• Anthony Dimitrion, LCSW, CCSC

How to Talk to Your Teen About Porn

Updated: Aug 16


Research has found that 94% of teens have viewed pornography, either intentionally or unintentionally, by the age of 14. There is no conclusive evidence finding a correlation between viewing pornography and sexual or physical violence/deviance. As both a clinical sexuality coach and a teen therapist I have spoken with parents who are at a loss when it comes to discovering that their teen has been viewing porn on their phone, tablet, or laptop. Many parents are unsure of how to address the topic of pornography without pings of worry, fear, or even disgust surfacing. Instead, they result to avoidance, anger, or a stumbling explanation with their teen about pornography. Below are some tips for discussing pornography in a productive, healthy, hopefully less awkward, way:


1) Normalize, normalize, normalize!

- First and foremost normalize that having a conversation about pornography--and masturbation by default--is rightfully awkward!

- Normalize that curiosity about other people's bodies and what sex or masturbation may look like is common and understandable.

- Normalize that curiosity about pornography is common and that many individuals have viewed porn at some point in their lifetime.

- Normalize that ALL bodies look different and that no one person's genitals look the same.

- Normalize that masturbation is healthy and normal.


2) Pornography is Acting

- Let your teen know that sex in pornography is just acting and that it is not a realistic version of what sex looks like in reality.

- Explain how porn actors over exaggerate their arousal and movements similar to how soap opera stars over exaggerate their emotions on TV.

- Tell them that the actors in pornography are specifically chosen for their physical looks and genital size/appearance--which are not the average by any means. All bodies are different!


3) Dangers of Unsafe Porn Websites

- Informing them of the dangers of downloading or streaming free pornography (i.e. computer viruses, potentially non-consenting sexual acts, not verified actors, etc.).

- Educating them about the illegality of underage pornography and that sending/receiving nude photos from other students is considered underage pornography in the court of law.


4) Rather than Punish Set a Boundary and Provide Alternatives

- Do not punish your teen for their age-appropriate curiosity. Rather than punish have a conversation about their reasons for using pornography.

- Inform them of your views on pornography and explore together boundaries that can be set regarding pornography use.

- "Porn is not to be viewed on the family computer" or "I know that you're curious about pornography, here are some alternative sites (teen appropriate sexual health websites) that you can view to learn more about sexuality."-- are just two examples of boundaries that can be set as a parent.

- Direct your teen to teen-friendly educational websites to learn more about sexuality such as safeteens.org or teenshealth.org.


5) Respect Privacy

- Respecting closed bedroom or bathroom doors.

- Do not make jokes or poke fun of your teen if you or another family member caught them masturbating or using pornography.


6) Provide space for your teen to ask questions about pornography and sexuality in the future.

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LGBTQ+ Affirmative Therapist in Ridgewood, NJ 07450.