Feeling ‘Blue’: Pornography and Sex Education in Eastern Africa
This study examined young people’s exposure to sexually explicit media (SEM) in Ethiopia and Uganda, where comprehensive sexuality education is often lacking or even non-existent. Through mixed-method, youth-centred participatory research, young people affirmed the ubiquity of pornography – even in communities with little access to the internet. Male and female study participants aged 12–26 said they turned to pornography because they lacked adequate sex education – much of which was designed and run by adults who did not understand their diverse needs. By contrast, they felt pornography delivered the information they needed in an exciting manner. At the same time, young people recognised that pornography use could sometimes have too much influence over their developing sexual identities and practices. Youth in both countries called for more and better comprehensive sexuality education for the whole community, allowing for more open dialogue about sexuality – issues that they acknowledged can be compounded by their consumption and production of pornography.