My teenage son wants to watch the Game of Thrones series with me over the summer – a father/son bonding opportunity? I rarely pass up one of these increasingly rare opportunities. But I baulked at this.
It was not the questionable morals and values of many of the main characters in a series where even the heroes are rarely portrayed as gallant. Neither was it the violence that can be quite graphic. I baulked at the sex, not because I don’t want my son seeing explicit sexual scenes, but because I felt these were not healthy examples of sex.
The sex scenes in Game of Thrones are often about men using their power over women, or women using sex to manipulate men. There are many instances where the man unceremoniously mounts the woman from behind, enjoys a couple of grunting thrusts and climaxes (we assume). He then ties up his breeches and saunters off.
It seems to me that this reflects much of what is out there in Internet porn. I’ve never watched BDSM, rape or violence scenes, even if they are fictional, so you will excuse my assumption that these are not what I would consider healthy sexual encounters.
I do not want my son learning about sex from such videos or scenes. While we have discussed the birds and the bees, and the difference between having sex and making love, I have to acknowledge that there is only so much he is willing to learn from his father.
When I was his age, I had seen a few sex scenes on the then-new (British) Channel 4 – The History Man anyone? – but this seems very tame compared to the options now available with the Internet. And I was woefully prepared for my first time.
So I was fascinated to discover an article in the Daily Mail – Make Love Not Porn – in which Cindy Gallop, an entrepreneur, has launched a website which has already over 100,000 subscribers. Ms. Gallop told ABC’s Nightline: “Children are viewing porn years before they have their own sexual experiences and it is shaping their view of sex. That is why showing real lovemaking is so important.
“Young men and boys alike have a warped sense of what sex is like. I want to change that.”
There is a statistic floating around the Internet that claims 90% of children between the ages of 8-16 years have visited porn sites. I could not find the study, but even if it is ‘only’ 50%, I am not sure I want a generation receiving their sex education from Internet pornography.
I plan to check out Ms. Gallop’s website. In the old days, a father would leave Mayfair and Penthouse magazines in a hidden place that his son would find and hope he can connect the dots. A positive website showing healthy sex might seems a better option for the 21st century.
Alon Shalev writes social justice-themed novels and YA epic fantasy. He swears there is a connection. His latest books include: Unwanted Heroes and the 2013 Eric Hoffer Book Award for YA – At The Walls Of Galbrieth. Alon tweets at @alonshalevsf and @elfwriter. For more about the author, check out his website.