Tag Archives: difficult conversations

Pornography and Why It Changes Us

I must have been 5 or younger, I don’t know for sure. I know my parents divorced when I was 5 and we moved out of the trailer park only a year or so after that. It was a new park, to give credit, and I lived there with my mom, dad and older brother from the time I was 2 until not long after my parents separated. It was a huge neighborhood, to me. Our dad owned his own landscaping business which happened to have a contract with a local bicycle shop. One of my clear memories from when my parents were still married is our father pulling up with his trailer behind his work truck and two brand new bikes for my brother and I. Mine was pink with a white-flowered plastic weaved basket. We would ride our bikes all over that park. It was a labyrinth of paved road with trailers lining each side, a few parks and a clubhouse with a laundry mat and an outdoor pool. There was plenty of room for us to ride our bikes and roam free. It shocks me to think no one watched us. We just roamed about. Of course there where many children in this neighborhood besides us. My brother and I stuck mostly together. We met other kids at the bus stop and some we met just ridding around and exploring.

One day my brother and I were out with a kid we had hung around quite a bit. I remember he acted really tough when he talked, but he was never unkind to us. He was a leader type, the kids just naturally looked up to him. It must have been a weekend morning before too many people were up and about. It was summertime. I remember the weather was sunny and pleasant. He took us around the corner and down a street not too far from our home. He had made a discovery and wanted to show us. We rode up to a trailer that had recently been burned in a fire; It was like a scorched shell. Most of the trailer was still intact but the doors had been knocked out. We parked our bikes in the yard next store and climbed in through the back side door. The boys went in first and pulled me in by my hands. The smell was strong of burnt paper and smoke. Stacks of magazines lined the narrow hallway we entered which led to the bedrooms.  The piles seemed to fill the entire trailer. As I looked around me, our friend pointed out his find. All the stacks and stacks of magazines were pornography. Piles and piles. We picked them up, some partially burnt but still intact. I glanced at the images. Naked ladies and naked breast. Countless images of nude women differing in size. Sizes I had never seen before. Posing and in many positions, the women/girls were smiling. All were smiling but I couldn’t focus on their faces. So many images I had never seen before.

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The atmosphere of this trailer, the vibe, there was something evil about it all. Something felt scary. Something felt like we shouldn’t be there, like I was in some kind of danger. A breeze blew through the open doors and the smell of fresh air mixed with fire filled my nose. The stillness of the day was present. People where sleeping in, but I was aware of them all around us. The boys were uneasy. No one wanted to get caught. We were sneaking around somewhere we weren’t supposed to be. The boys chatted nervously as we looked at the endless stacks of dated pornography. I didn’t understand what I was looking at, but I knew It made me feel different.  The three of us could stand the atmosphere for only so long. We made our way out the way we came in, through the back door. We jumped out onto the grass and grabbed our bikes. We never told our parents about what we found. That trailer sat there like that for days. Now when I look back I cannot help but wonder, how many other kids explored there?

When I looked at the pornographic images that day as a child, it changed me. I couldn’t forget what I saw. It was burned in my mind. I still can remember that experience in great detail. You see when I saw those images, in my mind, I thought “this makes men happy”. All the women looked happy on their faces, but from the neck down what I saw made me feel uncomfortable. I was being exposed to something that is a normal part of life, nudity. I had questions I really didn’t know how to ask. I thought in my young mind that it must be something good. Why would my brother and our friend think it was a cool find if it was all bad? Why were there so many of these magazines in this home? Why is there a horde of them and why was it interesting?

It must be what makes men happy. It must be good because men and boys like porn so much.

So many impressions hit me that day and my mind was too innocent to understand the evil of it all. I knew it was bad, but I also thought it was desirable to men to be like the ladies in the pictures I saw. I confess as an adult I still struggle with these thoughts and ideas that surround sex and men and women. As an adult, I understand sex and intimacy better. I understand all the pieces of the puzzle that must be in place for us as human beings to have our deep physical and sexual needs met. It takes trust and safety, marriage and purpose, time and energy. Sex is beautifully complex. Sex creates life! Get that deep into your soul. Sex makes babies. When I look at my children, I am still in awe of it. From a strong attraction I felt towards my husband since the moment we met, and through all the battles and joy, our coming together produces a child. Our child! A beautiful and so very complex life of its own, with purpose and good works to be completed, all steaming from sex. This is why we need the structure of marriage for sex, because of the outcome it naturally produces. It is the challenge and joy of our lives to experience intimacy. It makes us feel so amazing. Endless songs have been written about intimacy. Books, poems, movies – all express the happiness and consummation, pain and sorrow, which originate from our need to fill this desire. It is a big deal. Once you dive into sexuality and you experience it for yourself, you realize intimacy is a never-ending need. You will continue to need other people to meet your needs in relationships. It requires so much to be a healthy adult, it takes work and dedication. Pornography is a cheap and quick fix. It will quickly get a result that will leave the user still unfulfilled. The porn user will get accustomed to easy outcomes that require little effort or work. Pornography addicts may altogether forget or lose the ability to develop and obtain true intimacy and satisfaction.

