Porn is the misleading stand-in for real sex education

Alyssa Fernandez

In California, “wrap it up” took on a new meaning in the adult film industry after state officials attempted to approve a measure that would have required pornographic actors to wear condoms on set. On paper it made sense, despite the strong opposition from within the industry. However, the regulation became impotent when it fell one vote shy of passing, a thought still lingers — how could a thin sheath of latex jeopardize the porn industry?

For porn to survive, it should cater to the fantasy of its audience. To put it gently, the reflective foil of a condom turns off viewers because it jerks them back into into the cold, clammy hands of reality. The hard truth to swallow is that the adult film industry is not responsible for teaching the ABCs of safe sex, and wearing condoms only hinders their business. 

Supporters for this statewide initiative attempted to kill two birds with one stone by arguing the regulation would not only protect the performer’s health, but also promote safe sex practices. Adult performers are already required to be tested every 14 days to prevent a breakout of sexually transmitted diseases. Instead, the most significant change for the industry is that the initiative inadvertently turns porn into a PSA announcement. 

At the end of the day, adult films are fictional. This is apparent when you take into consideration that the average Joe’s rumpus lasts any where from three to seven minutes. In porn time, a seven to 15 minute scene might take up to an hour to film, and with a rubber, friction is not their friend. 

It’s entertainment, plain and simple. People don’t learn to drive from watching “The Fast and Furious.” They learn under a fluorescent lit classroom with a manual in hand. So why should porn be a substitute for safe-sex education? 

This facilitates a conversation about the inadequacy of the U.S. sex education system. I can already sense a PTA mother burn her quiche as I proclaim that an unsurprising amount of teenagers are learning about sex through porn. Consequently, many teens have an unrealistic expectation about what sex should be. 

The U.S. sex education system is borderline puritanical, at best. Regularly failing to teach students how to use and obtain condoms, the inadequate sex education system has caused a pandemic of misinformation, especially since accessing porn is as easy as turning safe-search off. 

Porn is not meant to teach teens about sex. But the lack of proper, comprehensive sex education creates unrealistic expectations about sex for these inexperienced students. 

There are efforts to differentiate fact from fiction, as Obama recently removed abstinence-only education from the federal budget. What is necessary is an effort to teach teens about sex, but changing the ins-and-outs of the porn industry isn’t the answer. After all, sharing is caring. But a condom would beg to differ. 

Fernandez is a Spanish and rhetoric and writing junior from Allen. Follow her on Twitter at @blancoAlysssa.