5 Alarming Reasons You MUST Talk To Your Son About Porn

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Limit Your Son's Porn
Contributor
Sex, Self

Our sons deserve a chance to experience REAL love and intimacy in their lives.

Maybe you think your teenage son isn't watching porn. Or maybe you think, What's the big deal if he is? All guys watch porn. Or, perhaps talking with your son about his porn use feels too uncomfortable, so you look the other way and tell yourself this is just a passing phase.

A little parenting advice: If you want your son to experience healthy relationships, true connection, and real love in his life, you must address the issue of porn. Avoiding it hurts your son in ways you haven't imagined.  

In our culture, the following issues are rampant: 

  • Socially awkward teenage boys whose only "connection" with girls is using webcams to get off with girls online  that they don't know.
  • College guys who think rape is normal or even a rite of passage they're entitled to.
  • Young men who think getting married will help them kick their porn habit, only to have their behaviors escalate and ruin their marriage.
  • Husbands who aggressively hurt their wives in porn-like trance states when having sex with them.
  • Men who give up on ever finding love because of shame they feel over their sexual history or sexuality.

Your sons deserve a brighter future than this. Today's Internet porn can undermine all the dreams you have for your son, distort all his relationships, and lead to increasing spirals of shame.

Here are 5 reasons you can't afford to ignore your son's interaction with porn: 

1. It instills distorted ideas of normal sexual behavior. Many boys first learn about sex through porn. They see explicit, intense, and often violent sexual imagery. They see imagery that degrades, humiliates, and even physically harms women. And what they see gets paired with arousal and their newly emerging sexuality, wiring that arousal stimulus response into their growing brains.

But, adolescents don't have healthy sexual experiences to counter what they're seeing in porn. Their young, still-developing brains therefore associate what they see in porn as "normal" sex.

2. It puts boys at risk for porn and sex addiction. Their hormones are raging, orgasms feel great, and now they have an endless variety of sexual stimuli to get off on. But those "feel good" chemicals released in the brain trigger addiction. With prolonged porn use, achieving the same desired feeling requires more frequent use, more novelty, more extreme images, or sexually acting out. Think this is an issue affecting adult men only? Not so. A recent study reveals that one out of ten 12-13 year olds already fears they've become addicted to Internet pornography. 

3. It hinders boys from socializing normally. As boys start developing sexual interests, they also need to develop new relational skills. If your son has any insecurities, social anxiety, or body shame, he may find it easier to avoid the risk associated with real life interactions, and turn to porn instead. With porn, boys don't risk embarrassment, rejection, or failure. Avoiding risk and climaxing at the same time masks their shame.

Our boys learn ZERO skills from porn that serve them well in real relationships. Today's porn normalizes aggression toward and disrespect of women. Porn does not teach our boys the respect, openness, and empathy they need for healthy, intimate, mutually supportive, loving relationships.

4. It stunts their emotional development. Boys on porn are developing their "go-to" strategy to deal with anger, frustration, hurt, sadness, shame, and stress. Relief for any difficult feeling is literally at their fingertips. This strategy prevents boys from building the real coping skills necessary for healthy adult relationships.

All relationships have challenges. They require some capacity to handle conflict, disappointment, and frustration. Guys who grow up on Internet porn often turn to their old escape when they encounter problems in relationships.

5. His sexual health is at risk. Young men who engage in heavy porn use are experiencing increased rates of erectile dysfunction when they have relational sex with real people.

Sex with real partners loses its power to arouse. With porn's infinite and rapidly changing variety, erections aren't a problem. But in a relationship, it's just not coming (and neither is he!). Sexual shame results, leading to more avoidance of relational sex, more coping with porn, and more shame.

Because of all the mixed messages in our society about sex, emerging sexuality is already generally laced with a hefty dose of shame. Internet porn only increases this for our sons. Shame demands punishment, either of oneself or others. Shame also feeds addictions and addictions lead to further shame — dangerous combinations and perpetuating cycles.

How can you create a brighter future for your son?

  • First, educate yourself about the dangers Internet porn holds for your son. Check out these links: 1) Adolescent Brain Meets High Speed Internet Porn 2) Things You Didn't Know About Porn 3) Your Brain On Porn


     

  • Stop the "code of silence" around sex, the birthing place of sexual shame. Talk to your son about sex in age-appropriate ways throughout his childhood. Start with using accurate words for body parts and functions when he becomes verbal. Look for teaching moments to talk with him about sexuality, relationships, and the differences between what we see on the screen and real life.
     
  • In the tween years, validate that his sexual curiosity and desire is normal and so is his interest in exploring this emerging part of himself. Explain to him the role masturbation can play in learning about what he likes. Explain that engaging in fantasy (not porn) when masturbating is normal. Educate, empathize, validate, and never shame.
     
  • Help him understand relational contexts. Sex is not all about him, just his pleasure, or just "getting off." Teach the fundamentals of healthy sexual relationships: consent, safety, and respect. Be sure he's learning positive communication and social skills in all areas of his life.
     
  • Warn him (when he's a teen) about the risks associated with Internet porn use. Emphasize how the very thing that can bring so much pleasure now can become the thing that ruins his ability to enjoy sex and have good relationships.
     
  • Put filters on all your his electronic devices. Restrict computer use and electronic devices with Internet access to shared areas in the home, and make sure computer screens face into the room. Establish and enforce consequences for violations of your restrictions. Give the message that you take this seriously.

For our sons, Internet porn is not like experimenting with alcohol or weed. It's more like shooting up with heroin, and it's threatening their futures. This is a societal problem of epidemic proportion. We have to wake up, break out of our denial, and address it. Or, we risk losing our sons to lives of disconnection and shame.

Break the code of silence around sex. Cut the chains of shame. Give your sons a shot at real intimacy and love in their lives. This, they deserve.

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