Welcome to part 1 of my 3 part series on assessing and addressing pornography use with kids. It won’t be easy when you do, but you’ll be glad you did. Part 1 is about preparing yourself. It’s important for you to be an approachable parent, if you want your children to really keep you in-the-know about what they are up to in any area of their lives. Preparing to be approachable about porn can be difficult to say the least. You can start here with 5 ways to prepare yourself to talk about porn:
A documentary called Porn on the Brain aired in the UK, but you can watch it on YouTube for a limited time. I recommend it, but there are some intense images and subject matter, so keep that in mind before watching. Like all documentaries, there is an agenda. However, I think this documentary’s agenda is more than reasonable. To me it seems that they have highlighted what a lot of folks know to be true: Internet pornography is not the same as the pornography from "back in the day" and use of it in adolescence is pervasive. Yet, no one is talking about it.
Since 2009, I’ve been praising Cindy Gallop in my lectures for her brilliant website makelovenotporn.com and this witty TED talk. She tells ABC news she noticed when she would have sex with younger men, they would have “porn sex” instead of “real sex” and that porn seemed to be the new default sex-ed for millennials. So, she created a website which compared sex acts seen in porn with how they might be received in real life. This site became wildly popular among sex educators such as myself, for its ability to highlight the differences between porn sex and real sex. However, Cindy’s next endeavor seems to have deviated from that a bit, in my opinion. She launched makelovenotporn.tv in January. It is a site that will only showcase real people having real sex. This is an extremely refreshing concept. However, it is still porn. It is just regulated amateur porn. Which is much better than most mainstream porn in terms of depictions of sexuality. However, frequently seeking out any sex on the internet will still be extremely problematic for some and potentially problematic for teens or anyone who frequently does so (due to the way one’s brain reacts to porn vs. sex). Unfortunately, I don’t think makelovenotporn.tv is the perfect antidote to internet porn. We still have to learn how to have intimate sex with people (if we want successful relationships), and we don’t learn how to do that from masturbating while watching others get it on. We can really only develop those skills from experiencing vulnerable sex with another human being.
I am a TED talk junkie. Expect to see a whole lot of TED talk videos on this blog. I'm also a fan of Gary Wilson's website: yourbrainonporn.com. However, I do wish the information mentioned was cited in a more formal way. You really need to put on your detective hat to find the original data, but it is there. Please let me know what you think. When I discuss these concepts in my lectures, I find people are both blown away and eager to learn more as they apply this process to their porn use or to someone they know.
About this Blog:
I'm here to help us discuss sexuality, gender, and media by integrating information from academic and mainstream sources. I hope this resource produces more sexually competent people who raise sexually competent kids.