Spritzophrenia

humour, music, life, sociology. friendly agnostic.

Should I Stop My Son From Watching Porn?

Posted by spritzophrenia on May 26, 2010

*Warning: This post mentions a variety of sex acts. It’s your choice whether you read further*

I remember the first time I saw pornography. I was perhaps nine and a friend had got hold of some kind of magazine. There was a field of long grass next our school, and at lunchtime the three of us headed in there to peruse. The pictures were black and white, and not particularly explicit. I think I remember breasts. It was possibly a sex manual, or what is called soft porn these days. At that age I knew looking at these pictures was somehow exciting, titillating and forbidden, but I don’t think it scarred me for life.

In the 1980’s, my teen years, pornography was only available as magazines (and later, videos) and was hard to get hold of. Boys had to have the courage to purchase a magazine in person, and if you were obviously under age you’d be refused. It was just too embarassing, and I never tried. I did manage to view a few Playboys and Penthouses at a friend’s house when I was about 15. Playboy was generally soft-ish porn. Penthouse was more gynaecological and would sometimes show copulating couples, but it wasn’t extreme. Nevertheless, I made it into my 20’s having seen very few naked ladies, and what I did see was relatively tame compared to what one can now easily view online.

Now it’s 2010 and I have a twelve year-old son. These days, vast quantities of online porn are so very easy to find. It’s even possible to encounter porn without intentionally seeking it out. So far he’s still fixated on games, but it won’t be many more years before my young man takes more of an interest in girlies. I’m not a prude. I’m not against porn as such. But should I prevent my son from seeing it? I think so.

porn!

Here’s how I came to that conclusion

Is Porn Immoral?
Like I said, I’m not against porn in itself. That said, I do want to make a couple of caveats: I think some porn exploits some women and men, I don’t think the industry is squeaky clean. However, if the models and actors are paid and go into it of their own free will I think it could be an acceptable choice. For some people, pornography can become addictive, and it’s worth keeping that in mind. Some porn also contributes to sexism by teaching unrealistic ideas about sex and about women and men. See this post, and more on this below. These reservations noted, I don’t think porn is automatically wrong in every case. Also note I’m writing from a hetero perspective, but I’m sure similar ideas apply to gay teenagers and gay porn.

Porn is Fantasty
All porn is fantasy. There’s nothing wrong with fantasy, but particularly for someone inexperienced it gives an unrealistic idea of sex. In stereotypical “professional” porn everyone’s happy, overendowed, always orgasms and are eager to perform sexual acts that many of us would not find appealing. More on this in the next section. Then there’s the so-called “amateur” porn, which is still fantasy and often contains staged acts by paid models. Come on, how “amateur” are you if you’re a model with your own pay-per-view website containing hundreds of pictures and videos?

Porn gives some people an outlet to explore acts and situations they may never wish to enact in real life. But there’s really not a lot of discrimination on the average free porn site, which is potentially misleading for someone at an early stage in their sexuality.

The Quantity
I’m not against my son seeing pictures of naked women occasionally. I think it might even be good for him; once he’s sexually active he’ll know what girl bits look like. But there is so *much* porn out there. Does he really need to see thousands of images before he sees the real thing? Surely just a few is sufficient.

The Range
Tied in with the quantity is the range of material available. Several free porn websites I visited have categories like “Bizarre Porn” or “Torture Porn” right beside what one might call “vanilla”. Take your imagination, double it, and you’ll still find yourself surprised. Not everything is extreme kink or abuse, but it’s there. In addition, what seems to be common are activities that many couples would not engage in until they are older and more confident, if at all. From its frequency on porn sites, it appears that even in ‘ordinary’ sex, every copulation includes anal sex, and the man ejaculating on the woman’s face.

I’m not saying these acts are aberrant or wrong, simply that I don’t think they benefit a young mind. There is possibly an argument that it’s good to celebrate the full range of possible sexual expression. Perhaps promoting acts that many people haven’t tried may benefit a mature person’s sex life. However, I think it would only distort the view of someone younger.

Good sex involves consideration of your partner and mutuality. Most porn doesn’t explore this reality. “No thanks, i’m not into that” aren’t words commonly found in porn.

