Your Daughter Will Be Influenced By Porn

Mothers — Perhaps It’s Time To Talk About It?

As a proactive and open-minded mother, I am sure you are eager to help your daughter in whatever difficulties she faces. You may already have had conversations about menstruation, hygiene, body image, and sex. But have you talked with your daughter about pornography?

If you are like other Mums I have spoken to, you may feel this is not necessary because:

  • My daughter is too young — she would not have seen porn yet, so she wouldn’t know what I am talking about
  • My daughter can distinguish between the fabricated world of porn and reality and won’t be influenced by what she sees
  • My daughter is strong and won’t let anyone pressure her into things she doesn’t want.

Let me provide you with the research that busts these myths.

She Is Not Too Young

The research indicates that the average child encounters porn at around 11 years old.[i]. If your daughter has a phone and engages with the internet, then it is likely she has seen porn in some form, even if by mistake. It can pop up in ads on the most innocent of apps. And “soft porn” is rife in mainstream media, such as music videos and in song lyrics that they may be singing along to every day. Here’s one from Usher (from the song Yea)

If you hold the head steady, Imma milk the cow. (yea)

Forget the game, Ima spit the truth,

I won’t stop till I get em in their Birthday Suits.

So gimmie the rhythm, and I’ll be off with their clothes,

then bend over to the front and touch your toes.

Here is another by a modern feminist hero Doja Cat:

Tell me what’s your kink, gimme the dick

Spank me, slap me, choke me, bite me (ew)

Uh, wait, I can take it (ah)

Give a f**k ‘bout what your wifey’s sayin’ (yeah)

Like most mothers, I had convinced myself that my 11-year-old daughter had not encountered porn before. Then I heard her singing along to these songs. When I mentioned porn to her directly, I also found out that the boys in her class talk about it. Seeing porn appears to be a status symbol amongst kids, and so they are happy to brag about it to their friends.

So, even if your daughter has not seen it yet, her friends may be talking about it. How is she supposed to respond if she is not informed on the topic? It is likely she will be swept up in the crowd and come to think that porn is something forbidden, cool and therefore attractive. In reality, though, porn is nothing but readily accessible violence against women.

If you have not seen porn for a while, it is a far cry from the Playboy centrefolds. The latest trend in porn is Gonzo porn, also known as hardcore. It depicts women being debased, dehumanised and physically tortured.[ii]. And don’t think that access is restricted to such sexual violence. With a simple google search, your children can view women being treated as sexual slaves, with no regard for their physical or emotional wellbeing. Just one search and one click, and your children are in a world of justified cruelty — brutality that becomes linked with sexual pleasure. The government is working on age verification to view this content. But while this is in progress, these images are readily available to anyone — including your 11-year-old!

She May Not Distinguish

You may think that our children should distinguish between the fantasy that porn portrays and the reality of healthy sexual relations. Unfortunately, you would be wrong. Around 44% of males and 29% of females report wanting to act out what they see in porn.[iii]. So there is a significant chance your daughter may be the one in three girls who would like to experience what they see on the screen, and this is nothing short of violence and cruelty.

Research has shown that nearly 90% of all scenes in the top-50 porn films contained at least one aggressive act, being either physical or verbal abuse. Physical abuse such as gagging and slapping occurred in 88% of scenes, and the use of derogatory names was found in 48% of scenes. There were on average 12 acts of violence per scene in these top renting films. There was no resistance to the abuse shown in the films. Instead, victims of the violence displayed pleasure or responded neutrally to the cruelty.[iv].

She Will Feel Pressured

Even if your daughter does not want to act out porn scenes, the boy she may end up with might. Almost half of the boys want to act out things they have seen in porn, and in porn, there is no regard for the woman’s physical or mental health — there are purely there for the men’s satisfaction and act openly as sexual slaves. It is these images that she may be pressured to replicate with her boyfriend and be put in a situation that could be harmful to her physically and psychologically.

And while I understand that you may think your daughter is independent enough not to succumb to this pressure, the research presents a different picture. Three-quarters of young women say that pornography increases pressure on them to act a certain way and increases their level of insecurity in intimate relationships.[v]. Around 70% of teenage boys admit that pornography has had a damaging impact on their view of sex and relationships.[vi].

She Will Be Influenced By Porn

It is time to take the blinkers off. Pornography is now or will impact her sexuality and her physical relationships in the future. By the time they reach adolescence, 93% of boys and 62% of girls are regularly exposed to pornographic images[vii]. If she is not viewing porn regularly, then the boys she hangs around certainly are.

