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Teens, Sex and Porn

Teens, Sex and Porn

By Chris Jordan

Wow, you really must have wanted children badly to do that seven times. Yuck. Now I know why people just have one kid.

So said my son the first time we had The Talk.

I had been nervous.  This was a big parental milestone in my mind. I waited until we were in the car all alone to bring up the subject of the birds and the bees, a place I highly recommend for starting awkward conversations. When it was over and I had answered all the difficult questions, I patted myself on the back, glad to be done with it.

What I hadn’t realized then was that was the easy part, discussing the cut and dry mechanics of sex. I hadn’t realized that it was just the beginning of an ongoing conversation. A conversation where I would have to push past my own embarrassment and get over my own hang ups. A conversation that would one day even bring me to the point where I could nonchalantly utter the phrase “oozing, warty penis” while I washed dishes. That day in the car, the difficult questions had not yet even begun.

I spend a lot more time doing something that I never imagined I would have to do. Not talking about the actual mechanics of sex, or birth control, but rather things that aren’t as cut and dry. Respect for themselves, respect for girls/women, impressing upon them that sex is not performance art, in spite of what the media would have you believe, and why they shouldn’t be viewing pornography.  Because I said so is sadly not an option.

My fear is that being inundated with porn is going to ruin real intimacy for my sons. (My only daughter is too young still for me to be worrying about her in this way. I shudder to think what will plague me by the time that she is a teenager.) No longer are mothers finding Playboy magazines hidden under their sons’ mattresses. Instead they are finding hardcore porn in the history of their family computers.

I remember the very first time I saw a porn movie. I was 19 and in Africa, of all places, at a small hotel that had only one channel on the tv, a porno channel. I was traveling with a friend and we both watched the movie in a fascinated, detached, clinical sort of way. At one point I turned to her and admitted that I had no idea what that closeup was showing us. She admitted that she had no idea either. We laughed and turned it off shortly after that. Neither of us were virgins, it was just that what we saw on the grainy tv screen had no relevance to our own sex lives. Now I wonder what if it were the other way around. What if your first exposure to sex was as voyeurs not participants? How does that change everything? What sort of expectations does it set up?

I mean I have never ordered a pizza and had the delivery man expect to be invited in for an orgy. Perhaps the possibility exists that I have just not ordered pizza from the right restaurant, though I doubt it. And this example is a benign one. Talk to me when you hear you teenagers laugh at the joke told by a late night talk show host regarding a certain internet porn site, one which involves something you don’t even want to think about.

When I was a teenager there were no expectations for sex other than being there. It was quite enough to show up and be willing. Getting pregnant was the worst thing that could happen, well, right after getting caught by your parents. Now children of all ages are inundated daily with soft porn images and casual references to things that were once considered seedy and only discussed in hushed whispers.

The family computers in my home are all locked down and they live in very visible places, but with handheld internet capable devices and kids who probably know more about computers than I do, having restricted internet access on the family computer is like a quaint throw back to a more innocent time. Like 1995. It really only prevents younger children from accidentally accessing websites.   My teenagers have iPhones.  The Internet is at their fingertips 24/7. I can not police that.

Therefore, the goal has become not imposing restrictions upon my teenage sons, but teaching them why they should restrict themselves. I’m not sure how that is going, frankly. I feel like we are watching an ongoing social experiment with this generation of young men, how will it turn out? My only hope is that by keeping the lines of communication open, and I mean wide open, that my sons will talk to me. And for my part, it means not freaking the hell out when they test the water and tell me the small things.

What does [girlfriend] want as a present?

She doesn’t want anything.

Oh, come one. She has to want something.

No, she said she doesn’t want anything.

Ok, tell me verbatim the conversation so that I can translate girlspeak for you. Because this? Sounds like a trap.

Well, she said she doesn’t want me to buy her anything. All she wants for a present is me.

I can not tell you everything that ran through my head in the .8 seconds before I opened my mouth, mostly because it is not fit for print. But I was acutely aware that it was important to keep the conversation flowing and the only way to do that was to remain calm and matter of fact about the whole thing, even though inside I was silently plotting ways to drive over to the girl’s house and break every bone in her body. I think a full body cast might deter them both, right? Though who knows, there is probably a fetish website for that also.

What do you think about that?

I was glad we weren’t driving in the car, because finishing that conversation in my kitchen that night required an extra large glass of wine.

Chris Jordan
About the Author

Chris Jordan

Chris Jordan began blogging at Notes From the Trenches in 2004 where she writes about her life raising her children in Austin, Texas.

Oh, s...

Chris Jordan began blogging at Notes From the Trenches in 2004 where she writes about her life raising her children in Austin, Texas.

Oh, she has seven of them. Yes, children.
Yes, they are all hers.
No she’s not Catholic or Mormon. Though she wouldn’t mind having a sister-wife because holy hell the laundry never stops.
Yes, she finally figured out what causes it. That’s why her youngest is almost 6.
Yes, she has a television.

She enjoys referring to herself in the third person.

If you would like to submit a question for Chris to answer publicly, please do so to adviceforparentsoftweens[at]gmail[dot]com.

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