February 7, 2018

"Porn Literacy, which began in 2016 and is the focus of a pilot study, was created in part by Emily Rothman, an associate professor at Boston University’s School of Public Health..."

"... who has conducted several studies on dating violence, as well as on porn use by adolescents. She told me that the curriculum isn’t designed to scare kids into believing porn is addictive, or that it will ruin their lives and relationships and warp their libidos. Instead it is grounded in the reality that most adolescents do see porn and takes the approach that teaching them to analyze its messages is far more effective than simply wishing our children could live in a porn-free world."

From "What Teenagers Are Learning From Online Porn/American adolescents watch much more pornography than their parents know — and it’s shaping their ideas about pleasure, power and intimacy. Can they be taught to see it more critically?" by Maggie Jones in the NYT.

111 comments:

Bad Lieutenant said...

Took you long enough!

rhhardin said...

I don't think there's a message.

madAsHell said...

Can they be taught to see it more critically?

You try thinking critically when your dick is harder than Chinese arithmetic!!

rhhardin said...

Women's porn doesn't have the guy unfurling his manhood until the middle of the book. Maybe that's the message's space.

Guys watch only seven minutes of their porn. The pizza delivery guy's dialogue doesn't figure in.

rhhardin said...

When I was a kid all we had was tit pictures.

No message then either, though.

rhhardin said...

The message to women ought to be that guys don't care about your pussy specifically. Any pussy will do.

Try to make yourself interesting in some other way too if you want a relationship.

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

What a useless article. And what's to be gained by it? In a society that promotes something as ridiculous as "abstinence-only education" apparently kids will seek out sexual depictions to view. This is a surprise? All I got from that article is that she's offended by certain acts. Our progress toward a sexless or more sex-shamed society is apparently stalled. Put more shame in the sex, maybe that will help.

I remember when you used to post/link to articles that were actually interesting and had a point.

YoungHegelian said...

Let's hope said teenagers don't watch the Thor movies & think that one of the hammers in daddy's tool box is Mjolnir.

Why would anyone ever think that porn is true to life as opposed to any other sort of movie? Do teenagers look around & not notice that the girls & boys around them don't look like porn stars?

I think if modern youngsters are seeing lots of verisimilitude in porn, it's their brains not their naughty bits we gotta worry about.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

We had a drinking game at the Lawyers Club in Ann Arbor back in the 1908s. Someone would read a letter from Penthouse Forum, and the players would buzz in as soon as the letter entered fantasy land. That could be repackaged for high school, teaching both porn literacy and the safe consumption of alcohol.

Ann Althouse said...

Bad Lieutenant said..."Took you long enough!"

What is that supposed to mean?

I don't like when the first comment is negative and it also doesn't make sense.

I didn't delete you, but I am asking you to explain. Are you being funny in some way?

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Analyze the messages. I think that means "accept our analysis of the messages." So now they want to direct our fantasies. Not intrusive or anything.

Ann Althouse said...

"Women's porn doesn't have the guy unfurling his manhood until the middle of the book. Maybe that's the message's space. Guys watch only seven minutes of their porn. The pizza delivery guy's dialogue doesn't figure in."

The article is about 13 and 14 year olds looking at hard core pornography and what adults should do about it. That's the topic. The idea is to teach critical thinking. I'd like to see some discussion of this and not just general ideas about porn or jokes about porn.

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

The article is about 13 and 14 year olds looking at hard core pornography and what adults should do about it.

The answer is obvious and buried in previous few lines in the article itself: Stop teaching the canard of "abstinence-only education."

Most 13 and 14 year olds are sexually mature - physically speaking at least, which is all Darwin cares about. And what constitutes "hard core" pornography anyway? I realize parents get embarrassed about their kids sex lives, that's life. People don't want to hear/know too much about their relatives' sex lives. But to have a healthy relationship with your kids and what they do, you have to be able to have honest discussions that aren't about the perversions known as promise rings and purity balls. And you have to stop projecting your own discomfort onto what your kids do.

Like other anti-darwinian efforts, this neo-Victorianism is just as bound to fail as it always was.

Anonymous said...

I believe the Lt's comment was meant in jest.

Too bad that the same approach isn't taken in teaching our 2A rights.

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

Precious* not previous.

Anonymous said...

I believe the Lt's comment was meant in jest.

Too bad that the same approach isn't taken in teaching our 2A rights.

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

Too bad that the same approach isn't taken in teaching our 2A rights.

Lol! Abstinence-only 2nd amendment education.

Now there's an idea!

Anonymous said...

TTR:
I have no idea what you are on about. Don't assume I've intentionally read anything you've written, in say, the past 8 years.

That's about the time you turned into the Unabomber - without having his literary chops or critical reasoning skills.

Namaste

madAsHell said...

I'd like to see some discussion of this and not just general ideas about porn or jokes about porn.

Wait, wut???

OK....Does it surprise me that a woman thinks she can create a dialogue of critical thinking amongst post-puberty boys?

There!! FIFY, but It was funnier as a dick joke.

Bad Lieutenant said...

I didn't delete you, but I am asking you to explain. Are you being funny in some way?

