Comments about ‘Linda & Richard Eyre: Porn is the villain, so what is the hero?’

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Published: Tuesday, Nov. 5 2013 5:29 p.m. MST

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dr.bridell
mclean, VA

Hear, hear! More positive attention to fidelity and to the glory of sex within the context of fidelity is exactly what this world needs!

KimBowen
Farmington, UT

It's important to teach our kids about healthy sexuality. However, I disagree with some of your points. Teaching healthy sexuality but leaving out why pornography portrays unhealthy sexuality is a mistake. Children need to understand why they should stay away from pornography.

Teaching facts doesn't have to be fear-based. Dr. Jennifer Brown has compiled research that shows how soft-core pornography causes brain damage. Dr Valerie Voon's brain scans show that pornography use changes how your brain functions to be similar to that of addictive patterns in drug users and alcoholics.

I'm curious where your "it turns out" research is coming from.

I've heard a sex addiction therapist say that we need to be careful we're not teaching our children to "save this ugly, nasty thing called sex to share with someone special in marriage."

Eight is an arbitrary age.

Also, all of the sex addiction therapists I've heard lecture say that "the big talk" is a thing of the past. We need to have age-appropriate, simple, small conversations on a regular basis with our kids as we pass billboards, stand in line at the grocery store or watch TV together.

george of the jungle
goshen, UT

I thought that morals was knowing the right thing to do, integrity was being strong enough to to the right thing and character was who did the right thing. Someone on the comments wrote that character is your light that glows to point others in the right direction. I liked that.

Tami M
Houston, TX

The conversation with children the Eyre's mention may work for the majority of children. However, there are many of our children who need a more balanced approach to healthy sexual education. Medical facts are not scary. Teaching a child that an addiction can begin with just one exposure to pornography is not fear-based; it's fact-based. I usually love the Eyre's advice, but on this one, they need to let the therapists that work with sexual addicts lead the way. What parents taught about sex in the 1980's and 1990's just isn't enough anymore. Children need to know the beauty of marital sex and need to hear it from their parents. Their parents also need to tell them about the damning effects of pornography and to know where to turn when it finds them - because porn will!

Harriet
Seattle, WA

Although I agree teaching our children about healthy sexuality is vitally important, I disagree that teaching them about healthy sexuality will help them understand why porn as damaging and addictive. We are designed to be sexual creatures and our children are learning what healthy, loving sexuality is and if they think about how beautiful intimacy is while seeing lust driven porn, they could naturally associate the two together. Teach them they are two separate things. Because our children have no context, when they see porn they have no idea how to separate and label the feelings it stirs. If we don't help them by telling them that pornography is damaging and addictive but those sexual feeling are pure and God given, then they have the potential to only associate sexual feelings with lust. And then lust becomes the driver.

I believe eight is too late for most children. It is on the bus, at school, at their friend's house. Pornography is Satan's sex education. We have to beat him to the punch and be our children's first impression. Their innocence will be shattered. Hopefully by me and my impression and not the world's.

Polly Scott
Centerville, UT

My husband is a recovering porn addict. He disagrees with your approach. Porn will hurt your brain and ignoring that fact puts kids in danger. Your approach, commonly praised in our culture, did not help him or many of the other addicts we know avoid pornography.

How many pornography addicts have you actually talked to about this? I am in contact with hundreds of addicts and wives of addicts. Addicts and sex addiction therapists agree, the "sex is beautiful in marriage" approach doesn't address the truth about pornography. It propagates the myth many men have that marriage will fix their addiction to pornography. Pornography addiction is often a coping mechanism to deal with the stresses of life. If the heart of the problem isn't addressed, marital sex isn't beautiful. Simply put, it's a way for the addict to get his fix and a cause of serious emotional trauma for his wife.

ern
HERRIMAN, UT

"We need to effectively and positively teach our kids about sex before we can effectively and negatively teach them about porn." These 2 discussions are NO LONGER mutually exclusive. Because of its rampant nature in our world kids are exposed to pornography so early that to leave those discussions for a later date (say, after they understand how beautiful sexual relations can be) is counter-productive. If I am teaching my kids to take care of their bodies by eating healthy I will talk to them about why we eat healthy things and why we DON'T eat candy for every meal. I include the positive AND negative things so they have a basis for understanding both.

“When you see or hear something sexual, just think for a moment how much more beautiful sex will be if you wait until marriage. Until then, look away and get away from anything less beautiful!” Are you kidding me??? This flies in the face of all advice from experts on sex addiction or pornography. Let's not stick our kid's head in the sand but teach them reality between right and wrong. This advice is archaic at best.

