Sex. It has become such a casual concept nowadays for both participants and when considering the world’s view on it. Whilst it used to be quite the taboo subject, now it is the polar opposite. Whilst this has benefits, this casual and almost careless attitude has introduced the younger generation to sexual concepts way too early in life. Just the other day, my 7-year-old brother was chanting ‘sexymama.com’ (which inspired this article, funnily enough). There are so many things that are responsible for this early development of the concept, and sexuality itself in children, that it’s hard to know where it all begins.
As I mentioned, the inspiration for this article came from my little brother. After trying to find a way to explain why saying sexymama.com was neither funny nor appropriate for a 7-year-old, I ended up looking up the URL out of curiosity. Whilst it could have been worse, the ad links on it were fairly explicit. My little brother can both read and use the internet, so if he’d done that himself he would have been exposed to sexual content. I only ascertained that his friend made up the ‘joke’ so I couldn’t delve much further, but what show/site/game makes kids of that age aware of the phrase ‘sexy mamas’ at all? They’re too young to understand, but then again, they’re both only a few years away from ‘learning’ why I was so concerned…
Kids today are having their sex education lessons in Year 5. Let that sink in for a second. What thoughts went through your head at that age (9 or 10)? Certainly not that. Nowadays, sex has become a dominant part of pop culture, so perhaps kids that age are not going to be overly interested in the subject when it is taught. Having sex education talks so early doesn’t make a difference. They’ll only giggle it off, and then when they need to use the information they were taught, they’ll be scratching their heads to remember. Trust me, I know. In fact, having the idea explained to them when they’re not even thinking about sex yet is most likely a huge factor in why it has become a common thing for youngsters to explore it in some shape or form. This may explain the amount of under-age shenanigans in the modern day.
Moving a little further up the age bracket, sexting has also had an effect on the early introduction to sexual concepts to children. This tends to be aided through the app Snapchat, where pictures are supposed to disappear in ten seconds (unless someone decided to take a screenshot). But the screenshot risk isn’t even the worst part: how about the fact it’s illegal for anyone under eighteen to receive or distribute pornographic images? Just recently, there have been cases in the news of teenagers getting charged for this (a recent case involving a teenage couple in North Carolina is just one example). The argument against these arrests is that the pictures were consensual, and the distribution hadn’t had a bad effect on anyone involved. My answer to this is that the law is there for a reason. They are way too young to even be thinking about taking those kinds of pictures.
Perhaps the reason they even think about taking these pictures could be because of our pop culture. Countless celebrities have had their nude pictures released (Vanessa Hudgens, Dylan Sprouse, Jennifer Lawrence, etc), and they’ve always been issued with an apology. They shouldn’t need to apologise for taking the pictures, as they’re all technically adults. But these apologies never seem to discourage their young fanbase from following in their footsteps. Another reason why pop culture plays a part in kids being introduced to sexual concepts so early is that porn is often referenced jokingly on various shows. Now, there’s nothing wrong with kids exploring their own sexuality through it, however the stereotypes and glorified unprotected sex within it teaches kids that it’s okay to be forceful and not use protection. I know the porn industry doesn’t do this on purpose, but the fact of the matter is: it happens.
So what can we do? Hide the televisions and turn on mass amounts of parental settings? No. Perhaps we can be a little more thoughtful as to what our children are watching, and not just sticking them in front of any old show to shut them up. Instead of leaving sex education solely to the schools, perhaps parents could actually sit down and give them a more modernised view of sex, rather than the classic ‘when a man and a woman love each other very much…’ that’s still taught in schools.
Personally, I believe that youngsters should have two sex education sessions every year starting from Year 8. Not only this, but the schools also shouldn’t hide the important information with dodgy cartoons. It should be crystal clear, and the laws to do with sex should be made crystal clear also. With these ideas and preventions in mind, perhaps we can let the kids enjoy their innocence for as long as possible without running the risk of more ‘sexy mama’ incidents.