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Nov 1 / Mr. Science

Poor Sex Education on the Web

Sex education is a touchy topic. Not just in schools and at home, but on the web. While some sites offer great information about sex (Sex Education Listings), there are ten times as many websites offering bogus information and potentially harmful marketing pitches.

Let’s take a look at just two of the most popular websites that people use for gathering sexual information: WikiAnswers and Yahoo! Answers. Both of these sites answer sex education questions on the web…but how well?

First, let’s take a look at the format of each of these sites. In each site, users “register” in order to answer questions–but anyone can provide an email address. (Yes, you too are a sex-pert, with only a valid email!) Because of this, important questions about sex often only receive smart-ass one-liners. Needless to say, this is not an ideal sex education format!

Yes, there are some true sex experts on the web, but they have few incentives to provide good answers on sites such as Yahoo! and WikiAnswers. Yahoo!Answers gives out “points” for the best answers (chosen by asker or voted upon) but the points are useless and often awarded to simply the funniest answers…

Yahoo! Question: What do I do if my penis is too big for my girlfriend?

Best Answer: Sounds like you are a walrus. I had no idea they could type. Please write back so I can take you to the circus!

That is funny, but hardly educational—unless you didn’t know that walruses are exceptionally well hung.

Despite the issues at Yahoo!Answers, WikiAnswers is even worse because anyone can delete or edit answers. So a thoughtful answer to the question: “Why do guys have nipples?” can instantly become “Yo mama has nice nipples!” Furthermore, WikiAnswers does not approve many links to their questions, so webmasters like myself have little reason to answer questions in order to direct traffic to better answers.  Clearly, WikiAnswers doesn’t want people finding real answers to sex questions elsewhere, because that would reduce the web traffic to their own crappy answers.

Furthermore, it’s not just these two sites that offer horrendous sex answers. Absurd sexual answers are all over the web. Go to most any sexual forum and you will find the same poor jokes and misunderstandings about sex. After all, sex education is a lot easier to make jokes about than it is to teach!

So, what would improve the problem of all the bad sexual information on the web and elsewhere?

  • More funding and training for comprehensive sex education in the schools! Kids must be taught about their reproductive systems in an academic environment, not just surfing the web!
  • Straight conversations between parents and kids about sex and sex education.
  • Distribution of quality web sites that provide scientific information about sex, such as Sex Trivia 101 and Scarleteen.

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