For all these reasons I think I’ll have to acquire some software to block porn sites. But there’s one more thing:

The Porn Talk
Even if I block porn sites on his home computer, it’s pretty much a given that my son will see some pornography, perhaps at friends’ houses. I’ve had the “sex talk” with him since he was young, he’s as educated about the birds and the bees as I think he needs to be for his age. However, I now think I need to have a “pornography talk”. I want to explain the points above, and that I really don’t think it will help his first sexual experiences to have a lot of those images in his head. In general, prohibition doesn’t prevent interest, therefore I have to talk to him as well.

As I concluded above I’ll have to acquire some software to block porn sites. I’m encouraged that a couple of other people I’ve talked to agree with me.

Respond

What do you think? If you enjoyed this, why not read my If You See the Buddha on the Road, Kiss Him.

Edit: I’ve been asked what software can be used to to filter the internet. I am not an expert, but here are my opinons:

* WOT is free and useful. It doesn’t catch everything, or actually stop you going to the site if you choose to override it. http://www.mywot.com

* There’s a useful list of porn-blocking software here
http://internet-filter-review.toptenreviews.com

My research so far seems to indicate Net Nanny is the best, but I have not tried it. There are several other good ones too. I haven’t yet installed something on my system apart from WOT.

Berlin | Sex. (Good song, lewd lyrics.)

Please share this article:

23 Responses to “Should I Stop My Son From Watching Porn?”

  1. Sugarpop said

    AWESOME blog – well structured, thought out and written. I’m curious to know what you think about the proliferation of explicit material in mainstream media, as well as how our young girls are being increasingly sexualised at ever younger ages – check out http://www.cyc-net.org/features/ft-oversexed.html

    • Thankyou! πŸ™‚ Yeah, the sexualisation of younger ages makes me uncomfortable. It’s been pointed out that kids are going through puberty at earlier ages than in times past due to improvements in health.

      This in turn makes a bigger gap between the time they are physically mature and the time when they are emotionally mature enough to handle sexual relationships.

  2. I too am not out rightly against porn. Exploitative aspects need to be examined on a case by case basis. Ceo of Apple Steve Jobs said on Twitter, β€œStarting this summer, porn will be blocked from all Mac browsers. If you want smut, use Windows.”
    Now you have a choice.

  3. Tiff said

    I think you’re wise to keep your boy from viewing porn.. I personally feel, no I take that back, I know (because I’ve seen it happen to close friends) that pornography destroys families and wrecks relationships. It feeds aggressive behavior and violence towards women while (like you mentioned)exploiting both sexes. On top of that it’s dehumanizing, degrading, and desensitizing.. Sex is one of the most personal things ever, our sexuality is not something to be thrown around casually for the entertainment of others. Of course, I am female and sex affects us differently than it does men being that our emotions are so deeply entwined in the act of sex. I know some women pretend that’s not the case but they are kidding themselves. Most sexually aggressive women (or promiscuous) are so out of touch with their own heart that most of them are completely unaware how broken it is. I have friends who have opened up to me about the deep pain these types of behaviors have caused them (at one time they hid it so well). And porn stars, they can say it’s all wonderful but they are prolly the most miserable women on the planet with no self value whatsoever.. I mean, how could they when they are living breathing trash receptacles? Honestly, I find it mind blowing that one needs to even ask whether or not pornography is harmful. Here’s more proof coming from me personally – If I were in a relationship and discovered my mate was heavily involved in porn it would hurt my heart so deeply (and I think I speak for most women if they all had the guts to be honest). Protecting your son from porn will be a gift to him in so many ways. Porn is seriously dark and will deeply affect his heart, development, mind and especially the way he sees women (you’re doing the future women in his life a huge favor). Ok, I know I ranted but this topic really strikes a chord in my heart. I’ve just seen way too many people hurt because of pornography, I hate what it does to them. Actually I’m currently working with a gal who is recovering from the damage of it.

    • Thanks. I had thought afterwards about the effect porn can have on adult relationships. I suspect that most women would not like it if their boyfriend/husband was looking at porn, and that’s another thing to consider.

      The ‘being unaware of how broken you are’ thing is hard to define. Maybe it’s just that people change over time. Perhaps they aren’t broken when they’re in porn, but later “mature” and decide they don’t like what they were once happy with? I’m not sure if I’m explaining that well.