I beg your pardon. Yes, I kind of was, but if you have to explain, it isn't funny. Still, I presume you insist, so..

Erm, this was back to our anatomy seminar. Let me know if you need to be reminded about that... Anyhoo, I was reflecting here that you had been chewing that one over and had been led by some other source to delve into pr0n studies, which is how I envision you treating such a matter.

You would not ordinarily watch (I despise "consume" for media) adult entertainment for the sake of whatever libido you have or admit to, but you would allow yourself these rubrics to view it: as art; as intellectual/educational fodder; or as nostalgie de la boue.

So I figured you finally found yourself a hook! Ha ha ha! Maybe if you have a glass of wine and jill off a few times, or stir up Meade with something he can admit to liking (ticklish!), you'll relax and be fit for human company. Go nuts!

So if you need an excuse, especially to open up to sexual modalities outside your comfort zone, this seems to cover all the angles. It's the lawyer in you. Well, hopefully in this case, it's the gardener in you, but I'm sure you understand.

If you haven't figured it out, we think you're really uptight. Nttawwt.

On the topic of the post... I suppose it could be interesting and valuable if done well. Colleges doing sex stuff in my experience... Meh. But there's always a chance. It sure is true that we have passed the porn singularity.

I'll invite Ritmo to charge in here...

Bay Area Guy said...

Because, Yes, when I think of porn, I really, really, really want validation from the NYTimes!

Bad Lieutenant said...

Oh, Ritmo, didn't know you were here. Be a good chat and stop fighting with the people and back me up on this.

Bad Lieutenant said...

To tie it in, Aziz Ansari definitely could have benefited from taking such a class.

AlbertAnonymous said...

Didn’t take long to jump to the “stop teaching abstinence only” BS

Always the answer given because “what can you do” kids are gonna look at it anyway...

Maybe the point is that we SHOULD teach abstinence (and why) instead of giving up and teaching so-called “safe sex”. Clearly that’s working...

Bad Lieutenant said...

Well, she did announce to the world that she really likes taking her man into her mouth... That's big of her to take the marital bed and share, no?

You keep saying that, and apparently I missed it.

madAsHell said...

If you haven't figured it out, we think you're really uptight. Nttawwt.

Kindly review the first rule of holes.

Ann Althouse said...

@Bad Lieutenant

You seem to be off in a world of your own. This post is about an approach to teaching young teenagers to look critically at porn. So what would "took you long enough" refer to. It seems to be criticizing me for not noticing this teaching program until now.

If you're actually making personal remarks about me in relation to porn, it's very rude and especially bad as the first comment. I'm trying to start a discussion about something interesting, so your contribution is trolling.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Mah -quite. I have poisoned the well. I am Soylent yellow.

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

If only Livermoron got a life and a sense of humor, the world would have one less humorless loser.

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

Let me read more of what's going on in the BL dust-up. (Was away from the thread dealing with drama). I'm sure he meant well but if Ann A. thought she was treated rudely then it is her shop and it's possible something unnecessarily, slightly unkind was said, or could have been rephrased. I'll read more and try to conciliate but obviously the boss can make her own rules. I know when I've upset Meade in the past I've tried to accommodate and figure out what I did wrong and could have done differently. Just because it's hard to anticipate what's going to upset someone doesn't mean they're wrong or that you can't figure out how they might have legitimately become upset. Two perspectives can both be true.

Hagar said...

The only way you teach young people anything is by setting an example.

Michael K said...

The idea is to teach critical thinking. I'd like to see some discussion of this and not just general ideas about porn or jokes about porn.

If you expect the NYT to teach critical thinking you have a problem I can't help with.

There is a serious issue here in the teenagers are getting unrealistic ideas about bodies and about what is normal sex.

I don't know how you turn this around once the cat, so to speak, is out of the bag,

Religions are not much help as they are going full on PC. Tough problem.

Greg Hlatky said...

Sex education nowadays seems to be teachers banging their students.

D said...

I wouldnt want to be a parent of a teen and have to explain to the kids grandmother the ease of access that the kid has to online porn, and the degree of evident surrender that the current parenting generation has succumbed to.
Because if there is one fact I know: the Boomers sure know hella better than any thirty or forty something. Trust me!

Less glibly, shouldnt the first idea not be about "teaching" but be about "showing by example?" What if you showed, by your actions, to the next generation, that a joyous and meaningful sexual life can be built on a foundation of a trusting and caring monogamous relationship between two parties who are willing to work as a team (not in a john/prostitute exchange - a team) and possibly even demonstrate that life is a respectful give-and-take, that you have to work at each day, every week, all year long, and that it involves good days and the bad, there is possible riches and equally possibly poorness, there can be the tragedy of ill health, and the value of long term sexual satisfaction is not a quick pop-off, but where the bond is tied to a union beyond selfish orgasm, and ... er... well, sorry, I forgot my point I think. Something about how actions speaking louder than video I think.

Why not start with what kids see in their own households 24/7/365 Wouldnt that have more impact on their future interpersonal relationships than what they see on the internet?
And how exactly is society doing on that aspect, I wonder?
Can you have teaching concerns about teenage porn availability and consumption in a society that has determined there isnt much value (or an encouragement) towards whatever gooblegook I was trying to express above?

