Should you be worried if your teenage son is watching porn?

3 December 2015

People have different responses to porn. Whether they think about it from a moral, ethical or even legal point of view, often no two people have the same opinion.

One of our Relate counsellors says that clients’ sexual issues frequently, to a greater or lesser extent, involve problems with attitudes towards using porn.

Some see it as a harmless pastime, while others feel degraded by the mere thought of it. For some, using porn gets out of control and has detrimental effects on them and those around them.

What some people find alarming is that one in five children aged 12 and 13 think watching porn is normal, according to recent surveys.

“I think we’d probably all have to concede that kids are curious about sex,” says our counsellor. “In times gone by, catching a glimpse of top-shelf magazines was probably a mark of triumph for lots of teenage boys. Nowadays, things are very different and the ease with which sites hosting shocking images and videos can be accessed is really worrying for some people.”

Several pieces of research show how teenagers’ attitudes towards sex with a partner are being influenced by the porn they’re looking at.

A particularly concerning aspect is the frequent violent degradation of male and female characters, and the way this may be shaping teenagers’ approach to sex and relationships in real life.

For example, the 2015 Girlguiding Girls’ Attitudes Survey found that seven out of 10 girls and young women aged 11 to 21 think that pornography gives out confusing messages about sexual consent, or that it makes aggressive or violent behaviour towards women seem normal.

Not all porn is violent, but some would argue that even in the ‘milder’ genres someone has been degraded merely by taking part, or even by watching it.

In the NSPCC 2015 survey about young people and porn, a teenage boy is quoted saying: “I’m always watching porn and some of it is quite aggressive. I didn’t think it was affecting me at first but I’ve started to view girls a bit differently recently and it’s making me worried. I would like to get married in the future but I’m scared it might never happen if I carry on thinking about girls the way I do.”

If you’d like to talk about issues like this with one of our counsellors call 01234 356350.

 

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