Vicky Mochama: The voice of Metro News.
Vicky Mochama: Boys and men deserve a better take on The Talk
A patchwork education, especially in a culture that has a restrictive though slowly expanding view of how men should be, ultimately affects their quality of life.
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Two British parents are doing what a lot of parents would like to do: outsourcing The Talk.
The pair are offering £2,500 for a counsellor to teach their two children, aged eight and seven, all that they feel is missing from the sex-education curriculum.
On the face of it, they seem like exactly the type of parent that says things like, “My son isn't misbehaving, he’s just practising to be a barber and the other kid is a complainer.” But I think their approach — admittedly a pricey one — is refreshing.
They want someone to have the conversation they can’t: from “sex is between two people who are in love (preferably married but we’re modern enough to know that’s not always possible)” to “other gender types.” Notably, they wanted to make sure that their son was taught about periods saying, “We want him to be comfortable with this natural part of life for women.”
The fact is many men have no idea how sex and reproduction works. In their survey on What It's Like To Be A Man in 2018, Chatelaine magazine highlighted some data as illuminating as it is troubling.
Forty-nine per cent of men learned about sex from their friends, not in class. Twenty per cent took their tips from porn. As one of the men, BuzzFeed’s Elamin Abdelmahmoud said, porn is where he learned that sex is something men want and women don’t. (Notably, our prime minister revealed in the survey he "almost" had a conversation with his mother about sex education.)
A patchwork education, especially in a culture that has a restrictive though slowly expanding view of how men should be, ultimately affects their quality of life. A meta-analysis of 50 previous studies on sex, porn and satisfaction found that porn had a negligible effect on women’s sexual experiences while it had a huge impact on men’s sexual satisfaction and increased their sense of isolation. One only need to scan the posts on Reddit’s r/nofap board (where mostly men share their commitment to not masturbating) to spot a commonality: porn and social isolation.
Study after study has confirmed that men of all classes, sexualities and backgrounds are experiencing a crisis in loneliness. Generations of men are left to parse for themselves what good sex — and truly, good relationships — look like amid a combination of piecemeal information from friends and the internet.
Porn isn't the problem. Rather, unhealthy behaviours around porn are a symptom of a culture that isn't changing fast enough when it comes to men.
Several thousand dollars might not be a waste of money if it stops an under-informed boy from becoming a lonely and isolated man.