I Won’t Be Banning Porn For My Son

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Eleven is the average age that kids view pornography. Sometimes it happens inadvertently via a mistakenly unfiltered search term. Or it occurs over at so-and-so’s house whose parents aren’t so savvy with Google filters and firewalls. But at some point or other, sexually curious youth will access pornography.

I have an eleven-month-old son, and while some might say it’s premature, I’ve begun thinking about how my husband and I will handle the topic of porn with him. I certainly don’t want him viewing hardcore smut as a preteen. But if forced to choose by my Internet provider, as will soon be the case in Britain, would I say no to allowing porn in my household altogether? I don’t think I would.

Let me back up for a second and explain why. Several years ago my husband-to-be filmed porn stars on and off set for a reality TV show. Porn brought up extremely conflicting reactions in me. On the one hand, I considered myself sexually liberal and wanted to be accepting of all facets of sexuality. On the other, I found porn at best, tacky, and at worst, degrading.

(MORE: Sexodus: Porn Industry Mulls A Future Outside L.A.)

My new memoir, Prude: Lessons I Learned When My Fiancé Filmed Porn is the story of how I reconsidered my prejudices, overcame my discomfort, and ultimately how our relationship improved. In short, we learned to communicate with new levels of frankness and acceptance. Avoiding discussions about porn with my fiancé had created misunderstandings and unnecessary tension between us. We’ve been married five years now and have a very honest dynamic, for which I’m grateful.

When it comes to parenting, I’m of the opinion that absolutely forbidding something often serves to augment the caché of whatever is being denied. So when it comes to X-rated material, I’ve been considering whether some involvement in our children’s exposure to porn could be a version of “If you’re going to try alcohol, I’d prefer you do it under my roof.”

To be clear, I would not give my tween son free rein on the Internet. There will be filters in our house. There will also be early sex education. I certainly don’t plan to defer to my son’s peers in the locker room to coach him on the anatomically correct terms for sex organs or the various ways that STIs can be spread.

Still, I’m pretty sure those chats won’t come close to cutting it in educating him about what’s online—which one way or another, he’ll eventually see. I don’t relish the thought of, say, permitting my teenage son to access hardcore porn, and then having a dialogue about it with us over lasagna. (Undoubtedly, he won’t be loving that either.) But at an appropriate age—and I’m far too novice a parent to know what that is—there are several things that I want him to know about pornography.

I want him to be absolutely clear on the fact that porn represents fantasies enacted by paid performers, with all the glitter, guns, and gore of Hollywood. I want him to know pornography is often not the way sex happens: with little-to-no foreplay or discussion. Or how real people always feel: easily aroused and constantly gratified. Or look: waxed, muscled, bleached, and D-cupped. Perhaps most of all, I want him to understand the idea of consent. A performer in a film has given their written permission to perform a certain act, even if they act otherwise. While porn stars portray submission and dominance, it doesn’t equate to their positions in the real world. And with this understanding, I hope he’ll become the kind of man who has the utmost respect for himself and others in the bedroom.

(MORE: With Increased Testing, Porn Filming Starts Anew)

It would be all too easy to never get around to these conversations if we felt secure in the strength of our virtual fort. But as sensible adults, we know the firewalls won’t hold. In today’s world, a stance of protect and evade simply won’t work. And personally, I want a certain level of control over my boy’s development into a respectful man.

I suppose I could always just give him a copy of my book and call it a day. Then again, I’m pretty sure it’s one bit of salacious material he’ll happily avoid.

75 comments
AlRussell
AlRussell

I used to feel the same way about porn as this woman. From the perspective of consenting adults using it to enhance pleasure or boost a lagging libido, it can be a positive force. However, after reading up on the way porn is effecting young men and boys (and in turn young women) I've changed my mind. Porn leads boys to have gross misconceptions in all areas of sexuality. It diminishes the role of the female as an equal partner. Other posters on this board are correct when they point out that, largely, porn is made by and for men. It's all about male satisfaction, women pleasing men, not mutual respect or even equal contribution. There is a 40% rise of young women reporting that men have pressured them into having anal sex since internet porn became commonplace. This is not an accident. On screen, boys are watching women service men for the most part, doing things that men like in ways that men like. Very rarely do you see any effort to appeal to a female sensibility because it isn't as profitable and really that's what drives the pornography industry, cold hard cash. Furthermore, watching a great deal of porn actually alters the pleasure centers of the brain, not an ideal situation for developing young men. I've seen young men become unable to enjoy sex unless the envelope is constantly pushed to more and more extreme stimulation because of the way porn escalates your need for more extreme visuals over time to get the same effect. Your brain responds to porn exactly the same way it responds to a drug. Even for adults this can be a problem, but for young men it can be devastating.

