Disclaimer: This post is a bit different than usual but it hits to the heart of why this blog exists. Thank you for understanding.
Yesterday my 10-year-old son asked me what pornography is. Honestly, I thought he knew. I talk about it a lot when I speak and in podcasts and videos. I was surprised at his question but I answered him. I told him what porn is and why we avoid it.
I told him that it affects your brain like drugs and causes your synapses to stop firing properly. I told him that what you see sticks in your mind and imprints as a template for what you prefer sexually. I explained, also, that the pornography industry is well known for abuse and sex trafficking. I told him EVERYTHING. Even though he’s only 10. Why did I tell him these things?
First, because he asked. If we don’t take advantage of our kids’ curiosity we miss a chance to help them learn in a way that they’ll never forget. What’s worse is when we say “Ill tell you when you’re older” so they go find another way to learn about it now. Then we find out they googled “porn” or asked a friend about it and we come down on them. We get scared and explode at them and the shame cycle begins.
I know this cycle well. That’s the second reason I told him the whole truth. I was 10 when my friend’s older brother brought in a VHS tape and said: “You guys HAVE to check this out.” From then on it was years of seeking out scrambled HBO or Cinemax. Sneaking up to the living room late at night to try and find something online to meet the insatiable appetite. Years of shame, of hiding, of never being satisfied. I was getting more broken with every video and every image. My mind was fracturing and I was losing who I was.
When I was 18 I got busted. A super high phone bill (because that’s how the internet used to work) caused my mom to ask questions and I told her the truth. I told her I couldn’t sleep at night until I had “fed the beast.” That’s what it was like for me. I couldn’t function until that urge was given a release. She took away the computer and I started digging into scripture. I would read a verse and then write eight to ten pages about how it could apply to my life. I would dig into word meanings and unpack the context so I could fully understand what The Word said about who I am. That new habit changed me.
Fast forward four or so years and now I am married. This is the third reason I am not shy to talk to my kids about sexuality and pornography. I married the most pure and righteous woman I’ve ever met. She had been taught to be pure and guard her heart while I was watching adult videos in secret. We are an incredible match but our intimacy wasn’t a match made in heaven. Imagine the confusion that comes from the two different ideas we had about sex. My mind was still wrecked from the fictional, abusive things I had seen. I had no clue how to respect and honor my wife in our intimacy. It has taken ten years to work all of it out and issues still surprise us every now and then.
Our society isn’t afraid of sex. The culture your kids live in isn’t waiting for them to “come of age” before teaching them their truth about sexuality. The church isn’t helping. They’re too scared to speak up because people get uncomfortable. I fielded many frustrated parents when we, as a youth ministry, would try and teach healthy attitudes about relationships and sexuality. Moms and Dads HAVE to educate their kids and let them know how to understand purity, not as the absence of desire or sex, not as a discomfort with their body and what it needs, but as a healthy knowledge of why God created sex and in what context it can contribute to the overall wholeness of who you are and the relationship you have with your spouse.
Share this to spread the word and if you feel the need to discuss this more, feel free to comment or send me an email. Let’s get this thing right. Let’s raise children who are less broken than we were.