K.F.
Herriman , UT

While I agree that any parent-led sex education for our children must include both of the two goals mentioned by the Eyre's, I strongly disagree that the main way to help them avoid the porn trap is to mainly push the excitement of a healthy sex life to come. What if marriage doesn't come? What if you unwittingly find yourself married to a porn addict and that married sex isn't the beautiful, bonding thing it should be? What if your child understands your teaching that it will be wonderful someday, but is insufficiently warned and impatient to see what the fuss is all about? This battle is too important to not use all our weapons as skillfully as we can. The fact is, porn changes and hurts brains. It destroys happiness, relationships and people. Married sex or not, porn is poison and fantasizing about a perfect sex life to come is not all it takes to protect and teach our kids and the healthy adults we hope they will become.

JewelsD
LAYTON, UT

"When you see or hear something sexual, just think for a moment how much more beautiful sex will be if you wait until marriage. Until then, look away and get away from anything less beautiful!” I had to read this several times to make sure I was reading it right.
Porn has nothing to do with marital sex. To tell our children if they see something pornographic to simply 'think about having marital sex' is so backward. I don't think our kids should be taught to fear sex, but they definitely should be taught to fear porn. It is damaging and addictive. There is nothing wrong with teaching them to avoid it. (I'm pretty sure the Eyre's have no idea of what is out there bombarding our children. If they did, they might realize how outdated their advice is.)

Harper
St. George, UT

As a mom, this article disturbs me. As the wife of a porn addict, my eyes sting with tears to think of the readers who will view this article as truth. If we teach our kids to think of sex with their future spouse anytime they see porn, I’m afraid they will be thinking of sex all day long. Porn is everywhere around us. In the songs we listen to, to the teen magazines at the grocery check out line.

In addition to teaching my kids about sex and pornography, I teach my kids the meaning of objectification. I teach my kids that pornography objectifies people, especially women. I teach my kids that when you view humans in the realm of what they can do for you, even within the bonds of marriage, you view them as objects to be used.

tenille
Orem, UT

I am all for teaching the beauty of healthy, intimate sex in a marriage. I wish every conversation I had with my children could be upbeat, positive, and happy.
However. As a wife of a pornography addict, I can assure you this advice will not be enough. Porn has NOTHING to do with beautiful, intimate, trusting, one-person-for-life kind of sex. People usually do not turn to porn because they are lacking beautiful sex. It starts with curiosity/thrill seeking and becomes a coping mechanism to numb the discomfort that comes with stress, boredom, anger, anxiety, loneliness, shame, etc. instead of dealing with life. Ask any addict or family member who is seeking recovery. Porn is not about sex. It is about the release of chemicals that numb you and give you a short escape from life. Porn WILL hurt your brain. Porn will bring an incredible amount of pain into your life and rob you of the ability to cope with and enjoy all that life has to offer. How could you not want your children to understand that?

tenille
Orem, UT

"When you see or hear something sexual, just think for a moment how much more beautiful sex will be if you wait until marriage. Until then, look away and get away from anything less beautiful!"
This conversation will NOT be enough. It will teach them that porn is just about sex outside of marriage. Don't miss your chance to teach them the truth. Embrace every opportunity to teach your children not only about the harmful effects of pornography but also how to deal with life's events and emotions in healthy ways. Teach them everything you can about this mind altering drug as you would alcohol and drugs.
Also, waiting until a child is 8? You'll be too late. This open dialogue needs to begin before they have friends and media influencing them at every turn. Teach them your values before the world can teach theirs.

gr8jake
Bountiful, UT

I appreciate the Eyre's for their advice to be hopeful and encourage our children to be prepared for and seek a healthy marriage where sex can be a beautiful experience through complete fidelity.

Unfortunately, many of my friends in the support groups I attend were exposed to pornography before age 8. At five years old, a parent cannot tell a child, "Those pictures or that experience that just traumatized you, are actually beautiful and you'll get to experience that when you're married." At that age, they cannot understand what "sex is beautiful" even means. How could something so emotionally and mentally disturbing be beautiful?

