TODAY’S PORN … What ALL Adults, Teens and Parents NEED to Understand About High-Speed Internet Porn

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Recently I have met more and more people whose lives have been captured by internet porn.  They describe themselves compulsively preoccupied, seeped in cycles of shame and secrecy, and for many men, dealing with an inability to perform with their partner(s). I have also met many physicians who describe an alarming rise in reports of erectile dysfunction (ED) in men in their twenties and thirties – ages rarely seen before. These forms of ED are not responsive to medications like Viagra because the issue is not circulatory.

There are two primary issues with high-speed internet porn that are critical to understand and become educated. One, the rate of speed at which erotic images can be delivered is different than past forms of erotic imagery. This rate of incoming imagery can alter brain chemistry for some men and alter the functioning of the pleasure center of the brain, creating other changes in body and sexual function. Two, for some, an increasing amount of extreme images are sought, and in heterosexual porn, in particular, we see more violent and humiliating images are now easily available.  These images are being sought by regular adult internet porn users but are also easily found by children. This means it is common for a child’s first exposure to a sexual image to be a violent and traumatizing scene. The average age a child is seeing pornography is age 9.  Many children are becoming sexually traumatized by an erotic image or scene without anyone knowing. This is shaping sexual ideas, sexual tastes, and one’s sexual self-esteem. If a child is not provided safe and open conversations about sexual issues combined with ongoing positive and realistic sex and relationship education, many children will receive all of their “sex education” (which may be traumatic, disturbing and dysfunctional in real-life), from hard-core internet pornography.

Here is a 50-minute documentary, PORN ON THE BRAIN, recently released in Britain examining the issue.  I would recommend watching this and discussing it with a group of friends.  While controversial, it is interesting to be aware as a parent. I will say here, however, what I am not saying, is all porn is wrong or bad or destructive.  It is contextual.  If you are an adult, making an adult decision, with the full facility of knowledge and with full consent, then you have the ability to protect yourself and decide for yourself what is pleasurable and ok for you.  However, what we know from research, is for a child to grow up with the best chance of a strong and healthy sexuality, he/she needs to be given age-appropriate sex education about their bodies, sexual development, gender, consent and relational development each year during their developing years.  This is an ongoing, weekly, well-integrated conversation. This is NOT “a talk” you have once. It is a hundred, or better yet, a thousand, one-minute conversations all along the way.  Your child needs to see you as a resource to their full development, including their sexual development.  The question you must ask yourself as a parent is this:

“What does embracing one’s sexuality in a way that celebrates and honors self, and celebrates and honors another look like in today’s world?  What aspect of the skills you need to do this well, is my child learning now at their age? How can I teach these skills and provide this knowledge, this week?”

This is taught weekly!   Take the time to educate yourself.

I used to say to my kids when they were growing up, “Your sexuality is too wonderful a gift for you to ever feel bad about it.  Give it away to the world and the world will teach you to treat it like ‘it’s no big deal’. 

But it’s not … it is you!!  And you are beloved. Cherish you. Cherish your body. Cherish others – they are beloved too. 

Sexual desire is a wonderful and valuable extension of you. Write your sexual story … and make it as beloved and cherished as you are.”

 

Sex Education Books for Parents Raising Children

Boteach, S                           10 Conversations You Need to Have with Your Children

Berman, L                            Talking to your Kids about Sex: Turning the Talk into a Conversation for Life

Clark & Dawson                 Growing Up Again (Basic Development Book – very helpful!)

Harris & Emberley            It’s Not the Stork: A Book about Girls, Boys, Babies, Bodies, Families and Friends

Harris & Emberley            It’s So Amazing!: A Book about Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies and Families

Harris & Emberley            It’s Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health

Hindman, J                          A Very Touching Book (helps small child differentiate good touch, bad touch and secret touch in a fun and clear way)

Madaras, L                          What’s Happening to my Body – A Book for Girls

Madaras, L                          What’s Happening to my Body – A Book for Boys

Haffner, D                           From Diapers to Dating

Haffner, D                           Beyond the Big Talk – A Parent’s Guide to Raising Sexually Healthy Children

Freidas, D                            Sex and the Soul – Juggling Sexuality, Spirituality, Romance and Religion on America’s College Campuses

Other Resources for the Family

Sex Education for Teens

(Podcast) Parenting – Raising Sexually, Relationally and Spiritually Healthy Children. Dr. Tina Schermer Sellers – 4 Parts

(Podcast) Faith, Youth, and Sexuality – A Workshop for Teens, Parents and Youth Workers. Dr. Tina Schermer Sellers – 3 Parts

4 Comments

Joshua Weed

Thanks for the insights and resources! My work has, more and more, centered around helping men (and women) recover from the compulsivity of internet porn–which I didn’t anticipate as I went to school. But there is such a need. I’ve seen it severely damage so many lives. I’m very encouraged to see you talking about this so eloquently. Miss you Tina. You’re the best.

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