Talking to Kids About Sex and Porn (You’re Doing it Wrong)

 The words Let's Talk Sex on a chalkboardModern parents have a lot to talk about with their kids when it comes to sex, porn, and relationships. Here’s how to do that in a healthy, positive way.

 

I want to start off with a statistic I’ve observed in my work with porn addicts: only about 1 out of every 10 guys I talk to ever got the “sex talk” when they were growing up. Out of that small sampling, it’s an even smaller group yet who ever heard anything about intimacy, feeling, or emotion when it comes to sex.

 

While the awkward dad uncomfortably explaining the birds and bees to his son might make for a funny trope in movies, it isn’t an acceptable approach to talking to your kids about sex. The mechanics are only a small part of the sexual experience, and if that’s all they get out of a conversation, it might lead to confusion when they try to face down the huge emotions that come along with it.

 

We have to do a better job of preparing our kids for what they’re going to experience, and the instant, free access to streaming porn has only made this need more urgent than ever.

 

If You Don’t Talk to Your Children, They’ll Form Their Own Conclusions

The men I talk to in my work as a porn addiction counselor all have one thing in common. For them, sex is about an orgasm, and that’s all. It has no other real value for them, and that fact leads to trouble in their personal relationships.

 

This is the kind of thinking that comes about when there wasn’t any guidance to steer them in another direction. They come to us so that we can help them redefine sexuality at this late stage in the game. What would have been ideal is if they’d had some preparation when they were still younger.

 

When kids don’t have a trusted person in their lives to tell them about sex, to make themselves available to answer all the questions they have, they are simply left to draw their own conclusions – or worse yet, conclusions are formed for them by friends or peers who also don’t have it right.

 

The men I work with were done a disservice. They were harmed by the lack of a healthy attitude about sex and intimacy. They didn’t have anyone modeling strong relationships for them which showed things like mutual respect, partnership, or love. Instead, they were left to figure things out largely on their own, and they invariably came to the wrong conclusions.

 

Kids deserve better than this.

 

The “Sex Talk” Isn’t a One-Time Event

There’s another way in which pop culture has harmed our understanding of sexuality: in books and movies, the sex talk is seen as a one-time thing. Parents sit their children down, they get the speech over with (always a speech, never a conversation), and they never have to do it again.

 

Wrong.

 

Sexuality is something a person discovers over the course of their life. It’s a topic to be revisited at different key points, and new subject matter should be introduced as a child is emotionally ready to handle the conversations.

 

At first, perhaps beginning around 6 years old, young children should be taught about their bodies, the differences between girls and boys, appropriate touching, the importance of privacy, and personal safety. When they get a bit older, they should be told about crushes, sexual feelings, the mechanics of sex, the importance of love and intimacy, and what a healthy relationship looks like. These topics should be revisited again and again, because they will come up again and again in their everyday lives. At school, among friends, and yes, on the internet.

 

The Internet Makes This Conversation Harder

Modern parents face yet another layer of complication thanks to the internet. If parents think their kids aren’t discovering porn on the internet, they’re mistaken. Perhaps not in your home, but at the home of a friend, or on a passed-around phone on the school bus. Porn companies are aware that kids visit their sites, and they target them through advertising. I’ve actually received calls from 11 year-olds who need help processing what they’re seeing.

 

If you’re not opening a discussion about porn with your kids, they might never come to you to ask questions about it. And remember that some of these images can be very shocking or traumatic to children.

 

Parents need to be there to explain that porn is a collection of images designed to be as explicit as possible. That porn is not intimacy, and that whenever they grow up and become sexually active, sex won’t look like porn.

 

Our society still sees talking about sex as shameful, which is ironic considering how much sexual imagery is out there. So kids who see porn aren’t likely to bring it up on their own, because they’re afraid they’ll be in trouble. Reassure them that they’re not in trouble, but then go on to explain what porn is, and what it isn’t.

 

If You Need Help Talking to Your Kids

Daniel Brown, Compulsion Solutions Counselor 404-596-8636

Daniel Brown,
Compulsion Solutions Counselor
404-596-8636

I’ve spoken to many fathers who are worried about having the sex talk with their kids, and absolutely terrified to bring up porn. They’re usually afraid that if they bring it up, they’ll have to admit to their own problems with porn, and that feels shameful for them.

 

But when you step back and think about this, do you really want to let your child discover sex and porn the way you did? Wouldn’t you rather set them up to have a healthy, respectful relationships throughout their lives? Wouldn’t you prefer that they’re not afraid to ask the important questions when they come up?

 

I’ve helped many dads formulate plans for talking to their kids about sex, porn, and relationships in a healthy and positive way, and I can help you too. We all can. If you’re struggling to find the right way to talk to your kids, reach out to us for some guidance. It’s better to start kids out on the right path, and we can help you do that for them.

 

 

 

 

 

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