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» Got Questions? Get Answers. » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » Parental displeasure at my reading erotica

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Author Topic: Parental displeasure at my reading erotica
Violet1234
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I put this topic starter/question in ethics because for me it is an ethical issue- and I’m trying to get other (more experienced, and wiser) opinions on it.

I’m fifteen, and I really like free online comics and fiction (such as those from fictionpress.com or smackjeeves.com, which are two big, established databases for such things). Some of the ones I read happen to be of a sexual nature, and I like that about them too. I have no interest in actual real people pornography at all, as I have ethical issues with the treatment of the people in it, but I see no harm in erotic artwork, stories, or comics that feature only brainchildren of artists.


The problem with this is that I know my mom does not want me to read them, (for reasons I can sort of fathom, but quite frankly do not understand entirely) and I have -guiltily, and nervously- continued to carry on doing so against her wishes. I view reading these stories and comics as masturbation for me. Admittedly she doesn’t want me to be having sex with other people right now, but I’m pretty sure she’s okay with me masturbating, so why wouldn’t she be okay with something I view as masturbation? How can I see her side of the story better?

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Kachina
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Have you tried asking her why she doesn't want you to read them?

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~Kat
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Humans are allergic to change. They love to say, "We've always done it this way." I try to fight that. That's why I have a clock on my wall that runs counter-clockwise. - Grace Hopper

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Violet1234
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Thank you for replying! Yes, I have, but all she said was, and I quote, "That's nasty! You're not ready!" and then something about how it was bad for me to read about "that kind of stuff" before I did it, because it would change the experience for me.

It's just that I find "that kind of stuff" to be rewarding rather than malevolent, it makes me happy, and I wish she could get that.

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Kachina
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Hmm. Has she actually read any of what you are reading? If not, maybe show her some so she can see it's not "nasty"? I'm not sure how she thinks it would change the experience, or why she thinks you shouldn't read about it before you do it. Most things in life we take the opposite approach, we read a whole bunch about how to drive and the rules of the road before we drive a car, for example, or we spend years in school reading about things before we attempt to actually do them. It sounds like maybe she grew up hearing negative things about sex and/or masturbation and that is why she thinks it's "nasty"?

Have you talked to her at all about her views on masturbation?

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~Kat
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Humans are allergic to change. They love to say, "We've always done it this way." I try to fight that. That's why I have a clock on my wall that runs counter-clockwise. - Grace Hopper

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Violet1234
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I have a little, in the sense that I told her about something I'd heard was on Oprah, where it was recommended that mothers give their daughters vibrators in their mid teens so they wouldn't have to rely on someone else for pleasure. She expressed that this was something she though was a good idea, and even asked me if I wanted one (I, being young and immature that I am, declined, as I was embarrassed, but actually now that I come to think of it that's a good idea and I should bring it up again).

So I know she doesn't have a problem with the physical aspects of masturbation, but it's like she doesn't want me to... get ideas? I don't know if that's the best way to put it, but that's essentially what I'm doing, after all.

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Jill2000Plus
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Even if she did object to you masturbating, then that wouldn't make it wrong for you to masturbate, it's your body not hers, and while I also think legal minors have a right to have partnered sex in the house they share with their parents/legal guardians regardless of whether the parents are happy with it or not, unlike partnered sex, there is not a risk of getting pregnant or STIs, masturbation is very safe. It seems that that's not her objection here, but I still wanted to point that out. It's ignorant to believe that there is something per se damaging about written or drawn erotica, if it's making you happy then I don't see the problem, it will not ruin partnered sex if you choose to have it, and you haven't said anything about it having a bad influence on your understanding of consent, so I don't see what the issue is.

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Always knock before entering my room when I am in there alone, as I may be doing all sorts of wonderfully thrilling things that I'd rather you didn't see.

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Violet1234
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Thank you for replying! I think you've hit the nail on the head. She doesn't want me to read written or drawn erotica, but she has no problem with physical masturbation (Unfortunately, that is something I have limited interest in. For me, reading erotica is masturbating, even if I don't touch myself.)

I've been trying to see the logic in this and failing.

