BY JBH

10.29.2013

No Porn? Seriously?

Janell Burley Hofmann, October 29, 2013
askjanellcolumn

Dear Janell,

No porn? Seriously? You want it or not, your son is going to masturbate like any other human being and you don’t even let him watch porn to maximize the experience? The other rules you wrote just show you are a douche mother.

Unsigned

 janswer

Dear Unsigned,

Thank you for taking the time to write to me hardly feels like the proper response here. But because you did, in fact, actually take precious moments from your own sacred life to ask me to clarify the porn policy on my son’s iPhone, I will publicly respond. It only seems fair based on your genuine and careful concern. So here it is: seriously, no porn.

When I poured myself a cup of hot chocolate and Bailey’s under the evening snow fall and twinkling tree lights last Christmas Eve, I wrapped up this tiny and powerful device that would connect my son with lightning speed to the rest of the world. I imagined him texting his peers, challenging me to Boggle tourneys, editing pictures of summer afternoons in the sun and videos of dunk contests with his buddies. What fun to be a teenager today, I thought with honest holiday bliss. What a lucky young man to have a mother and father think so highly of him. What a lucky young man to be given a gift in trust, respect, and spirit. What a lucky young man to have parents who will guide and lead, but also provide and protect. I felt grateful to be able to give my son this gift. See, even though we’ve always found a way to bask with the same joy and celebration despite leaner times, this Christmas my boy would gasp. What a treasure to surprise a teenager, in this day and age, in the wee hours of Christmas morning with the seemingly impossible. Can you just feel that excitement mounting? Can you just feel the timelessness of the moment despite the unveiling of the modern day device? And what I truly hope you see here, most outraged one, is that I didn’t buy my son an iPhone to be used in isolation for purposes of private pleasure, nor do I maintain the data plan fees so that he can watch pornography with the ease of a tap and scroll on my dime. I believe this gift, like my son, is more powerful and significant than that.

Now I’m sure you’ll understand being the hip, experienced cat that you are, porn is a part of life. And much like my son and the rest of the world, porn was a part of my adolescent story too. In fact, everywhere I go, everyone’s coming of age porn stories are wildly similar – a movie in a dark basement, a hidden magazine, an older sibling’s computer. Some of us had to work very hard to see porn – sneak, steal, beg, borrow – our growing minds flooded with sexual curiosity. We were left, undoubtedly, in a collective post porn haze with a plentiful mixture of horror, arousal, and guilt, the only truth of which we were certain was that sex was confusing. It was almost like a two dimensional magazine photo, fuzzy cable channel, VHS with basic camera angles right of passage.

But see, what didn’t happen for most of us in the good old days of print subscriptions and desktops tirelessly secured to outlets, was that our parents didn’t provide hand held computers that put high def, dynamic, accessible porn right in our backpacks and lockers, back pockets and purses. We had to put a little elbow grease into it, stumble across it, or go out of our way to secure it. And I’m pretty sure that in the heat and urge of the moment, most teens just relied on their always charged, very useful imaginations or at least sought after a consenting peer to make out with behind a barn or something. This of course would require even a very basic conversation with a person in real life.

In the obvious, thoughtful wisdom of your letter, I think you are actually wondering if I believe my son will have a porn free life. No, concerned one, I do not. Nor do I think that is even realistic. It is, however, my hope that he does not seek answers about love and sex and women and relationships from pornography. It is my hope that he becomes a healthy sexual being as an individual first and eventually with a mutually respectful, safe and loving human. I can only provide an open door for conversation and deeper understanding about the power of sexuality, but I cannot control his journey. Pornography may or may not be part of his sexual experiences, that choice will be his. I just won’t be the one to wrap it up under the Christmas tree with a bow and say “Merry Christmas, my precious one. Since it is such a central and unavoidable part of life, for which I hope to maximize the experience, it is my wish that you enjoy the limitless porn I have provided.” I love him just a little more than that. But I truly appreciate you taking the time to understand how things work around here a little better. It’s good to be curious.

As for all the other rules you hate, well, just be glad you don’t live here. Just imagine everything I’d have to teach you considering how casually you call a woman you’ve never met (or any woman for that matter) a douche. Is it me or does that make your sexual expertise glaringly flawed?

Oh well. 

Happy trails!

Janell

 

 

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