With nearly two thirds of 15-16 year olds surveyed across the UK last year saying that they had seen online porn, health professionals from Lancashire Care’s Contraception and Sexual Health Team are using Sexual Health Week as an opportunity talk about porn!
With pornography widely and easily accessible online and many people easily able to view and access it, the theme of this year’s FPA Sexual Health Week (on 11-17 September) is “Let’s Talk about Porn.”
Porn is one of those thought proving subjects that many people have an option on. As a service, we understand that for some people watching porn can be part of a healthy sexual relationship, but for others it can lead to unrealistic expectations, anxiety and in some cases addiction.
Tania Cockcroft from Lancashire Care’s Contraception and Sexual Health Service said:
“Watching porn can make real-world sex less enjoyable and makes people feel less happy in their relationships. Our service promotes open discussions about subjects related to porn, such as body image, consent, communication, safer sex, and the difference between fantasy and reality. Through conversations with partners and young people we've often found that the most successful way to have those discussions is through an open-minded, positive and non-judgemental approach to the topic.”
In line with this year’s Sexual Health Week, the Lancashire Care’s Contraception and Sexual Health Service is encouraging people to ‘talk about porn’ in an open minded and non-judgemental way. The service wants to help remind people that porn is a fantasy performed by actors and that real life sex doesn’t need to be a performance. In real life, sex can be amazing, boring, romantic, messy, loving, silly, fun and intense, but most importantly it should always be consensual with all parties being happy with what’s going on and feeling able to say no if they want to.
According to a BBC Newsbeat report last year, there is a surge in the number of young men who suffer from erectile dysfunction due to easy access to porn. The condition is normally associated with serious health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. However, health professionals are now seeing more and more people in their late teens and early 20s experience the problem which they say is caused by online porn (see notes to editor for link to BBC article).
The Contraception and Sexual Health Team, in partnership with Brook, provides free and confidential sexual health services to young people under 25 across Lancashire and to people of all ages within Blackburn with Darwen. To book an appointment or find out about our ‘drop ins’ call 01772 401140; there are clinics in various locations and different session times across Lancashire. To find out more about services in your area, please visit www.lancashirecare.nhs.uk/cash-lancashire.
Condoms are available for free from any of our clinics for which appointment are not necessary. Young people can also access free condoms from any ‘Wrapped’ condom distribution site. Under 25s can also order free Chlamydia self-testing kits online by visiting www.best2know.co.uk.