Do you remember the first time you were exposed to pornography? Was it as a child?
This is a topic I’ve rarely discussed, but as I get deeper into coaching, I’ve discovered the critical importance of coming to terms and understanding when our exposure to pornography began and how it impacts our lives.
I’ll use myself as an example:
My first exposure to pornography was when I was around 7 years old. I distinctly remember it. My parents were busy professionals and frequently left us in the care of older cousins in their teens. One of these cousins lived with us.
One day, while playing hide and seek with my sisters, I hid under the bed in my cousins room. There I found a comic book that was pornographic in nature. I was shocked by what I saw, but also strangely thrilled by the images. Instinctively, I knew it wasn’t something that I should have been looking at.
Those images- till today, have never left my mind. They formed an indelible, permanent mark on my memory.
Its easy to get exposed to porn as a child
That incident happened over twenty years ago. Long before easily accessible internet, smartphones and tablets. Yet, it wasn’t too hard to get exposed to pornography.
There are two main ways you were exposed to pornography as a child:
a) Your Parents porn stash
This is fairly common. I was 13 when I found my father porn stash under his bed, and learned to masturbate. I would “borrow” his magazines over and over again.
b) Exposure by a family member or friend
Another common occurrence. Playboy magazines were passed around in high school. I eventually accumulated a small stash of my own.
Everyone has a different reaction to pornography the first time we are exposed to it. For some of us its exciting and stimulating, while for others, it can be shocking and confusing.
Which was it for you? Let me know in the comment section.
Your age also plays a huge role in your reaction. You are more likely to feel stimulated and excited in your teens than when you are, for instance, 6 years old.
Similarly, your religion, family values and society play a role as well. I’ve seen conservative men who, while they were teenagers, were shocked at porn and even reported what they saw to their parents. Growing up in a family that is open minded and promotes open communication also has an impact, as a parents reaction to finding out you have been exposed to porn has a severe impact in your future interaction with it.
In my case, my mother once decided that she was done with my room being a dump, and took it upon herself to thoroughly clean it up-whether I liked it or not. Much to my chagrin, she went through EVERYTHING. I was 14 years old.
Inevitably, she discovered my collection of Playboy magazine and informed me that this offence was so egregious that only my father could handle it. Now, my father was a busy man and sometimes found it easier to use a belt to get his message across. I was terrified of a beating, and my mother knew this. The next two days were the longest two days in my teenage memory, as I sat waiting to hear my Fathers booming voice calling for me.
Fortunately, my mother never reported this incident and I was spared a beating. She gave me back the magazines and told me to throw them away. I can’t remember what I did with them, but I believe I still hid my favorite one.
That incident didn’t stop me from looking for porn or masturbating, in fact, it seared into my mind the fact that looking at naked women was “bad”, there was punishment for it, and made me feel guilt and shame whenever I masturbated- which was pretty much everyday for the next twenty years.
How You Used Porn As a Child:
To understand your current struggle with porn, its important to identify WHY you used porn as a child.
There are 4 main reasons:
To learn about Sex:
I remember being in high school talking about sex with a group of friends and laughing my ass off when one of the more popular guys who claimed to have plenty of sex stated that the penis never fully entered the vagina.Only the head did.
This was hilarious, because back in the days of magazines, full penetration was never shown- on the head of a penis in a vagina, and the rest of the penetration was left to the viewers imagination.
Its an incident that illustrates just how misguided we can be about sex. Mind you, the guy who made this assertion was a 17 year old straight A student. We all knew from the images in our biology books that a penis was fully capable of penetrating a vagina fully- yet the image from pornography had replaced the biological reality that he KNEW.
Thats how powerful pornography is.
Even today, grown ass men I have conversations with have NO idea what the average statistics on sex are.
Here are a few:
a) Most female porn stars have had genital cosmetic surgery performed to look “aesthetic”
b) 90 % of female porn stars have breast implants
c) 100% of stars in pornographic or men’s magazines have been enhanced via Photoshop.
d) The average mans penis (regardless of race is 5.8 inches) and the average male pornstars penis is 8 inches,
e) Majority of pornography sets have hardcore drugs available to numb the pain of multiple takes
f) 95% of all male porn stars take performance enhancing pills like Cialis, Viagra and Levitra* to name a few.
*For the curious- while these drugs to work, they are pharmaceutical grade medication with side effects and dependence.
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To Belong to a group
For many men, you were never “cool” till you were accepted into a group and sometimes that involved looking at porn. Usually, when guys view porn together, it isn’t about sexual stimulation- its more about bonding and doing an activity together.
Sexual permission and pleasure
We all experience sexual urges, but unfortunately, live in a culture that doesn’t encourage open discourse about it. Pornography for a child is usually the only place where it is “okay” to be sexual. The only place where sexual freedom is uninhibited. The only place where we learn how to be o.k with sex.
This is the main reason why I am not anti-pornography. Pornography serves its purpose. Unfortunately, porn doesn’t have an end point. There is no porn scene in history where the actors stopped, turned to the camera and said “Yeah, we masturbated- but kid’s, this isn’t something you should do all the time”. Neither has there ever been a scene where the a disclaimer popped up and stated: “ Putting your penis in a strange woman’s anus without protection and then putting it in her mouth has consequences.”
That is where the porn problem begins
Coping with stress
TV, video games, reading and porn have been great ways for kids to escape or handle emotional stress. Unfortunately, of the four, pornography has the most impact on our brain chemistry and alters out mental state more effectively than others. As a result, its easy to get addicted to it.
The bottom line is that there are many reasons to use pornography as a child.Some children outgrow their needs for pornography as they fill those need with other things, while some build a dependent relationship with pornography which continues well into adulthood and has an incredibly long lasting effect on their sexuality and psycology.
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