Does watching porn make your child more likely to engage in early sexual acts? Is it a parent's responsibility to limit the amount of pornography a child watches to protect him from problems like sex addiction in the future? According to The Huffington Post, a study suggests that pornography may slightly influence how teens have sex. I suggest opening the lines of communication with your children early on about pornography and it's influences. A friend of mine told me she was very upset to learn that her kids ages 11 and 13 were watching porn on their computers. She didn't know what to do. Here's how the conversation went:
Linda: My older son, Jake and his friends have been watching porn on the internet. I don't know what to do about it?
Me: How'd you find out?
Linda: My younger son, Drew told me. To make matters worse, Drew announced that he was watching it as well.
Me: I think they all are exposed to it around this age.
Linda: I am horrified. I saw a scene on Jake's laptop where one girl was having anal sex with multiple men. This is giving my sons a warped view about sex. I'm afraid porn is teaching my kids that girls are to be used as sex objects.
Me: I'll ask my older son, Charlie who's in college for his opinion.
I was shocked to hear that my older son had also started watching porn in junior high school. Charlie said he didn't watch it often because he was too busy with activites and school. I believe communication is key, and felt Linda should talk to her kids about it. Linda decided to tell the kids her viewpoint. They talked about it, and she shared her concerns that they were getting a terrible view on what sex was all about. The younger boy stopped watching porn. The older one refused. He was hooked.
We all grew up with a certain amount of pornography. I looked through Playgirl Magazines, and my friends found their Dad's VCR tapes. The main difference between the porn we grew up with and internet porn of today is the easy access, variety and amount available. A 13 year old boy watching gang banging and anal sex is receiving messages that are hard (no pun intended) to process at any age. To further compound the problem, this may ultimately not be stimulating enough, and he may seek kinkier, bizarre or more violent sex acts to watch in order to get turned on as he gets accustomed to watching internet porn.
I checked back with my friend Linda one year later. Her son Jake was now a freshman in high school. He was constantly talking about getting blow jobs and wanting other sexual acts from girls. She said that he was still watching a lot of porn. She didn't allow him to watch it on his computer, but since he paid his own cell phone bill, he was free to watch it on his phone. Here's how the next conversation went:
Linda: Jake did something disgusting the other day.
Linda: He was at a friend's house and his parents were out of town. There was a party and Jake got a girl to give him a blow job in the friend's bedroom. The friend was very angry at Jake.
Me: Was that his girl friend.
Linda: No, he barely knew her.
Is there a relationship between Jake's early desire for blowjobs from girls he doesn't know or care about and the variety of internet porn he's watching on a regular basis? An Australian study has shown that sexual arousal decreases over time with repeated displays of the same erotic film. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10846806. If Jake is constantly watching porn and presumably masterbating, will he be satisfied with "normal sex" when the time is right? Will he need more stimulating sex acts like the porn he watched as a child?
What is the parent's responsibility in protecting a child from watching porn?