I Found My Dad's Porn Stash When I Was 12

By

lily cole playboy cover
This 12-year-old found her dad's secret porn stash; what to do if your little one finds yours.

That summer I began sneaking copies of magazines like Penthouse and Family Affair—a publication about incest that thrilled me because it was so shocking—into my bedroom and cramming them under my mattress. I'd sprawl on the high, pine bed that my father had made for me, my chubby, freckled legs spread. My world had become an X-rated version of the Princess and the Pea, and masturbation became the next best thing to Dairy Queen. I was a pedophile's wet dream.

My mother was experiencing menopausal hot flashes at the time and would yell for me from the bottom of the stairs. "ELIZABEEEEEEEEETH!" she'd call out in her Edith Bunker voice. "It's like an oven up there! Come downstairs! It's cooooooooooler!"

 

It would be at the height of the day and my room would be hot white and blazing, but it was where I wanted to be. "I'm fine!" I'd yell back, annoyed at the interruption on my careful rhythm.

My mother didn't believe me. I could feel her stalled presence at the bottom of the stairs. I couldn't possibly be okay. It was too damn hot to be okay!

"I want to be alone!" I'd holler, hoping to send her on her way. "I'm reading!"

I stayed in my bedroom for most of the summer with one hand moving between my legs. Had my Language Arts teacher known about my summer reading material she would have called the authorities. I had traded in Ranger Rick and the Weekly Reader for Barely Legal and Juggs.

Eventually, my fascination with porn turned into confusion and disgust. Growing up, my mom repeatedly told me that sex was a good thing. She used words like "beautiful" and "healthy" to describe it. "It's an expression of love!" she'd say. Hearing this always reassured me, especially when I grew older and started noticing men noticing me. From my mom's perspective, sex, when I was ready to have it, would be soft, loving, secure. But my father's magazines told a different story. In those pages, sex was hard, dark, and sometimes cruel. Over a decade later, I confided in my mom about finding my dad's hidden material. "That's just how men are, Liz." she said.