HeatherBaker
HeatherBaker

Porn teaches one thing and one thing only... and it isn't healthy sex.  Sex is fun, sex feels good for everyone involved, sex is about people who care enough about the other person to make sure they're having a good time too.  Porn is about rape.  Porn is about rape culture.  Porn is about negative views about women.  Porn is about men.  All about men.  Porn is about men using women.  This woman is about as stupid as they come.  (No pun intended.)  She says she will teach her son about consent.  How will that undo all the damage she proudly plans on doing to her young son and the ideas about women she plans to plant in his head?  I am trying to raise a decent man here and she's trying to raise a problem.

JesseDaniel
JesseDaniel

Porn causes large amounts of dopamine in the brain to flood the brain and studies show the effects on the brain being similar to the effects of smoking crack cocaine. This is the most significant reason why you should prevent your developing child's mind from being exposed to something that has the potential to be both chemically and psychologically  damaging.

BellaBellucci
BellaBellucci

Apparently, nobody who posted in the comments has seen sex-positive porn or the performers who are trying to bring more normalized sexual behaviors back into it. Pity.


And if you really want to desensitize people to the industry, tell them about how it operates. When it's not being financially (and often physically) exploitative, when you look past the 'scene' and the 'glamour,' it's actually an incredibly boring business. And that's all it really is: a business. Imagine the porn stars - broken women with dreams of stardom, invariably in street clothes with no makeup, driving to dozens of random warehouses and office buildings in the San Fernando Valley a month where they get to do things they hate in the most technical way possible (not the way the finish product is viewed), under 90 degrees of light heat, under the threat of STIs, and then tell me how sexy it is.

Source: me. I actually try to be one of those 'sex-positive' pornstars the industry hates so much for destroying the illusion that their gonzo content is somehow typical and that degradation should forever be the cornerstone of sexual attraction.

Lindance
Lindance

WOW this is abhorrent. Porn is a problem we need to eradicate, not become complacent with.

JamesStacey
JamesStacey

Great article, mom. I'll be at dinner after I finish my chemistry homework.

ugulix
ugulix

Well porn is for masturbation. there could and should be as easily accessible material about real sex.

AdamLee
AdamLee

Porn is essential to a young boys development.

AlishaShutterbugMora
AlishaShutterbugMora

You have an 11 month old son, I am sure your views on your parenting will change as your son gets older.   I used to say a variation of things when my children were younger on what I would tolerate when they were older.   That has changed drastically.  Lets revisit this in 10 years.   

DonBronkema
DonBronkema

JohnDale49--grow up, drop politix, enjoy

DonBronkema
DonBronkema

Early porn essential to counter dread influence of Christian prudery--principal source of guilt, shame, incest, trafficking & serial murder [google].   

NiklausHamilton
NiklausHamilton

your son is eleven months old? i dont think u need to be worrying about porn anytime soon.

jjdoe889
jjdoe889

This woman has NO intention of letting her son roam the halls of online porn. She's promoting her book, with a race headline to grab publicity.. At worst, she's thinking of porn as 60's Playboy. Allowing the kid to see what the body looks like. Soothing his curiosity. Online porn is from a different planet! Depravity, cruelty, debauchery - things normal people best avoid (tho we men often look, and may even enjoy watching. Yes, we sometimes get off on sickness, in our darker moments. But in my case, it's just fantasy. It's nothing I'd feel comfortable doing in real life!). 

Kids, on the other hand, are not ready for this. Teenage boys don't need to think of this as normal. Teen girls shouldn't have to think this is acceptable, to keep a boy's attention. In college, boys do expect it. And the girls know they have to go along with the drinking and random sex. Otherwise their phone won't ring. And you can bet those frat boys like to sit around the next day and talk about all the degrading things they did with the drunken coed...

LooneyFloyd
LooneyFloyd

" On the one hand, I considered myself sexually liberal and wanted to be accepting of all facets of sexuality"

Like incest?

JohnDale49
JohnDale49

Don't come crying to us if you catch him sucking his 40 year old teacher in a parking lot then.

Study after study has proven beyond any doubt, pornography DAMAGES children. You're an abusive parent, but then all sexually "liberal" people are. You do reailze that pedophilia is also a 'facet of sexuality', so you should think twice before accepting every such facet.

What an airheaded buffoon. It's women like this that breed a generation of morons.