D said...

Damnit Hagar, you said it succinctly. Too much wordy foreplay in my post.

Mark said...

There are far better discussions of this elsewhere Ann. Your commenters love to hear their own voices and most are so disconnected from youth that even the jokes are stupid.

Look elsewhere, Ann. There are topics that do not work here because of the commenters.

Move on to better locales. Many of us have, and have found more thoughtful and interesting discussions. Some of your regulars have shut down a lot of commenters. Life to too short for assholes like BL.

Hagar said...

Kids are not stupid; everything is just new to them, so they carefully watch their elders to see what they do and how they cope. Just assume that whatever you are doing, the kids know about it.
Words mean nothing.

Michael K said...

Many of us have, and have found more thoughtful and interesting discussions.

How many kids do you have ?

Just wondering.

D said...

Hagar - I agree with you (show by your example first - kids will see what you do, and determine their future actions accordingly) - sorry if my 2nd post didnt express that clearly.

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

There is a serious issue here in the teenagers are getting unrealistic ideas about bodies and about what is normal sex.

Nothing the Republicans can't solve - what with their ingenious abstinence-only education, purity balls/promise rings, and John Ashcroft draping a toga over statues of Lady Justice.

Michael K has got to be the most boring commenter/person of all time. No offense.

I kind of agree with you, Mark - except I'm willing to give BL at least the benefit of the doubt. I'm sure however he offended he didn't mean it. I tend to get more thought out of him than the rest of the regulars here.

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

Maybe the point is that we SHOULD teach abstinence (and why) instead of giving up and teaching so-called “safe sex”. Clearly that’s working...

What. The. Fuck.

If anything proves the right-wing disconnect from reality, it's this. You can't "teach" kids not to play video games. You can't "teach" kids not to watch scary movies. You can't do any of this shit. The only reason you try to get away with it re: sex is because sex offends you and you aren't doing it right or don't enjoy it or deluded yourself into thinking whatever you enjoy should be what everyone else enjoys.

Abstinence education does not work. Places that try it find that kids find "loopholes" and simply have greater rates of anal sex and other unsafe practices. I think the article alluded to that.

Abstinence-only miseducation is just fundy nonsense designed to keep people ignorant about their own natures and to have that displaced into more teen pregnancies. Keeping us young, dumb and full of obligations is the fundy right-wing way.

Mark said...

Michael, I am a parent and work with teenagers every day. Between the two, I hear a LOT and have good conversations daily in multiple contexts with the group in question.

I would love to hear what your and other commenters expertise with the youth of today is. My expectation is pretty low, as the commentary has been pathetic.

Have a nice day. Beyond Ann's posts I havelearned to spend little time here. Too many unfunny people, other posters named Mark, and trolls. Thanks but no thanks.


SteveR said...

Too bad it’s a subject too easily coopted by idiots.

buwaya said...

"How many kids do you have ?
Just wondering."

This is the critical bit of experience required.
Especially parenting in the online era.
Non-parents are in a poor position to opine.

Generally -

The danger is not that boys will not desire "ordinary" girls.
Boys desire girls just as they always do.

Freeman Hunt said...

"[in the United States] abstinence-based sex education remains the norm"

Is that really true? Almost thirty years in a little town in Arkansas my school was doing comprehensive sex ed.

EMyrt said...

I used to feel bad that I learned about sex back in the 60s from Grey's Anatomy, Playboy, Krafft-Ebbing, the Burton translation of the Arabian Nights, deSade and historical fiction.
After reading that NYT article, I feel I was pretty lucky after all.
Thanks, Ann.

buwaya said...

"other posters named Mark"

Adopt a nom de plume.

Beloved Commenter AReasonableMan said...

As a parent who did raise children in the porn everywhere era I'm not sure it makes much difference. Each generation behaves as if they were the first to discover sex and that all previous generations reproduced by parthenogenesis. They are not listening to your advice no matter how artfully or forcefully it is presented.

Mark said...

Exactly, buwaya. Thus I am perplexed that Michael who does not have kids currently is questioning the experience of others who do.

Par for the course here. Discussing teenagers with retirees is tedious at best.

Sebastian said...

It will be difficult to teach kids to think critically about porn if there is no agreed-upon way to teach them to think wholesomely about sex.

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

I for one hope that the current "Mark" never goes away and that he displaces at least half of the commenters.

"discussing teenagers with retirees..." indeed. The crowd here lacks for basic common sense and the attention span for things to be explained more generously. Pithiness is the key. Those four lines get right to the point and pack just the right punch. Not too insulting, but definitely not as complimentary as any better commenter than Michael K would deserve. I wish I had this gift.

FleetUSA said...

Sounds funny but several years ago I saw a sex-ed cartoon on YouTube which I believe every high school senior and college student should see. I wish I had seen it many decades ago. It put the whole sex issue in context of not only love, but satisfaction for both sexes. Sadly I didn't save it...........grr.

Beloved Commenter AReasonableMan said...