Similarly, since pornography addiction is often a way of coping with uncomfortable emotions, if the parents don't address the issue of addiction, and help kids learn to cope with their emotions in healthy ways (i.e. recognize a painful emotion as valid then determine and pursue healthy options to deal with the emotion while avoiding attaching any shame to the emotion), the parent is essentially saying, "you won't have a way to feel comforted until you're married", or "marriage will solve your emotional problems".

dr.bridell
mclean, VA

I'm wondering if some of you commenters are reading the same article as I am. I don't see the Eyres saying not to talk about the damaging and dangerous aspects of Porn in the strongest possible terms. I think they are simply saying not to do that without first being sure kids understand sex from a positive and informational view....and then to keep in mind that there is a bright and a dark side to sex and that they are completely different, in fact opposites.
I think what the Eyres are warning against is talking only about the evils and dangers of Porn in a way that makes impressionable kids fear and hate their own bodies or get the feeling that all sex is wrong and dirty and bad.
They are just appealing for some balance in what we teach our kids, and I am all for that!

EFarrer
Bountiful, UT

I think that what the Eyre's have shared is great advice for teaching your children about sex, but when it comes to porn and porn addiction, teaching them about how great married sex is is insufficient. Both facets, good-married-sex and misused sex (porn), need to be taught. While curiosity about sex may drive kids to initially look at porn, the addiction serves as an unhealthy coping mechanism to deal with life's difficulties. We really need to create safe, open atmospheres in our homes where our kids feel comfortable to come to us during difficult emotional times.

K
Mchenry, IL

As the wife of a recovering addict to equate a positive marital relationship as some preventative against porn I am deeply offended. It suggests that the moment we married I became responsible for not fixing his habit since we were free to be close. He did it all on his own. Pornography has nothing to do with intimacy or sex. It's an escape. It is fantasy. It is not real. I'm not sure a husband approaching his wife as an escape is much healthier. In the funnel he really isn't being present with her at the time. I am for the birds and bees talk. But suggesting that it's a fight against pornography is like suggesting teaching kids water is the best thing to drink will prevent experimentation with alcohol. The most common reasons are boredom, loneliness, anxiety, stress and tiredness. It is about a failure to connect in a real way with others. It happens in marriages with either inactive or active physical relationships. It is not unheard of a spouse searching for porn minutes after being close with their spouse.

nomorecasualties
Springville, UT

As a mom of kids who had friends show them porn at age 6 and 9, I believe 8 is too old to start talking about sexuality and pornography. It can start as simple as "We wear our clothes in public and we don't want to see pictures or videos of people without their clothes either, so get away and come tell me if that ever happens."

The opposite of pornography isn't fabulous married sex, it's personal understanding, wellness, and spirit/body/mind integrity. I've always felt that building up married sex as the most wonderful thing in the world sets people up for frustration if it isn't that easy in real marriage. What we really want is a marriage that endures whether the sex is great or not.

MichelleL
Utah County, UT

I took a few minutes to read some of the Eyre's materials in the link they provided. I just want to say that in terms of talking to kids about sex, they've got some good materials. Someone just mentioned their book to me today, in fact.

That said I agree with others that healthy, value-based understanding of sex is not the antidote to porn. It should be part of the plan to teach our children, but I think there is much more. Honesty, communication, vulnerability, self-awareness, ability to be aware of and process hard emotions, media literacy, desire to protect self from harmful things, encouragement to stay plugged into real life now (not just looking forward to marriage in the abstract future), tech savviness and smart/deliberate usage, healthy physical and family activities -- I think all of these kinds of things are necessary to help our children.

So yes, let's keep talking about ways to talk to kids about healthy sex. This is important. But I think kids (and adults for that matter) need more than that to come to understand how to avoid (or heal from) porn's pull.

Kazbert
VAIL, AZ

I agree with the importance of talking to kids about sex in a positive, love-oriented way, but I don’t think it is enough. If you leave God out of any moral argument you have nothing left but an opinion in an ocean of opinions. Children, even up to their early 20s, don’t possess sufficient brain development nor sufficient life experiences to have good judgment. It ultimately comes down to credible authority. When children are young they willingly accept their parents as credible authority, but that willingness doesn’t last. Teach children while they are young how to communicate with God and then when they begin to view their parents’ wisdom as just an opinion the parents can tell them to go ask of God themselves. If they have been taught to hear and feel the Spirit of God, then that is an authoritative voice that they cannot dismiss as mere opinion. Even knowing God’s Will and Wisdom personally the children are free to choose unwisely, but they cannot be deceived by contrary opinions – they cannot sin in ignorance.

windsor
City, Ut

I'm not sure all the comments about porn being a cure or escape for loneliness, stress etc is helpful.

It may be that, in part.

But there is zoning out with watching football or going hunting or car racing.

There is SOMETHING ELSE going on inside someone who will willingly view and enjoys porn.
There is more than a simple addiction.
There is MORE than just the desire to escape loneliness, boredom, pain, stress, anxiety or tiredness, as has been asserted in some of these comments.

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