CuriousGeorge
CuriousGeorge

Jesus Christ this chick is incredibly idiotic

MikeHarris
MikeHarris

all porn should be moved to the .xxx domain

MikeHarris
MikeHarris

If you make it official, and grant permission....lol watch how that hand never gets unstuck from his penis...good luck on your stupid ideas. They will watch porn no matter what you say or do, but dont give them license, that little line keeps them in check.

bbonn
bbonn

For those parents who think it's a harmless diversion, consider the nature of pornography videos on the internet (if you haven't seen those of a more graphic nature, they're easy to find, although I strongly recommend against viewing them) and imagine your daughter or son involved in those videos, specifically as the actors. See if you still think it's harmless then.

DianaMaras
DianaMaras

The one problem I have with this article is the assumption that understanding porn will make him a better man. LOL The mother is the first example of woman that a boy has and if that mother is a screwed up wreck of a human than that boy is most likely going to grow up not liking or respecting women. I really wish people would stop breeding if they're not interested in raising their children to be healthy humans. 

AbeLinkedin
AbeLinkedin

Saw the headline and barely skimmed the article because I knew this leftie tree-hugger would win if I gave her any attention.  She probably gave it away for free while in college and called herself sophisticated.  Silly girl who became a silly women. 

Mojomajik9
Mojomajik9

I don't quite understand how certain people in the comments are equating hardcore porn with Playboy. I'm 34 and I came of age without the Internet and access to hardcore porn and I'm thankful for that. Finding a Playboy, to the boys I grew up with, was like manna from heaven, but it was simply photos of nude women. It didn't warp our ideas of what sex is or that women are always willing, even if at first they say 'no.'

High speed, hardcore porn is an entirely different animal. There has been talks and studies (a Ted Talk is available on YouTube for example) about the effects of porn viewing on Millennial men who began watching porn at 10-11 years of age. That's why we're seeing increased instances of PED in young men, men who can't have relationships because the fantasy is better and an explosion in STD rates. You never see condoms in porn and boys weened on that fantasy are just following the leader.


do2
do2

Our "progressive elites" have the moral sensibility bred out of them like seedless watermelons.  What do you think they really want when "reasonably" discussing children and pornography?  And of course they consider the Bible, and warnings like Sodom & Gomorrah, as beneath their dignity.  The are just the final word in sophistication.

In reality they are being sifted like wheat.

guz
guz

Fully agree with this article. I was 13 when my mom bought me a Playboy. She explained it to me, how these were real women, getting paid to show themselves. She was also a surgeon from Europe, where they understand that our prudish social mores are the exact thing that cause us so much teen pregnancy and confusion about the most basic human function: Sex.

levitzdesigns
levitzdesigns

Obviously this female has more severe issues. To think about porn for an 11 month old child's future. This article is a pure example why our moral values and self respect have gone out the window. Why was this female person singled out  (and I will not dignify her as a woman or mother), was given the opportunity to post her opinion when the majority of the public have nothing to do with the creation and/or take part in the production of pornography? This female's thoughts should have been before she gave birth, would I be a fit mother? Can the loser & I that I married (at our shot gun wedding), be a good role model for our child or children? That's the thing that destroys our society. It takes no brains at all to procreate. Therefore, it's the true working society who has to pay for these losers in so many ways. Obviously, this female is silver spoon so, finances were never an issue. But what about her mental capability. Let's face it, there are woman who are simply made to be a mother and parent and there are woman who are not. In summary, having an open mind is one thing. Having open legs is another.

DianaFkaDesiFoxx
DianaFkaDesiFoxx

Spoken like a true mother who doesn't have any daughters. Easy to say now but wait until he gets old enough to be corrupted by media and entertainment. If you're half the mother you think you are, you'll change your tune. 

I hope when you do, you write about that story as well!


There is NOTHING healthy about how porn is made or in using it. This writer justifies letting her husband become close to satan's playground. That's what this piece is. Justification, not TRUTH!

hector.delacruz
hector.delacruz

And porn lovers/curiosity seekers would gravitate to that site. Especially since it's specifically oriented towards porn. It takes parental vigilance, knowing and listening and explaining to kids why porn is bad. A good porn blocker is also also essential. Although, I did see plenty of porn in my age, sans the internet ;-)

hector.delacruz
hector.delacruz

Um. That reply was...just...ugly. "Tree hugger?" Seriously?

DeweySayenoff
DeweySayenoff

@AbeLinkedin Your post reminds me of what Robin William's character said to the AF Sargent after the Sargent's unwarranted and off-base rant: "You are in more dire need of a blowjob than any white man in history."