      I do think it’s not simple. Thanks for your response Tiff.

    • Sugarpop said

      Hi Tiff

      I read your comments with a great deal of interest. For the purpose of context, I’d like to state that I’m a thirty-mumble female with a preference for committed monogomous relationships. I believe the human body is something to be celebrated and cherished, and personally feel that sculpture, drawing, painting and photography of the naked form can be expressions of that.

      My question is, then, what really constitutes pornography? This seems to be quite subjective… I personally have no problem with what I think is defined as “soft porn” – essentially artistic nude shots of either sex. I have gifted subscriptions to my (now ex) partner over the course of our almost decade long relationship. I also procure material for myself – specifically Black + White magazine http://www.studiomagazines.com/blackandwhite/main.htm

      I believe this to be quite different to explicit footage of sex acts. I’m not against this kind of porn per se, so long as it involves consenting adults. I personally find watching it distasteful, and I worry about the messages it sends to all and sundry about sex, not just the young and impressionable.

      Then there is erotic literature and erotic films like 9 1/2 Weeks http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0091635/ and Wild Orchid http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0100934/ . Although they aren’t *great* movies, there is a plot, the characters are somewhat developed and their emotions and sexuality are explored as well as being involved explicit sex scenes. Where do these sit on the pornography scale?

      There is so much to consider even before I can clearly understand what decisions to make about how we address this with our children, and unlike the magazine, this issue is not at all black and white.

  4. Sneak: HI JONATHAN! πŸ˜€ We’re going to be in Welly come December! Maybe we says hi, yus? I could give you a Christmas present!

    Rogan: As for the porn, I think the talking about it with your son honestly is a great idea. Also, perhaps you could supplement with educational stuff as well, which’ll give him the ability to teach himself and come to his own conclusions. http://www.scarleteen.com/ isn’t perfect, but it does a lot better than most other places I’ve seen, as far as talking about the range of sexuality goes, and Sneak’s used it a bit without being traumatized. Take a look at it, see what you think.

    I’ve had to be dragooned into Sex Ed. duty for Sneak, and I can’t say I envy you. It’s hard to explain some of the subtler societal crap that seems to come with sex.

  5. katie said

    hi,

    just stumbled upon your blog and thought i’d offer some insight. i mean no offense by this, but it seems as though the prior comments are offering a somewhat unrealistic view. i’m in my early twenties, a female. i can assure you one-thousand percent that your son will see porn. if you block it on his computer, he’ll find a computer that he can use. if you block the tv channels, he’ll crack the code or watch it at his friend’s house. twenty-first century kids are smart and savvy. and if they want something badly enough, they’ll figure out a way to have it, to lie about it, to disguise it, to hide it. all questions of “morality” aside, that’s just reality.

    now, that being said, [and i don’t know how old your son is, though i would venture to guess 10-15] a suggestion might be to tell your son, hey, this stuff is out there. this is how it’s presented, but this is the reality of the situation. i think kids of all ages welcome and appreciate honesty. they resist feeling like they’re being “blocked” or repressed in any way. they just want to grow and see and experience, and he’s going to feel like you’re playing bad-cop if his computer access or television access is restricted. ultimately, that’s not going to work for you, for him, or for your relationship. and i completely understand the fact that you want to supervise him and that’s fine, i just want to suggest that an open discussion about the matter is probably going to be more effective as opposed to a big brother-esque operation where he feels like you’re not giving him room to explore. i mean, it might be wise to say things similar to what you’ve said on this blog post — “this is PORN” versus “this is mature, adult, committed, monogamous SEX.” if you present the differences [and yes, this means you really present them as opposed to sugar-coating them!], your son will have the tools to discern between the two.

    anyway, i know i’m not a parent and hence don’t really know what you’re dealing with. but i just wanted to offer something [hopefully] positive. best of luck with everything.

    katie

    • thanks for your commment Katie. My son is 12.

      As I hoped to make clear in my post, I’m not against him seeing *some* nekkid ladies. I know that prohibition can have unexpected side effects, and that he will see some porn anyway. As I said above, I think it’s the quantity and “extreme” nature (for want of a better word) that I am uncomfortable about. I agree with you, talking with him about it will be essential.

