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Sex education for adults?

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Today I delivered a guest lecture to students at a 6th form college and one of them came up to me and said “Are you the same person who writes on the blog Adventures from”? My response was of course “Yes” but it got me thinking…

A fellow blogger was saying to me a few days ago that I should designate my blog as an adult site. He made me laugh because he was like “I can’t read about that…”, “you can’t read about what exactly“? was my response. He replied “you know what I mean, don’t drill me“. I laughed because he did not even want to mention the word sex. I understood though, there is a huge silence when it comes to sex. The silence is even more deafening when you move outside what is expected to be the norm, when you consider diverse sexualities, when you focus on pleasureable sex for women and when you advocate for comprehensive sex education.

So back to the student who had read my blog. I asked him after the lecture, “So, how old are you?“, “17” he responded. “I am only asking because you read my blog“. “I shall be 18 this year” was his response as he headed off to the next college activity.

Hmm, plenty for me to think about. When I started this blog I had as my target audience women, primarily African women. I hadn’t thought of an age bracket though, but if I had envisaged one I would have said 20+. What I have realised though is I have quite a few male readers and it appears some young readers too. In my mind this can only be a good thing. Afterall young people have access to porn, right wing thought and some pretty scary information on the net. I think of my blog as Sex education for adults. One of my friends though said it’s porn.

What are your thoughts? Is this blog sex education for adults? Porn? A site for African women to share experiences? (my initial mission) Is this site suitable for teenagers? Should it be? Should I designate it as an adult site?

14 COMMENTS

  1. I am strongly of the opinion that your blog – though educative – be marked “Adult”.

    The education is for adults only. Never mind that sexual content have been “liberalized” in today’s world.

    Your blog though targetted at women, can be quite revealing for men as well. At least, one knows what runs through a woman’s mind as far as sex is concerned.

  2. hmmm, after you asked my age… you got me thinking was i doing something illegal? Was I accessing my eyes should not be seeing or doing something to be ashamed of? And then I came to the conclusion that I was not.

    I realized that every time I read your blog, it made for good reading and as ‘descriptive’ as it got at certain points it never reached down right dirty, raunchy, shameful content. In fact the words that come to mind when I read the post are interesting and many times very amusing.

    You make very clear at the top of the site what it is for-information, bare facts and opinions. This is obviously not porn or X-rated material and probably that is why I felt no qualms about asking if you were the same person.

    I think it is for the same reason that I listed this as one of the blogs I follow unashamedly because this really i believe is not dirty material that should be revealed to only certain sects.

    All sex ed is sex ed and sex ed is a good thing. Which goes without saying that i am far from ready to have sex.

    Good job for your pieces though. they really make for interesting reading;i daresay good literature

  3. David – lol, I know you think it should be marked as an adult site. Thanks for the feedback and all the other advice.

    Nana Yaw – Ditto

    Antye504 – I am so glad you came to the conclusion that you are not doing anything illegal. I concur! You just got me thinking about what a fellow blogger had said about designating the site as an adult site.Thanks so much for all the positive feedback. I appreciate it

    Nana Darkoa

  4. your blog is definitely not a porn blog.
    its a sex ed blog
    its good to read, and lets us understand the way the african woman thinks about sex

  5. I am a huge supporter of the blog but what if some 12 year old were reading this? (They have access to the internet too – I can imagine this site becoming the fad in some class 6 classroom, whispered about in the bathroom, etc.) I think 18 is fine but some of the more ‘colorful’ posts/comments should be reserved for older readers. 12 year-olds need sex-ed, no doubt, but do they really need to know about titty-fucking and the joys of vibrators?

    -My 2 cents

  6. Bonti – thanks for the support!

    Shane – Hmmmm, true I will freak out at the thought of a 12 year old reading my blog although I recognise that they can preety much read anything they want to at that age. I think I was reading Mills and Boon even before I was 12

    My conclusion is to designate the blog as an Adult site. Thanks all!

  7. I’ve been thinking about who the blog might be suitable for – and I think the simple answer is that it is suitable for anyone who is sexually active or otherwise old enough that their being sexually active is not a problem. If a 12-year old is already sexually active, then obviously reading what others have to say about it will not be corrupting to them. But, at the same time though, I think that if one is sexually active at that age, then the kind of conversations one needs to have are a little different from what the website offers. Because then there are emotional issues that need to be sorted out, that the blog does not really cover. I see the information here are more for people in adult relationships looking to get a little more uninhibited and able to articulate more what their desires are. Or for me who really cannot find a way to open up about what I’d like to be different, it’s a place I can direct my partner to to clarify a few issues (e.g., why i take issue to his not bathing before getting in bed :)).

    I guess what I’m saying is that – although the information is not necessarily corrupting, it is also has little utility for people below a certain developmental level – either agewise or maturity wise. So I agree with you that the best way probably to handle this is designate it an adult site.

  8. I like that you have designated it adult- i.e. 18+ it just covers you. As has been stated above if a sexually active 12 yr old clicks through and proceeds to read the posts.. Thats them. You can’t regulate who reads it and you cant regulate how they will use the information.
    But you can tell them that you aren’t giving them soft porn or encouraging them to go on shagsprees to experiment. Good job Lady (notice how all the lurkers are commenting now ! LOL)

  9. Hi inhibited friend – I’m glad this blog can be a space to direct partners to clarify issues. I would be really interested to know how the partners react to the “direction”.

