Protecting My Sons From Porn

Porn is yet another one of those things I never gave much thought to. Don’t get me wrong, I have enough social science degrees to know the dangers of porn and sex work in general. My undergrad thesis was a study of dancers at a local strip club and their interactions with social service agencies. I talked to a lot of strippers. In my book Try a Little Tenderness, I tried to honestly convey as much of that world as I could. Those women were honest and forthright with me, and I tried to do right by them in my book. So yeah, I know all of the statistics and I know from professional interactions just how tragic it can be.

But it didn’t really come home until I had sons of my own. I’m horrified by what they will some day find on the computer. We have all the nanny protections on, but we all know a curious child can find a way around just about anything. The worst thing about it is that most of this stuff is not even “normal” sex anymore. As I’ve always maintained, porn is one of those things that we get desensitized to, requiring greater and greater stimulation to get the same buzz. The porn actresses with their dead eyes are just so horrific and the use of another human being’s body as a “thing” is not a mindset I ever want my sons exposed to. The use of porn is especially dangerous in a society where we socialize our boys to detach from and compartmentalize their emotions. That having feelings is somehow unmanly. This compartmentalization is the very thing that makes porn so attractive; sex without the messiness of dealing with an actual human being. It’s detrimental to women and absolutely devastating to our young men.

My husband and I have talked about this at length. He’s concerned as well. He jokes that I “ruined” porn for him a long time ago by telling him that most of those actresses were sexually abused as children. He was never a big consumer before and lost most of his interest after that. I certainly intend to tell my sons the same thing and explain the mentality/economic realities that leads so many women to “choose” sex work. We do our best to demonstrate that sex within the context of a loving healthy relationship is a good thing, and that using human beings as a masturbatory device is immoral and frankly gross.

I fear that this will not be enough. Just hanging out online I see so many young men who are clearly porn sick. Who’ve had their view of women and girls totally distorted by the pervasiveness of this industry. My husband points out that back in our day porn was much more difficult to acquire and that if it had been as readily available to him as it is to young men today, it would have had a devastating effect on him. He probably would’ve done nothing else but watch it. And that’s what I’m afraid of. I know so many men whose marriages and even careers have been destroyed by porn. It drives so much of the sexual sickness that has become commonplace. When I was growing up porn mainly consisted of sex. Even anal sex was shocking and I was a fully adult woman before I actually saw photos. Now we’ve reached the point that with one click of the mouse I can see women experiencing an unimaginable level of bodily harm. This connection between pain, humiliation and pleasure is a very dangerous one, especially in the developing young brain.

I’m not a prude or ignorant, I know my sons will be curious about sex and sexuality. (And BTW, could somebody PLEASE write a version of Our Bodies Ourselves for boys? Without all the, “this is the stuff you can’t talk to your parents about” rhetoric? I don’t want to reinforce that mindset. I could talk to my VERY old school mama about anything and I want my boys to feel the same way.) Sex and sexuality is a normal developmental stage, but how do I help them through this stage when so much of this garbage is so readily available? From the very beginning we have tried to raise them as loving, empathetic young men with a healthy respect for other human beings. Porn is the antithesis of this. A cancer that serves only to erode and undermine healthy adult relationships. We are using the only antidote we can think of for this insidious poison; a healthy adult relationship. My only question is, will it be enough?

 

11 thoughts on “Protecting My Sons From Porn

  1. Thank you for this! I also agree that this is well put.
    I just had a talk with my little brother about porn and everything I learned about it: how the focus is all about men, penis and male orgasm; that it has nothing to do with woman.
    Sex is only described and shown as penis in the vagina. Nothing else. I told him that the penis is never used to pleasure her clitoris [which would cut down on making dem unwanted babies]. I told him about how the woman’s vulva in porn is being erased through surgery; to the shrinking of her inner and outer labia, to the shrinking of her clitoris, how the only thing that matters on her body is her vagina, mouth and anus; holes that receive his penis.
    I told him how porn is nothing but rape of a woman as it promotes men to have over sized penises, which is known to cause discomfit and pain to a woman. I told him that if it is a known fact that large penises causes pain to women, why would they promote him to be over 6 inches in length and over 2 inches in width? I told him that the clitoris [which should be looked at as the equivalent of the male’s penis when it comes to pleasure] is not located in the vagina, but the way porn shows it, you’d think so. I told him how porn is never shown being gentle to a woman; only rough and hurtful towards her. How everything is fast and hard, never slow and gentle. There is no love or love making being shown towards woman in porn.

