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Porn affects ability of boys to form relationships

Pornography has become 'normalised' among teenage boys. Picture: Getty

Pornography has become 'normalised' among teenage boys. Picture: Getty

  • by CHRIS MARSHALL
 

PORNOGRAPHY has become “normalised” among teenage boys and may be helping to undermine attempts at sex ­education in schools, a study has found.

A report by the charity Zero Tolerance says peer pressure on boys to appear sexually experienced and “blasé” about porn is affecting their ability to learn about normal relationships. The report also suggests the viewing of aggressive or ­violent pornography is now commonplace.

Zero Tolerance spoke to young people through a series of focus groups and by sending an online survey to youth and women’s organisations across Scotland. According to the report, pornography is “normalised” among large numbers of young people, but far more so for boys. It says young people of both genders are often influenced by a stereot­yped sexual “script” promoted by porn and other sexualised media that women are “objects to be pursued and persuaded into [having] sex”.

Appearing sexually experienced and blasé about pornography is more about being accepted by other boys than attracting sexual partners, the report says. “The consequences of this peer pressure could be to limit young men’s learning about important aspects of relationships and sex, and such attitudes should be taken into account when delivering work on these issues,” the report adds.

Laura Tomson, the report’s author, said the widespread availability of porn on the internet was affecting how young men approach sex and relationships. “The danger of porn isn’t seeing sex at a young age, it’s about the type of sex they’re seeing,” she said. “Also, a lot of girls are angry with the way women are portrayed.”

According to the report, 74 per cent of survey participants said that most or all boys their age look at pornography, compared to 12 per cent for girls.

Stories about pornography “pop-ups” and sexualised singles adverts coming up when searching for non-sexual content on the internet were a common theme.

When asked, 16 per cent of survey participants selected said “sexual relationships” were their main source of information about sex.

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Government said: “Relationships, sexual health and parenthood education is an integral part of the health and wellbeing area of the curriculum and it is for local authorities and schools to decide how it is delivered based on local needs and circumstances.

“However, we are specific about the need for young people to gain knowledge appropriate to their age and stage of education. This aspect of the curriculum is intended to enable young people to build positive relationships as they grow older and should present facts in an objective, balanced and sensitive manner within a framework of sound values and an awareness of the law on sexual behaviour.”

 

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