Minors are being exposed to unsafe sex. It needs to stop.

Friday, February 12

By Molly Hughes

TW!! - This article discusses sex, sexual violence and assault. If this is something that is not suitable for you to read, please do not continue.

Everybody thinks about sex.

Whether somebody enjoys it or wants nothing to do with it, people can't help but think about sex. Is it because its so taboo? Why is sex seen as a dirty or uncomfortable word when most people will have sex in their lifetime? Is sex so taboo because of a still instilled purity culture we need to fully dismantle?

I believe it is this purity culture, that leads to unsafe sex - whether that results in an STI, pregnancy or even just a terrible time. Our sexual education seems to be limited to how not to get pregnant, not even touching upon self pleasure or kinks. This limitation can make people (particularly minors and those under the age of consent in their respective countries) turn to the internet. We can't help but be curious about it, what it means to have sex, the emotion it can bring during and after, how to have sex safely (and I don't mean just putting on a condom or anything else that prevents STIs.) 

The thing is, children are exposed to porn at a younger age now because the internet is filled with it. There is a degree of openness on the internet, but that definitely doesn't mean that those who talk about it should be teaching about it. My main concerns about this are based on my own experience of logging on to tumblr in 2014 and seeing porn pretty much everywhere. I saw videos on pornhub and couldn't understand how they made me feel. I felt dragged into a world of kink and was convinced that these things I was seeing were things I should like. Now, as an adult with a higher level of critical thinking than at 12 years old, I realise just how inherently messed up some of the things i had seen truly were. How could I have thought that such violence displayed in these videos be something I wanted? 

The internet has changed very rapidly throughout my life. The introduction of new apps such as Tiktok have really helped through a lockdown that seems endless, but there is something that I noticed. In the beginning Tiktok was just a bunch of silly lip syncing videos with cool transitions, but there is something inherently more sinister that has developed. On a children's app, there have been more and more videos discussing sexual content popping up on my for you page (a feed for those who don't use the app.) You have teenagers and young adults talking about their "fantasies" and the comment section is full of underaged children talking about how "kinky" they are.

It makes me feel physical sick.

Another trend that I've been seeing is that other children are mocking those who question this behaviour - calling them "vanilla." This is a dangerous idea to instil in children. To teach, in particular, young girls that if they don't enjoy being choked or hit that they are somehow sexually boring. As a young girl, we are taught to be polite and giving, we feel that sexual attention gives us a sense of worth. To make young girls now believe that if they are to be desirable they need to enjoy violence is extremely dangerous. This is leading children in to a blurred reality of what is sexual assault and what is just normal sex. Take it from somebody who understands because they know the internet - I've been active on websites showing me these kinds of videos and gifs even when I didn't want to see them - you're not broken because you don't want to be choked during sex. Vanilla is not an insult and needs to be stopped using as one. These children are being exposed to things they shouldn't and there is very little in real life to counter these experiences. Adults won't talk to their children about kink, because they're probably in the dark about it unless they actively participate in it - not to mention the underlying awkwardness of a conversation about sex people already feel. They deem it inappropriate for children to know about but these children are already finding out about it against their will most of the time. Porn addictions can start young, and we all know that porn is not a representation of sex in real life. 

I mean, Pornhub already removed thousands and thousands of videos, because they contained unconsensual sex and children. I see no point in porn existing at all really. There are other, safer ways of consuming erotic content - such as audios or erotic literature (however we all know how Fifty Shades of Grey went down - it was shit. Don't read it.)

