I hate things that make me sound like I’m 90 years old. And that’s what online porn is doing. Beckoning our teenagers from their laptops, iPhones, and tablets, X-rated Web sites are causing me to curse technology and pine for the good old days when smut knew its place: on the pages of a shrink-wrapped girlie magazine on the periodicals shelf of your neighborhood 7-Eleven.
Back in my day, we pored over dog-eared Playboys, passed around Penthouse letters, and stared agog at warbly VHS tapes of Deep Throat — all lifted from our parents’ stash. Or our friends’ parents’ stash. Or our parents’ friends’ stash.
We had to work hard to see porn, and I’m not complaining; we had quite the work ethic. But today’s teens have to work hard not to see it. It’s free, it’s abundant, and it’s a single click away. Most of it is explicit, and much of it (what? I conducted a study) is so in-your-face graphic that you have to wonder if it’s intended to turn off the viewer.
Our teens — and, in some cases, ick, our preteens — are looking at this stuff. It’s not a question of if or when. They. Are. Looking. And how can you blame them? It’s a fascinating alien world. A big-box toy store. A freshly stocked cookie jar. I think it’s healthy for teens to explore their sexuality, and at least on-screen you can’t catch anything. Or create anyone.