5 Things Your Teen Must Hear You Say about Porn

December 16, 2013

5 Things Your Teen Must Hear You Say about Porn

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Luke Gilkerson

5 Things Your Teen Must Hear You Say about Porn

Unfortunately, too many teens today are getting their ideas about sex from porn—the worst kind of sex ed a child can get. For most, porn starts with curiosity, but for many it doesn’t stop with a few explorations. More than 9 out of 10 boys and more than 6 out of 10 girls see porn before the age of 18, and 35% of boys say they have seen porn “more times that I can count.”

Parents, you are the ones who stand in the gap. Remove from your mind any fears of telling them “too much too soon.” In this day and age, the world is already screaming sexual message at your children. The last thing your kids need is your silence.

In the teen years, candid conversations about porn are a must. Yes, Internet filtering and monitoring should go without saying, but more than good technology, your teens need to hear godly advice from you about the subject of porn.

What I Mean by “Porn”

Let’s broaden the scope a bit. Porn exists on a continuum of media experiences. Sexual media is anything that consists of real or simulated sexual or sexually provocative acts, created to be displayed for others. This includes everything from the cleavage-showing on Facebook, to the Victoria’s Secret entrance at the mall, to the cover of Maxim, to the latest R-rated blockbuster sex scene to the hardcore website.

Where “porn” officially starts on this continuum is of very little concern. All of it should be a matter of discussion for parents.

1. Porn is bad because it cheapens what God calls good.

Each time you talk to your son or daughter, the undertone of your conversation should be positive. The “badness” of porn can only be explained when the goodness of sex is first celebrated.

You are not against porn because you are a prude anymore than a health conscious person is against McDonalds because he’s anti-food.

“Sexual arousal feels good, and it should. It is how God designed us.” As a parent, we should say this to our teens that likely feel a great deal of shame or confusion about their sexual urges. Many passages in Scripture can serve as conversation openers about the goodness of the human body and sexual pleasure (Genesis 1:28; 2:24; Psalm 139:14; Proverbs 5:19; The Song of Solomon).

2. Porn is selfish; real sex is giving.

When you fantasize about sex using pornography, you get to imagine that you are the star of the show. You get to imagine yourself being with the beautiful man/woman or being the attractive man/woman. You are the focus of their attention in the fantasy.

But God designed sex for both receiving and giving pleasure. You don’t want to train your mind to love solo-sex. We should be training our mind not to see the others as props to be used, but a people to be loved.

3. Porn bonds you to an image; sex bonds you to a person.

You are physically and spiritually wired for intimacy. That’s why God made sex so pleasurable, because it bonds a man and woman together. But when we lust after pornography, we are bonding to those images, not to a person.

Worse yet, you’re not just training your mind to respond to images (as opposed to people); you are training your mind to respond to a parade of images, infinitely clickable and customizable digital people, all made-to-order. No future spouse as clickable and customizable as a person on a screen. This only takes away your enjoyment of sex in the future.

4. Porn is abusive; marital sex is nourishing.

What you don’t see when you watch pornography is what it’s like when the camera stops recording. Often, men and women in porn don’t like the work they do. They have to take drugs and alcohol just to be able to have sex on screen. Many times the men and women were abused when they were young, and they continue to be used and abused in the industry. Watching pornography only gives incentive to those who abuse these people to keep doing it.

5. Porn dishonors God; marital sex honors Him.

God has told us His will for us is to abstain from sexual immorality (1 Thessalonians 4:3). God will judge the sexually immoral and the adulterers because He wants the marriage bed kept pure (Hebrews 13:4). As a young man/woman of faith, don’t dishonor Him with your body by filling your mind with images of sin.

Join the Conversation

What do you think? How should parents address the subject of pornography with their teens?


12 thoughts on “5 Things Your Teen Must Hear You Say about Porn

  1. Under your definition of porn, it is sort of a one-sided viewpoint (that of a heterosexual male) and I think it ought to be broadened if you’re going to list showing cleavage on a Facebook ad or marketing ploys at Victoria’s Secret (which, I, particularly don’t believe to be defined as porn), then ads of shirtless males showing all their six packs and muscles for some supplement ad on Facebook should fall under that list or an underwear ad with men, etc. from the women’s and homosexual males’ perspective…that or just revise your definition of porn because I honestly don’t think ads on Facebook or a poster of women in lingerie should be included under porn, yes, they are meant to be enticing to the eye to create business, but porn, no…You can have sexual fantasies of someone fully clothed on a magazine or whatever, yes, lingerie pictures are more exposed and therefore easier to imagine but it just depends what your mind does with the fantasies you’re creating. So once again, I think listing it under porn should be revised because telling your kid something like that might make them too afraid to even want to go into a mall or feel very ashamed if they did happen to see a Facebook ad/magazine cover, etc and not even fantasize about it.