    I found out that it’s promoted that oral sex performed on a woman by a man is looked upon as degrading to him, thus why you only see majority of women performing the act on women within porn. That when oral sex is performed on her, they keep showing her being penetrated by either the tongue, objects or fingers, the focus is not on what’s being done to the clitoris. Also, unlike the way they show a woman giving oral sex to a male; zoomed out and then zooms in as it shows her licking/sucking all around and over his penis, oral sex performed on a woman, when not showing her being penetrated, shows the person [woman] just smashing their face into her crotch, again to not show pleasure or what’s being done to the clitoris.

    And it’s been pointed out that the “sex” [rape] scene only ends when he has an orgasm. Once I was told this, I realized that it applies in movies, TV shows and books. I remember reading just plain ol’ mystery books with the sex scene of “We kissed, we undressed, he put it inside me, we came”. I also started thinking on the romance novel that I had read and how she had two orgasms, but the scene didn’t end until he had his orgasm [which, of course, came through penetration]. I then starting thinking about all the books I read from fiction, to romance to erotica and how the sex scenes all ended in penetration and with him having an orgasm. I remember reading books with male protagonist, and how the woman would give him a ‘going away present’ which consisted of sex or oral sex, but nonetheless, he had an orgasm and she didn’t. I realized that all the books I had read with a female protagonist, I never came across a book upon which he gave her a ‘going away present’ that just gave her an orgasm and the scene ended. There was only one book that I can think of that didn’t end in penetration, but ended with a woman just receiving an orgasm from oral sex, and that was an erotic short story book. This book also had BDSM, a lesbian story, and a story about a threesome. So basically, what they were saying is that all of these things are fantasies and fetishes; to receive pleasure to your clitoris and have an orgasm by it is a fantasy and fetish…

    And that’s when it hit me how we live in porn culture; when we are forced to believe that the clitoris is useless because it does not please him, how the vulva is useless because it does not please him. And how the vagina is the most important part on a woman’s body, and if you can’t have an orgasm through penetration, then something is wrong with you as a woman [we get this lovely shaming through sex pozzie, and funfems]. When I started thinking about that, that’s when I remembered this HUGE boom like 12-15 years ago or so about that ‘G-spot’! How it was the end all to sex. How every woman needed to go get her man or vibrator and find that G-Spot immediately! It was on talk shows [Even Oprah], celebrity news, magazines, and even the evening news. But this was nothing more than porn culture promoting women and men to only, once again, focus on the vagina, not the clitoris.
    So, yes, really glad that you brought this up!

  2. Another great article, Roslyn, which I will share with my nephews as I have the same concerns for them as you have for your sons.

    Great insights, FabFro. When pleasure and orgasm experienced through the clitoris is considered a fetish, how the hell can anyone call that “sex-positive”? It sure as hell isn’t positive for women. But then, the sex pozzies aren’t really concerned about women.

  3. The real problem about prostitution and drugs is on statistical analysis or seeing that as “not my problem”. The problem is there is human beings in slavery, who unfortunately felt in the hands of devil. The problem is nobody thinks about how that happened, or can happen to me or my family. The problem is about families and the predisposition to expel children, not thinking on their education and future. We must change and have another thesis, thinking about how to can change this world, more radical ideas, like one child policy and extermination of criminals, no industrial economy or extinction of modern slavery. We must return to the basic, not fancy statistics that change nothing. Sex is great when there is love and contraception. In my opinion children must know and be aware of the devil, because ingenuity is the first step to fall.

  4. Last semester, I wrote a research paper that focused on the connection between the sexual dysfunction of Millenials and the influence of Porn Culture & Media on Popular Culture. Basically what I learned is this, our teenagers and young adults are receiving some seriously distorted information from an industry that only seeks to ensure its future economic growth by addicting/enslaving young consumers.

