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4 Things Every Parent Needs to Know About Porn

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*Note: The majority of stats and examples in this article can be found at XXXchurch.com. This website is run by a non-profit organization dedicated to providing research and resources to overcome the harmful effect of pornography on individuals, relationships, and society as a whole. As a disclaimer, the language and descriptions in this article will be more graphic than I typically share. This is not for shock value, but rather, to give a clear and unfiltered look at what our kids are being exposed to.

I recently read an article where a researcher gathered a focus group of high school students together to ask about their exposure to pornography and their thoughts related to porn. The kids didn’t know it at the time, but the parents of these mostly middle-class teenagers (ages 14-16 years old) were watching the conversation on a live video in a different room. The parents quickly became shocked and appalled by what their kids were saying.

“Have you ever seen a ‘nugget’?” One of the boys asked while laughing. The rest of the kids laughed and chimed in saying things like, “Oh, yeah! I’d totally get with a ‘nugget’ because she’d have to do whatever you wanted.” The researcher wasn’t even sure what ‘nugget’ referred to, and the kids told him it’s a porn term to refer to a woman with no arms and no legs who performs sex acts in porn movies. Not only did all these kids know the term; most of them had apparently seen this type of porn and described it in vivid detail.

The researcher asked about their first exposures to porn and how they had access to it.Most of them had seen pornography before their 12th birthday, and now, most of them (boys and girls) looked at porn with at least some regularity. A few of the boys appeared to already be addicted. When asked how they got access to porn, the kids began pulling out smart phones and showing apps that looked innocent (app icons that looked like calculators, or games or other “innocent” things), but were actually designed to hide videos, pictures and anything else the kids didn’t want their parents to see. Even if their phones got taken away, the kids talked about how they could see whatever they wanted on their friends’ phones.

The conversation continued when the researcher changed the subject and asked what words come to their mind when they think about porn. The first word someone threw out was “Anal” followed by “Oral” (and slang terms referring to oral and anal sex). All the other kids started agreeing saying that porn sex always included oral and anal sex.

The researcher asked about how pornography had shaped their views and expectations of sex. One girl spoke up and said, “Boys always expect you to have ‘porn sex.’“ Another girl spoke up and talked about how women in porn never had pubic hair, so now boys are grossed out by any pubic hair. One boy laughed and said, “They’re gorillas!” (apparently referring to any woman with unshaved pubic hair.)

As the conversation continued, it became apparent that even if these kids were exaggerating their own experiences to impress their peers, the stats suggest that their experience is much more common than we’d like to admit. Kids’ exposure to porn (and adults’ exposure to porn as well) is having a massive impact on individuals, relationships, and society as a whole. The stats are staggering (as you’ll see below).

This article isn’t meant to shock you or to scare you, but it’s a sobering wake-up call for all of us who are parents. We need to have some very honest conversations with our kids, and we need to teach them about porn and sex. If we’re not willing to have these conversations, trust me, there are plenty of their friends who will be happy to have these conversations with them instead.

Here are four important facts parents need to know about porn: 

1.The average age of first exposure to pornography is eleven-years-old. By the time a child has graduated from high school, 95% of kids have been exposed to porn whether they were looking for it or not.

These sobering stats are a reminder that we need to do everything in our power to protect our kids from being exposed to porn early. Exposure will most likely happen at some point no matter what we do, BUT we still need to do everything in our power to guard their eyes and their hearts. Some tools to help you block porn and monitor all internet activity. Two great resources to help you are “Circle” by Disney to manage all home internet use and X3Watch porn-blocking and internet tracking software.

2. The “actors” in porn films are perpetuating a fantasy, but they’re often in physical pain.

Porn producers try to create a “fantasy” where every act is pleasurable, but behind-the-scenes at a porn shoot, it can be a horrific scene. Female actresses often go days without eating and have multiple colonic enemas in preparation for the anal sex scenes. Male actors will often undergo penile injections to maintain erections. The rough sex is often painful for the women and careful editing makes every act look pleasurable to them, but they’re often grimacing or even shouting in agony.  After long-term exposure to porn, male actors are often unable to perform at all for work or even in their personal relationships.

These physical discomforts are only part of the long-term impact. Most of these “actors” and “actresses” end up with long-term physical, emotional and psychological difficulties. Many of these men and women come from a background of childhood abuse, and in many parts of the world, the people you see on screen are actually modern-day slaves forced to do porn because of the atrocities of human trafficking.One way or another, there’s always pain behind the fantasy we see on screen.

346x396-Circle3. Porn has the same impact on your brain as an addictive drug.

The porn industry makes more money than ALL professional sports combined, and because a LOT of money is at stake, people don’t want to admit that porn is destructive or addictive, but it is! Porn use is linked to depression, anxiety, sexism, sex crimes, divorce and countless other physical issues, emotional issues and relationship issues. It has been scientifically proven to have the same impact (and many of the same negative side effects) as addictive, illegal drugs.

4. Porn is the enemy of love.

I wholeheartedly believe this is true on a number of levels. As a Christian, I can give you plenty of Bible verses including Jesus saying that to look at a woman lustfully is to commit adultery in your heart or countless other Biblical passages about love, sex, and marriage, but even if you don’t share my faith, the stats alone should be enough to make you want to stay away from porn for the rest of your life. It ruins marriages. It sabotages love. It rewires the brain in devastating ways.

As a man who struggled with porn in my teenage years and into early adulthood, I can personally testify to the negative impacts porn can have on a person and on a marriage. Now that my wife Ashley work with married couples, EVERY DAY we see marriages that are crumbling because of porn use. Please teach your kids that porn destroys. Be honest about your own experiences and mistakes. Ask them questions and be a “safe place” for them to process all they’re thinking, feeling and struggling with. Don’t let somebody else have these conversations for you. Too much is at stake!

This article was originally published here and is used with permission.

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