  6. […] Should I Stop My Son From Watching Porn? […]

  7. kelly said

    I guess I am as liberal as you. I allow my brother’s kids to watch obscene pics just some websites have uncontrollable pop-ups. But they know already because I’ve spoken to them about sex and the consequences that come with it (responsibilities, diseases, social effect on others who know, social effects on friends who are virgins, etc).

    The kids watching sexy stuff once in awhile is no worser than a parent not talking about sex. In fact, when a toddler is able to walk on his own, you should actually talk about it! Eg. No one is to touch you THERE, cos it’s your private property. What should you do if a stranger does so? …. Tell mum or dad about it.

    I grew up in a family whereby mum kept quiet about sex, about kissing, about hugging, etc. Now she grumbles at the sight of couples showing a little public affection. And she loudly states that these teenagers’ parents should be fined, etc. There is something seriously wrong in this….considering that my brother HAD a shotgun marriage (and yes, because she did not talk to him about sex).

    • “In fact, when a toddler is able to walk on his own, you should actually talk about it! ”

      I agree, and this is what I tried to do. You’ve made a really good point in comparing “too much” sex info with “not enough”, from parents.

      Is this a significant part of your culture?

      Thanks for your comment, please stop by Spritzophrenia again! πŸ™‚

  8. tayyab said

    i want to get that type of software which will not open the wrong or nude types windows please help me in that if there is any software please tell me are try to make it

  9. filper said

    im 16 n watch porn everydat there is nothing wrong with it

  10. Ballsofsteel said

    OH NONONNONONO!

  11. twon said

    I think the question should be Why is my child watching porn? I caught my son watching porn and I ask him if he was materbating as well and he said no. But I checked his history on his phone and my computer and he has been watching everyday and his grades have dropped from A’s & B’s to ALL F’s. He puts forth no effort to do his work and I can’t tell when he’s lying or telling the truth. I have figured out, however, that he gazes into my eyes when he wants me to believe what he is saying….whether lying or telling the truth.

  12. Alex said

    You say software to censor pornography- but let me give my opinion as an IT security professional; it probably won’t work. Yes, there is a huge variety of such “Parental Control” measures. ranging from the “mega-uber-indestructible” to the “easy-as-pie”. The reality is that most people, especially teenagers, can easily break through the majority of software with a little computer technicality.
    Something like a DNS filter for example (say, OpenDNS, which I know is popular, even though it’s IMO not the best security wise) can be broken through easily enough if your son edits the wi-fi settings. Even if you give him a non-admin account, he could still download a “Live” OS, run it from a USB stick, and obtain the administrator account password like that (unless the computer is encrypted). But that’s always the problem- even with encryption, you can’t fight the LiveUSB! They could, after all, simply browse on the LiveUSB OS itself, unless you happen to have a particularly annoying wifi device that requires external, proprietary drivers (or is very new). They could use an OS like IPFire Linux for example.
    Now, I’m not saying your son will have the necessary skills to do stuff like that, but I would recommend you don’t put too much faith in such measures.
    I’m not going to tell you how to parent, but perhaps being more honest with your son about the subject would make him less likely to run into such content? I’m not really sure if setting up filters is going to earn you much trust. Those programs aren’t designed for that anyway, which I think a lot of people don’t realize. They’re actually designed for very young children or to be used by organizations, either by schools or organizations who work with sensitive data and use filter services to provide additional desktop security..

  13. jack said

    i am a father of a boy of 16. i am not VERY anti porn , rather liberal on that front , as i realise the temptations one gets into. i and my son have had porn talks since he was 14, since i felt it was NECESSARY to educate about the good nd bad , right and wrong , out there to the world around him. We have agreed to let him watch it once a week , as i know i wont be able to keep him off that no matter how much i try. He has promised and abides by it. I AM EXTREMELY PROUD OF HIM πŸ™‚

  14. macineely said

    I agree.
    I caught my son watching it once. I explained that it’s quite natural to like that sort of stuff, especially at his age. However, I told him I didn’t want him looking at it until he was older.
    Personally, I have nothing against porn. But I didn’t want him getting stupid ideas about sex, which is portrayed as inconsequential in porn. I also didn’t want him wasting all his time on the computer looking at that stuff, when he could be spending his time for better purposes.
    Some forms of porn are sick, and I NEVER want him looking at it, at any age.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

 
%d bloggers like this: