A Danish sexology professor’s comments advocating that pornography should be shown in the classroom to help students be more critical of what they watch online, has revealed the deep divide in opinion on the same issue in the UK.
Professor Christian Graugaard, a sexology professor at Aalborg University in Denmark, was speaking to the Danish television broadcaster DR when he made the comments. He believes that pupils aged 13 and above should be able to view and discuss pornographic images and literature as part of sex education classes.
Research conducted in the Nordic countries suggests that young people encounter pornography online when they are in their early teens, with studies showing that up to 99% of teenage boys and 86% of teenage girls in the Nordic countries have seen some pornography.
“Young people, like the rest of us, are part of a sexualised post-modern society, says Graugaard. “What I am proposing is that we reinvent sex education in the classroom. Rather than focusing on the technical disease-related or biological aspects of sex, we should also use this platform to discuss and show other phenomena, such as pornography, taught by trained teachers, so that young people can develop a critical approach to what they are seeing.”
“We know that Nordic adolescents are quite capable of differentiating between pornography and the reality of sexual relationships, but at the same time we know a small minority do not have those skills, and to keep them out of trouble we need to reach out to them.”
Professor Graugaard says the reaction to his proposal has been positive, with many teachers and pupils supporting his views. The broadcaster DR spoke to several pupils at different schools to gauge their reactions, and were, according to Graugaard, “very much in favour”.