Just because you are terminally repressed and misogynistic due to being whipped with rods and sent to your room to read the Bible (except Psalms, because some of that's pornographic) when you got caught peeking at your sister's undies doesn't mean everyone else should be equally repressed.  And you gave her attention by posting.

chessking69n
chessking69n

@do2 Do you have kids? If so good luck on protecting them from everything you find offensive.

do2
do2

And Time is one of their favorite publications.

19brooklyn75
19brooklyn75

@levitzdesigns@emilysouthwood, sounds like a promo stir to me. But I'll play anyway. Levitz took your comments to heart since he has issue with today's society, however does bring up several valid points. Obviously this (writer) @emilysouthwood has no dignity or self respect so at 11 months, why not take it a step further and think about at what age you plan on discussing or participating in incest or beastiality. Having a child is a blessing and gift that should be respected and not treated like a game or pawn. What a shame, there are true woman on this planet who would make a great mother and will not get the opportunity to prove it. Where's that article?

chessking69n
chessking69n

@DianaFkaDesiFoxx Grrrrrr ALL porn is evil and the devils mark. Burn in hell for all those enjoying a safe outlet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

#libtardedamerica
#libtardedamerica

@DianaFkaDesiFoxx  

grow the f up lady. porn is fun. and guess what? a large and growing number of women view it too. crawl back under your rock with your bible and keep your crazy to yourself

ShawnLa
ShawnLa

@DianaFkaDesiFoxx Spoken like someone who is sexually repressed and judgemental. Porn is a perfectly healthy thing for people to aid in another perfectly healthy act, masturbation. Women choose to make porn, as do the men involved. Funny how it's always the woman being exploited, when it's men paying their money for it, and men just as involved in the filming as women.

DeweySayenoff
DeweySayenoff

@do2 I do enjoy hearing from the repressed crowd.  

It reminds me of when I was young, about the time I reached the age of reason, and pointed out to my Sunday school teacher when I was starting first grade, "It seems to me that the way religions act, they seem to be more like something Satan would do that what this God or Jesus person you keep talking about would do."

Guilt.  Repression.  Hatred.  Intolerance.  Greed. Oh, and let's not forget the repressive's favorite one (because they do it ALL THE TIME): HYPOCRISY.

You know all about those things from reading your precious book of myths.  Nothing like that good old time, made up religion to create a bunch of bigoted, self-righteous fools hell bent on making sure that because THEY aren't allowed to have any fun (or at least they have to go way out of their way to not get caught doing it), no one else should, either.

In case you were wondering, I was disinvited from attending Sunday School again after that - at the age of five.  They thought I would undo the brainwashing they did on the other kids that they tried to do on me.  That observation was just one in a long line of of them about the utter contradictions in the christian faith I found that I couldn't rationally reconcile.

Trouble is, I was born with a functional BS meter and it was screaming "BS! BS! BS! BS!" every time I went to church.  Sunday school is why I figured out what the BS was all about.  And I knew  what Ben Franklin said about Christianity in particular long before I found out he said it: To see by faith, one must shut the eye of reason.

And I see yours are sewn shut.

bbonn
bbonn

Ever read Ted Bundy's story or interview? I'm not saying porn is causation, but there's certainly correlation there. When people act in ways that you and others on this forum who are defending porn find reprehensible, especially with regard to violence and sexuality, you are more than likely to find porn as a part of the issue. I am well aware of the way that satisfying sexual desires through porn leads down a dark path. The desire is at first fulfilled by images, then moves to videos, then to violent porn or pornography with younger actors, and then to acting out. Another way that it corrupts is in the area of time. At first a short viewing is sufficient, and then people find themselves disregarding time and the consequences of viewing porn in all different places, including at the workplace, in public areas (familiar with Japan and those that view porn in the subway, on trains, in buses?), etc. Then there's the area of women who are heavily abused in the industry, but of course this generally flies under the radar. I could go on, but I'll save it for another commenter.

JohnDale49
JohnDale49

@DeweySayenoff @do2 What's the matter? Did you get molested or something? Your bitter contempt for people of faith is just a badge of how pathetic you are. Get a life, you worthless little drone.

BillSundry
BillSundry

@DeweySayenoff @do2 You should put that Franklin quote in context, what he said was: The way to see by Faith, is to shut the eye of reason, the morning daylight appears plainer when you put out your Candle.  He was saying that in defense of faith, but I don't expect honesty from a bitter leftie.  :-P