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Comments about ‘How to talk to your kids about porn’

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Published: Thursday, Aug. 14 2014 4:45 a.m. MDT

Updated: Tuesday, Sept. 16 2014 2:54 p.m. MDT

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Miss Piggie
Phoenix, AZ

"The reality is, and studies show, the primary content is violence, degradation and body-punishing sex."

Not necessarily so. Most is consensual loving. Under the right circumstances it can be a great teacher of the different anatomies and sexual feelings of male and female... that all humans will eventually have to confront and learn about in life.

"It's a great concern to me that porn has become the main sex educator of our boys and girls."

That's because parents are reluctant (or embarrassed) to take the time to teach the intimate details of sex.

molecman
South Jordan, UT

Thanks for the article. Pornography is soul destroying. Myriads of studies have shown it's wicked influence including rewiring the brain of an individual. Don't participate! Healthy sexuality focuses on expressing love for your spouse, not pleasing yourself.

IAM
Taylorsville, UT

Love the article!
My wife and I have used an excellent book by Linda & Richard Eyre: "How to Talk to Your Child About Sex: It's Best to Start Early, but It's Never Too Late -- A Step-by-Step Guide for Every Age." Using the book as a guide, we started the small warm-up discussions with our son before he turned 8 and then had the official 8 year old discussion right before his birthday. There are follow-up discussions and suggestions on when it's best to discuss certain aspects of this.

Nanook of the North
Phoenix, AZ

@Miss Piggie — I have heard that more and more pornographic videos nowadays do include "rougher" treatment of women, including "men hitting women".

Another problem with porn is that most of it "programs" the brain to look at sexual partners as unreal objects, rather than as human beings. We watch so much TV and other content that isn't "real" (fictional TV shows or movies, for example); it's a natural step to store porn in the "not-real" file in our brain.

But yes, parents MUST teach their children about sex, and EARLY. Eight years old isn't too early nowadays. You don't give them the whole spiel at age 5. But we answered the "where do babies come from?" questions with reference to "a special kind of snuggling that mom and dad do". Then reminders that no one should touch them anywhere their bathing suit covers, except maybe mom or dad or a doctor to check something. And work your way up from there. Parents who never talk to their kids about sex (and Mormonism has a LOT of those!) are more likely to see undesirable consequences from their kids.

Miss Piggie
Phoenix, AZ

@Nanook of the North:
"I have heard that more and more pornographic videos nowadays do include 'rougher' treatment of women, including 'men hitting women.'"

That's not sex. That's mean and abusive conduct.

"Another problem with porn is that most of it 'programs' the brain to look at sexual partners as unreal objects, rather than as human beings."

You look at your mother in a loving way. You look at your spouse a little differently... At least sometime in your married life... else you'd never have children.

"But yes, parents MUST teach their children about sex, and EARLY."

Yes, and it must include instruction on how babies are made... in a fair amount of detail.

"Then reminders that no one should touch them anywhere their bathing suit covers..."

Would that include the bikini bathing suit?

"Parents who never talk to their kids about sex (and Mormonism has a LOT of those!) are more likely to see undesirable consequences from their kids."

I don't think so. Talking to a knowledgeable friend about it all does not present such an embarrassing situation as with parents.

Mr. Bean
Phoenix, AZ

@Nanook of the North:
"Parents who never talk to their kids about sex (and Mormonism has a LOT of those!) are more likely to see undesirable consequences from their kids."

Mormons are notorious about labeling sex (without the benefit of marriage) as a grievous, almost unforgivable sin... and even the euphoric feelings that accompany the act. This is too bad as it dramatically affects the sex part of married life... which is no small part of married life.

It take a lot of effort to undo the taboos about sex learned in early life. Parents need to be careful here.

Hutterite
American Fork, UT

The best thing is to prepare your kids for what's out there instead of hiding them till they are left with shame when they discover the inevitable. Teach them the right reasons to stay away.

KJR
Alpine, UT

When I was a BYU singles ward bishop I used to show the young men and women pictures of my great grandparents looking like ax murderers or puritans straight from Grant Wood's famous painting "American Gothic." Does it make you wonder how they every had children? Well in the days before electricity, television, radio, magazines, and the internet a great deal of "home entertainment" took place in the bedroom. But it was private and personal. Husband and wife neither knew nor cared if the rest of the world experienced this wonderful intimacy - their own little world. Isn't that they way you want your relationship to be? If you want to build something beautiful of wood, you make sure the glue that holds the pieces together is only between the pieces . . . not smeared on the outside.

K
Mchenry, IL

Talking to kids about sex is perfectly fine. However that has nothing to do with pornography use. It's like saying teaching a child about budgeting will prevent them from gambling problems.

Gleebicus
Raytown, MO

The church teaches abstinence outside of marriage (intelligently so), it is a bi-product of this education that parents do not teach children how to be intimate. This is neither bad nor good, it just is. Pornography ruined my marriage and caused my ex to be deemed a sex-offender. There is nothing wrong with a "better safe than sorry" approach to protect children from pornography. There are so many great things to teach our children about science, math, nature, history, God, and for that matter, mythology and theology, love, psychology, etc. What we teach them becomes their foundation. In this story, a part of those children's foundations has now been created by that experience and by the parent's reactions to it. There is no need to press this on our children in order to "enlighten" them. That will come in its own due time. Let us teach our children, let us create their foundation, with a concrete understanding of what truly is important on earth, in life, in the eternities.

