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Talking to the Kids About Porn

Growing up in the 70’s meant that more than a few parents left Playboy out in their living rooms. Reading material I suppose. My parents didn’t. We didn’t really talk about porn much but at a certain point there was a step-family connection and our refusal to talk about it actually became the talk. That’s an elephant from a very old and very wealthy ex-living room.

Porn became a little more mainstream when it transitioned from movie houses to VHS and then completely exploded (bad choice of words but I’m too lazy to go to with the internet. With free porn online it’s not a matter of if the kids will see porn, it’s a matter of when.

Last night Mr. G and I had the porn talk with each other and this week it’ll be a divide and conquer with the kids. I get Jane, he gets Alexander. We’re probably really late to have this first talk (all talks worth having need to be repeated for a dozen or more years) but at some point I’ll have to steel my nerves and talk to Jane about porn.

I need to ask Jane if she’s seen porn. Then I need to deal with her reaction to it. I can practice the scenarios in my mind a million times but this is going to be one of those talks where I just wing it. Mr. G and I have decided that there are important points that Jane needs to hear (I was shocked and thrilled that so many of these came from him):

  • Porn is as relevant to real sex as Marvel Comics are to real life
  • You’ll probably find yourself with at least one boy who only knows about sex from porn. If things seem weird and strange they are. Trust your instincts
  • It’s okay to not shave. This goes for armpits, legs and pubic regions
  • Sex isn’t typically an aggressively athletic endeavor
  • Use condoms
  • Seeing porn doesn’t make you bad

I’m sure there’s more to talk about, I have no idea what it will be because every time I try to plan one of these talks I find that my kids surprise me with both their knowledge and lack of it.

We’ve talked to them about sex, drugs, driving, trusting their instincts, protecting each other and being a trustworthy friend. We’ve talked to them about how to get out of uncomfortable situations and the myriad of things that could go very wrong for which they will never be punished so long as they never get in a car with someone who worries them (parents of friends included). We’ve empowered these kids every way we know how but we forgot about porn because when we were teens porn wasn’t in our faces. We didn’t have a free porn culture.

So this week we’ll be talking about porn. Poor Jane, I’m going to trap her in the car and have a good long talk.