We Must Teach Our Sons to Take Breaks From Internet Porn During Masturbation

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[Post by physician mom]

Yesterday I talked to my teenaged son about when it is OK and when it is not OK to use internet porn during masturbation. He was grateful and relieved to learn the science about this and to know what he needed to do to protect his future sex life. He thanked me and gave me a hug. I gave myself an F for waiting on this because I have been too busy writing a book on human sexuality…

Boys, Masturbation and Internet Porn

Boys after about 13 years of age usually masturbate daily. If they are anywhere near the internet (smart phone, tablets, family computer or friends) they are using internet porn during this masturbation. Most boys realize their parents have no idea they are doing this and feel tremendous shame and guilt, not necessarily about masturbation but about the frequency of it and the porn involvement.

I have always been open about masturbation as being a normal process, including leaving our Pre-Seed lubricant in bathroom cabinets for the boys, keeping a stash of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit editions or Victoria Secret catalogues “on hand” in the bathrooms for the guys and always knocking when I entered their bedrooms.

We knew our older boys occasionally watched porn as a search of the computer history showed, but we always kept computers in public places (even laptops) and we had parental controls on our devices (not an easy thing when you are a Reproductive Physiologist).

But I blinked, and with the age differences between sons technology changed. This son has a smart phone… All our kids know any device they own is open for our review any time we want. When I finally got around to checking his phone travels I knew we needed to talk. And I knew what I wanted him to know.

How to talk to your sons

Here is the blue print for this conversation you can borrow to create one of your own.

  1. Find a time with just one son at a time with both parents in the home (if appropriate). My son’s step-dad was present for ours, but my son adores him.
  2. Bring it up while doing a task that doesn’t involve eye contact, but that is mindless. Men evolved to speak while walking and hunting or scouting – they speak more freely with less eye contact. Folding socks, raking the yard, frosting cookies…all good tasks for porn talk.
  3. Impart the following information, but offer pauses where they can speak or ask questions if they want.
  4. Let them know you just read some interesting information about porn use and how it impacts teenager’s sexual and brain development. Also speak in a way that lets him know you understand he is probably using porn during masturbation like most teenaged boys in America (one researcher tried to find porn virgins at a college campus for a study and could NOT).
  5. DO NOT ask if he is using porn or place any judgment around the conversation. Your goal is to inform him so he can make the best choices possible for his developing sexuality. You want him to listen and not to have to lie or be defensive.
  6. Separate masturbation from pornography. If you are a teen boy in America right now they are synonymous. A major goal for you will be to decouple these two things in his life and brain. Tell him it is normal for young men to masturbate frequently, even daily. Even at our house and with all the sex talk we have, my son still thought he was some kind of an addict because of the frequency of this in his life. “Normal as can be.” I assured him!
  7. Explain that using porn all the time to masturbate is dangerous for his future sexuality in the following ways:
    1. His body will fall into the habit of needing to see the porn images to become aroused and to ejaculate. This may limit his ability to respond to real women and partners later in life. He may later NEED porn to become turned on. This will decrease and limit his sexual enjoyment later in life.
    2. Erectile dysfunction in younger men who watch a lot of porn is common, as are Condom Associated Erection Problems. Most guys only use a condom during real sex…soon real sex and condoms become a turn off for these guys.
    3. His sensations during arousal and ejaculation will become heavily skewed towards vision and sound and less towards touch, which may make him less fulfilled by real sex later. That is not what you want for him. In fact, you want him to have amazing sex as an adult!
    4. The sex in porn isn’t real, it isn’t how women like to be touched and it isn’t how men perform. Reading about true female anatomy and eroticism can be sexy and fuel for his fantasies. Use some of his self pleasuring energy to learn about real sex and sexuality. He should also use his time alone to sense what he likes physically, to feel sensations in his body, and to imagine what he would enjoy with a real partner, or to relive scenarios in his imagination if he has become sexual.
    5. Science suggests that true addiction in a biochemical sense can occur from porn viewing masturbation versus good old “spanking the monkey,” which leads to some very real life impacts. It isn’t the masturbation, it is the habitual porn viewing and quick gratification, that causes the addiction.
  8. I wanted my son to also know that later as he grew older and had partners, if he didn’t wait at least sometimes for sex with his partner, constant self gratification by himself would lessen his enjoyment of partnered sex and take away from what he could find with another person. Anticipation can be hot!

Why breaks from porn during masturbation are important

If no one tells our sons to balance their masturbation with different types of imagery and sensory input, how will they know of the potential risks?

If we pretend internet porn with unlimited variety and quantities of content is just like dad’s Playboy, we are deluding ourselves. Our boys deserve better! I am glad I finally roused myself enough to remember that joking about sex now and then is not the same as having an informative parenting talk with actual solutions. Our suggestion: turn the porn off half the time or more. Our contribution to this goal: A new rule– your phone stays plugged into the kitchen island at night – it will be better for your sleep and better for your future love life!

To learn more check out: http://yourbrainonporn.com/porn-then-and-now-welcome-to-brain-training. I also thought that the movie Don Jon was a pretty good take on this subject!

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