Your Kids WILL See Porn — This Checklist Makes Sure They're Prepared

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Checklist For Talking To Middle School & Up Kids About Porn
Family, Sex

Parents, feel free to share this with your kid. And feel free to use it yourself.

Like the fictional worlds of Harry Potter, Star Trek, and Twilight, pornography depicts a world that looks familiar but doesn’t actually exist. It features bodies most people don’t have, doing things most people don’t do, in situations most people are never in.

It would be a big mistake to assume that you live in that world, because sex in real life isn’t like sex in porn.

It can’t be, because what we see is the product of acting and editing — not real relationships or real situations.

If you’re going to watch porn, remember that your life can’t be like the lives of the characters you see there. Real people — like you — generally don’t have as much desire, get as excited, or feel so intensely as the characters in porn. That’s because you’re real, and the characters aren’t.

Porn leaves out a lot of what most people enjoy about sex: kissing, hugging, whispering, laughing, and talking afterwards. Real sex often includes words of genuine affection, which porn almost never includes. That’s because the characters in porn generally don’t feel that close to each other.

Because porn is a complex product, consuming it without understanding it can be confusing. And because sexuality is an important part of life, getting confused about it while watching porn can cause anyone — especially young people — difficulty.

So here’s a list of what everyone watching porn of any kind needs to understand.

Any item that you can’t honestly check, think it over before watching again. If you just can’t make sense of it, ask an adult you trust.

Yeah, I know, hard to just relax and talk about this with Mom, Dad, or Uncle Louis. If you don’t know an adult you can ask personally, ask the cool folks at www.Scarleteen.com or www.GoAskAlice.columbia.edu.

[  ] I know that porn is fiction, not real.

[  ] I know professional porn is shot with actors and actresses following a script, using special lighting and camera angles, and that the film is edited to create a finished product that looks like it really happened.

[  ] I know that actors and actresses prepare themselves off-camera right before a shoot with products like Viagra, enemas, and lubricants (not to mention yoga and back exercises) to help create the images I see.  

[  ] I realize I know nothing about porn actors and actresses as people.

[  ] I understand that most people don’t have bodies like porn performers.

[  ] I understand that some recurring images in porn (such as ejaculating on someone’s face, anal sex, threesomes, sudden sex without talking and relating first) are theatrical devices, and don’t reflect what most women or men want in sex.

[  ] I understand that people are paid to act in porn films, and wouldn’t do it for free.

[  ] I understand that most people aren’t as uninhibited as the characters portrayed by porn performers.

[  ] I understand that most women don’t want rough play or violence in their sex.

[  ] I understand that demonstrations of dominance and submission are cooperatively staged, and end the second the camera is turned off.

[  ] I understand that a lot of the arousal and orgasm I see in porn is pretend, not real.

[  ] I understand that porn is made by adults for adults. If I don’t understand the many good reasons minors should not watch porn, I should ask an adult I trust.

*[Excerpted with permission from His Porn, Her Pain by Dr. Marty Klein.]

For a Pinterest-friendly, downloadable version of this checklist, see the accompanying article: What Every Parent MUST Tell Their Kids About Porn (BEFORE Age 13).

Our Expert Dr. Marty Klein has just published his seventh book, 'His Porn, Her Pain: Confronting America’s PornPanic With Honest Talk About Sex.' In honor of the event, we’ll be running several excerpts, and a series of his articles about Pornography in Real Life. Subjects will include couples in conflict about porn, what to do if you’re over-involved with porn, and the question of whether consuming porn leads to anti-social behavior. Visit HisPornHerPain.com for more information.

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