Teenage Scots girls want to discuss porn and masturbation in sex ed classes

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TEENAGE Scottish girls want to discuss pornography and masturbation in sex education lessons according to research – but teachers would “prefer to avoid” it.

The Status of Young Women in Scotland 2016 study has shown that girls want to talk about “pleasure” in their lessons.

The research, conducted by social research agency The Lines Between, found that girls were “never told” they were allowed to enjoy sex at school.

But Euan Duncan, President of the Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association, has admitted that is because teachers fear “mishandling” the situation.

Teachers’ fears of discussing such subjects were the target of a classic character from the BBC Scotland sketch show Chewin’ the Fat. Tormented schoolteacher Miss Gourlay, played by Karen Dunbar, refuses even to say the word “penis” when discussing reproduction with a class.

The survey was based on 115 interviews with Scottish wome and and girls aged 16 upwards.

In the survey, one girl said: “I think my friends and the media in general don’t talk about [female] masturbation. That just wasn’t something I knew was possible at all until I was twenty because it had never been discussed. It’s such a shame.”

Another said: “There’s a definite lack of conversations about women watching porn. I think that’s something that in a friend group other friends won’t admit to it, they feel embarrassed.

“Whereas I think it’s healthy as long as it’s safe and the content you’re watching is healthy then there is nothing to be embarrassed about. Whereas boys start watching it really young.”

One added: “Guys are exposed a lot earlier through porn and things like that. ‘Cause its not a thing where women watch porn where they’re younger anyway.”

Jemma Tracey, digital media officer at YWCA Scotland – who commissioned the research – said: “Through this research, young women are asking for a safe space to discuss everything from porn to masturbation, to pleasure and navigating sexuality.”

Mr Duncan said: “I think some teachers may prefer to avoid talking about the area of sexual feelings with pupils altogether because they fear the consequences of mishandling it.

“I can’t imagine many teachers feeling comfortable or safe with the idea of suggesting that youngsters should engage in masturbation or sexual discovery with their peers.

“Teachers, understandably, are often more likely to stick to biological facts, resorting to a message of abstinence.

“I think youngsters might find it confusing – perhaps even slightly frightening – to hear suggestions relating to sexual exploration coming from their usual classroom teacher.”

He added that outside experts would be better suited to dealing with such issues.

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