    Brown Angel – thanks for the support!

  10. Hi Nana,

    I appreciate the fact that I am commenting *after* the fact, but I think it ought to be said that though I am with Nana Yaw and David from the first/second comments, I want to go further to say that it’s great you’ve designated it an “adult” site.

    The moral ambiguity surrounding what is considered “sex education” will always be there, but I think one thing is clear: there’s a certain responsibility that comes with it, which means that if you have chosen to write about it, then you have to be clear about your audience. You are never going to be able to regulate what under-age people do–they will always find ways of going round the law!–but at least you can cover your back (as someone said).

    Your blog is profoundly insightful, as you do get a glimpse of what women think, but perhaps if you want to make it educational, then perhaps you can perhaps broach the issue of dealing with the feelings associated with some of these stories. I think it’s possible without consigning that to the work of psychologists!;-)) Keep the fire burning!

  11. Hi EK,

    I don’t think you’re commenting after the fact at all. I see all the blogs as ongoing conversations. Hmm, feelings? Are there any particular types of feelings you had in mind?

  12. Nana — I am writing very post the fact, therefore a ‘for or against designation as 18+’ argument would be moot.

    You mentioned that it is unsettling for you to think that a 12 year old would be reading the blog and at first thought I agreed with you but I reflected on my own history of sex education and uh – I was reading ‘Mills and Boon’ and ‘Harlequin [sic]’ novels at the age of 13 (and some were extremely explicit) and these were my ‘alternative’ sex education materials – mainstream sex education consisted of very intermittent sex education classes in junior secondary school (grades 8 & 9) with a total of about two or three classes (taught by a fifty year old man) in the space of two years and a one day Behavioural Change Workshop (in grade 9). The main message was abstinence – this was in the late 90s.

    Millennials or those born in the 21st century have access to far raunchier, more explicit and pornographic materials. My 80s and 90s ‘Mills and Boon’ novels are chaste compared to what children can access on the internet today. I’m not saying that just because children can and sometimes do, access raunchy and pornographic materials on the internet, it is fine to let them access your website. As adults, as parents, as sisters or brothers we have a responsibility to the protection of children and by all means we should protect our young ones. However, we cannot ignore the fact that today more so than before children live in a hyper-sexualised world. I’ve watched advertisements that left me literally shocked at the connection between sex and the marketed product – ads which show a scantily dressed woman and man hungrily licking each others tonsils (clean) only to discover its an ad for drinks or sunglasses. Or ads in which the woman and man stumble across the room, rip each others clothes off, fall onto the bed and begin to sexually devour each other with me wondering – are they advertising condoms? the beddings? the bed? or maybe the glass used in the french windows – only to discover they are advertising underwear which I only saw for a split second (and they were not impressionable). Furniture shops have billboards with suggestively (and I mean sexually – clothes and pose) dressed and positioned women. We live in an age and society in which sexual messages are explicit and subtle and there are no filters, children are inundated with sexual messages and sexuality from whatever age it is they begin to watch TV or access the internet.

    I’m fairly new to your blog (might I add it is an amazing space and you, the guest contributors and commenters are doing a great job of keeping it lively, passionate and fun!) and I am still reading through the various posts and comments but what I have experienced thus far is a unique space where (taboo) topics are set out (based on one persons perspective or after research) and the topic is opened for discussion. Lessons can be sought and taught.

    I did not have such a forum or space as a 13 year old even though I had questions and queries. I filled in the gaps left by the dismal sex education syllabus I got at school (at home my mom had an authoritarian, no nonsense DO NOT ENGAGE IN SEX prior to marriage aka as abstinence policy) with the ‘Mills and Boon’ novels content despite the fact that:
    1. The novels were about adult women and men engaged in (mostly) consensual sex
    2. They never used condoms, femdoms, pills, IUDs or other contraceptives and rarely suffered the consequences (if they did it consisted of falling pregnant with the baby of a billionaire or prince determined to have the child and marry the mother)
    3. The women and men were blond(e) and blue eyed, red heads with green eyes or grey eyed with ebony/jet black hair.

    I think the current status of the blog in which you warn the reader of the content suffices although 11, 12 or 13 year olds may still click ‘I understand’ and come on through to a space that discusses issues they may be exposed to elsewhere but unable to discuss or question without judgment or reprimand from parents, teachers and peers (and if their parents do not approve of access to such sites – maybe they should monitor the computer more often or censor it or not buy a smartphone until the child is 18)…or maybe I was an intellectually curious child left to her own devices (I eventually began to access more resourceful materials that proved more edifying) in which case this space would have been as great for me then as it is now!

    • @Saffron – Its really great when someone comments on an old post ‘cos it can spark a discussion, and as a blogger its good to know that people still check out the old posts 🙂

      You speak a lot of truth to power here. I was also one of those precocious (maybe even 9/10 years old) children who read M&B’s, Silhouettes, Harlequin and all that…plus we forget children are not as innocent as we wish them to be, sometimes because they have been exposed to sexual abuse by the adults in whose care they are. Come to think of it, an ‘Adventures’ for youngsters will be great except we couldn’t call it ‘Adventures’ then could we 🙂

      Welcome to this space. Enjoy the posts, keep commenting, and if you feel so inclined email a contribution

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