Content Warning: talk of sex and porn, rape
Keep in mind that when I say “child” in this post, I am referring to teenagers, about 13+.
Working on my last post on sex education really made me realize how much I enjoy writing about the topic. So here I am with another post about sex ed, specifically about porn.
Why is it that when parents find out their child watches porn, many of them immediately freak out and shame their child for it? Many parents’ first reaction is to tell them that it’s wrong to watch porn or to masturbate and quite frankly, that’s ridiculous.
As parents, you shouldn’t be making your child feel ashamed for exploring their sexuality, especially not when they are doing so in a completely safe way (except for the possibility of viruses. But let’s face it, most teens are smart enough to go to well known porn sites like porn hub and not click any of the ads). Obviously no one is getting pregnant from your child watching porn and/or masturbating, and they aren’t hurting anybody.
Shaming children for viewing porn can have many negative impacts on their sexuality as well. If you condition your child to have a negative view of sex and their own sexuality, they are less likely to be open about those kinds of things with their future sexual partners, leading to a less satisfying experience. Not only that, but it can lead them to feel devious and disgusting for having a sex drive despite the fact that this is just a common part of being a teenager. Making them feel this way creates an unhealthy relationship with sex, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they are going to stop viewing porn or masturbating, they’ll just feel ashamed for it. A teen’s sex drive isn’t going to just disappear because their parent tells them it’s “wrong”. This just creates an unhealthy relationship between the child and their own sexuality, which can be very bad if they ever plan to become sexually active with another person.
People that have negative relationships with sex tend to not go out of their way to learn more about it and therefore never learn how to make safe choices in regards to sex (and we all know the American sex education system isn’t any help either). Without this knowledge, kids are much more likely to engage in unsafe sex practices or even release their sexual frustrations in a way that could be dangerous for whoever else is involved.
According to Rape Abuse and Incest National Network, 2 out of every 3 incidents of rape go unreported. A large factor that could play into this is the shaming of sex. Especially for women, younger people are brought up to think that sex is something dirty or that only adults should engage in it. Due to this, teens who are in a sexual relationship but happen to be raped by their partner are highly unlikely to tell their parents about it because that would force them to disclose that they were in a sexual relationship prior to their rape. Plus, many victims may feel they are at fault in some way just due to the psychology of abuse, even if they weren’t dating their rapist. This feeling of guilt is only exacerbated by the idea that sex is wrong; if it’s wrong in the first place, they must have done something wrong to make someone want to defile them in such a bad way.
Lastly, all of these factors can lead to unwanted pregnancy. If this happens, due to the attitude our society has around minors having sex, your child may be hesitant to come to you if they suspect they may be pregnant. As discussed in my last post, the best way to prevent unwanted pregnancy is to be honest with children about sex and teach them everything about it they may need to know. And this doesn’t just mean how to do it and then scare them into not wanting to because that doesn’t work. Teens are still going to engage in sex, and if they haven’t been told everything about it, bad things are going to happen. We have to be open and treat our kids like the maturing people they are. If they’re old enough to be asking about it, they’re old enough to know.
I hope this post was informative. I firmly stand by the idea that all parents need to have open, honest talks with their kids about sex and what it means to be in a healthy, sexual relationship. And these talks need to start at a young age, because you never know when your child may decide to start experimenting. And make sure to reassure your child that viewing porn isn’t inherently disgusting or bad, but be sure to educate them that what they see in porn isn’t typical of actual sex. These discussions can be awkward to have, but they are crucial for your child to grow up with a healthy relationship with their own sexuality.
Please share if you found this post helpful or you agree with what I’ve said. Did I miss anything on the topic you think I should have covered? Comment below! I’ll see you all in my next post.