It only occurred to me recently, at the still tender age of 20, that these boys had no idea what they were talking about. Yes, they could name dazzlingly complex sex positions such as the “backward upside down cowgirl” that I thought only a contortionist could achieve. But, really, they were just pontificating on the basis of a few illegally downloaded porn films, traded around on memory sticks at break time.
Only a year before, they had been trading Pokémon cards.
My first lessons about sex didn’t come from sex education lessons, but were filtered through pre-pubescent boys, who received their information from porn. A 2008 report into youth exposure to pornography, carried out in the US, found that from a pool of 5,000 undergraduate students, 93% of boys and 62% of girls had been exposed to internet porn before the age of 18. The report also found that “boys were significantly more likely to view online pornography more often and to view more types of images”.
OK, so the access to porn may be different but I challenge anyone to give us a period or era of human history when the underlying reality was any different. Maybe when we were all back on the farm and everyone knew what taking the sow to the boar involved but that’s still not a great help with intimacy nor consent is it?
(Cue old joke: Young lad to young girl at the covering: wish I could do that. “Well, she might let you”.)