BKB
Chantilly/USA, 00

Pornography exposure is nearly inevitable so it's vital to teach our children how to handle it. I like the approaches and resources referenced in the article and want to mention another one. The book Power Over Pornography, although written for adults, offers a step-by-step method of dealing with pornography exposure that can work for kids

bobdc6
park city, UT

Porno movies are boring, a mere curiosity to eight year olds.

RedWings
CLEARFIELD, UT

@ Miss Piggie:

I have no idea of your experience or background, but is is simply untrue that most porn is loving and consentual. One look into the realities of this industry shows that there is absolutely nothing redeemable in it.

Porn does wire men's brains to see their partner as a tool. Several studies have proven this. I don't know about you, but most women I know would not want to be seen that way by their partner. In fact, women deserve far more respect than that.

As a recovering lust addict, I can state from personal experience that porn does nothing but destroy. It destroys men, women, and their children. It is as addictive as crack or heroin.

SlopJ30
St Louis, MO

Fact: The type of sexual relationships shown in the vast majority of pornographic films is unrealistic and bears only occasional resemblance to what normal human sex looks like.

Fact: The type of sexual relationshis hinted at or discussed and referenced by the vast majority of LDS folk beasr only occasional resemblance to what normal human sex looks like.

You've got two extremes, both unhealthy. One is bent on pure wanton pleasure with no other considerations, and one is based on the phony ideal that sex should be seen only as a holy union of married souls engaging in the procreative act with God's approval. And super-embarrassing and scary, too.

May I suggest to parents talking to kids about this that you avoid the words "evil," "wicked," "satan," and "prophets." Using those terms, and many others I've omitted, makes it sound like a sermon. Kids (and many adults, for that matter) tend to switch off if they feel they're being preached to, especially when the topic is as touchy as sex. Just have a real conversation about reality, not some tarted-up or sanitized Pollyanna version of the story.

patriot
Cedar Hills, UT

re:Miss Piggie

"Under the right circumstances it can be a great teacher"

Say what?? Under what circumstance do you want your son or daughter looking at porn? Perhaps under the right circumstance jumping into boiling oil might be a great teacher too but probably better to take another approach - ya think? Porn is a cancer that has ZERO redeaming or teaching value. It destroys whatever it touches. I believe this subject is politically agnostic and aggreed upon by both left and right....in other words a no - brainer.

patriot
Cedar Hills, UT

re:SlopJ30

the fact of the matter is you can have a stark blunt conversation with your kids if you choose about sex - that is your call. The problem with your approach is kids see no reason why they should abstain from having sex or looking at porn. None whatsoever. Most of the world glorifies sex..even teen 'safe' sex and kids aren't mature enough to understand the destructive nature of fornication let alone adultery both from a physical and mental standpoint. So yes you can teach your kids that so-called 'safe sex' is just fine because they won't get pregnant but that is only half the story. There is an unavoidable spiritual side of sexual relations that defines morality and if we simply ignore morality we are no better than animals. We are not animals and even with "safe - sex" there is catistrophic harm done spiritually since we are all spiritual beings like it or not. It it critical to explain why we avoid sex before marriage and why we avoid porn at all costs. The why of the matter has more to do with morals and values than health risks.

SlopJ30
St Louis, MO

@patriot-

My approach is based on reason and real consequences that kids can clearly see affecting real people. I wasn't even talking about safe sex; I still advocate for abstinence until marriage. I simply refuse to go into "Mormon SuperDad" mode complete with the hushed voice LDS adults use when they're trying to tell a kid something Very Serious Indeed.

Dids receive instruction best when they can understand the reasons for it and know that you understand what they're feeling. When you say "I understand . . but God God God, scripture, prophets, virtue, etc." you're speaking in abstract concepts that kids don't want to hear. What's worse, you're basically guilting them into compliance. It may scare them straight, but long-term it's unhealthy and makes it difficult to see sex as anything but "naughty."

There's no denying the stigma placed on sex by the religious. It's difficult (especially for women, I imagine) to go from "today, sex with my fiance would be a horrible, unclean, spirit-defiling act" to "well, I'm married now, so sex is a wonderful, holy union of souls!" the next day.

Back Talk
Federal Way, WA

But I have been working on the "hushed voice" for a long time. Now you are telling me I shouldnt use it?

Actually, I think a calm voice is the better choice than the raised voice or yelling that might be involved when a dad learns that his child has gotten involved with sex too soon. To me, it does emphasize the seriousness of the topic and that you sincerely care about what that child does next. Actually, that is the most important step, what they do after they have viewed pornography or engaged in sex before marriage. If (after they learn that sex wasnt exactly what everyone said it was going to be) they pull back and desire to repent and live a more chaste life; that is a very positive thing. It is certainly better than to chose to engage in the activity on a regular basis.

I second the opinion that there are plenty of social or temperal reasons (consequences) to justify putting off having sex without trying to make someone feel evil for having made a wrong choice.

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