The end game with sex education is that the child develops the skills required to pick an appropriate partner which leads, in turn, to a happy, stable and successful marriage. Who really believes that this is a teachable skill?

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

Lol. "think wholesomely about sex." Right. If that's not a contradiction in terms then feel free to describe the places in which you'd publicize these wholesome depictions.

D said...

Well Mark, at least by your 3rd comment you outline some sort of perspective on the matter, rather than suggesting slyly it is to be found somewhere else on the interwebs. You do realize it may be difficult for the rest of us to find if you post elsewhere as "Mark". Your first 2 comments werent so enlightening on the post topic but thanks for passing judgement. I tried to make my points in the second half of the program, so I might be awarded more points. Oh well.

I agree with you on the relevant age-cohort based nature to this discussion being a key factor. Althought i might not use the word "tedious" to describe the conversation of oldies. Sounds judge-y.

buwaya said...

"Discussing teenagers with retirees is tedious at best."

I'm ALMOST a retiree. But I am not that many years from being a parent to teenagers.

There are indeed dangers in modernity.

The one bit of modernity that does the most damage is not porn but videogames.
These are inventions of the devil.

They eat time, consume attention and stun the faculties. They take up the space that should be taken up with social interaction (chasing girls, say), or exercise, or skill with the physical world. I blame that for the collapse in the interest in learning musical instruments. Our three, we made sure, all played several instruments competently, and two at least do play for pleasure - our most talented, my daughter, abandoned instruments for dance.

Freeman Hunt said...

I would not want these people teaching my kids about sex, but I do think it's a good idea to teach young people to think critically about pornography. Also not to give them smart phones.

Additionally, I think it's a mistake to skip over the reality that some people do become compulsive about it. Shouldn't a young man be warned that if he watches hours of porn every day, he may be impotent when it comes to actual sex? Shouldn't young people be warned that porn really has ruined some people's lives? Hiding those occasional realities is not teaching critical thinking.

Freeman Hunt said...

"The one bit of modernity that does the most damage is not porn but videogames.
These are inventions of the devil.

"They eat time, consume attention and stun the faculties. They take up the space that should be taken up with social interaction (chasing girls, say), or exercise, or skill with the physical world. I blame that for the collapse in the interest in learning musical instruments. Our three, we made sure, all played several instruments competently, and two at least do play for pleasure - our most talented, my daughter, abandoned instruments for dance."

Amen to that! An opinion that can rarely be expressed without angering people in real life.

DeepState Cynic said...

Life was likely way better when porn (or at least hard core variety) was illegal as well as mainly unobtainable in most of the US, other than in few red-light districts in the sketchier areas of major cities. Then came the 1970's with Deep Throat, Larry Flynt, and a few court cases later that Pandora's box was open. The only critical analysis of porn really necessary is basic Leninism: "Who benefits? Why?"

Beloved Commenter AReasonableMan said...

Freeman Hunt said...
Shouldn't young people be warned that porn really has ruined some people's lives?


I am a bit skeptical of this. Men do watch porn and they do ruin their own lives, not sure how much causality is involved there. Men have been ruining their lives for as long as there have men.

Freeman Hunt said...

"I am a bit skeptical of this. Men do watch porn and they do ruin their own lives, not sure how much causality is involved there."

I'm referring specifically to people who become so compulsive about it that they do almost nothing else and end up divorced or basically disabled.

Big Mike said...

f only Livermoron got a life and a sense of humor, the world would have one less humorless loser.

Toothless, you need to develop a sense of self-awareness.

Back to the topic at hand, I would say that the odds that anyone the Times approves of are actually able to make a positive contribution to the ticklish subject of teaching modern kids about sex are so small that a mathematician could use them to illustrate epsilon-delta arguments. Nevertheless it is a challenging problem and it is good to see someone trying to tackle it, even if I look at who is applauding their work and conclude that it is unlikely that they'll be part of the eventual solution.

First, I want to say that I recognize here in the comments of this thread that some individuals assume that all Republicans are social conservatives and that social conservatism is a core principle of my party. This is dead wrong. The Republicans are now Donald Trump's party, regardless of who does and who doesn't like it, and consequently we are now -- loud hosannas! -- more socially moderate but more fiscally conservative than in the past. Where I'm going with this is that abstinence only programs have had their fair trial, and there has been no one who can show me hard numbers that suggest they are any more successful in terms of health and teen sexuality than socialist and communist programs are in terms of economics.

I don't know what the ultimate solution is, but I am certain that girls have to be as much a focus as boys, and yet I note that the article focuses entirely on boys. It's easy to explain to a guy that porn actresses can be presumed to have artificially enhanced breasts and he should assume that a normal woman might have only a little more than a handful. That's easy. Teaching him that no woman has ever begged for anal sex no matter what he sees in porn clips is easy. Teaching a girl that saying that a pain room is cool is itself uncool unless she thinks she really would like to be spanked and whipped as part of sex. And someone might have explained to Grace, the girl who bitched about blowing Aziz Ansari, that going to a guy's apartment after your first day and letting him undress you (or did she undress herself?) really does suggest that you are up for some sex. It's going to take both sexes squaring themselves around to make things work out.

