You, our legislators, my school and my parents failed to teach me anything.

Anonymous, Sophomore

Dec 15, 2021

Due to porn exposure, I had the mindset that the pursuit of a sexual partner was only for my own sexual gain, my partners pleasure was not important.

Dear State Legislators:
I want you to imagine a world where morals and values are tossed out the window when it comes to sexual relationships. Now, look out your front door…There it is! Today, safe, consensual sex seems to have been pushed aside. Time and time again, parents, educators, and modern society in general have failed to deliver a steadfast, caring, and responsible sex education curriculum for how to explore with our bodies and minds as they work in harmony with others. Most young Americans, myself included, have been on the receiving end of this sad and harsh reality perpetrated from the lack of good, common sense sexual education here in the US. Something YOU, our legislators and private schools have the power to and should change.

I grew up with very devout Catholic parents, who believed in celibacy or abstinence. They sent me to Catholic school from Pre-K to senior year of high school, and our religion classes served as a substitute for any health or sex ed classes. I was taught it was a mortal sin to engage in sexual intercourse prior to marriage or to masturbate, and if you did either, Lucifer himself would come up from the depths of Hades and persecute you to the flames and fires of the underworld. My exposure to porn was early and one that I remember very vividly. I was in eighth grade, and for me the battle was with masturbation, not the porn itself. Porn was the stimulant and masturbation, the vice. Every time I masturbated, I thought if I died that day I would go to hell. This was the first obstacle I had to overcome.

Incredibly, throughout my education there was no talk about the anatomy of the human body, nothing about how to engage in safe, protected sex, and zero mention of the best ways to make sure both parties feel loved and accepted during the sexual exchange. There was also no mention of the negative effects of porn and how it can create sexual dysfunction and unhealthy expectations about your partners and honestly tarnish how you approach and engage with your sexual partners. Sadly, it took until sophomore year in COLLEGE, and a class on Sexual Citizenship to realize that in porn, women are second class citizens and as the porn industry, often the industry capitalizes on the vulnerabilities of actors using methods similar to sex trafficking. In order to competes for viewers the women are forced to do degrading and unspeakable acts against their will. That was eye opening to learn. Due to porn exposure, I had the mindset that the pursuit of a sexual partner was only for my own sexual gain, my partners pleasure was not important. In porn and in general today, women’s pleasure is not just overlooked but seen as non-existent. Though my own experiences and this class I realized how little I did to make my partner feel loved and satisfied. I never really took the time to make sure it was mutually pleasurable.

Legislators, I want to know, why did it take until a college class, Sophomore year, to know:
-sex and masturbation are natural and healthy,
-porn creates lots of unhealthy ideas about women and treats them
horribly,
-sexual partners should be understanding and sex itself is a privilege,
not an expectation from your partner,
-how to ask for consent and talk to your partner and check in to
make sure they are 100% on board with what they are doing?

I wish someone would have told me about the harmful effects of porn much earlier in life. If I had known these things at an early age, then I would not have depended on porn to get rid of my sexual urges. Pursuing healthy relationships and having deep, meaningful conversations about what feels good and what we are both comfortable with would have been a great alternative to me in the long run.

You, our legislators, my school and my parents failed to teach me anything. I believe if I was given comprehensive sexuality education earlier, if my sexual experiences and relationships would be better?

Sincerely,
John Doe