Let's Talk Sex: How Porn Addiction Affects Teens
This morning I read an article (link below) about teen boys and their addiction to porn and how that is affecting their sex lives and those of teen girls. Online pornography is being dubbed the new drug and if you think that is an over exaggeration, read on. I shared the article on my social media accounts and was pleased that a number of my mom friends chimed in. Some, those with younger children, where afraid to read it (but read it they must if we are to fix this) and others shared equally horrifying stories of teens and sex such as blow job competitions among teen girls. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?? Are young women so desperate to be admired and desired that they will engage in such unhealthy sexual experiences? The answer for many is, unfortunately, yes.
Another friend shared an article recently published in Time Magazine. The article focused on the porn culture that has taken over our society, but discussed it in terms of how the obsession with porn is leading to sexual dysfunction in men. It addressed how men are unable to distinguish between fantasy and reality and how this is causing a male crisis because it affects THEIR sexual function. She went on to say the article infuriated her because it did not discuss at all how this male behavior is affecting women. I agree and for this reason I am not even sharing the article.
I recently posted my concern about a sex scene in a movie popular with teens a few years back. In the film, two high school seniors are having sex for the first time. He was not a virgin, she was. While the scene was not explicit (the film was rated R) and showed no nudity, the message was clear. Sex is for the boy's pleasure. He put on a condom (THANK GOODNESS!), entered her, she winced a little, and he had an orgasm in seconds. He didn't kiss her during the scene and he certainly didn't please her or sexually satisfy her in any way. In fact, there was zero foreplay!
What does this teach teens? It teaches them that boys get to enjoy sex, and that girls are there only to be used as a means for boys to reach sexual satisfaction. This coincides with the above article that stated boys are obliging girls with a little kissing if, and only IF, they find she deserves it after "performing her duties." Are you sickened yet?
For decades, experts have been trying to bring light to the fact that the level of self-esteem in teen girls is dropping significantly thanks to media images of what is considered beauty. Unfortunately, although I recall a lot of discussion about this topic, little to nothing was done about it. And now, today, thanks to the Internet and easy access to online pornography, what little self-worth girls may have had is completely gone. Can you imagine your teen daughter basing her self-worth on how high boys score her blow job skills?? Think about that.
What I found very interesting in this online discussion I had with friends this morning, is that moms are the ones addressing these issues with their sons and daughters. However, men and fathers really need to step up here and get the message to young boys that women are not sex objects. Most importantly, they need to make it clear that porn is not reality, it is entertainment. Whatever your personal view on pornography is, we need to make teens, particularly boys, and young adults understand that those videos do not depict love, true intimacy, or realistic expectations. As a friend of mine said, today's porn industry has come a long way from the "nudie magazines" under a boy's mattress.
The bottom line is, this is not a men's issue and it is not a women's issue. It is a human issue and needs to be addressed by both sexes. The belief that a male's sexual exploits should be celebrated while a female's should be cause for shame and embarrassment are archaic and counterproductive. Most importantly, not discussing sex with your children is the worst possible thing you can do. Not sure how to start the conversation with your child? Check out this post What You Don't Teach Your Children About Sex Can Hurt Them.
To my sons, I have taught that girls and women need to be respected at all times. That any sexual experience should be safe and must take their partner's needs and satisfaction into account. And, although I hope they wait until they are out of high school to engage in sex, they can always come to me for advice or answers. My boys are fourteen and twelve and I am fortunate that the openness I established with them from early on is paying off with their willingness to talk to me about these things. I know many adults who would blush at some of the conversations I've had with my sons. But, what is the alternative?? Do I really want other teens to teach them about sex? Do I want porn to teach them? No and NO!
If I had a daughter, I would want her to know how to stay safe. I would teach her that under no circumstance is she to ever feel pressured to do anything she doesn't enjoy. She would know that her sexuality and pleasure is equally important as any boy's. Lastly, as basic as this may sound, I would want her to know that nothing she does sexually will "make a boy like her," and that pornography does not depict love and affection.
Still don't believe porn addiction is a problem? Then why are specific therapy programs popping up all over the country?
Obviously, this is a topic that can't be discussed in a single post. However, if one parent reads this and addresses the problem with their child, then I will consider it a triumph.
I would love to keep the conversation going. Please comment below and let me know how you feel this crisis can be addressed.
Related Articles from this blog:
Taking on Sexual Violence: A Must-Read for Teens and Parents
The Problem with Halloween and Sex