Disability and Porn: Supporting Important Conversations for Parents and Caregivers

An introduction to addressing porn as a parent/educator to people living with disabilities.

Porn can be a scary or stressful topic for adults to address with the young people in their lives. It is often a topic that is avoided at all costs, or it is addressed in a way that is shaming or hurtful to the young person. More than ever during this pandemic, young people have unsupervised access to screens, which means more opportunities to accidentally or intentionally stumble upon porn. Now add the layer of disability or neurodivergence, and porn can become even more confusing for a young person. We as trusted adults can’t ignore the porn conversation. A lot of people watch and enjoy porn. People of all abilities watch and enjoy porn. Part of being an “askable” adult in a young person’s life is being willing to talk about the awkward or hard topics in life.

We also know there can be positives of watching porn for people with disabilities, as long as it is ethical, shows consent and doesn’t get in the way of other life functions or activities. Porn can be a way for someone who is unable to engage in sexual activity with another person (whether physically, emotionally or cognitively), to experience sexual arousal and release on their own. Sex is a biological function, and regardless of ability most people experience sexual desires, attractions and feelings. Not everyone is able to find a compatible and safe sexual partner. Porn can be a helpful tool for a person who may not have other avenues for sexual experience that meets those needs.

Help your child or adult with a disability understand that searching and viewing porn is a private behavior. A private behavior is something that should only be done in a private place that belongs to you, where no one else can see or hear you. Viewing porn in public is illegal. Often people masturbate while watching porn- masturbation is also a private behavior. Some individuals may benefit from a social story about masturbation.

Here are some ways to support your young person with disabilities with understanding the difference between porn and realistic sexual experiences.

Have conversations about how the porn industry can be problematic and show unrealistic and sometimes dangerous sexual interactions. Here are some key points that might be helpful in facilitating a conversation about porn:

  • Talk about what porn is and what they might see and how it is different than sex and relationships are in real life. This short animated video discusses misleading messages in porn.
  • Talk to them in a private space.
  • Affirm both of your feelings. You and your kid might both feel uncomfortable or awkward talking about porn. That is okay! Awkward conversations are often the most important conversations.
  • Respect your young person’s boundaries- if they aren’t ready to talk about porn, don’t force it. Give them some information about consent and relationships and try again later.

Share porn sites that promote sex positivity, consent, and ethical porn. I know this is not every parent’s jam. Sharing porn sites with your child might be on the list of things you never want to do as a parent. However, it could be an empowering situation for your child to learn that porn and sexuality don’t have to be shameful. There are ways to experience visual stimulation that are safe and promote consent. The following are sites that may be helpful:

https://www.bustle.com/wellness/places-watch-ethical-porn-female-pleasure

http://ecosalon.com/5-sex-positive-female-friendly-porn-sites-nsfw/

https://makelovenotporn.tv

https://www.bellesa.co

There are many tools out there that may assist your conversations about porn with your young person.

Resource List:

Healthy Relationships & Sexual Health Social Stories

Porn: Fact or Fiction, short animated video discussing misleading messages in porn

#AskableParent Guide to Porn — AMAZE Parents

Is it Normal to Watch Porn? short animated video

Remember, you are not alone! There are a lot of reasons that can make this conversation hard for us as adults (personal experiences, beliefs, values and knowledge of the topic). There are people who can help!

  • Talk to a professional
  • Talk openly with friends and partner(s)
  • Ensure caregivers in your child’s life know your approach to sexual health
  • Attend workshops and support calls
  • Practice having conversations about sexual health with a partner or friend
  • Give your child the language they need to talk to you
  • Read books and share resources
  • Have tools and support ready for when hard or challenging topics come up

We are here to help you! Mad Hatter Wellness hosts FREE monthly Parent Support Calls. We often get questions about how to navigate a conversation around porn and are happy to provide parents and caregivers with additional support around this topic. Register here!

Follow us on social media and contact us with any questions you have!

info@madhatterwellness.com (email us!)

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