Doing Life Together

fatigued-1822678_1280Most parents don’t think their kids are watching porn. However, a 2016 Indiana University study did a preliminary analysis of data of more than 600 pairs of children and their parents. The results indicated that parents are naive when it comes to porn viewing by their children. Their kids have seen porn more than they thought.  It is clear that by the time kids enter college, they have been exposed to porn multiple times.

Porn is not relegated to Internet sites alone. Kids hear it in music all the time. Rihanna’s song “S&M” includes the lyrics that “chains and whips excite her” and promotes rough sex.  Books and movies like “Fifty Shades of Grey” also promote aggression and S&M. Saturating kids with images and music related to rough sex practices and porn has been shown to lead to some kids to engage in sex earlier than those not exposed and create intimacy problems in later relationships. Watching and listening to porn is not benign.

Several studies that have concluded the following and can be used as talking points with your children: Porn ….

  •  makes the idea of multiple partners and cheating more appealing.
  •  creates unrealistic expectations.
  • can be habit-forming. People who view porn often have trouble stopping. While the debate rages as to the whether porn viewing is a true addiction, many people feel they can’t stop once they start viewing.
  • is discovered and  partners feel betrayed, fearful and anxious. Porn erodes trust, a foundation of healthy relationships.
  • disrupts emotional intimacy which impacts the sexual relationship in important ways.
  • teaches people to objectify others.
  • can change and rewire your brain and affect your sexual tastes
  • can be related to problems with arousal, attraction, and sexual performance.

On the other hand,

  • Porn free relationships are more committed as you are not always thinking about other sexual possibilities. Those who didn’t view porn had lower levels of negative communication, were more committed to their relationships and more satisfied sexually, and better adjusted in their relationships
  • Porn free relationships are stronger. Those who  never viewed porn had lower rates of infidelity.

If you know anyone with a porn problem, you don’t need studies to tell you the damage that porn can do to a relationship. The message here is that your kids have mostly likely been exposed to porn, so talk to them about the impact this can have. Discuss music lyrics and movies that distort healthy relationships. Review the evidence regarding the destructive nature of porn on their brains and how porn viewing will impact future intimacy.




Maddox, Amanda, Galena K, Rhoades, and Howard J.Markman,” Viewing Sexually-Explicit Materials Alone and Together: Associations with Relationship Quality,” Archives of Sexual Behavior (April 2011), 40, no. 2, 441-448.

Lambert, Nathaniel M. and Sesen Negash, Tyler F.Stillman, Spencer B. Olmstead, and Frank M. Fincham, “A Love That Doesn’t Last: Pornography Consumption and Weakened Commitment to One’s Romantic Partner,” Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology(2012), vol.31, no.4, 410-438.


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