Beloved Commenter AReasonableMan said...

buwaya said...
The one bit of modernity that does the most damage is not porn but videogames.
These are inventions of the devil.


I am ambivalent about this. It is rare to find someone who is a good programmer and who is not also good at video games, so I doubt the devil is involved, unless he sees our software driven world as a form of hell on earth. My two sons played videos games regularly, but not excessively. It gave them a sense of mastery when they were young that was difficult to achieve in any other venue. Neither plays much now.

Jon Burack said...

It is clear from the huge number of lame efforts at humor here that sex still is a big problem for people in this culture. Prudery and anxiety cloaked by worldly-wise snickering. So far, Michael and D have made the most valuable contributions. Michael says: "There is a serious issue here in that teenagers are getting unrealistic ideas about bodies and about what is normal sex." D says show by example "that a joyous and meaningful sexual life can be built on a foundation of a trusting and caring monogamous relationship between two parties who are willing to work as a team (not in a john/prostitute exchange - a team)." I might alter that second one a bit to shift from the idea of "work" to the idea of "play."

In these senses, the issue is not porn, it is the lives of children - and of the adults around them. I am totally skeptical about the very term "porn literacy," with its implication that professionals will instruct us all. Hideous, if you ask me. Also with its implication that a more analytic approach to porn can defuse its destructiveness. The only thing that can do that is love and laughter. I believe if you think there is a shortcut around that, you are kidding yourself.

Beloved Commenter AReasonableMan said...

Freeman Hunt said...
I'm referring specifically to people who become so compulsive about it that they do almost nothing else and end up divorced or basically disabled.


I have never known or even heard of someone for whom this was true. I looked it up on wikipedia, Pornography addiction. Seems to be some doubt whether sex or porn addiction are real things.

I have always viewed claims of sex addiction as BS, but I could be wrong.

brylun said...

I lived in the Law Quad in Ann Arbor in the mid-70’s and all we did was drink.

buwaya said...

The Devil does not tempt humanity with hell you know.
Hell, even in some human imaginary form, is not a temptation.
It doesn't work that way.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

I hope we're doing it the right way (hunh hunh) but in our house, the following is true:

~the kids see an example of a happy marriage that is, within the boundaries of good taste, clearly passionate. We are affectionate and loving around them and lock our bedroom door every night. We don't talk about it but they know what that means. Neither of us looks or acts porny or tacky but as one of my teens recently said with probably 75% affection and 25% exasperation, when I apologized if she was embarrassed at catching him pinching my butt, "I know you guys like each other that way. It's cool." That's reality to them and I hope they seek out the same for themselves and don't settle for less, and see less for what it is.

~we talk frankly about sex in terms of choices, agency and weighing pros and cons

~ we also talk about sex in terms of it being God's gift to us for intimacy and babies and how if we enjoy it as he intended, we stay emotionally and physically safe and have a really great time to boot

and finally, porn is silly and a joke among the teenagers and the adults. It takes pushing through some discomfort at my kids even knowing that it's a thing, but if anything can take the mystique out of it it's ridiculing it. I read a young blogger who calls himself Bad Catholic who is a really smart twentysomething kid, and he said that the one thing that enabled him to overcome his porn habit was looking at how utterly absurd and trashy it is, which helped to deflate the ooooh-la-la aspect of it. If I can help make it banal to the kids, perhaps that will help?

Hoping for the best. Wish us luck!

Lucien said...

A few thoughts:

- I’m glad I didn’t grow up in the era of easily available internet porn. If I had, from the ages of 11 to 35 or so I wouldn’t have left the house, and that’s not a good thing. Getting your porn only from the occasional embarrassingly obtained skin mag encourages young men to spend their time pursuing young women instead of looking at pictures/video.

- I’m equally glad I didn’t grow up in the era of high quality video games including MMORPGs. Again, I’d never have left the house and would have weighed 250 pounds at age 18 with absolutely zero muscle tone.

- Based on the internet porn and social media I have seen, I get the feeling that due to porn, young men nowadays expect their partners to do anal and young women are more or less going along with it. Even “Mattress Girl” gave up her ass to the guy she later accused of rape, which she did because he wouldn’t date her even after she gave him anal. I’m not saying the modern anal approach is bad (NTTAWWT), but it’s definitely different from when I was growing up.

Birches said...

Pants, we have taken a similar approach. We make sure our kids understand that sex feels good and that porn is designed to be alluring and attractive. Talking about things takes some of the mystique away. I also hope it works.

bagoh20 said...

Son, lets watch some hard core porn together and discuss it critically.

Yea, great idea. Maybe parents can demonstrate sex for their kids as well. "OK son, watch this. Your mom loves when I do this, despite her expression. You should try it with your girlfriend, when you get one, or just think about when you masterbate."

God help us.

Birches said...

I guess that is one of the reasons I am annoyed with this article. What the freak is the matter with most parents? !? They didn't grow up in a sex is taboo period. Most of them probably had no expectation of virginity before marriage. So why can't they talk to their kids ? It's mindboggling.

Jupiter said...

Ann Althouse said...

