One of the interesting things I’ve learned as I’ve begun writing about sexuality is that computer filters do not help us have good conversations about sexuality. When I email someone about the research I’m doing or about a workshop I might run for them, I’ve learned to leave out the “e” in sex and sexuality—or else my email may never get through.
Of course, I fully understand the need for filters, especially where kids have access to computers. A shocking number of young adults I’ve surveyed ran across pornography at a young age (say, 8) and found it both distressing and exciting. Preteens are simply not emotionally developed enough to make sense of what they see. And even teens can develop misconceptions about sex from the distorted view presented in porn. So if you’re a parent, yes, absolutely use filters on every computer your kids can access.
At the same time, filters impact our ability to have meaningful conversations about sex. If we’re blocked from articles about, say, “what’s normal breast development?” because that has “breast” in it, we (or our kids) are missing useful information. On a different level, blocking sites and emails that include any word that can be used sexually implies that there’s something wrong about sex. Which there isn’t. Adults need to be able to talk about sexuality, at least with those close to us. We need to be able to access information on sex-related topics without feeling embarrassed. So hopefully whatever filters you have on your computer haven’t blocked this blog from coming through….
Because sex is worth talking about.