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Question Asked

What do I say to my 18yr. old son who is looking at internet porn frequently?

I am the mom and very concerned and sad about this issue, while his dad does not seem to concerned and is not really addressing the issue with my son.

Qualifed Answeres

Another Layer of This Problem

Your question about your son is concerning and it looks like people have given you some good resources for this issue. Two more I think may be helpful for you are:

1. The sermon series Mike Erre is teaching at Rockharbor Church right now. It's on sex and he handles the subject powerfully yet delicately. You can get the sermons on their website rockharbor.org.

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Another answer to a great question

First, I would ask the parent, "How frequently?" Lots of people are simply curious, and want to know what all of the fuss is about, so they look at some porn. Most react to it like "Been there, done that", consider pornography overrated, are rarely choose to look at it again. If the young person admits to looking at porn more that 10 times in the past year, then you can assume that the porn has a place in the emotional and sexual life of the young man. A parent can then ask their son if he has noticed that he looks at porn when he is stressed out, or lonely, or perhaps bored.

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Pornography...

I think what you say and what you do are two different things.
What you say:
Start off by letting him know that he isn’t alone. It is a struggle that all males deal with. However – it is an addiction like any other. And just like substance abuse eventually affects more than just the user – his pornography addiction is going to affect him as well as those around him. (Most notably – the girls he will date and the one he will eventually marry.)

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Comments on Original Question

Comments

Marilou,

First, thanks for asking such a sincere and difficult question. Pornography is an exceptionally difficult topic for a lot of people to address, so you're taking the right steps by dealing with it head on.

Second, I think it's important to say that whatever advice or counsel you give your son needs to be given prayerfully. There is a lot at stake in this, not least of which is your relationship to him. It will do neither of you any good if your advice isn't given in love, so make sure you spend some good time in prayer beforehand.

In fact, I think it's worth pointing out that the best thing you can do for your son is to pray for him, and to ensure that any words you speak to him about an issue as delicate as this are prompted by the Spirit.

That said, there are several aspects to pornography worth discussing with him:

1) What is it that is prompting him to seek out pornography? Typically, guys initially fall into pornography not because they are really looking for it, but because they are seeking to replace some other missing experience in their life.
2) I think it's important to talk about how pornography is shaping his view of women, and of sex. Most people are pretty clear that it causes men to 'objectify' women. Most people don't realize, however, that watching pornography makes men view sex as something that is 'on demand.' After all, the women in pornography never say 'no.' That is one of the most destructive aspects to it, as it creates a false understanding of how sex works, which can make relating to real, flesh-and-blood women in a sexual way more difficult. Unless, of course, that woman is never going to never say 'no' to his demands. Typically such women have been called 'prostitutes.'
3) I may be too simplistic, but I think most people's sins come back to a single question: do they actually understand the depths of God's love for them, and have they experienced that love in their own lives?
4) I think it's worth asking about his male friendships and what they are like. One of the most interesting aspects of pornography is that it is isolating and anonymous. A lot of guys fail to have deep friends whom they can relate to about these sorts of issues, and so they continue to struggle with things like pornography. Helping him become aware of that issue might help him move away from pornography.

Ultimately, it's crucial for you to realize that you can't control your son, and that his life is in God's hands. You must do what you can do, but at the end of the day, you have to set him free to be himself--even if that means sinning. That's difficult, but I have found that it is the only way to help people, because it frees them from the condemnation they sometimes feel and it prompts us to pray more often for them.

I haven't even started to exhaust the topic. I am sure there are much wiser things to be said about this issue, but these were a few thoughts that came to mind right now.

I recommend that you read John Eldredge's books "Wild at Heart" and the follow-up book "Fathered by God".

I think he makes some good points about it though and in order to help him specifically, I think it's best to understand why God made men they way He did in a little more detail. That's why you should read these books. We need to understand the bestowing of masculinity and God's purpose for men and I believe that through that better understanding you may have a idea of how to approach this.

One reason why a lot of men look at porn is because we don't have a good understanding of what beauty is and God's purpose for the beauty that women are meant to unveil. I suspect that this has a lot to do with how involved/not involved the father has been through the crucial stages of the boys life.

Another reason men look at porn is because they are trying to find validation (Do I have what it takes? Am I a MAN?) and take it to the woman. The problem is that women aren't meant to validate us in that way; our fathers were. Eldredge says this: "Why is pornography the number one snare for men? He longs for the beauty, but without his fierce and passionate heart he cannot find her or win her or keep her. Though he is powerfully drawn to the woman, he does not know how to fight for her or even that he is to fight for her. Rather, he finds her mostly a mystery that he knows he cannot solve and so at a soul level he keeps his distance. And privately, secretly, he turns to the imitation. What makes pornography so addictive is that more than anything else in a lost man's life, it makes him FEEL like a man without ever requiring a thing of him. The less a guy feels like a man in the presence of a real woman, the more vulnerable he is to porn."(emphasis mine)

It is often fathers passing their own unanswered question on down the line for generations on end. This is why getting the masculine heart back will save the family and our nation; it is imperative! I recommend that every Church, despite the wack-o feminists outcry, should purchase the Wild at Heart/Fathered by God video series and get small groups of men to form their own bands of brothers and, with God's sovereign grace, get back our hearts and bring our strength to the a world in desperate need of hearts on fire!

Satan knows each of us and what our wounds are. We must remember that the family has been under his attack since the beginning. Remember Eve's temptation? How about Cain killing Abel?

Repent or perish. It's really that simple.

I know exactly the feeling you are passing through. Two days ago I caught my son watching a live sex gay webcam. The shock was unbelievable! I didn't know what to say, I didn't even know how to react. I just turned around, closed the door and left. It's a very sensible situation..

Say the right thing. I think it is really normal for their age but just give him the right advises though. - Carmack Moving and Storage