I have no real understanding of what a healthy sexual experience is supposed to be

Anonymous, Sophomore

Dec 18, 2021

It begins a sexual maturation at an age when children are not emotionally, physically, or sexually ready for it.

Dear Mom,

I wish, as a child, that I had had a safe environment for us to discuss sexual experiences. I have always known that these topics make you uncomfortable and did not want to upset you by bringing them up. Because of this, we never discussed anything about sex in our home, but in hindsight, I wish that we had.

I was introduced to pornographic photos at 6 years old. I overheard the 5th graders at daycare talking about sex and I wanted to research them myself. Having an iPod touch with no parental controls lead me to google images of naked men and women. I had no idea what I was looking at or why they made me feel certain ways, which I now understand was sexual arousal. I learned in my college class on Sexual Citizenship this semester, it is extremely unhealthy for a child to see this type of imagery because it begins a sexual maturation at an age when children are not emotionally, physically, or sexually ready for it. I was too embarrassed and ashamed to ask you about the photos I saw and the feelings I felt. When I was 9 years old, someone dared me to look up “RedTube” on google when I got home from school, which lead to my introduction to pornographic videos. I had no idea what I was looking at or getting myself into, all I knew was this type of arousal was much more mature and exciting than photographs. Having those feelings at such a young age has led to me being a habitual viewer of porn all throughout my life. I also learned in my communication class this semester that exposure to pornography at such a young age can severely distort one’s views on sex, love, and relationships.

Knowing this, I can look back and confidently say that I have no real understanding of what a healthy sexual experience is supposed to be. My understanding of sexual encounters has been distorted by the unrealistic encounters displayed through pornography. Due to this lack of fundamental understanding, I am extremely romantically and sexually underdeveloped for my age, having never been in a relationship, not having a single sexual experience until my senior year of high school, and only having sex for the first time two years into my college experience. I still do not have an understanding of how real people communicate or show each other respect in real-life sexual experiences, and this can be entirely attributed to my exposure to such adult concepts and feelings at such a young age. I wish I had known the lasting negative effects that porn exposure would have on me, I wish I had known it would distort my views of sexual experience and consent, I wish I had known porn could be just as addictive as hard drugs, I wish I had known that healthy sex is not what is shown in porn, but most importantly, I wish adults understood that kids get exposed and it and that this exposure is too much for children to process and understand.