    I commend you for being concerned about your sons and other young men, but what about the 14, 15, & 16 year old girls who are huge fans of James Deen? The graphic “scenes” that are addicting those girls are nothing to play with. Pain & humiliation via BDSM/rough sex should not be packaged and presented as being regular sex.

    With everything that’s going on, it should be of no surprise to any one that there’s nothing only been a rise in Narcissism, but “skin hunger” as well.

  5. This is a good article. I also am interested in reading aninopeace’s paper about this topic too.

    Unfortunately, it’s hard to protect kids from porn. The first time I even watched it I was 17, which is still too young but much less horrifying than some people I knew who started watching it at age 10. I did sporadically watch porn in college, but not very often because I thought it was fake and some of the BDSM stuff I found really freaked me out. However, I started learning that violent porn was actually very mainstream and that there wasn’t really any such thing as lesbian porn, because almost all of it was made by straight dudes with fetishes. I actually stopped voluntarily watching any porn about a year-and-a-half ago after I read accounts from the victims of the industry. I read erotica sometimes, but I go easy on that because a lot of it is still porny and gross. (The reason I use the word voluntarily is because that shit is everywhere. They’re not even bothering to pretend to hide it from the children anymore and you can accidentally see it if you get a browser-hijacker virus.) I’m just happy I broke out of the influence of “sex-positivity”, Dan Savage, and all those fake-ass documentaries where they cheery-pick the handful of women who are happy in the industry. I once read that at least 89% of the women in prostitution and pornography would gladly leave if they could. Why do we never here from them when 89% is far more than a super-majority?

    I’m glad to have found real feminism that recognizes that porn and prostitution aren’t empowering just because something like 11% of the women or less actually like working in it and just because some women watch porn. I used to watch it and it wasn’t empowering. I think it fucked up my sexuality and my ability to have romantic relationships and I was a causal viewer. Smoking pot or drinking might have been a better choice. I think it just shows how bad it’s gotten for women when feminist movements either self-censor around criticizing this stuff or outright endorse it. Being against these industries was fairly mainstream feminism in the 1970s and it wasn’t nearly as bad then as it is now.

    I just think it’s messed up that the stuff Fab Fro was talking about gets the sex positive label. How is telling a woman that something’s wrong with her if she doesn’t want to be a masturbatory object for a man positive? How is telling a woman something’s wrong with her if she can’t have a G-spot orgasm and that clitoral orgasm are merely fetishes positive? I actually tried one of those G-spot vibrators because it was cheap, but that was one weak-ass orgasm the one time it worked.

    None of this shit promotes any kind of positive or healthy sexuality. I was looking up therapists in my area one time and so many of them say that they’ll treat porn addiction. Even ones who specialize in OCD or bipolar disorder have treating porn addicts as their secondary focus. I am interested in reading that people about the sexual dysfunction of Millenials thanks to this stuff, because I sure can name a few people.

    My advice is to quit watching it before you become addicted and to it and if that isn’t motivation enough to consider the pain and suffering of women in the industry. I’d also like to say that being against these things doesn’t mean you have to adopt a religious fundamentalist wordview. I mistakenly thought it did because the only criticism I saw of pornography and prostitution for a long time was that it was a “sin”. The reason I’m now against it is because I don’t like the way porn affected me and because of my empathy for all the women stuck and forced into porn and prostitution. I don’t care if getting rid of these industries mean that men lose some masturbatory material. I also suggest reading “Unpacking Queer Politics” by Sheila Jeffreys. Gay porn can still perpetuate misogynistic attitudes and influence straight porn, and it’s not like they treat the men in it that well either.

  6. Thanks for sharing your story! That was very insightful.

    “I actually tried one of those G-spot vibrators because it was cheap, but that was one weak-ass orgasm the one time it worked.

    Yea, I remember caving in and wanting to find my G-spot after hearing how great it felt. Once I found it, I was like “Eh? That’s it? That’s how it feels?…Meh”
    I remember trying to pretend it felt good, but it didn’t. And at one point, thanks to porn, I remember trying to pretend that penetration was the best thang eva! But now, it’s like super rare if penetration even happens because I learned that like the testicles [and other body parts for that matter], the vagina will only heighten an orgasm, but stimulation to it is not necessary for having one.

    And that’s when I started thinking that what if it was reversed? What if instead of all of the focus being put on the stimulation of the penis, it was instead placed on his testicles. I then wondered how many men would complain and speak up on how this is false information.

