Sex Talk

I caught my child watching porn. How do I talk to them about it?

Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng answers your sex questions

11 November 2018 - 00:00


Q. I recently came across my 11-year-old daughter watching porn. How do I talk about this without alienating or frightening her?
A. Young people are naturally curious about sex and relationships and may view pornography for sexual arousal, out of curiosity, or to find out more about sex.
Pornography can influence young people's attitudes to sex, sexual preferences, ability to negotiate sex, expectations of sexual partners and relationships. The main concerns with some genres of pornography is that they normalise violence, coercion and minimise mutual consent.
Depending on your own views, experiences about pornography will inform your reaction. For many parents, these moments of finding evidence of sexual content can be confrontational, shaming and problematise inquisitiveness. Instead, plan the conversation. Maybe use a movie, TV programme, advert or a website with tools to start the conversation or to help you explain your concerns and why you'd prefer your child not to watch porn.
Allow them to ask questions and to answer them as honestly and openly as you can. You could mention that some people choose to take part in making pornography and some are being paid.
You might want to also get details about what they have explored regarding their own sexuality and assess if there is pressure on them to have sex and support them accordingly.
The idea is that by the time your child is a teen, you have developed a healthy way of talking about sexuality, consent and relationships. Assisting young people with cyber erotic intelligence is not an option, it is an important part of sexuality education that should be comprehensive enough to enable them to make better decisions.
• Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng (MBChB), sexual and reproductive health practice, Disa Clinic, safersex.co.za. Do you have a question about sex?
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