by Chris Hudson

Talking to teenage boys about porn

 

Teenage Boy Staying Up Using Laptop In Bed At Night

Talking to your own kids about pornography is always going to be an awkward chat. But it is a conversation every parent needs to have with his or her son.

There is no advice I can give that makes talking to your son about watching porn perfectly comfortable or embarrassment free for you both. But there are some key points that will make the blushing cheeks worthwhile.

Talk about “when” not “if”

In Australia, parents should work on the assumption their boys have or will be exposed to porn, rather than the vain hope they won’t encounter it.

It is estimated over 97% of males are exposed to pornography by the time they are 15. Most boys have had their first exposure to pornography by the age of 13. The chance your high school-aged son has not already seen porn is very, very, small.

Preface your conversation by assuring your son he is not in trouble and you know that pornography is everywhere and virtually unavoidable. Then ask if he has encountered it yet, and if he has, calmly explore what it was and what he thought about it. Don’t react or condemn, just listen and ask questions.

You might not get a lot of detail, but at least give him some space to set the agenda. 

Don’t shame him

Linking shame and sex doesn’t help anyone, and it definitely doesn’t help and empower adolescent boys to develop a healthy and positive sexuality.

Being interested and attracted to pornography is quite understandable for a testosterone-filled and curious teen. It may not be helpful, but it is certainly understandable.

Be sure to affirm your son’s sexuality. Let him know his curiosity and desires associated with viewing porn are perfectly natural and healthy. Tell him you understand why it is something that would be of interest to him.

Your boy needs to hear you say that it is never OK to coerce or physically force himself on a woman – not ever.

It’s not reality

Having affirmed your son’s sexuality, warn him that porn can harm rather than help him become a good lover in the long run.

Internet porn gives boys completely unrealistic expectations and attitudes about what sex is. Pornography presents a distorted view of what really happens during sex and how men and women experience pleasure during physical intimacy.

Talk to your son in these terms so he is clear that porn is something highly stylised and manufactured – not a documentary about real life. Boys need to know that in the real world, sex is about mutual pleasure of both parties involved. 

Partners are not objects

A large amount of internet pornography portrays women as objects to be possessed, dominated, humiliated, or violated for the sexual gratification of men. 

Teach your sons that women do not exist for the sole purpose of gratifying men. Your boy needs to hear you say that it is never OK to coerce or physically force himself on a woman – not ever.  

Mums, tell your boys about what really attracts women to men, and what your sons should be focused on when trying to impress a girl.

If your son is attracted to other men, then you need to have a similar conversation about not considering or treating other guys in degrading or coercive ways.  It is important to stress that even if there are only males involved, sexually demeaning or violent behaviour is still not acceptable. 

There is more to sex

Finally, be sure your son hears you say that sex is about more than a physical act and personal gratification. Teach your boys that sexual intimacy is experienced best when there is mutual respect, caring, tenderness and a relational connection. Let your son know that there is always an emotional aspect to sex and it can have ramifications far beyond an orgasm.

Brought to you by Brighton Grammar School

Chris Hudson is a youth expert, parenting coach and the editor of Understanding Teenagers. Find him at understandingteenagers.com.au This article is about

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