For Teens, Online Porn Is Today’s Sex Ed. Here’s What It’s Teaching Them

Our kids are getting their sex ed from PORN — and this is a major parental failure that is having disastrous consequences in our world.

So, I’m a writer. And I write a lot about online pornography and how we as parents should do EVERYTHING we can to keep our kids from seeing it and becoming addicted to it. But I’ve just read an article about the subject in the New York Times Magazine that has left my fingers frozen as they hover above my keyboard. I want to write about this, to tell you about this, to urge you to protect your kids from this.

But this information has knocked the wind out of me. These kids’ stories are so…raw, so matter-of-fact, they way they talk about porn, that I am, temporarily, speechless. SO let me take a deep breath.

Here we go.

“There’s nowhere else to learn about sex,” the suburban boy told me. “And porn stars know what they are doing.” 

This is a quote from the article that has me so riled, by Maggie Jones, entitled “What Teenagers Are Learning From Online Porn.” It’s a long but excellent read, and I hope that you do read the whole thing, but I also hope you’ll allow me to passionately extol the parts of it that stuck with me and weigh so heavily on my Mama heart.

In preparation for writing her article, Jones interviewed a couple dozen teens who are enrolled in a local “Porn Literacy” class. YES, there’s a CLASS for that. Officially called The Truth About Pornography: A Pornography-Literacy Curriculum for High School Students Designed to Reduce Sexual and Dating Violence, the class is offered as part of Start Strong, a peer-leadership program for students in Boston’s South End. It’s is funded by the city’s public health agency and aims not to keep kids from viewing porn but “takes the approach that teaching them to analyze its messages is far more effective than simply wishing our children could live in a porn-free world.”

sex ed

The fact that such a class EXISTS tells me we’ve given up as a society, on the notion of trying to stop kids from viewing porn. We’ve said “they’re going to do it anyway” and we’ve let them…do it anyway, to a degree that is hard to imagine. And, to be honest, we don’t HAVE to imagine, because now there is data to tell us the facts.

Jones’ article features statistics from a survey by Debby Herbenick, a professor at the Indiana University School of Public Health and director of the university’s Center for Sexual Health Promotion, along with her colleague Bryant Paul. The professors surveyed 614 teenagers about their porn consumption and found these fun facts [GRAPHIC DETAILS WARNING]:

“…of the roughly 300 who did watch porn, one-quarter of the girls and 36 percent of the boys said they had seen videos of men ejaculating on women’s faces (known as “facials”).”

“Almost one-third of both sexes saw B.D.S.M. (bondage, domination, sadism, masochism).”

“26 percent of males and 20 percent of females watched videos with double penetration, described in the study as one or more penises or objects in a woman’s anus and/or in her vagina.”

31 percent of boys said they had seen “gang bangs,” or group sex, and “rough oral sex” (a man aggressively thrusting his penis in and out of a mouth); less than half as many girls had.

Like I said, very, very fun facts. I hope you’re picking up on my sarcasm there, because the word I MEAN to use is “horrifying.” These facts are horrifying.

And these are OUR kids.

Listen, moms and dads. Lean in and hear me: the people who designed this class have decided damage control is their best bet. (It’s not that I don’t applaud them for teaching kids that porn is not real; I am just so sad that they have to.) You and I as parents cannot afford to do that.

What we CAN do, what we MUST do is talk to our children about what healthy sexual relationships look like BEFORE they ever see porn so that if and when they do see it (and statistics say it’s a WHEN) they can recognize it for the FARCE that it is. And yes, we must TELL them what it is WHILE THEY ARE YOUNG. Before age 10, I’d say, before they start using a computer or device and understand how to utilize Google. TELL THEM. Tell them from your perspective or they will get the porn perspective, which, Jones’ article says, are mostly “shot from the male point of view, as if the man were holding the camera while he has sex with a woman whose main job, via oral sex, intercourse or anal sex, is to make him orgasm.” And it teaches boys that girls WANT IT ALL. Says one teen in the class of anal sex and consent, ““I would just do it,” because he says, all the women in porn look like they love it, why wouldn’t his female partner? Why would he need to ask if she was ok with it?

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This is what porn is teaching our sons about our daughters. How can we NOT do everything in our power to PREVENT this?

The article says much, much worse, but I won’t detail it all here; you should really read it. Because the need to PROTECT our kids from seeing and getting hooked on porn and thereby PROTECT their future sexual relationships has never been greater. So parents, today I am going to ask you to:

1) Talk to your kids about sex. Tell them what porn is from an early and appropriate age. If they are very young use these two books to get started.

How God Makes Babies by Jim Burns

Good Pictures, Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today’s Young Kids by Kristen A. Jenson

2) Filter your Internet. Use Circle by Disney to filter internet and control their device usage, or use a filter like Covenant Eyes.

3) Have rules for when and where they can use devices with Internet. No closed doors when they are using tablets, phones, and computers.

4) Have rules that state you will CHECK THESE DEVICES REGULARLY

5) Have an open and honest dialogue with your kids that shows them how much responsibility comes with the TRUST you are giving them when they use the Internet.

6) Talk about these topics often enough so that they know they can ALWAYS come to you when they’ve seen something and that they won’t get yelled at, but rather they will have a parent who will help protect them from it happening again.

Moms and dads, I implore you. DON’T let porn be your kids’ sex ed teacher. That is not the school’s job, it’s YOUR job. Be open with them and get them the literature and info they need, so that they DON’T get it from PornHub. And if you’re a person of faith, as I am, please teach them that God’s design for sex with your spouse is fun, healthy, fulfilling, and beautiful for both partners — truly too wonderful for the world to ever understand.

 

 

 

Jenny Rapson
Jenny Rapson is a follower of Christ, a wife and mom of three from Ohio and the editor of For Every Mom. You can email her at [email protected], or follow her on Twitter.

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