WARNING: those of a sensitive disposition may not wish to read this. It contains references to rude stuff. Also, I shudder to think what kind of spam comments this will attract, but here goes.
Dot writes: this afternoon Ken asked me what we are going to do when our sons start watching porn on the internet. Obviously we both hope this is not going to happen soon, as they are five and seven, but it’s always good to discuss these things in a calm, theoretical way well in advance, and not just when we realise they’re getting really careful about deleting their browsing history.
We both agreed that we aren’t going to be able to prevent it. Micro-managing is almost certainly not possible. I gather you can block sites on your own computers (I suppose I should find out how to do that), but you can’t know what they might or might not have access to at friends’ houses.
We wondered if perhaps the best approach might be to bite the bullet, be embarrassing parents, and talk to them about it. “Sons,” we will say, sitting at the kitchen table hand in hand, “just remember that normal sex is not like porn sex. Normal people do not look like porn people. Also, it is important to consider the woman’s pleasure.” We will then glance lovingly at each other, and they will be so traumatised they won’t have sex until they’re thirty-five.
But there are some obvious disadvantages to this approach, such as getting a couple of teenage boys out of their bedrooms at the same time for long enough to sit down with their parents, so we decided a better strategy would be to leave enlightened sex manuals somewhere discreet but accessible. They would be sure to read them, if the gap on the shelf wouldn’t be too obvious, and with luck the sage advice and pencil drawings of rather hairy people would give them a better attitude.
I guess my own parents’ approach was rather similar to this. Exposure to internet porn was not something parents worried about in the nineties, but, still, I do remember finding a couple of helpful books on their shelves. Such as this one, How to Do Sex Properly by Bruce Aiken, Bridgid Herridge and Charles Rowe.
It illustrated sexual positions with teddy bears. I remember, for example, The Australian (“Bruce and Sheila show you how”), which showed two koalas, not remarkably close together, one of them standing on its head. I shall be very disappointed if I ever discover this is not, in fact, how Australians have sex. After all, I am a great believer in the superiority of book-learning to the rubbish you read on the internet.