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‘Nearly all’ LGB kids are using online porn to learn about their sexuality

‘Nearly all’ LGB kids are using online porn to learn about their sexuality

  • New report says teens are using porn to make up for ‘rubbish’ sex education in schools.
Sex Education by Netflix.

Lesbian, gay and bi kids are using online porn to make up for ‘rubbish’ sex education in schools and to discover their sexuality.

That’s one of the main findings of a new report by the British Board of Film Classification. The BBFC is the UK organization responsible for rating all films – including pornography – to make sure they are age appropriate.

Researchers found that some children start accessing porn as young as seven. At that age they often find it by chance.

But by the time they reach their mid teens they are using porn deliberately. In particular they use it to answer their questions about sex as well as for sexual gratification.

Similarly, nearly all the lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB) teens in the study had learned more about their sexuality by watching pornography.

Moreover, several had only realised they are lesbian, gay or bi by watching porn.

Finding porn by accident

The researchers surveyed parents and children aged 11 to 17 across the UK. They also conducted in-depth interviews with teens aged 16 to 18. The research included lesbian, gay and bi young people but nobody identified themselves as trans, queer or non-binary.

Some of those in the survey had first seen porn very young. At first – particularly if they are under 10 – they often feel ‘confused’ or ‘grossed-out’.

Researchers also discovered that children often stumble on porn accidentally the first time.

This may be from Google searches where they type in ‘sex’ or ‘porn’ without knowing what it means. But others first discovered it through pop-up online ads. And some saw it after friends had sent them a link or shared a video on their phone.

As a result, by the time they are 11 to 13, a little over half have seen some porn.

Two thirds of teens aged 14 and 15 have seen porn and 79% of those aged 16 and 17.

As they get older, teens are more likely to have seen porn in the last two weeks. And they are more likely to be watching it deliberately, rather than accidentally.

Most use specific porn sites like Pornhub, xHamster, xVideos, and RedTube. However the teens are also watching porn from Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter and other social media platforms.

Teens seeking sex education through porn

The BBFC report says teens are using porn to learn about sex.

Researchers said: ‘Young people expressed dissatisfaction – and in some cases, frustration – with the quality of sex education within schools.

‘For example, some people felt sex education was overly focused on the “biology of sex” and understanding sexually transmitted diseases, while lacking detail on its pleasurable elements.

‘This was especially the case for young people who were LGB as they felt that what little sex education there was in schools focused on straight sex.

‘Similarly, in the online survey 48% of children agreed that “I want my school to teach us more about sex and relationships”.’

For example, Robyn (name changed), aged 16, told the researchers: ‘It [sex education] was absolutely rubbish.

‘We never learnt about gay sex, only learnt about straight sex which was not very helpful for me unfortunately.’

The report says teens are turning to porn to discover ‘what to do’ during sex and ‘how to please someone’.

Learning from pornography

The BBFC report breaks down what girls and boys feel they are learning from porn.

The young people surveyed said they had:

  • Learnt about sex: 32% boys, 20% girls
  • Learnt if I look normal naked: 17% boys, 19% girls
  • Ideas to try sexually: 14% boys, 8% girls
  • Learnt what is expected of me sexually: 15% boys, 10% girls
  • Learnt what genders I’m attracted to: 13% boys, 9% girls
  • Got better at sex: 7% boys, 3% girls

LGB kids understanding their sexuality

Meanwhile, lesbian, gay and bi young people are particularly frustrated about sex education in schools. As a result, they often turn to porn instead.

The BBFC report says: ‘For many of the LGB respondents in the qualitative research, pornography was a way of understanding their sexuality.

‘It was common for these respondents to start by watching heterosexual pornography, only to realise that they did not find this sexually gratifying and then gradually move to homosexual pornography.’

A massive 46% of LGB young people told researchers pornography had helped them ‘learn which gender(s) they were attracted to’.

By comparison, only 5% of heterosexual children learn this from pornography.

Porn for pleasure

By the time they are 16 or 17, the teens are more likely to watch porn for pleasure.

Boys typically chose ‘Lesbian’, ‘MILF’, ‘Teen’, or ‘Threesome’ porn categories.

But girls also watch ‘Lesbian’ porn – for a different reason.

The report says: ‘Girls stated that they preferred lesbian or solo female masturbation pornography because they didn’t like how men treated women in heterosexual pornography, and specifically wanted to avoid seeing “rough” sex.’

The researchers add: ‘Many boys also assumed that girls enjoyed male gay pornography because there were simply “more” penises, which they thought girls would like to see.

‘By contrast, girls tended to think that boys watched lesbian pornography because they were either not attracted by the men’s penises or were worried about being perceived as gay.’

Happy to have porn age-restricted

Despite many enjoying porn, the teens told researchers there are negatives.

The report says: ‘Most boys and girls across the sample indicated they had seen content they found upsetting or disturbing at some point, usually relating to “violent” or “aggressive” pornography.’

Perhaps as a result, many support the idea of limiting porn by using age verification for porn sites.

The report says: ‘56% of 11- to 13-year-olds in the survey wanted to be “locked-out of websites for 18-plus year olds” and 83% of parents agreed that there should be age-verification controls in place for online pornography.’

And age-verification may even work, the research indicates. Only 14% of 11 to 13-year-olds say they know a way around age-verification software, compared to 34% of those aged 16 to 17.