A few years ago my brother called me in a panic. He was looking through his Google history and found, much to his surprise and horror, that his 14 year-old son had been looking at porn.
“How do I stop this?” he demanded.
Silence on my end.
“I'm not comfortable him searching for porn on my computer!” Fair enough.
Finally I responded, “Sooooo, how old were YOU when you picked up your first Playboy?” Now it was his turn to be silent.
I remember sneaking with my cousins to their downstairs bathroom to look at my uncle's porn collection (Is it just me or is there always one uncle in every family who had a stash of Playboy's under his bathroom sink?) I was too young to understand but was titillated. Looking through nudie picture at a young age did not in any way pervert or disturb my adult sensibility around sexuality.
And in fact, every person has their own discovery of porn/ romance novel/ erotica teenage story. What I find amazing is how parent's tend to forget their own foray into teenage sexuality and appreciating how scary/ exciting/ challenging it was.
In these awkward your child-is-turning-into-a-sexual-being moments, it's incredibly important to look back through your own introduction to sexuality to get both perspective and empathy. As uncomfortable as it is for parents to watch their child turn into someone who is interested in having sex, it is a natural progression of their evolution and as parents we need to be okay with it.
Porn is an uncomfortable topic because we've been told since inception that it's evil. That it degrades women. That it ruins marriages and families. That it is so addictive that people waste away watching it. Because porn only gets negative press and is such a hot button topic, it's difficult as parents to have a balanced perspective.
But the reality is no matter what your personal feelings on porn are, it isn't going away. No matter how you try to shield your child, if they want to look they will find way to view porn. And curiosity to seek out and watch starts with kids as young as—gulp—10 years old.
It's our job as parents to help our kids navigate and respect what porn is; as well as educate our kids about the values we hold around porn.
In the bluntest of terms, porn is a visual stimulation to help people get off while they masturbate. The majority of free online porn is vanilla, repetitive, and uninspired (kind'a boring really). Also included in the 'porn' category are: reading romance/ erotica novels, looking at nudie magazines/ internet photos, watching boundary pushing music videos.
Just saying: A 15 year old girl reading an romance/ erotic novel doesn't get the same negative, visceral reaction as a 15 year old boy looking at a 5 minute porn clip. It's the same thing: different formats.
Sitting down and having a productive conversation about your child's porn curiosity and consumption can seem daunting. It is not good enough to say, “Don't watch, or else there will be consequences.” That's just setting everyone up for failure.
Instead you need to sit them down when they are around 10 or 11 years old—I find a moving car the best way to have this conversation, they are stuck and have to listen—and walk them through the pros (yes, pros) and cons of internet porn. As well, why you and your partner have a certain set values and beliefs on watching porn.
(1) Porn, like any movie, is fantasy. It's normal to be titillated but it certainly isn't how real sex works. And it should not be the only source of sex education.
(2) Most internet porn is vanilla, some porn is just plain bad, and there's some that is evil. Help your child understand and differentiate.
(3) Everything in moderation. Too much video games, TV, sports, or even studying is not good for a person. It's okay to be inquisitive but there is no substitute for the real thing.
The term 'porn addiction' gets thrown around a ton in the media even though research suggests porn addiction does not exist. There is, therefore, an understandable concern that with all the free internet porn, kids will be sucked down that rabbit hole.
Sex Experts Advice: The vast majority of people have the checks-and-balances to only want to watch a moderate amount of porn. A tiny percentage of people watch porn to their detriment.
Think Tank discuss a new study that suggests 'porn addiction' isn't really an addiction.
“Most of the time when sex is initiated, I don't feel like having sex,” has been uttered by millions of guilt-laden women.
Well... ummm... of course you don't feel like having sex. Why would you? You are a woman, and your brain and body are in a completely different place.
The bigger question becomes: Does that mean you should automatically say “no” to having sex?
Well, if you truly don't feel like it, then you should not have sex. Period. But a lot of times it's much too easy to talk ourselves out of sex; saying “no” can become an automatic habit. Which is why you need to push the pause button and think about your sexual desire.
Here are some things you ought to know about sex:
There's a belief that feeling sexual desire (i.e. your desire to initiate and have sex) is this constant thing that's always available to you; which isn't true.
Each and every time you decide to have sex, you will be in a different place: emotionally, physically, and psychologically. There are so many variables that can positively or negatively affect your desire to have sex including:
These variables to you desiring or not desiring sex aren't going away, so having a good sex life is learning to make the best out of your current situation.
Countless time, I haven't felt like having sex. In fact, there have been a few times where my husband has commented, “You don't really seem into this.”
Yet I am a sex educator, and I appreciate how important it is to keep the sexual momentum going, so I have learned to go into sex with a, 'Okay, let's see how this is going to turn out' attitude. Granted once in a while sex is a big waste of my (and for that matter my husband's) time because I simply cannot get into it.
Yet the majority of the time, part way through, my brain and body relax and the sexual experience starts to feel nice—it's not earth-shattering, blow your-socks-off sex—but still absolutely worth it. This is the most common feedback I get from women: “I wasn't in the mood, and then we started having sex, about halfway through and my arousal kicked in.”
And then sometimes without understanding why or how, after things get rolling, the sexual stars align, we hit the jackpot and sex is amazing. I always walk away thinking to myself, by saying “no” I would have missed out.
If you're only waiting until you're in the mood for sex... you can be waiting a long time. In this video, Anna Sansom talks about charting her libido for 50 days and only on rare occasions—depending where she was in her menstrual cycle—feeling the urge/ desire to have sex. She talks about the need to create your sexual desire, which then in turn moves you easier into sexual arousal.
Sexual pioneers Masters & Johnson came up with the linear model of what most of us understand to be our sexual response cycle: desire, excitement, plateau, orgasm, resolution.
With all due respect to their work—they were, after all, just trying to figure it all out—their model depicts a man's sexual response cycle. It's only been recently that a new sexual response model has come on the scene and is much more accurate to the woman's experience. That is, a woman's desire to have sex can kick in at any time during the sexual experience. It usually takes some physical contact (foreplay) for her brain to move out of busy day mode and into feeling sexual.
Chances are that when sex is initiated you will feel a tug of not wanting to do it. But instead of depending on sexual desire to help motivate you, you need to create the circumstances that enable you to become sexually aroused. A big part of your sexual arousal kicking in is YOU making sure YOUR sexual needs are being met.
Taking your sexual needs into your own hands... now that's sexy, empowering, and a big reason why you will desire sex the next time around.