As parents prepare to educate their children on sex, many do not realize the need to also educate them on the dangers that stem from pornography.
Opposition to porn is no longer solely a religious or moral argument. Research has shown us how porn negatively affects individuals, families, marriages and communities. Girls are not immune to this; and the problems facing them today are very real.
While we would all like to believe our children will not encounter pornography, that is simply untrue — and they need to be prepared when they do. Here are four reasons to sit down and talk with your daughter about porn:
The internet has made porn more easily available than ever before. Once addicted, porn influences almost every aspect of a person's life; and recovery is difficult.
Having the courage to open up to others for help can be even more challenging for girls, because they are ashamed of "being a girl with a boy's problem." Numerous addiction recovery resources exist for those struggling with porn; yet many are geared toward males, and girls tend to feel awkwardly alone in their struggles.
2. She will be faced with sexual decisions
Early exposure to porn is causing teens to have sex at earlier ages.
As parents, not educating our teens about sex leads them to turn to porn. If a boy's sex education relies solely on porn, which falsely teaches that girls constantly crave sex, he may mistakenly believe the girl he is hanging out with shares the same intense desire for sexual intimacy — when in reality, she likely just wanted to go out for ice cream with the cute boy from history class. The porn culture is increasingly placing pressure on girls to comply with sexual requests from their peers. Some teen girls say they have lost their virginity, without ever experiencing their first kiss.
It is important, however, to remember that not all boys have a porn addiction. The best thing for you to do is to educate your daughter on how to handle herself in certain situations, and encourage her to hang out in groups of friends as often as possible, as opposed to one-on-one time.
3. Revenge porn does exist
Revenge porn occurs when one former sexual partner shares sexually explicit photos of the other, whether online or with friends. When this happens, it's often done to "get back" at the former partner. Other times, these photos are used to hold another person "hostage" — for example, a boyfriend might try to prevent his girlfriend from breaking up with him by threatening to post her explicit photos online for others to see.
It is obviously wrong for someone to use revenge porn. However, it does happen, and we need to make our girls aware of the dangers of taking and sharing these photos to begin with, to help prevent these dangerous situations from occurring.
While some states have begun to crack down on revenge porn, others still do not have laws against it, allowing people to publish inappropriate photos of others without consequences.
4. Her self-image is at stake
One side effect of pornography is a dampened feeling of self-worth.
Those who have watched, or do watch, porn often struggle to transition from pornography viewing to becoming involved with a real partner. Paid actors and actresses they have watched give a false vision of what human intimacy is truly supposed to be. Whether they feel their partner doesn't have a body equal to a porn star's, or lacks the experience to "perform" a desired way, the result is the same. The other partner is left feeling discouraged, alone and not good enough.
Let your daughters know they can freely come to you with questions. The "sex talk" should involve more than a brief explanation of human anatomy. It is time to take a stand against pornography, and it starts within the walls of our own homes.