"The article is about 13 and 14 year olds looking at hard core pornography and what adults should do about it. That's the topic. The idea is to teach critical thinking."

There isn't anything adults can do about it, or kids either. That train has left the station. There may have been a time, when we could have strapped on the fig-leaf of hypocrisy to say, "Do as I say, not as I do", but that was the top-of-the-slide moment, and it has come and gone. Now we are just rats unable to escape the experiment we inadvertently devised. If it feels good, do it. Over and over and over.

Jack Wayne said...

Just in recent history, the debauchery of Henry VIII have way to the prudery of Cromwell which have way to the debauchery of Louis XIV which gave way to the prudery of Victoria which is giving way to the debauchery of Heinlein(?). And yet, throughout, people procreated, had good and bad lives and behaved as humans. It’s boring to obsess about our current society as being fundamentally different from any other society. Read the Romans if you want some good porn. Or some excellent drama from the Greeks with porn on the side.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Now we are just rats unable to escape the experiment we inadvertently devised. If it feels good, do it. Over and over and over.

Speak for yourself, Mr. Cynical. If that's all you look for, that's all you see. There is love and depth and restraint and meaning everywhere.

Pants, we have taken a similar approach. We make sure our kids understand that sex feels good and that porn is designed to be alluring and attractive. Talking about things takes some of the mystique away. I also hope it works.

I forgot to add that we've worked the dopamine cycle into our conversations about not just porn but social media and video games. We've done our best to make them think about the way that their brains are designed for those quick cheap thrills and point out that they can either be the servants or the masters of their minds; their choice.

Jupiter said...

I suppose there is another way to look at it. We could regard pornography as simply the main-streaming of depictions of sex. Certainly, the widespread acceptance of no-holds-barred pornography is breaking down the barrier between pornography and entertainment, and entertainment is becoming increasingly pornographic, presumably as a result. The concern, then, is what effect the substantially unrealistic portrayal of sex, in both pornography and entertainment has on the people, especially the young people, exposed to it? Well, what effect does the substantially unrealistic portrayal of driving in popular entertainment have on the people, especially the young people, exposed to it?

I mean, it's really pretty hilarious that you can show a man smoking another man's dick, but not a man smoking a cigarette. That might alter behavior.

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

The fear of porn is a good reminder of how little women have to do/how hard they find it to be interesting. Which is a sad reality.

Don't blame it on the men. If females were more interesting then their bodies and sex acts would fade in importance.

It's testosterone that makes young men like let alone tolerate the vast majority of these phonies.

Later in life you either get divorced, stay for the sake of other needs, or in a tiny minority of cases find that you got lucky and actually married a truly interesting and decent and caring and wonderful person.

The rest of the women, the vast majority by far, just want to appear that way.

Honesty is less important for most women than the ability to figure out how to get what she wants. And boy does she have her methods and ways!

I refuse to settle for a dishonest or underhanded one so it makes the search harder. Luckily I'm aging so it matters less, anyway.

But it does bring into stark relief just how rare the truly good people, the ones who put in an effort, really are.

My dad's eulogy of his mom was extraordinary. I was cursed with amazing examples and a family large enough to assume that people like them were commonplace. And then came college and the real world.

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

Any effort to stop technology is as futile as any effort to stop evolution.

More skin will be seen and bared, more boys will have greater expectations, more women will be revealed to have not much else to offer and the evolutionary endpoint of greater honesty and character will be selected for.

Technology's a good thing. But evolution is slow. And slower to catch up with it.

Freeman Hunt said...

"I have never known or even heard of someone for whom this was true."

I know of three real life (not online life) people that this has happened to.

William said...

If porn, marijuana, or gay marriage were going to overthrow all decent society, they would have worked their magic by now. On the other hand, if there was some sure fire way of teaching boys and girls to negotiate their sexuality in such a way that no feelings got hurt and everyone ended up in a stable marriage, I think civilization would have hit on it by now.....Who suffers the greatest disappointment: boys who watch porn or girls who read Harlequin romances?

Freeman Hunt said...

"They didn't grow up in a sex is taboo period. Most of them probably had no expectation of virginity before marriage. So why can't they talk to their kids ? It's mindboggling."

I agree. It's very strange.

sodal ye said...

As a father of three young daughters, I dislike porn. I didn’t think this way before. A switch flipped.

Yancey Ward said...

I am glad, I suppose, that I didn't have access to today's porn when I was a teenager (between 1979 and 1986, though I did discover porn VHS near the end of that period.

rhhardin said...

Porn is self-teaching for guys. It teaches them that they're being saps because after orgasm they have no interest at all in what obsessed them seconds before. Some hormone flood takes care of the obsession.

So they always see two points of view. They become self-critical and open to a justified cynicism about the matter.

They're stuck with that recurring, albeit declining, obsession for the next 70 years, but remember it's a trick.

Something else makes a relationship. Don't pick the girl on obsession.

The girls' experience is different, but the guys are safe from porn.

rhhardin said...

Is the women's fear that if the guy is jerking off to porn that he's abandoning them?

He has no interest in the porn ladies, nor is he comparing you to them. He's getting rid of an obsession for the moment.

