Using Sexually Explicit Media to Educate


By Mark Schoen, Ph.D.



Sexually Explicit Media (SEM) is visual depictions of nudity, which may include the genitals, and depiction of sexual acts involving the genitals, such as anal, oral and vaginal sex. (Rhoades, 2008) These films portray sexual realism and the primary purpose is to educate.

Adult Films (also known as Stag, porno or pornographic films) depict nudity, which may include the genitals, and depiction of sexual acts involving the genitals, such as anal, oral and vaginal sex. These films primarily portray sexual fantasy and the primary purpose is to entertain and titillate.

Stag Films are adult or pornographic films.

A Sex Negative Society

Should we be observing sexual behavior? The answer to this question had a tremendous negative impact on sexuality education and research. Consider that two of the most prominent and influential sex researchers of all time Alfred Kinsey and William H. Masters each came under fire for using film as a research tool to observe human sexual behavior. They each filmed couples making love and noted aspects of the sexual behavior and physiological responses to further their research. (It is difficult to imagine being restricted from observing the very behavior that one is researching). This sex negative attitude has been a significant obstacle in sex research, sexuality education and production of effective instructional films.


In Dr. Paul Saettler's "A History of Instructional Technology," (1968), he wrote, "Motion pictures, radio broadcasts, lantern slides, objects, models, and charts, maps, television, recordings, field trips, exhibits, and teaching machines, like the theater, are media for expression. From the educational point of view it is 'in fact which appears on the screen' that is important, just as the ideas expressed on the printed page are important, not the paper nor type of font. From the standpoint of content and then for teaching, there are good dramas and bad dramas, good textbooks and bad textbooks, good teaching films and bad teaching films, good field trips and bad field trips, group charts and band charts, good exhibits and bad exhibits, good pictures and bad pictures, and so on. It goes without saying that even the use of specific instructional media does not always result in effective instruction. There must be a technology of instruction in which men, machines, methods, procedures, and organization are coordinated in the interest of more effective learning."

Sexuality education has not achieved this coordination. Not only do we have a population that lacks basic sexual information, the United States has the distinction of having amongst the highest HIV and teen pregnancy rates in the western world. Sexuality Educators have a responsibility to create more effective learning. How can we use technology to achieve more effective sexuality education?

Today there are instructional films available which present reliable sex information, suitable for classroom, clinical or home use. They are available on DVD or electronically via streaming or down loads. We also have well trained sexuality educators. One of the primary problems we have is the integration of comprehensive sexuality education into school curriculums.

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