TED Conversations

Cindy Gallop

Founder & CEO, IfWeRanTheWorld


This conversation is closed.

What do you think each and every one of us can do to counter the impact and influence of porn as default sex education, everywhere?

Today hardcore porn is more freely and widely available online than ever before, thus accessible by kids at earlier and earlier ages (the average age at which porn is first viewed online is 11; a friend of mine recently found her 9-year-old son watching hardcore porn on her iPhone). At the same time, we do not as a society talk about sex openly; the majority of parents are too embarrassed to teach their kids about sex, and sex education is generally not taught in schools in a realistic and directly relevant way. As a result, and I can testify to this through my direct personal experience of dating younger men, an entire generation (guys and girls alike - girls watch and are as influenced by porn as guys are) is growing up believing that what you see in hardcore porn is the way that you have sex, with some very fundamental, ingrained negative impacts. As someone working to counter this with my venture http://makelovenotporn.com, I would love all thoughts and ideas from the TED community as to how we can collectively address what is, quite frankly, the single biggest impact technology is currently having on the most fundamental aspect of huma behavior - our sexuality, which informs everything to do with how we feel about ourselves, other people, our relationships, our lives and our happiness.

This is a global issue that is currently impacting everywhere.

We'll start this conversation at 1pm EST on Wednesday December 7. I am very much looking forward to conversing with all of you!


Closing Statement from Cindy Gallop

Everybody - I loved this conversation! Terrific free and frank exchange of views, many aligned. I found this enormously helpful, both to me personally as I take MakeLoveNotPorn forwards, but also in the context of the many friends I have who are all tackling different aspects of this whole area in different ways, and will also find a lot of this useful. Many thanks to everyone who participated - I really appreciate it. I hope to continue the conversation in due course, and certainly to add to and expand it when I and my team launch http://makelovenotporn.tv in spring 2012.

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    Dec 7 2011: How about to give children proper sex education before they start watching porn? The more common the topic will be within a family the less will be the impact of improper education from outside. And we should start educating children about sex as soon as possible. How hard is it to tell a child: "me and mum make love and that's how you were born"
    Our ancestors lived in communities where children watched adults having sex from their birth-day. I don't say it's necessary to do it exactly the same way, but we should definitely stop trying to pretend there's nothing like sex just until they start getting interested and try to find out by themselves.
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      Dec 7 2011: Ondrej - I couldn't agree more. Plus, I always tell parents, it doesn't matter so much what you say when your kids start asking questions related to sex and their bodies, what's much more important is how you say it - ie not reacting with shock or embarrassment, hastily shutting them up or in some way making them feel there is something bad or guilt-ridden about what they are asking. Being relaxed and matter of fact helps ensure they keep talking to you about sex, even if you keep actual information relatively minimal for the time being till they get older.
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        Dec 7 2011: You are right, the answers don't have to be absolutely detailed or precise, but the child must have it's curiosity satisfied and it shouldn't feel like doing something wrong. I think there should be a list of forbidden answers like: "you're too young, who told you about this and so on" :-)
    • Dec 7 2011: i'm not sure it is as important to help our kids before they see porn, it probably has a lot more to do with how we react to their seeing it.
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        Dec 7 2011: It's too late. If a child watches porn (not accidentally, but on purpose), it's already too late to start the education. In my opinion the right time to start is many years before this happens.
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          Dec 7 2011: Kelly - the average age at which kids see porn online today is 11, and as I mention above, a friend of mine found her 9-year-old son had accessed porn on her iPhone. Sadly, early sex ed and addressing kids viewing porn are coinciding at very much the same stage of kids' lives these days....
        • Dec 7 2011: I think it is never too late but I agree it is easier to start sooner than later. =)
      • Dec 7 2011: I agree with Kelly, My parent never freaked out when they saw that I had found the porn stash. They simply were not judgmental and kept tabs on my state of mind making sure that I understood that porn is fiction.

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