7.1 Sex is always epic
Lizzie Marvelly was discussing pornography in the Weekend Herald on 5 October:
Urging good quality sex education as an important step in ameliorating the impact of pornography, she bemoaned the current state of that curriculum:
While some students are learning about consent, healthy relationships, and the unreality of pornography, others are learning the bare basics about sperm fertilising ova.
She stumbled across the truth and didn’t notice. Yes, sperm fertilizing ova is the “bare basics”. In fact, that’s what sex is – the mundane seed of the stupendous human epic.
I find it strange to read someone who identifies “bare basics” and then treats them as trivial – like “only the bare basics”
A teaching module that claims to be about sex (eg “healthy sexual relationships” between school kids), but ignores what sex is, is misleading. Respectful relationships are extremely important, but they’re not really “sexual” relationships if they happen without any regard to what sex is: they are a safe mimicry of a sexual relationship.
Similarly, a sex-ed curriculum is a misnomer if it ignores what sex is. It makes sense to talk about things in addition to the bare basics – most obviously, pleasure and love (as sex is such a wonderful bonding agent). But, pleasure and love supplement the bare basics, they are not a substitute. If the bare basics are set aside, the curriculum is no longer about sex.
There’s no time here to list all the problems with porn: suffice to say I can’t think of anything to say in favour of it. Before you get to the unrealism, dehumanisation and violence, though, the initial problem with porn is that it isn’t sex. It just looks like sex from a distance.
Kids need to know what sex is – its bare basics and its wonderful supplementary features. And they need to learn to keep a safe distance from mimicry – whether pleasant (as it often is) or toxic (like porn).