The Pornography Talk: Uncomfortable But Necessary
Confronting your teens about pornography is as hard as talking about where babies come from or how they are conceived. With the massive availability of online adult content coupled with the fact that teenagers, mostly those who are between the ages of 12 until 18, are intensely curious, parents are eventually bound to have the dreadful and uncomfortable “porn talk” with their kids.
The Talk Nobody Wants
So there you are, face-to-face with your teens, figuring out how to effectively talk about pornography. The effects of being exposed to pornography at an early stage are quite damaging to a developing teen. At varying stages, teenagers will come across pornographic material either due to peer influence or by accident. Talking about pornography is necessary for the curious mind.
What are the things about pornography that should be discussed with teenagers?
- What pornography is
- The effects of pornography on the brain
- Parents’ concerns about pornographic content
- Your teens’ thoughts about pornography
Pornography And Its Effects
Pornography pertains to any sexually explicit content that is primarily aimed to arouse viewers, thereby increasing their sex drive. Usually including images or videos of naked individuals who are engaging in sexual activities, pornography is strictly prohibited and is even banned in some countries.
Pornography severely impacts relationships and has a significant effect on personal health due to the widespread, frequently problematic depiction of people or couples devaluing each other for the sake of exaggerated pleasure. Usually, pornography exhibits hostile and inappropriate sexism that is violent and objectifies individuals.
Furthermore, pornography significantly destroys part of the brain, that whoever is exposed to it, can quickly become addicted and might adopt the unnatural or sometimes odd presentation of sex with one or more partners. Pornography undermines secured connection and attachment, intimacy, and mutual rapport.
Pornography In The Eyes of Teenagers
As consumption of pornographic content is on the rise, discussion about being exposed to the explicit material is inevitable and necessary. Pornography can immensely and dreadfully sway young people’s minds regarding sexual attitudes, preferences, and relationships. Mainstream porn can easily portray messages like:
- Misconceptions in interpreting violent sexual activities as appealing and normal
- Safe sex with mutual consent is irrelevant
- Intimacy is not essential to establish in sexual relationships
- Aggressive and dominant behaviors, especially toward women, are ordinary
- No compassion to sexually harassed victims
- View partners as sexual objects with no respect or empathic regard to feelings
Because pornography is accessible and is often free, regular viewing of pornographic material has now been possible. Teenagers who are exposed to porn in their early years may find their relationships severely affected.
How To Talk With Teens About Pornography
As uncomfortable and embarrassing as it may seem, porn talk is vital in your child’s developing and explorative years. Think of it as a way to educate them about the value of having healthy relationships in the future. How do parents go about this?
According to Lynn Margolies, PhD, “When evaluating what it means that your child is viewing sexually explicit material, before reacting or drawing conclusions, the first step is to assess the situation to find out what is really going on and whether there is a problem.”
Uneasy conversations regarding explicit content can be quite tricky. It is essential to plan by knowing when to talk to your child, how it should proceed, and conditioning your questions and statements just in case there will be questions thrown at you. You can use any form of media to begin a conversation and provide examples of details that are hard to explain.
While it is vital that you impart what you know and what your concerns are, it is also important to listen to what your teens might say, no matter how awkward it can be or how difficult it is to hear. Karen Ruskin, PsyD, LMFT, also said, “Assure him that is normal to want to look at these sites and perhaps experience sexually arousing feelings. Dialoguing with your son in a nonjudgmental manner helps you to connect with him and make the point that sexual feelings are normal.”
By being interested in what your teens think about the subject, you are giving your teens a chance at open communication minus the judgment. You can quickly gauge what your child knows by asking simple questions like what they know about pornography, have they been exposed, and what are their thoughts about it.
3. Don’t Deviate
“Explain the dangers of visiting pornographic sites,” said Raychelle Cassada Lohmann, PhD, LPCS. “For example, discuss with your teen how the images online are entertainment and that’s not how real life relationships work. Porn sites deceive people by psychologically playing with their emotions and temporarily fulfilling their sexual needs.”
Never deny your teens answers, even to silly questions for as long as it’s still within the scope of your conversation. Show them that you are fully aware of pornography and its adverse effects, and talking about it is as necessary as talking about mental health. Answer your teens as openly and honestly as you can.
The more you talk about pornography, the more it becomes easier for your children to open up with their thoughts and feelings about the subject. Communication has always been and will still be the primary key to educating your children about sensitive issues that could severely affect their mental state in the long run.