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Pornhub Launches New Sex Ed Site

Porn has become the default sex ed for significant numbers of America’s youth, especially in areas featuring abstinence-only education. In response, yesterday Pornhub — a web destination for adult entertainment catering to nearly 70 million daily visitors — launched a new free online sex ed resource center aiming to provide users with original editorial content and advice on sexuality, sexual health and relationships.

Adult entertainment and education

Dr. Laurie Betito — a clinical psychologist with 30 years of experience in sex therapy — directs the Pornhub Sexual Wellness Center, which will also feature contributions from Dr. Kat Van Kirk, Dr. Zhana Vrangalova — both experts in human sexuality — trans community leader Sophia Banks, sex coach Dr. Stacey Friedman, sex tech writer Kitty Gray and Dr. Bryant Paul of the Indiana University Media School, among others.

More: Sex Education at 4 Years Old Isn’t as Crazy as It Sounds

“As a psychologist specializing in sexual health, I have given advice for over three decades to people from all walks of life through my private practice as well as my radio program,” Betito said in a press release. “One thing I have realized is that, no matter our background or desires, sexual education — mental, physical, emotional and spiritual — plays a vital role in our society. It has always been a dream to connect with, educate and inform people all over the world on a massive scale. Heading the Pornhub Sexual Wellness Center is an opportunity to reach a global audience and provide a source for healthy sexual education and dialogue.”

colorful heads talking about consent
Image: Pornhub Sexual Wellness Center

Pornhub Vice President Corey Price said that the sex ed offshoot site was created to “provide our fans with a trusted educational platform they can utilize as their go-to resource for information and advice when it comes to sex” and wants users to think of it as a one-stop shop, available 24/7.

“We understand the importance of educating the general public on a wide range of topics pertaining to sexual health and awareness, and saw an opportunity to deliver knowledge and understanding through renowned doctors and experts,” Price said in a press release.

More: Middle School Sex Education is Actually Working

Constant content

So what’s actually on the site? First, you should know that if you don’t want to see a screen full of people having sex in a lot of creative positions, go directly to the Sexual Wellness Center portion of the site by visiting rather than locating it through the Pornhub homepage (trust me on this one).

Second, for the time being, the site is primarily text — not instructional videos, as one might imagine (which is definitely not a bad thing). Even sections on male and female reproductive anatomy, which would benefit from a visual or two — were blocks of text.

Third, it is actually relatively inclusive. There is a whole section called “Trans 101” that explains relevant terminology and abbreviations for those unfamiliar with this aspect of sexual health and an article on porn staple lesbian sex.

The Sexual Wellness Center is definitely still in its early days (the landing page is still a test screen), but clicking through the various menu options presents information on a range of topics from play parties and period sex, to STIs and consent.

play parties
Image: Pornhub Sexual Wellness Center

Learning should be fun — and inclusive

Dr. Mimi Arbeit, a developmental psychologist and a sex educator, noted that while many teens and adults turn to the internet for sexual health information, often those who need or could benefit from sex ed don’t actively go searching for it or know where to look. In those cases, having a resource like the Sexual Wellness Center would be helpful so the information is available where people are already going.

“I like the idea of having the health stuff and the pleasure stuff next to each other,” Arbeit told SheKnows. “Some sex ed resources are all of the facts and none of the fun. People who turn to porn as part of the pursuit of sexual pleasure can now integrate that with getting information about condoms or getting relationship advice.”

More: What Everyday Men and Women Really Think of Porn

Arbeit’s main concerns about a sex ed resource being hosted on an adult entertainment site are primarily regarding the problems of the porn industry being reproduced within the sex ed portion as well, primarily with regard to gender roles, heterosexism, cisnormativity, White normativity and non-consensual violence. Though she said that she would love to see the Sexual Wellness Center directly address that, she’s skeptical regarding how effective that would be, and whether the site would include resources about critical media consumption.

Aida Manduley, MSW a therapist, activist and sexuality educator echoed Arbeit’s concerns, adding that the lineup is currently overwhelmingly white and cisgender.

“It’s an issue that people of color and trans people can be included and often fetishized in porn, but aren’t tapped for educational purposes in the same numbers as their white peers (if considered at all),” Manduley told SheKnows. “And if people from these groups have indeed been asked, but have declined, that is also quite telling!”

The tendency to include primarily white, cisgender individuals isn’t just an issue for Pornhub, Manduley explained, inviting people who were asked to contribute to their new sex ed site as well as the public to press for an equitable expansion of perspectives on the project.

“Getting added on after the fact is better than not being at the table, but also goes to show how inclusion and representation are often after-thoughts,” she said. “I understand these initiatives come with constraints and target audiences, but I think Pornhub is positioned to make a different kind of statement here and bring on a wider range of experts.”

Ideally, Arbeit noted, the Pornhub Sexual Wellness Center would also include guidelines on how to find feminist, queer, anti-racist, consensual pornography as well as info about how to talk about pornography with a partner and advice for people concerned about their own pornography use.

“But then, Pornhub is not in the best position to take that on because it could be seen as against their financial interests,” she explained. “It is a business, after all.”

menstrual calendar
Image: Pornhub Sexual Wellness Center

Some non-porn site sex ed options

For those looking for alternative sex ed resources, Arbeit recommends Scarleteen, a sex ed website designed for teens and young adults that’s great for folks of all ages. Other fabulous sex educators to watch out for include Aida ManduleyIgnacio RiveraLaci Green and Ericka Hart.

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