WARNING: This post is about porn.
Please don't call CAS, but I wish I could show my daughter porn. I'm NOT GOING TO because I know that people would totally freak out about it, but I wish that I could. And before you start getting on your "You're going to hell" and "You should be put in jail" high horses... I know, I know... porn is bad. Let's all say it together: PORN IS BAD FOR SOCIETY. Right? It denigrates women, it stops men from getting aroused with actual live partners, it shows unrealistic expectations of sex, and on and on and on...
But all of these reasons? Are the exact reasons why we should, at the very least, be having frank discussions about porn with our kids - especially with our girls, who (and this is what drives many the parent of a teenaged girl) CAN GET PREGNANT, if they aren't armed with factual knowledge.
Internet porn is not going to go away. It's a billion dollar industry. And our kids? They're watching it. Not at my house because we have a firewall that Putin himself couldn't get through, but maybe at other peoples' houses who aren't as computer savvy. Or at houses where kids have been brought up on hacking the system. Or houses where there are older siblings with a personal laptop that doesn't have the safeguards on it to prevent their younger siblings from searching for "Woman" and "Horse" and getting some pretty graphic search results.
'Cause in Porn Land? There is every kind of kink out there: sex with animals, sex with objects, gang bangs, rape scenarios, people in cages, bukkake, shibari, guys in what look to be some pretty uncomfortable harnesses... I'm sure that if our firewall wasn't on and I searched for "sex" and "oven mitts," I'd be able to find it in Porn Land. Which means so could my daughter. So could your daughter, or your son. And simply telling them not to look, isn't going to cut it folks.
When I was coming of age, there was no internet porn. There was no internet. I found out about sex through my Tell Me Why: Love, Sex and Babies book, by unexpectedly coming upon one of my Mom's erotic novels on her vanity and taking a peek at my parents' copy of The Joy of Sex with its pen and ink drawings of 1970s men and women in flagrante delicto. I read Judy Blume's Forever at the age of 12 and got so confused. "And then I came..." Came where? Where did she go? I didn't know that she was leaving. I don't think that I even saw an actual skin mag until I was an adult, and I certainly had no clue about women having sex with horses.
But our kids are living in the age of internet porn and they're going to see things. Lots of things. Literally the good, the bad and the ugly. They are going to see wildly inaccurate representations of sex and that's not even on the kink sites. Our girls are going to see women sans pubic hair having sex with other people and having an 'orgasm' without any clitoral stimulation. Talk about a fantasy!! But I, like Caitlin Moran, believe that there should be more porn out there. Because kids are going to be watching it. Flood the internet with realistic porn so that say, one video clip out of 4, has people who are truly enjoying themselves and getting an honest-to-God big finish orgasm at the end of the shoot. Give kids the chance to see what healthy sex between consenting adults might look like.
We can watch PG action films with our kids where violence is a character unto itself. We just went to see The Wolverine. People got shot, gouged, hit with arrows, poisoned, stabbed through the skull... This we're allowed to have parental guidance over. But sex in film? It's verboten. It's dirty. It's disgusting. It's puritanical is what it is. Sex ain't new folks! It's been going on for awhile now, why don't we admit it? Our kids, without our guidance, are going to "learn" more about sex through internet porn than they will through Sex-Ed in their schools. Sure, they'll get the mechanics of sex in Sex-Ed, but they are not going to get the nitty-gritty of it there, they're not going to be schooled on the emotional and physical fall out of sex. (And don't even get me started on all the school boards in the US who don't have Sex-Ed. Those districts might as well just pay their town signpainters to add: "Welcome to Ostrichville USA, home to the highest teen pregnancy rate in the county!")
I remember what it was like being a teenager and feeling all "tingly." And you do too, even if you don't want to admit it. And I hate to say, but your kid is going to feel all "tingly" too. And as much as you might want to bury your head in the sand about your teenager's sexuality - that's the wrong play. Kids are out there having sex, they are getting pregnant and they are passing on STDs because they don't have accurate knowledge about sex. Where? I ask you, WHERE ARE THE CONDOMS IN PORN?
It's up to us as parents to make sure that our kids are armed with knowledge. And yes, that means having what could prove to be uncomfortable conversations with your teenager. Conversations about sex. Conversations about porn. Conversations where your teenager will be embarrassed beyond all belief and possibly put a pillow over her head to muffle what you're saying and where you will might be dry-mouthed and blushing. But you you gotta get through all that. You are the parent, it's your role to make sure that your kids make it to adulthood safe. Consider it your job. And I'm going out on a limb here, but I don't think that giving your son a condom for his wallet or holding your 14-year-old daughter's hand when she's in labor really meets that criteria.