    Imagine if porn only promoted large clitorises violently slamming into small, smooth testicles and the man moaning and begging for more. Imagine that the penis is also shrunken and never put into view or is the main focus. Imagine oral sex is only given to his small testicles, upon which half of the time you have no idea what’s going on. Imagine it being promoted in men’s magazines and by the MRA to have surgery to shrink his penis and testicles almost to a nonexistence state [Because having your penis and testicles look like it belongs to a little boy should be such a turn on to your female partner!].
    Imagine sex pozzie men promoting porn culture by encouraging men to enjoy having their testicles crushed by surgically oversized clitorises or vulvas, or to use sex toys that tightly pinch/crush the testicles. Imagine the sex pozzie men shaming any man who speaks out/posts or writes in saying that his female partner always has an orgasm but he can’t orgasm from having his testicles crushed/smashed/stimulated by her clitoris. Imagine that the sex positive men are telling other men that the reason they’re not able to have a fulfilling orgasm [like women] is because they aren’t relaxing enough, it’s because they’re over thinking it, that they need to try again with their female partner later that night and just relax or to try watching porn with his partner to get some ideas [!!!].
    They’d give the advice: That he just needs to do it more often until he starts to enjoy it and that by not having sex with his female partner, he’s not living or having a healthy lifestyle. And that he’s also being a selfish prude by denying sex to his female partner when she demands it. Imagine now there’s this big boom upon which all sex pozzie males are now promoting this new ultra feel good spot called the T-spot located somewhere within the sack of his testicles.
    His female spouse has heard about it and really wants to try it [She’s also read much about it and even heard that men REALLY REALLY love it!], but says nothing until he asks her if she’s heard about it . When he finally asks if she’s heard of it, she says that she has. He then asks if she wants to find it [because gosh darnnit, anything to improve the painful sex!]. But, nope, they find it and sex still doesn’t feel good to him. And as always, she had an orgasm and he didn’t. She now blames him and says that maybe he didn’t locate the spot correctly so they’ll probably just have to try again later [Oh joy!].

    The idea of having the focus all be put on the testicles as the main way to obtain an orgasm is quite silly to us simply because society has already told us that this is not true; a clitoris can not give an orgasm to a male through smashing his testicles . We already know the main pleasure source for men is his penis. But it becomes amazingly sad when we realize that everything I just named above about the testicles is exactly the way the vagina is currently being viewed in our society; the penis can give an orgasm to a female through her vagina.

    Mind blowing.

  7. @FabFro

    That would be pretty mind-blowing if the number one way to have sex was heterosexual sex where a man’s testicles get crushed by a clitoris. I though the scenario you described was very interesting. Of course it sounds silly because we know that most dudes except maybe a few masochists aren’t going to be having orgasms from getting their balls crushed. We know that with a few exceptions most dudes can’t orgasm without penile stimulation. Even women who can have decent G-spot orgasms often need clitoral stimulation. Yet, we tell women that there’s something wrong with them if they don’t think that penetration is the best thing ever (and heaven forbid if you’re a lesbian). We also blame them and tell them that it’s their fault if they can’t have a vaginal orgasm from penis-in-vagina sex just like those porn actresses (who in most cases are faking it). I read some stories about ex-porn actresses on an anti-porn website and almost all of them talk about how they were pretending to enjoy it and how fake the whole thing is.

    I’m pretty sure that a woman who started preaching that men need to get surgery to have little boy testicles would be crucified, but men who think women should get labia-plasties or clitoral reduction to look like women from porn are quite common and so are men who like Brazillian waxes. The motivation behind that one is too much pubic hair makes a woman look like a grown-up. I know that there are some men who wax (and it gets the extra special name of “man-scaping” when they do it). Even so, there’s not as much pressure on them to be hairless. I have had men dislike me for not shaving my legs even though they have werewolf levels of leg hair. Also, I don’t have much leg hair anyway and most people don’t know I don’t shave unless they look closely or I tell them so.

    I would just say that porn culture is really bad for you. I prefer having a healthy sexuality where no one has to get dehumanized. I have seen more and more women starting to speak out against it, so that’s a good thing.

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