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  3. Great, practical advice. I would add one simple thing: start. We have found in our speaking ministry on this topic that parents will take excellent steps with their children if they will just START. Part of taking the risk to start involves understanding sex from a true, biblical, moral viewpoint. There is great lack in this area for parents in our experience. Many of them don’t truly realize as well that porn has moved from mags under the bed to the phones in their kids pockets . . . even though they are using it themselves.

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  5. Like I said in the article, where “porn” officially starts on this continuum of sexualized media is of very little concern to me as far as the application goes. The point of my caveat was to get past technical definitions of what “porn” is and move to the heart of the matter sexual purity, and that includes a lot of things that have not traditionally been labeled as porn.

    If going back to the word “porn” again and again is the troublesome feature of the article, then merely replace it with a word that is more all-encompassing. I don’t believe when we use the word “porn” it should come with an added sense of shame (say, over and above any other sexualized media). If I label the Victoria’s Secret shop window as “porn,” I don’t do this to make my child feel a sense of shame about walking in the mall.

    Maybe I’m not getting to the heart of your objection. Perhaps I don’t quite understand what the issue is.

  6. Pornography is the explicit portrayal of sexual subject matter for the purpose of sexual arousal. (got that from a web definition…Webster’s I think)

    Don’t under value what pornography is. Why would a person say that enticing someone with a sexual innuendo is not pornography? Do we call it sexual media, or is sexual media a mild form of pornography. At a minimum ads like Hanes underwear and Victoria Secret are GROSSLY inappropriate. Sadly, overtime people are desensitized to what is appropriate and what is not. Elvis used to be considered fringe and the television wouldn’t show him even shaking his hips. Was that porn? No, his behavior was designed to be fringe and risky, but not designed to draw a person in to a sexual arousal, or was it?
    Hence, Victoria Secret or anything else, regardless of gender or gender orientation, that targets sexual arousal by the use of a person’s chest or abs….is pornography. I believe sexual media is a soft label for “soft porn.” The label “Sexual media” is a politically correct way of communicating, “dangerous, but acceptable”. Why? Because people are afraid to call Victoria Secret pornography.
    It is false to place pornography into a confined space of “people having sexual intercourse”, or any other very explicit, more obvious case.
    Advertising in general, whether found on FB or a Victoria Secret commercials, uses sexual images to arouse individuals in order to entice them into buying a product (advertising 101). The problem with that is that it causes men and women to fantasize and live their lives outside of reality; and then subsequently creating expectations in their own relationships for a unrealistic sexual life. (I wish you looked like that; I want you to act like that; and so on.) It creates a discontentment in peoples lives by looking at what others are perceived as having.

    I have two teenage boys. I talk to them openly about God’s purpose for the man and God’s purpose for the women. I talk to them about remaining pure for their future wives. I want them to have realistic expectations of what marriage is all about. A Victoria Secret commercial only confuses their reality.
    I don’t want my boys to feel ashamed, but I do want them to see those ads for what they are…false realities, that if chased after, can cause them great trouble. I want my boys to be well equipped to repel the pluralistic world that they live in. It’s not ok that we have to look at women in their underwear on TV commercials. It’s not ok that rated R movie trailers are played at PG-13 movies. It’s not ok that the Lords name is taken in vain in nearly every movie out, yet believers in Christ go and watch.
    2 Corinthians 4:4 says, “the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”
    Prior to my kids making a profession of faith in Jesus as their Lord, I knew that the enemy was doing all he could to BLIND them from seeing things other than Jesus. The devil desires to keep them from trusting in Jesus.
    The enemy has used sexual arousal as a snare. People don’t even realize how bad it is.
    Sorry for the rant=(

  7. I would add that porn is also destructive because it reduces people, particularly women, to commodities to be used.

  8. I have caught my son get on porn sites a few times. He told me that he would not get on any more and he did again. I have filtered and monitored him for a while, however he know how to unlock it better than I do. It came to the point that I don’t know what to do. I unplug the power core. It is sad that he does not have a father to model. His dad gets on it himself. I feel so powerless and don’t know how to help my son. My marriage has been torn apart and I don’t want my son step on the same path. I have told him all the things that God does not like. But I don’t know if he can really understand the danger of porn. I really want him to lead a pure life and turn away from porn. It is the hardest addiction to break. Please pray for me and my son. and all the young men going through this and pray that they will have the freedom to turn away from it.

  9. As a School Counselor in a Catholic School, I recently had a Middle School boy approach me about his struggle with this after a discussion in his Theology of the Body class. I forwarded this site article to his mom, and plan to keep it bookmarked to use in the future. I will also use it in the class in the future and in my work. I am also impressed with a program called Fortify, and while not Biblically-based, it appears to be a good online program to help people deal with addiction to porn. There is a section of Fortify that is free for teens. I think the more resources we know about to help people deal with this, the better. I think it is an issue that goes beyond regular psycho/social/emotional counseling, though that should be included in the healing process.

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