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Growing Up in a Porn Culture: Harms and Solutions

By October 23, 2020November 10th, 2020Inspirations

Growing Up in a Porn Culture: Harms and Solutions

By: Dr. Gail Dines and Samantha Wechsler

We live in a time where visual languages are the main source of news, entertainment, education, therapy, shopping, political engagement & activism and on. Without realizing it, our consumption of ‘reality’ has mostly been visually visceral, in your face programming.

Naturally, sex has long been the foundation for much of this programming via visual referencing, whether conscious or subliminal. No one or thing has been spared. Products totally unrelated to sex have used sex to sell. And it never fails.

Hyper sexualized media and porn culture stand directly in the way of equality amongst people and empathy for the other. Over time we have seen the advertent ripple effect on several generations at one time. Most societies around the world neglected addressing reproductive health and awareness around the infinite gifts that await a sexually healthy human.

Somewhere down the line the idea of having a society of healthy, sexually liberated and mutually respectful communities went against the plan of materialistic, consumption based economics: if you’re happy and healthy, you won’t need to buy things to fill the void in your being.

As a collective, we have become so accustomed to ‘sex sells’ that we didn’t notice when it became exploitative and degrading. The long term psychological effects of portraying women in a one dimensional way through every channel imaginable has resulted in several generations of youth and adults living distorted, disappointed and dysfunctional sexual relationships with themselves and their peers.

Much unlearning needs to be done.

In our chat with Dr. Gail Dines and Samantha Wechsler, we touched on the impact of the ‘sex sells’ narrative, growing up in a ‘porn culture’ and some of the solutions. The overall take away is that on an individual society as well as within the collective, we have to nip ‘the sex talk’ in the bud.

We must be willing to educate children about porn culture and its dangers:
Some things parents need to know:

  • What porn really is?
  • Why it matters
  • When they should talk to their kids about it
  • How to talk to their kids about it.

Samantha Wechsler and her organisation ‘Culture Reframed’ work with empowering educators, activists, mental health, medical and legal specialists, community leaders, parent groups and youth & family advocates.

They have this to share about talking to your kids about porn, especially in a situation where you think they may have already been exposed to it :

C – is for Calm. Don’t panic! Collect your thoughts before engaging in conversation with your child. Don’t react right away.
O – is for Ownership. Take Control, stay engaged and clarify details. Find out if anyone else was involved and assess the risks.
M – is for Mood. Explore how this has impacted your child. Let them know their feelings are a normal reaction rather than anything to be ashamed about.
P – is for Parent. Be the parent your child can feel both supported by and safe with. This will provide a comfortable space for your child to ask questions.
O – is for Override. The porn industry has created this situation and you can override its power with positive tins and empathic listening.
S – is for Strategy. Keep a cool head and work on a long-term plan rather than panicking or acting in the moment. Seek professional help if needed.
E – is for Evaluate. Check in with your child regularly. Help them to develop the skills they will need to make healthy decisions and be clear that you will parent and partner with them.

Often, by the time your child is exposed to potentially harmful visual stimuli, powerful references and connections have started to form in the young mind. Starting early, being open to their curiosities and doing your own unlearning while being there for your kids will ensure we have future generations of secure, sexually healthy and empathetic youth.

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