The rise of only fans in a way of consuming pornography has its pros and cons. In one way, the content people put out is paid for and can be monitored. Women who turn to sex work like this have more control over what content they create and seems like a "safer" way of producing pornography. I only say "safer" for the way that it is inaccessible to those underage as you need card information to access the site, and if a child used their parents card, the parents would be able to see on a bank statement and be able to handle the situation. However, a new disturbing trend that I have seen on Tiktok, is grown women who are sugar babies and successful only fans content creators, are putting out tutorials on how to earn money in these jobs. This could be useful to other adults, but I am seeing more and more underage girls say that as soon as they tun 18 they will start an only fans to earn money. This is indoctrination. No I'm not exaggerating. These girls are seeing a glamourised world of sex work that they can earn lots of money through, but do they know the emotional impact this work has on people? The fact that more and more teenagers are willing to start selling pictures and videos of themselves for money breaks my heart. It's not about the choice, its about the fact that children feel that in order to have worth or "make something of themselves' and "get that coin" they are so ready to sexualise themselves for an audience of much older adults. It feels so incredibly wrong and uncomfortable, but they are only shown the glamour, the big houses and good holidays these women are getting because of their work. They're not seeing the pain of others who have been in the sex work industry for longer than only fans has existed. They don't see the violation that these women talk about, the pressure, the dehumanisation. Our choices do not exist in a vacuum, and women are not a commodity to be shared. If you do have only fans and it works for you, great! Keep doing what you have to do! But I think there is something very wrong about encouraging work such as this on an app made for children. If someone needs this advice they will go searching for it, but we don't have much choice in what appears on our TikTok feeds, and there is a higher chance of children coming across these videos without actively looking for it. Sex work should not be shamed, but I don't think it should be encouraged on TikTok of all places.

It's bad enough that kids are exposed to pornography through pop ups on dodgy games websites. And what's even worse is that the most popular categories on these sites are "underage teen" or "barely legal." The fact that grown women are acting childlike in such videos during sexual situations only suggests to me that we have almost normalised pedophilia. Or even encouraged it. It disgusts me to think that these people "get off" to being children or having sex with somebody acting like a child is really alarming. And to combine this with girls who are pressured to feel as if they are already sexually available when they are definitely not - are we already enabling pedophilia and rape with pornography and kink?

Now, I just discussed DD/LG (daddy dom/ little girl) which obviously there are other labels for this, however this is something I have seen time and time again, in that the dominant is a "caregiver" or a "parent" and the submissive acts "childlike." There's a whole argument between those who age regress to cope with trauma, and those who age regress for sexual purposes. In my opinion, children and anything child-like, should not be involved in any sexual encounter. Obviously, you're into what you're into - but that doesn't mean these choices exist in a vacuum. DDLG content outside of forums specifically with this being discussed is wrong. Children and impressionable young adults should not be exposed to it without much information. I have real life experience of knowing people particularly into this - not just calling your boyfriend daddy or whatever during sex, I mean really into the care giver and child like roles. I think there is something very twisted about getting sexual gratication from acting like, or your partner acting like a child. 

Now, I want to emphasize, that kink is not necessarily a bad thing. Like I said, you're into what you're into, as long as there is choice and between two consenting adults there are safety precautions in place to prevent anything bad happening. However I also said that our choices do not exist in a vacuum. If this content is actively posted online where predominantly children and young adults are going to see it, without educational purposes in a non biased way, then it is contributing to a problem that can end up traumatising people when they do end up having sex. Sex is vulnerable, both emotional and physically, and if we keep allowing children and young adults to learn about sex through the internet and porn instead of teaching them in school and through fair and non biased discussions, more and more people (again young girls in particular) are going to have sexual encounters that traumatise and harm them.

Sex is supposed to be safe. Safe and fun. We need to stop being so prude about discussing sex with our children. They need to know these things because they are going to do it whither or without your knowledge. I would rather have my child know more about sex that keep them in the dark and let their knowledge be founded upon the internet. Smarter is always safer. I don't want my future daughter to feel pressured in to liking things. I don't want my future son to be shamed for not being interest in sex. I don't want either of them to experience something traumatic just because I felt too embarrassed to tell them about what I knew.

We have a responsibility. Children are our most vulnerable part of society, we need to keep them safe.



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