My Daughter Has Been Looking at Porn: Advice to Christian Parents

If there ever was a time in our culture when porn was an exclusively male habit, that time is long gone. About half of young adult women today believe viewing pornography is acceptable behavior. About one third of young women today use porn from time to time, and one in five do so habitually—at least once every week.

These stats are far from surprising when we realize that more half of young women say they were first exposed to sexually explicit material by the age of 14, right in the middle of their most hormonally formative years.

But when it is your daughter, how should a good parent react?

My daughter has been looking at porn

Broaden Your Understanding of Women

Your daughter is a sexual being. Your daughter is becoming a woman. Sexual attraction and desires are growing in her. Teaching your daughter about sexual integrity is far more than just teaching her how to ward off the advances and leering eyes of horny guys. She must learn how to steward her own sexual desires.

This is a hard pill for some parents to swallow for a couple reasons. First, young girls are entering puberty earlier and expressing themselves sexually earlier than in generations past. (The early onset of puberty can be due to many factors, including abuse, obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, or even exposure to hormone-disrupting chemicals in the environment.) Girls today are having more sexual message imposed on them than ever before through all sorts of media.

Second, many parents grew up in an environment where female sexuality simply wasn’t something discussed. Sex was a man’s topic. For these parents, the thought of their “little girl” subjecting herself to hardcore videos and photos sounds utterly foreign.

If this is a hurdle in your understanding, simply acknowledge it. Embrace the truth that your daughter is becoming a woman who desires sexual pleasure and intimacy.

Impress on Your Daughter the Goodness of Sex

As you begin talking to your daughter, the undertone of your conversation should be positive. The “badness” of porn can only be explained when the goodness of sex is first celebrated.

“Sexual arousal feels good, and it should.” As a parent, we should say this to our daughters who likely feel a great deal of shame and confusion about their explorations of pornography.

Tell your daughter, “Your attraction to men and to sex is good and normal. God designed you that way. The Bible even talks about this. Read the Song of Solomon, a wonderful love poem right in the middle of the Bible. In it, the woman sings about the pleasure of having sex with her husband: ‘Kiss me and kiss me again, for your love is sweeter than wine’ (Song of Solomon 1:2). God has made sexual experience very pleasurable. The desire you feel when you look at porn is part of a drive God gave you, and it is an important part of who you are.”

Impress on Your Daughter the Problems of Porn

Sex was meant to bond us to another person. The Bible uses the phrase “one flesh” (Genesis 2:24) to describe this sexual union—a union so deep that it is more than bodies coming together. Sexual desire in a woman is designed by God to move her toward this kind of unity with one man.

This is why porn is so harmful. It hijacks that desire. As you fantasize looking at pornography, you are bonding yourself not to a person, but to a two-dimensional image.

Explain to your daughter, “It is like a fire. We love sitting in a living room with a fire in the fireplace. But if we take that same fire and put it in the middle of the floor, it could burn the house down. That’s the way sexual passion is. There’s a fitting place to start that fire—in the setting of marriage—but if you stir up that passion outside of marriage, it only ends up hurting you.”

There are two ways young women can misuse this passion. The first way is the way of fantasy, masturbation, pornography, or hooking up with guys. Doing this only makes a girl a slave to her passions.

The second way a girl can misuse this passion is to ignore it, pretend it doesn’t exist. In some Christian circles, this is what is taught (either implicitly or explicitly).

Every young woman needs to be taught, “You shouldn’t deny you have this passion inside you. Instead, use it to ‘build your fireplace,’ to become a woman of character, the kind of woman who will love and serve one man for the rest of her life. Whether you end up getting married or not, learn to surrender your desires to God and trust His providence.”

Download the Free Guide

When Your Child Is Looking at Porn - spreadThis kind of conversation might seem very unnatural. That’s why we have produced a new guide, When Your Child is Looking at Porn: A Step-By-Step Guide for Christian Parents. We firmly believe parents are the most powerful influencers of their children. If you daughter is diving deeper and deeper into pornography, as a parent, you must be the one to speak to her in wisdom.

I Wish Someone Would Have Told Me

Lauren Dubinsky, founder of the Good Women Project, talks candidly about her regrets from watching porn as a young woman. They serve as a good reminder to all parents to do whatever they can to teach their daughters.

I wish that 10 years ago someone had educated me on pornography. What it is, what it does and what it reaches in and destroys in the hearts, minds and bodies of men and women.

I wish that someone would have told me that researchers have suggested it sabotages your sex life.

I wish someone would have explained how dopamine, the chemical that is released every time you experience pleasure, drives you to return to what provided that feeling before…

I wish someone would have told me pornography would normalize things I wasn’t emotionally or physically ready to handle in my relationships with men, making me feel like I had no options or control over my sex life, filling me with much regret and physical pain.

I wish someone would have told me I would begin to objectify men, build up images in my mind and think of sex day in and day out, to the point where I couldn’t remain focused on anything else…

lauren dubinsky

Lauren Dubinsky

I wish someone would have pointed out pornography can establish your sexuality completely apart from real-life relationships, causing huge problems in your intimacy with real significant others…

I wish someone had talked about how women watch it too, so I wouldn’t have had to spend years living under the shame that comes with being “the only one” and thinking there was something wrong with me.

Don’t let your daughter think she is the only one. Don’t leave your daughter alone in this struggle.

Photo credit: 79959635@N06

Stories of women addicted to pornography