Perhaps that is a benefit to you, say you're a couple and you have a much lower sex interest, which would be the norm.

Freeman Hunt said...

"Is the women's fear that if the guy is jerking off to porn that he's abandoning them?"

Are you referring to the people who become compulsive about it? If so, no. That was my question too. "I understand that the women might not like it, but why would someone's marriage end over that?" The answer was that these people did nothing else. At work, they'd constantly watch it on their phones, and at home they'd immediately lock themselves away and watch it until they went to bed. Eventually the wife leaves and/or the guy gets fired.

I think it's a pretty rare phenomenon, but it happens, and we warn young people to avoid all sorts of rare paths to ruin.

rhhardin said...

Porn is certainly competition for women looking to get a guy. The guy can get rid of his obsession without getting the ball rolling with an actual woman.

The tradeoff is worse if women are making themselves unattractive. Appealing to guys in two ways would be a good thing to learn. A course on the male psyche.

rhhardin said...

I'm looking at the cover of the DVD A Bad Moms Christmas that's been on the table for a while unwatched. There are six stars who are indistinguishable. All have the beautiful woman makeup and that's the only look they have.

They don't look the same but they do. You couldn't identify any of them of you looked again.

rhhardin said...

S1m0ne (1002) solved the problem with a CGI actress in hollywood productions.

I don't remember the plot exactly but the star leaves in a snit or something and they replace her with a computer.

#0xmetoo

Beloved Commenter AReasonableMan said...

Speaking of making poor decisions regarding the choice of partners:

'He can go from being the sweetest person to a complete abusive monster.' Woman who was living with Trump aide Rob Porter at the time he began dating Hope Hicks confided to his ex-wives about living in fear

rhhardin said...

There's a priority problem. The whole sexual dynamic includes the part where you're worried about porn.

So the worrying can't master the situation. It's a small part of the situation itself.

rhhardin said...

Think of worrying about porn as porn.

Angle-Dyne, Angelic Buzzard said...

The article is about 13 and 14 year olds looking at hard core pornography and what adults should do about it. That's the topic. The idea is to teach critical thinking. I'd like to see some discussion of this and not just general ideas about porn or jokes about porn.

Well, good luck with that. First, you'll get bland re-assurances that everybody, including 13 and 14 year olds with easy access to hard-core porn, knows the difference between fantasy and reality, so it can't be a problem, even on developing brains. (That's a facile dismissal of what we know about how brains do react and adapt, but even noting that obviously means you must want to censor the internet).

Next, it's the same as it ever was, since porn has always been produced and people, especially adolescent boys, are naturally interested and seek access, so easy access and ability to overload on more outré stuff is nothing to worry about, 'cause...why do you want to run people's lives and censor the internet?

Sooner or later: "but but what about chick porn romance novels, huh? (Well, what about 'em? Porn is porn, same problems apply. We make fun of silly women consuming chick porn by the truckloads, don't we? Lots of people argue that women like that develop immature and unrealistic ideas about sexual relations, which has negative real life consequences. You probably won't get accused of wanting to censor the internet and run people's lives when you say that, though.)

Inevitably, rants involving fantasies about how the real problem is our lamentably prudish society and those fucked-up prudes out there and "abstinence-only" education. And how nobody would be interested in porn if we weren't all fucked up sexually, as a society. (This last is my personal favorite.)

Finally, always, always, some form of "there's nothing you can do about this" (which may be true), BUT EJUKASHUN will fix it. (Whatever "it" is.)

FWIW, I find the idea of earnest NYT goodthinkers "teaching young people to think critically about porn" just as wrong-headed as any of the above, but a lot funnier.

Ralph L said...

I don't know if it was a peer-reviewed study or three, but I read somewhere that porn has been a factor in the decreased marriage and birth rates in Japan. Too many guys aren't interested in the real thing.

rhhardin said...

Japan is weird about everything.

rhhardin said...

Japanese pregnancies last ten months, even.

EDH said...

"...the approach that teaching them to analyze its messages is far more effective than simply wishing our children could live in a porn-free world."

I'm picturing a strange cross between Mystery Science Theater, Beavis and Butt Head and Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Wandering Bear (2004)
Larry and Jeff plan to have an "Auto Focus party" to watch their College Girls Gone Wild video; Jeff will be Bob Crane and Larry will be Willem Dafoe.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Sooner or later: "but but what about chick porn romance novels, huh? (Well, what about 'em? Porn is porn, same problems apply. We make fun of silly women consuming chick porn by the truckloads, don't we? Lots of people argue that women like that develop immature and unrealistic ideas about sexual relations, which has negative real life consequences. You probably won't get accused of wanting to censor the internet and run people's lives when you say that, though.)

Rhhardin cuts to the chase with his cogent observation that the real chick porn is soap operas. For every unrealistic/undesirable sexual technique in X does Y, there's a scene full of reaction shots of women criticizing men, generally handsome, and the men apologizing, admitting fault and having wronged the woman, and promising to do better in future.

THAT'S when the woman reaches for a cigarette.

Just as destructive of real relationships as expecting a naive subject to have full control of the gag reflex.

rhhardin said...

