how to talk to your son about pornography

How to Talk to Your Son about Pornography

Pornography is a powerful threat to our sons. It skews their view of sex, love, women, and relationships. Obviously when we were younger access to graphic sexual images were not as easy to come by as they are today. A magazine belonging to friend’s dad or a movie on late-night cable TV was our most common exposure. Even in those seemingly more innocent days, there were things I saw at a friend’s house at an early age that were confusing. Quite frankly, they were damaging. It felt wrong but,  fearing I’d get in trouble, I never told my dad what I had seen. I wish I had. With a palpable feeling of guilt, I was left on my own to try and figure it out. My dad didn’t have porn in our house; so naturally, he assumed I hadn’t been exposed to it. Things are so different now. Having the Internet on so many devices inside and outside the house means the barbarians are perpetually at the gate.

We can be more vigilant and protective about what they see. However, we can sadly assume that our sons will be exposed to it at some point. Maybe the silver lining in that assumption is that they will not be left alone in processing it. The best way to fight it is to prepare them for pornography — expose the ugly reality of it and it’s many dangers. It may be difficult, but here are 3 points on how to talk to your son about pornography.

A momentary thrill leading to dissatisfaction, emptiness, and addiction.

An explicit image is stimulating and causes a scientifically proven chemical release in the brain. That is why we are drawn to it like the ring in Lord of the Rings. However when the viewing is over, we are left empty, unsatisfied, and full of guilt. Our conscience is telling us that something wrong has taken place. Sex is not wrong. Sex outside of the right context is wrong or, at the very least, not what it was made to be. The quickest way to deal with those feelings is to try and get another thrill but, when we return to porn, it gives a diminishing return of enjoyment. In the end, we need more to experience less, resulting in addiction and chains. In other words, it is a road to an addictive prison cell. Don’t be enticed down this road; choose the path that is life-giving.

Living in isolated fantasy versus connected reality.

A full life is found in relationships and shared experiences. Those things are built in reality, not fantasy. Porn is about entering a fantasy world. The more time we spend in that world, the more we become isolated. In essence, our soul becomes intertwined with something that isn’t real. There’s no connection, just loneliness exacerbated by guilt. When we fill our lives with nothing, we are left with nothing. Porn doesn’t provide anything, it takes everything. [Tweet This] Strong men of character are ones that are firmly founded in reality and relationships. Live in the real world.

An example of diminished one dimensional sex.

One of the biggest and most dangerous of all lies is that porn stars know how to have the best sex. Great sex is experienced when two people know one another in emotional and physical intimacy. True intimacy and knowledge of one another comes in commitment. When women know we are committed, we create an environment where they feel safe to share their whole self with us. It’s a multidimensional connection, like a high wattage of electricity. Porn turns sex into mere physical acts. It is one dimensional sex and will always fall short of what it could be. In fact, it even falls short physically. We are all uniquely made. Personalities and bodies respond differently. Sex for a committed couple that continues to grow closer in love and knowledge of one another will continually get more passionate. It’s like becoming an expert at playing an instrument. A guitar is held and played much differently than a violin. The best sex is between a committed couple who have learned well how each other desires to be loved. Glorified actors who are actually deeply degraded and hurting people will never be able to come close to sex that good.

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Sound Off

Sound off: What age do you think it is appropriate to talk to a boy about pornography?

BJ Foster

BJ Foster is the Director of Content Creation for All Pro Dad and a married father of two.

  • Cody Cotten

    The only point with any ground in reality is the third one. Assuming porn does not get in the way of life goals, the only danger of it is skewed perceptions about sex. These, however, can be fixed simply by talking to a child about sex before their perception is skewed.

    It always disappoints me to see such stupid misconceptions about pornography. Pornography and masturbation are completely natural parts of human biology.

    There’s a question I always ask anti-pornography/masturbation people: Would you rather your son go out and get a blow job from a street hooker?

    • BJ_Foster

      Sorry Cody, I just saw this comment for the first time today. The question in your final sentence is a false narrative. Are those the only two options? Either pornography and masturbation or getting a hooker? Years ago when I was single I stopped doing both and I don’t think I was ever tempted to go get a hooker. There are other options. Not only is life possible without either porn and masturbation, I would argue that life and relationships are far richer without them. I completely understand the draw, particularly for teens and pre-teens with a surge of hormones. But sex was created for the purpose of connection and intimacy with a spouse. When we satisfy our sexual desires alone (masturbation), at best we miss the opportunity to connect with our spouse. At worst we become disconnected and alienated from them. That’s not a natural part of biology, it’s a sad perversion of it. You may call that a misconception but experts in the fields of family counseling who deal daily with marriages falling to pieces with this issue at the center and neurology would disagree. Finally, to your point of talking to your child before their perception is skewed. While I commend that and believe that is critically important the brain is plastic and profoundly impacted by the information it takes in. Pornographic images viewed consistently will change your child’s brain and what causes him excitement. There’s no way that doesn’t affect perception regardless of the foundation you set. There’s no simple fixes when it comes to pornography. The best thing to do is avoid it at all costs.

  • BKB

    The consequences of porn viewing are now more widely known but still obscured by those who, don’t know the facts, try to justify their own behavior or who deliberately try to deceive (See comment from Cody). As a result, it is vital that our sons hear about the real consequences of pornography from their parents and other trusted leaders so they can sort through the noise.

    Sometimes our children get involved in pornography so deeply that mere conversations won’t provide sufficient help. I recommend the book Power Over Pornography to help overcome a pornography habit or addiction that is entrenched. It offers new methods that really work.

  • I am not going to teach any kid that erotic entertainment has to be in opposite extremes. People need to realize that erotic entertainment can be part of your fantasy life. As long as your fantasy life is healthy and not filled up with low quality misogynistic porn.

    • Carol

      Pornography viewing is NOT harmless. Many marriages have been ruined by a husband’s addiction to pornography. Ted Bundy, the serial killer, said his crimes started from an addiction to pornography. Most sexual predators admit they had a deep addiction to pornography. With this addiction, just viewing the images becomes not enough. The addict begins fantasizing about actually DOING the acts. In their minds, the woman becomes just an object for their sexual fulfillment.

      • It is so strange that people actually believe Ted Bundy’s claim. Maybe the experts who studied him know more about serial killers than the guy who got caught doing it. Ted Bundy made that claim before he was executed. He is not the expert on whether or not it is causation or correlation.

        The marriage argument is more reasonable. I look forward to pornographers opening up new markets and creating erotic entertainment that doesn’t need to be hidden from wives and can be discussed among friends. The Greatest Of Erotic Entertainment is already celebrating porn that is already there.

        • Carol

          Dr. James Dobson WAS an expert in studying pornography’s effects (the one who interviewed Bundy). Bundy put no blame on anyone else and never tried to deny his criminal acts in the interview. I think he understood what led to his actions better than anyone who “studied” him. I’m guessing the people who studied him came to the conclusion that SOMETHING caused him to view women only as objects to be raped and killed. He wasn’t killing men.

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Huddle up with your kids and ask, “Is there anything you’ve ever seen that was confusing that you would like me to explain?”

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