The first contact with Sex – When and Where?

The first contact with sexual content is an individual experience for every single person. The differences do not only lie in the time and kind of the experience but also in the feeling and its effect. It is often difficult for children and teenagers at a certain age to actually deal appropriately with sexual content. Frequently, the content cannot be dealt with correctly and can thus overwhelm some viewers. In many cases the first encounter with pornography happens alone, but the circle of friends is increasingly the cause. Nevertheless, there is a clear distinction with the encounter between genders. Male children and teenager like to provoke the confrontation, whereas girls rather find themselves in such situations unconsciously.

However the emotional effects can only be controlled to a certain extent. In surveys, teenagers indicated their first contact with sexual content to be negative if it happened unexpectedly and unwillingly. The other way around, boys talked of a positive feeling in a conscious confrontation with the content and girls demonstrated an indifferent attitude. It should be made sure that children and teenager know how to deal with the experience and also for them to develop a distant perspective to the seen content. Although it cannot be generally said that everyone is overwhelmed by the experience, an open conversation can prove helpful.

The 2013 study “EU-Children Online“ shows that a fifth of the 9-16 year old internet users came across pornographic content either through pop-up ads (by accident) or out of curiosity (on purpose). The majority of boys felt this kind of soft pornography was stimulating whereas the girls valued it as repulsive. The confrontation with hard and violent pornographic material is somewhat different. Here, both genders reacted with disgust and most children and teenager leave it at a one-time visit. Besides the internet, television is the other major medium children encounter pornography for the first time.

Parents should be dedicated to talk openly to their children about pornography. At a certain age children are neither mature enough nor is it legally justifiable to let them deal with this subject by themselves. Of course this topic should not be dramatized but parents have the option to positively influence the development and also steer the effects of pornography by educating their children appropriately.