Talking Porn With Our Teens Benefits Everyone

Sex education has to do with what’s in people’s head. ~Donna Shalala

I recently came across this TEDxTalk by public health researcher and advocate, Emily Rothman. I watched it a couple of times while fully digesting the power of what she was advocating: use porn as a pretext/context to have discussions with teens about healthy sexual relationships.

Funny how the universe drops these things into one’s lap…

Freelance writer, comedian, and Media Fellow at TEDx, Daniella Balarezo , brilliantly summarizes, Rothman’s TEDMED talk and attempts to deconstruct five deep misconceptions about pornography held through the eyes of its young audience.

As I read Balarezo’s piece and rewatched Rothman’s presentation, I found myself entering a state of ‘duh’. As in, duh, this makes perfect sense. This all seems like a no-brainer. But why, late in 2019, are we still struggling with difficult conversations about sexual health and relationships with our teens? Why are we so debilitated about having regular discussions with our teens about porn when we know that they are watching it? What will it take to start the conversation?

My spouse and I have been having these awkward conversations with all three of our children, modifying it for age appropriateness (ages range from 8-16 years) for at least a half dozen years. And while the words we use with each child may slightly differ due to age, the message is always the same: We love you and we want you to be safe, happy, and healthy adults. We are here for you to talk about anything. Always.

I recognize that it takes immense courage, trust, and connection to have those uncomfortable, and at times, graceless conversations with our kids, because if we don’t…

JY

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