Sex Ed on TikTok

by Cam Fraser // March 9 // 0 Comments

I use social media to educate and inform people about sexuality and masculinity. One of the apps I use to do this is TikTok. Because of this, I receive comments like these all the time.

I also see my fellow sex educators and sexuality professionals get similar comments. So this blog post is in solidarity with them. 

In any case, the question that needs to be asked is, "Is TikTok a kids app?" The unspoken assumption behind these comments is, kids shouldn't receive sex education.

Firstly, according to Statistica (2022), 25% of TikTok users are between the ages of 10-19.

A curated version of the app is available for users under the age of 13 (they must pass through an age gate). For ages 13-15, accounts are private while comments and followers must be approved.

Of course, you can lie about your age. Kids who are younger do use the app. But with 75% of users seemingly over the age of 19, it can be argued that TikTok is not, in fact, a kids app.

If it is in relation to sexual content, maybe we should the age of consent as a cutoff. But which country's age of consent should we use?

There is significant variation in ages of consent around the world.

Approximately 20% of men from the United States report becoming sexually active before the age of 15 (Nield et al., 2014), even though the youngest age of consent in the United States is 16.

According to the 2018 Longitudinal Study of Australian Children Annual Statistical Report, by the age of 16-17, around two-thirds of Australian students reported having at least one relationship.

As much as 26.4% of male and 8.1% of female adolescents in South Africa report having had sex before the age of 15 (Appollis et al., 2021).

A survey of El Salvadorian and Peruvian high-schoolers aged 13-18 found that approximately 19% had had sexual relationships (Osorio et al., 2017).

Among Scandinavian women born between 1959 and 1994, the youngest women more frequently had their sexual debut the earliest and before the age of consent (Hansen et al., 2019).

All this data was collected before TikTok was launched in 2017. The fact of the matter is, whether you like it or not, some "kids" are having sex

They were having sex long before I started making videos on TikTok and they'll be having sex long after I stop. Unfortunately, many kids don't get adequate sex education at school or at home, so they turn to the internet, where they might see my content.

That is if my videos even show up on their For You page, considering it only shows content similar to what they're already engaging with.

So, when I receive comments like this:

My knee-jerk reaction is to respond, "If it is a kids app, why are you on it?" But I've realised these are appeals to emotion which belie the assumptions and ignorance of the commenter.

Anyway, that is my rant about TikTok for today.

Cam Fraser is a Certified Professional Sex Coach and Certified Sexologist. Being a former Tantric Yoga Teacher, his work integrates scientifically validated, medically accurate information about sexual health, with sacred sexuality teachings from the mystery traditions. As a coach, he helps men go beyond surface-level sex and into full-bodied, self-expressed, pleasure-oriented sexual experiences free of anxiety or shame.

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