Therefore, it is inevitable that your daughter’s life and relationships will be impacted by porn in some way. Here’s how:

  • She may view boys who brag about seeing porn as brave and cool
  • Pornography is showing her that submission and violence are normal parts of sexual relationships
  • Pornography shows her that her pleasure and safety do not matter — it is all about satisfying the man.
  • Pornography is showing her that she is a sexual object, to be used, not respected.
  • She may be directly asked to replicate scenes from porn that include physical and verbal violence.
  • Her boyfriends desire to act out porn scenes may impact her sense of security and safety.
  • Her own or her boyfriend’s exposure to violent porn may escalate his preferences to even more violent and bizarre sexual practices, placing her in increasing danger.

Keeping Our Girls Safe

Our educators are doing a courageous job arming our children with skills around digital literacy and emotional literacy so that they can stay safe in personal and online relationships. However, as yet, there is no national curriculum that includes porn literacy. This is alarming given that it is acknowledged that:

  • Porn has become the default sexual education for our children and
  • The government acknowledges pornography contributes to harmful sexual behaviours and reinforces stereotyped attitudes among children and young people.[viii]

It is evident that we need porn literacy.[ix].

The world literacy means:

having competence and knowledge in something.

Porn literacy then is viewing porn as an informed consumer and understanding that it does not represent healthy or respectful relationships. Just like we teach our children the dangers of drugs, porn literacy provides our children with knowledge about the harm that porn can cause. It helps them understand that it can damage their levels of respect for themselves, women generally, and their ability to have happy intimate relationships. Porn literacy is not aimed at stopping people from viewing porn, nor is it there to judge people who view it. It is there to counterbalance the harmful normalisation of violence and perpetuation of negative gender stereotypes. It brings out in the open discussions about the fabricated and exploitative nature of porn. It provides a real opportunity to make our kids smarter about what they consume. With knowledge comes power, and porn literacy can give our children the power to create positive sexual relationships.

And in the absence of institutional programs, it is up to us as mothers to educate our daughters about the dangers of porn and empower them to make choices that keep them safe and healthy.

Thank goodness there are so many leaders in the field able to help us with this. Fantastic resources are available through:

My heartfelt thanks go out to all the people who have invested time, energy and courage to help us have the conversations that can change lives and keep our daughters safe.

I collect information about these amazing people and their work on my Leaders page at Porn-Ed. Head over to this page to keep up to date on all the great work being done out there.

Empowering Our Girls

I think you would agree that our girls are pretty damn smart. Our role is to provide the tools and the opportunity to allow them to use their smarts to make this world a better place. Porn literacy is a tool that we can use to allow our daughters to think critically about what the images they see are saying about women, men and sexuality. It gives them the ability to question the sex education they are receiving from porn and how this may negatively impact their sexuality and relationships. Opening the door to have honest conversations with your daughter about porn can change their lives and relationships for the better and set the foundation for a new generation of empowered women.

[i] Havey, A., Puccio, D., & Thomas, K. S. (2017). Sex, Likes and Social Media: Talking to Our Teens in the Digital Age. Vermilion. Page 94.

[ii] Dines, G. (2011). Portland: How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality (1st ed.). Beacon Press.

[iii] Lis, L. (2020). No Shame: Real Talk With Your Kids About Sex, Self-Confidence, and Healthy Relationships. Page 151.

[iv] Bridges, A. J., Wosnitzer, R., Scharrer, E., Sun, C., & Liberman, R. (2010). Aggression and Sexual Behavior in Best-Selling Pornography Videos: A Content Analysis Update. Violence Against Women, 16(10), 1065–1085. https://doi.org/10.1177/1077801210382866

[v] Havey, A., Puccio, D., & Thomas, K. S. (2017). Sex, Likes and Social Media: Talking to Our Teens in the Digital Age. Vermilion. Page 102.

[vi] Havey, A., Puccio, D., & Thomas, K. S. (2017). Sex, Likes and Social Media: Talking to Our Teens in the Digital Age. Vermilion. Page 94.

[vii] Lis, L. (2020). No Shame: Real Talk With Your Kids About Sex, Self-Confidence, and Healthy Relationships. Page 151

[viii] The National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children 2022–2032 (The National Plan)

[ix] Teaching Porn Literacy. (2021). American Psychological Association. Retrieved January 26, 2021, from https://www.apa.org/monitor/2021/03/teaching-porn-literacy

Originally published at http://porn-ed.org on February 20, 2022.

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