legal battles concerning the lax regulations of revenge porn and deepfakes continue to crop up on a regular basis, and psychologists point to ‘escalating behaviours’ in porn fostering a dangerous culture of performative and rough sex as the norm for young people – and teen men in particular.

Equally, it can be suggested that with such a huge following on Pornhub – around 80,000 views-per-minute – not even attempting to engender meaningful conversations around subjects like consent, identity, and sexual health on the platform would represent a big opportunity missed. For those who’re staunchly against porn as a concept, embracing educational initiatives like this may be the only way to achieving a more socially responsible industry. Let’s face it, with some 42 billion people viewing content on Pornhub in 2019 alone, it’s safe to say it isn’t going anywhere.

It’s worth noting that, for many, porn represents a first introduction to ‘real-life’ intimacy and sex. In several nations, including Australia, sexual education is part of the non-mandatory curriculum. This means it’s within the discretion of each institution to decide whether or not to cover the subject.

For teens figuring out their identities, the absence of education is leading them to porn as a default guide and is contributing to the spread of problematic views and misinformation. Considering the typical porn website’s… eclectic range of content, that’s probably not a good thing.

It’s understandable that some may consider porn sites teaching teens about real-life sex as the online equivalent of fast-food joints dolling out diet plans – but in a world where young people are getting by without vital sex education, should we really be kicking up a fuss?

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