Dear young and teenage boys,
If you’ve seen porn on the Internet or feel pressure to look at porn, this letter is for you.
I’m writing to tell you that you don’t need to look at it.
It isn’t good for you and you have the power to say NO, I WILL NOT PUT THAT STUFF IN MY HEAD.
I know there is an awful lot of pressure on young people to watch porn, to have sex early in your lives and to conform to the odd sexual standards of our society. This is totally unfair to you. It is our responsibility as adults to create a safe environment where you are free to develop in your own way and at your own speed as a sexual person. Many of us are trying to make the world more like this, and I believe that one day we will succeed, probably with your help.
I’m not saying you should stop watching porn because it’s a sin, or it makes you bad, or that sex is gross or dirty – I don’t believe any of those things. I’m saying you shouldn’t watch it because it is a deeply unhealthy representation of sex. By watching porn you absorb distorted ideas about what sex is, what it means to be female and male, and how people should treat each other.
Porn is made by businessmen who want to make BIG MONEY off of us, and they work hard to make their porn videos disturbing and addicting. Most countries in the world do very little to protect children from being exposed to porn. As a result, most of you see it at very young ages (on average 11 for boys and 14 for girls). This means that for a lot of you, watching porn is your first exposure to sex and it becomes your “sex education”.
The incredible majority of the most popular porn on the Internet is violent, and all of it is degrading to women and girls. It is not about love or intimacy or romance or closeness or fun or pleasure (or any of the wonderful things about sex). Porn would like us to believe that hitting or choking or insulting women is sexy. Porn would like us to think women and girls are objects for us to desire and use for our sexual release. I want you to know that this is an ugly distortion of what a healthy sexual relationship should be about.
We are all born wanting close connection with other people and porn is about the exact opposite – domination, humiliation and objectification. Even if you don’t agree with the stuff you see in porn, the more you watch it and masturbate to it, the less bothered by it you will be. We get desensitized to porn over time, because it’s so connected to our pleasure. As a result we can learn to enjoy things that would otherwise really upset us.
It is very easy to get addicted to porn and the only real way not to get addicted to it is to not watch it. You may be under a lot of pressure from your friends to watch porn. There are organizations out there that help youth fight against porn and porn culture, that you can participate in. It might help to organize support around yourself. Who can you talk to about this issue? A parent? A close friend? An adult who you trust?
If you are watching porn or addicted to porn, YOU CAN STOP NOW. The sooner you stop, the easier it will be to quit.
Finally I want to offer some words of encouragement. You are a very good person. If you’ve been watching porn, it’s okay. You shouldn’t be hard on yourself about it, almost all men and boys (with access to computers) are bombarded with pornography and very few of us manage to avoid it. I am proud of you for thinking about this issue and for wanting to do what’s right for yourself and for the world. I believe in you and I encourage you to make a firm decision not to watch pornography. When the time comes for you to start exploring sex, I wish you all the best in discovering your own authentic sexuality.