The V-Spot: My 12-year-old is watching porn. Now what?

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I’ve enjoyed hearing you speak on the sexpert panels at the Platinum Pony. Your name popped into my head today after learning my 12-year-old son has begun to dip his toes into the world of online porn. I knew it was going to happen. I just hoped it wouldn’t be so soon.

I’m planning to have a talk with him. His dad and I aren’t together and he doesn’t seem to think that this warrants a conversation. I do. Porn has its place, but not so much in the early stages of development in one’s erotic profile. I want to be that mom who has the ability to make talking about sex easier and even normal if possible. You mentioned that you teach sex education workshops for teens. Do you teach or have resources to offer parents of tweens?

Do I teach workshops, you ask? You bet your bottom orgasm I do! I teach workshops on everything I write about: G-spots, prostates, vibrators, lube, kink, polyamory, etc. Like my writing, my sex education style is normalizing, light-hearted, and pleasure-positive.

I teach workshops for college students, adults and — yes! — even youth. In my workshops, unlike in my writing, I draw from my experience with directing youth programming to create safe, age-appropriate spaces for learning about these complicated topics. Popular youth workshop topics include consent, communication, and sex-positive sex education. For more info head to yanatallonhicks.com where you can contact me about custom-tailored workshops or sign up to receive email notifications about my upcoming events.

Anyway, I’m not a parent, but I do know this: tweens are sexual beings, even if that sexuality is misinformed, awkward, developing, and misplaced.

I myself remember casually leaning against the side of my parents’ pool as a 10-year-old, conveniently pushing my not-yet-lady bits against the water-filter jet, knowing that something about it felt cool and different, but not knowing why.

Tween sexuality is weird. It’s weird for adults because all of a sudden a person who has always been a child is beginning to explore sexuality. We’re told to deny the budding sexuality instead of dealing with it. We deny early sexuality as youth lose their virginities at younger and younger ages and high school and college campuses make headlines with one rape scandal after another.

Getting on the Internet is easier than ever, and no amount of parental blocks or cell phone curfews will change this. So, however you can get ahead of this — in a pleasure-positive, safer-sex manner — the better. Google is the worst sex-educator I know.

I once wrote a column about the lessons mainstream porn has taught me about sex: No one needs lube; women orgasm quickly and in multiples from insta-penetration; body hair, foreplay, and consent aren’t real; my small breasts are the worst; condoms are gratuitous, optional, and undesirable … the list goes on. None of these are lessons you want your tween son to be learning during his first foray into sexual exploration.

So, my advice to you is to have an age-appropriate conversation with your son about porn and the unrealistic version of sex most (and certainly not all) porn depicts. But don’t limit the conversation to porn. If he has his sexual wits about him enough to Google porn, this is a sure sign it’s time for The Sex Talk. If you want this talk to happen at all, don’t lead with, “I found your pornographic search history.”

Initiate certain sex talks about safer-sex, healthy masturbation, consent, and what porn isn’t (real). But other sex talks should be initiated by the tween. Create the space for his initiation of these talks by giving him resources he can use to explore sex and sexuality on his own. Sex: An uncensored guide to your body, sex, and safety, by Nikol Hasler, and Scarleteen.com are my go-to youth sex resources. Follow up often, leaving yourself open to questions and conversations that are low on the shame-scale.•

Yana Tallon-Hicks

Author: Yana Tallon-Hicks

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