The apology in Two Weeks Notice is pretty good, actually. That it's an apology is formula, but it has content that guys can enjoy.

Kyzernick said...

Porn is overrated.

It really doesn't compare to the real thing in any way. Once people learn that, porn *should* become secondary, nothing more than a crutch. The few times my wife ever declines sex, she'll usually be willing to do other things, and if not, I don't reach for the hand lotion. I pick up a book, or flip on a documentary, or go down to the garage and fire up my welder or my table saw and work on projects.

Redirecting that sexual urge in the times when it cannot be fulfilled is the key to avoiding getting off to images on a computer screen. I redirect it to other things physical or mental. It does help to be married to someone sexually compatible; I am secure in the knowledge that the next time I'm in the mood, she'll probably be there herself and eager to pick up where we left off or start the dance anew.

For those not fortunate enough to have that outlet, I can see the easy availability of porn being potentially hazardous.

Fernandistein said...

Angle-Dyne, Angelic Buzzard said...
First, you'll get bland re-assurances that everybody, including 13 and 14 year olds with easy access to hard-core porn, knows the difference between fantasy and reality, so it can't be a problem, even on developing brains.


Rather than deal in innuendo, maybe you could actually state the nature of the problem "on developing brains".

Some people claim "But porn exposure in kids doesn’t have a life-altering, warping effect on children. In fact, recent research in the Netherlands showed that exposure to pornography explained less than 4% of the variance in adolescents behavior."

Even psychologytoday is better than innuendo.

rhhardin said...

In The Cutting Edge (1992), the woman apologizes.

rhhardin said...

Porn is overrated.

All porn has to do is produce an orgasm. Nothing more, nothing less. It's not even the orgasm that's the point; it's ending sex obsession for a while.

Sex is overrated, as sex. There's much more going on in a relationship.

Message to virgin kids ought to be it's not as good as you imagine so don't be disappointed. Other stuff takes over with the right person.

rhhardin said...

The First Time (2012), if I remember the right DVD, has the sex not being as good as imagined as a plot point, and what to do about it in deciding to continue the relationship.

madAsHell said...

not porn but video games.

Masturbation without gratification.

Birches said...

I think Angle Dyne was right on.

And also to what Freeman said about actual addicted to porn men out there. There are those. But also there are men who become so fixated on what they watch that they want that in real life. Having a husband that hires prostitutes or asks for an open marriage is going to lead to divorce. And I know that most of you men out there want to imagine that a man only goes there after his wife has been denying any sex for a long time. But the reality is much different in the cases that I know of.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

My understanding is that neither comprehensive nor abstinence-based sex education has much effect in terms of reducing teen pregnancy or STD's. Teaching contraception is a rescue for some, but teaches others that they are bulletproof. This is because children don't learn exactly what we teach them, they learn what they want - just like adults. Parents love to congratulate themselves on the wisdom of their preference, because they believe they are the only sensible people in the room. I admit my data is twenty years old, when I last researched the issue.

I have raised five sons, three of whom we got as teenagers. Children vary. Sometimes you have a very good guess what their sexual attitudes and behaviors are, sometimes you know less. I think it is always possible to know approximately. Similarly, some children have a pretty clear idea what their parents are up to, while some are completely oblivious. For purposes of discussion, it also helps to keep clear in our minds that 13 y/o's are not 15 y/o's are not 17 y/o's. This should be obvious, but my experience in reading the statements of the people who were offering to instruct or design programs of instruction for children is that they could not keep this simple fact before them. They wildly overestimated the abstract thought and reasoning of the 13 y/o's. Those can't yet reason. They can follow reasoning and perhaps imitate it, but no more. The instructors believed their career-focused, college-bound attitudes to delaying children when they were 18 must be universals, because hey, all their friends agreed. Also, they probably attributed their ideas at 21 to their 17 y/o selves, because memory works that way.

Thus, I react negatively to these suggestions that children should be "taught to analyse" pornography. Even if it were true, the people who want to do that are likely to be the last people you would pick. They are ideologues who want to make sure those boys learn the attitudes they want them to, but want to disguise that as discussion, assisting, and listening.

mikee said...

As an older person reviewing my decades of life, the time spent with my sexual parnters before and after the acts of sex were usually more interesting, in retrospect, than the acts themselves. I've known this since my late 20s, at least, and have used the knowledge to enjoy people, as people, more than I did when I enjoyed people as objects of lust.

The above likely won't make any sense to a person in their teens.

bagoh20 said...

I only watch it for the dialog, set design and costumes.

William Chadwick said...

"Students, your teacher has the day off today, so we are bringing in guest lecturers Ron Jeremy and Nina Hartley. . . "


I'd sign up for that.

Bad Lieutenant said...

William Chadwick, we had a woman named Susie Bright in at the college to do just such a piece. Schools do try that, even the putatively more conservative ones.


Ritmo:

But it does bring into stark relief just how rare the truly good people, the ones who put in an effort, really are.

My dad's eulogy of his mom was extraordinary. I was cursed with amazing examples and a family large enough to assume that people like them were commonplace. And then came college and the real world.

2/7/18, 11:29 PM

Good talk!