If you want to make a difference and help others while learning about sexual health and keeping yourself safe, then you need to join SMART Youth! You can come to any of our events around the city or come to one of our movie nights or Open Mic events. Check out our schedule to learn what we are doing or e-mail

Friday, December 19, 2014

The World beyond SMART Youth

Over the years, we've seen our youth grow up within SMART Youth. Whether it was about safer sex or tips on how to write a resume, our youth have learned so many skills through our workshops and meetings. It’s important to have knowledge and skills, but what’s more important is what we do with it.

So we asked the question: Which ways have you used what you've learned in SMART Youth outside of SMART Youth?

There were many different answers. Some spoke about how being involved in SMART Youth has allowed them to be a source of information or resources for their friends and peers. One person even spoke of how she hosts sex education events on her college campus. Another participant said that talking about current event issues in sex and sexuality made him more aware of situations that are happening, and that SMART Youth provided a safe space to discuss these issues.

Others spoke about how the skills they've learned through meetings and workshops have helped them become better communicators. This is an important skill that is not only used for maintaining personal relationships, but for other parts of life like having a job.

We’re excited to know that our youth are not only benefiting from our workshops, but that they are also spreading what they've learned from SMART Youth!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Porn: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

When you hear or see the word “Porn”, what things come to mind? Maybe it’s excitement about a favorite scene from a video you saw. Or perhaps it’s disgust because of the types of scenes that are filmed. Porn produces a range of feelings and emotions, making it a controversial topic for many people. 

Pornography is generally defined as the portrayal of sexual acts through films, photos, magazines, novels, and more; but most people commonly refer to videos and movies when talking about porn.
Before the internet, someone had to buy magazines or go to an adult movie theater in order to see pornographic images. Since the advent of the internet, porn has not only been extremely accessible to the public, but it allows people of younger ages to access it.

For every person who supports porn, there are just as many who do not; and all for different reasons.

So, is porn bad or good? The answer is very complex and personal, but we’re here to guide you through the pros and cons.

The Good

It’s a safe space to help you learn what turns you on or not
There are many types of porn available, based on certain interests, desires, and fetishes. Porn gives you the opportunity to explore these interests in the privacy of your home, and without judgment.

It can help you vicariously live out your fantasies and fetishes
There are some scenarios, such as voyeurism, that may not be feasible or legal to do; but watching or reading pornography about it may help you live out a fantasy without actually doing it.

It can prep you for both masturbation and partner sex
Watching porn commonly used to get yourself in the mood to masturbate, but porn can also be used as a part of foreplay for partner sex!

It can help you incorporate new moves in the bedroom
Pornographic videos are known for showing moves that one would read about in Cosmo Magazine. Seeing these moves in action (instead of reading about them) can help give you a visual representation of how they would look in real like.

The Bad

It can give you unrealistic expectations for sex
Believe it or not, most porn is staged and directed. Real life sex is not. Therefore, expecting sex in real life to mirror what you see or read in pornography/erotica is not realistic. Sex is not always perfect, and that’s okay!

It can give you unrealistic ideas of what genitalia is supposed to look like
Like in most popular media, beauty standards also exist in pornography. Our expectations of what our genitalia is supposed to look like can be skewed by looking at porn. It’s important to remember that 
our body parts are unique and not to judge what ours looks like based on these images.

The Ugly

You can end up harming or violating your partner because you assumed they would like a certain position or sexual scenario
 A lot of porn is aggressive and sometimes violent, and often skips consent to sex and the use of barrier protection. Assuming that sex is only supposed to be that (without checking in with your partner) is damaging and can end up hurting your partner.

Porn addictions are real and serious
Many behaviors can become addictive, and watching porn is not excluded. Signs of porn addiction include decreased interest in actual sexual activity, skipping daily responsibilities (such as going to school or work) to watch porn, and many more. This could not only be extremely harmful for your relationships, but also for yourself. If you think you or someone you know may be addicted to porn, there is help.

Some aspects of the porn industry are shady
There are parts of the porn industry that people have issues with. Some of these complaints include the ways some porn workers are treated in the workplace, and the ways that porn is linked to racism, sexism, and transphobia. These are issues that should always be considered if you choose to watch porn and what type of porn you watch.

Although these points do not represent all opinions when it comes to pornography, these are some points you should research before you take a stance on this topic or decide to watch pornography.

Remember that you need to be 18 and over to legally view porn in the United States.
If you think you have a porn addiction, a visiting a mental health provider is a great start to overcoming addiction.