Warehouse forum explores porn addiction, teens, and social media

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Laura Plyler stars in 'Spring Awakening' at the Warehouse Theatre | Credit: Will Crooks

“There are so many boys with porn addictions that we see boys in student health on college campuses requesting Viagra and Cialis weekly because they have erectile dysfunction.”

Dr. Melisa Holmes is an author and the founder of Girlology and Guyology.

So said Dr. Melisa Holmes at special panel discussion Wednesday at the Warehouse Theatre.

Holmes is founder of Girlology & Guyology, a national sexual education platform for children and parents that relies on medical facts.

On the topic of ED drugs and college-age men, Holmes says the problem with youth and porn is that boys who use it are conditioning their sexual response cycle. Eventually, porn is the only thing they can respond to – hence the need for erectile dysfunction drugs.

Boys are not alone in facing their own sexual woes. For girls, the problem is the ubiquitousness of sexual messages.

“Every website they go to shows something sexualized,” Holmes says. “Billboards – get your Brazilian here. Everything is sexualized, yet we’re so timid in our society to talk about sex openly that we don’t develop the ability to have healthy conversations about sexuality.”

Esther Hall is a parent of a teenage girl.

Holmes was one of four teenage sexuality speakers at the Warehouse’s “Sex Ed: The Education and Oversexualization of our Country” discussion. The forum was the last in the current season’s series about controversial topics.

The Sex Ed forum was related to the theater’s current production, “Spring Awakening,” a tragic musical about youth and sex. The play runs from May 19 to June 20.

For Esther Hall, the parent of a teenage girl, the most frightening thing is that cell phones make it easy to find pornography or send photos and messages that could result in huge legal and social problems.

With smart phones, the message to kids is, “You can run, but you can’t hide,” says Esther Hall, a Michelin North America events coordinator. “You have sex in your pocket at all times.”

If teenagers’ phones have a texting image of a peer’s naked body, then the underage youths could be arrested for child pornography, Hall says.

Mike Quint is a sexual risk avoidance specialist and abstinence educator.

These types of explosive issues didn’t exist when parents of today’s teens were growing up, and society is leaving it up to parents to handle, Holmes says.

“Our culture presents an oversexualization to young people without giving them the tools and the skills to address it,” Holmes says.

Girls are maturing at younger ages than in previous decades, says Mike Quint, an abstinence advocate and certified sexual risk avoidance specialist at Live Free Inc.

“When we walk downtown we see [middle school] girls out on Friday night, and they look like college students,” Quint says. “My wife and I were talking about how when we were in middle school, that was your awkward phase. Yet, all of these girls are skipping their awkward phase.”

His comments drew laughter from the audience of about 50 parents and teens.

Social media mistakes, those of a sexual nature or otherwise, could also end up hurting a teen’s chances for internships, work-study programs, and jobs, says Meghan Meier.

Meghan Meier of Pure Romance

Meier is a senior director of Pure Romance, which offers relationship products, including lingerie and adult toys. She is also involved with Pulse Young Professionals.

“When I was a fresh college grad, I ended up working at a college, and one of the things I was hired to do was to stalk my students,” she says.

Any students who were considered for internships or work-study positions were checked out through their social media accounts.

“So, I’ve always been very aware — am I holding a red solo cup [in a posted photo], and what does that look like?” Meier says.

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