Pornography exposes us to an unrealistic dose of sexuality. If we accept it and rely on it, porn will weaken our ability to meet our natural needs. It (Porn) will change us.

So much of what I want to convey to young women and men can all be summed up in this: A good life requires hard work. Don’t settle for the cheap & quick! You are amazing and worth the effort. You can be fulfilled and find satisfaction in sex, but only within the guidelines of marriage. Prepare for it, plan for it, dream about it, and work hard for your relationships and worth. You will not be sorry that you set a high price on yourself. Men want sex, but the same rules apply for us all – fast and free will never satisfy. They will find themselves lacking. I guess that is why there were so many endless piles of porn in that trailer we found as kids. Sad but true. Scary but real. Don’t believe the hype! Porn changes us for evil. Noting good will come from exposing yourself to images. #pleasingabba

In Case You Missed It – May 22, 2015 – Racial double standard in Waco coverage, suicide increases in Black children

I am a supporter of the decriminalization of all recreational drugs. The science coming out of Columbia University unwaveringly supports the need for drug law reform. Please take a moment to view this brief lecture by Carl Hart, it is priceless to the American people.

Psychology Benefits Society

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In this week’s In Case You Missed It (a roundup of articles related to psychology, health, mental health and social justice collated from multiple news and commentary websites) we cover the racial double standard in media coverage of the Waco shooting compared with Baltimore, launching of a new Police Data Initiative, the sharp increase in suicide rates among Black children and more.

Make sure to also check out these APA publications:

Waco coverage shows double standard on race – CNN.com

What could be an iconic photo in the making drew some sharp contrasts between law enforcement treatment of perpetrators in Waco (potentially guilty of the murder of 9 people) and treatment of individuals in Baltimore following Freddie Gray’s death, contributing to conversations in news outlets, blogs, and social…

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How Do I Tell My Parents I’m Pregnant? Top 5 Things To Consider

One of the most difficult moments of my teen mom experience was telling my mom and family that I was pregnant. I was able to lie my way through what was really going on for about three months. To be fair, I was in complete denial and I did not know I was pregnant. But I did know that I had been sexually active, something I wasn’t ready to admit. So How do you talk to your parents honestly and openly, maybe for the first time?

Let us just acknowledge that it’s scary. Talking about your private life and relationships with a parent or adult can feel like there is too much of a gap for understanding. Maybe your parent(s) used scare tactics or fear based consequences when talking to you about sex in the past. Can I tell you from a parents point of view, this was done with your best interest in mind. Adults want to prevent trauma from happening to their children. Your parents have lived and seen struggle. They do not want that for you. Go into this talk knowing their feelings and emotions are rooted in wanting the best for your life. I know some teens may be thinking something like, “You don’t know my father” or “You have no idea what it’s like in my family”. I understand some situations can be harder than others, and I will give you my best ideas for handling those extreme cases. It will be emotional and it may be hard, but honesty is the only way you can move forward for the better.

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Bringing any situation into the light allows for the best possible outcome. Only then can you gather all the knowledge you need to make the best choices.

1. If you fear for your safety or you believe things could become too high stress, plan for the conversation to be in a safe place. Your church, school, or a family members home may be the best place to come clean. This allows for a cool down period knowing your parent will maintain a level of self control while in public.

2. Consider having a support person present. This could be a trusted counselor or group leader or coach. It could be a friend, but make sure it is someone mature enough to be neutral. Don’t turn this talk into sides. This is about being honest with people who are responsible for your provision and well being.

3. Do your research. Look into what support is available for teens/teen parents in your area. Be educated and aware of all your options, then present them to your parent(s).

4. Write it down on paper. One of the best ways to be prepared is to get everything you want to say out on paper and then take a step back. Have you explained yourself? Is there something you said that was unnecessary or hurtful? Be ready by making sure you’ve said what you needed to say in a clear manner.

5. Take a deep breathe and be patient with yourself. Talking to your parents about sex is not easy. You need to have a sense that what you are doing is for the best. Know that like any good choice, once you’ve made it, the rewards will follow.

Resources
http://www.judyringer.com/resources/articles/we-have-to-talk-a-stepbystep-checklist-for-difficult-conversations.php

Judy Ringer is a conflict and communication skills trainer, black belt in Aikido, and founder of Power & Presence Training and Portsmouth Aikido. Would you like free tips and articles every month? Subscribe to Ki Moments!