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Violet1234
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I've had another discussion with her about it, and to sum it up, she doesn't want me to read erotic material because she thinks it will make me "lose my innocence." She thinks that doing so will impact me negatively. Am I the only one who thinks this is not right? I don't have to be innocent sexually to be a balanced, kind, and thoughtful person, or to make good choices. Right now this is something that makes me happy, I don't think it's changed me into someone else. How can she not see that?

She told me that if I want it so much, I should wait three years (until I'm 18). I don't see why this would make a difference. I don't even want I sexual partner at all, or foresee myself having one in the nearish future. All I want sexually right now is this, and she's telling me I'm too young to not be damaged by it.

This has really upset me. I could really use some advice on how to handle the change in the situation.

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Kachina
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I never did like the expression "lose your innocence". It seems to imply that once you become sexual or have sexual feelings you are GUILTY of something. (The opposite of innocent.) No one should feel guilty for having a sexuality, it is normal for humans to be sexual, and even children have sexuality. Maybe you can ask her what she thinks you are innocent of, or that if you read erotic materials what she thinks you will be guilty of? You can also explain that you are ALREADY a sexual being (you won't become one by reading something) and while it can be hard on parents knowing their kids are growing up, that is in fact what is happening and you can't really prevent or delay it.

Are the materials you are reading legal for under 18 year olds? I still think maybe having your mother read it and see that it's not so bad might help her. Maybe she is thinking it is much worse than it really is.

I used to like to read a series of romance novels for young adults when I was 13 & 14, and there was sex in them. My mother was nervous when she read online about the books and saw there was sex in it, but I gave her a book and she read it and decided it was age-appropriate and let me read the whole series after that.

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~Kat
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Humans are allergic to change. They love to say, "We've always done it this way." I try to fight that. That's why I have a clock on my wall that runs counter-clockwise. - Grace Hopper

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Violet1234
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Thanks for getting back to me so quickly, I feel a little bit better now.

She doesn't so much think I'm guilty of anything, but instead thinks that the time of my life where I'm "innocent" is "special" and it's really important that I experience it.

The things I like to read are not legal for under 18s. She wouldn't like them, she would think that they are too graphic for someone my age, and she'd also be freaked out by the fact that some of them feature gay and lesbian characters (actually, she probably wouldn't mind the lesbian characters, but because I'm female, she'd have a problem with me reading from the perspective of a gay person sexually). Basically, if she read them she would have a problem with them and they actually might be worse than she thinks they are.

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Kawani3792
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Maybe you can try explaining that first, if she feels masturbation is okay for you then this should be okay for you too. Your innocence (in the ways of sexual matters) is probably already gone, as she defines it, if you're masturbating. Also, just about any school sex ed course will take away that oh-so-prized "innocence" about said sexual matters.

Technically I think part of her problem might be that legally speaking, you aren't even supposed to be viewing erotica, written, visual or such, until you are 18. Granted, a lot of people do ignore that (I found an online erotica site when I was 16, for example) but there's usually a disclaimer that if you are under 18, you should not enter the site/read or see the materials.

If you'd like a personal testimony to back you up, I'm 19 now, I was reading my mom's erotica when I was 12, found an online erotica site when I was 16.
I'm very intelligent, about to take my ACT to go to college to be a librarian. In the school where I grew up, half the girls who were in my class are either pregnant right now or have already had their kids. Even the good kids. I'm one of five girls of about fifteen who isn't pregnant or a mother. I'm not innocent at all anymore, but in no way has that negatively impacted me.

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bluejumprope
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If I could put in my two cents too: I think it's not really your mom's business. Reading your thread, I've been really impressed with your willingness to look at her perspective and seek other's advice. But it sounds to me like your mother is being illogical and hurtful. Your sexuality is yours. I don't think you need your mother's--or anyone's--permission to masturbate in the way you want. Young adults read erotic material. That's beyond common. (And I think it's really important and valuable too.)

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without tenderness, we are in hell. -Adrienne Rich

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Kachina
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Except if it is illegal it could be you're mom's business, in that she is responsible for you and would probably not want you to get into legal trouble. In some places, SHE could be the one in legal trouble if she knows you are viewing illegal material and allows it.

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~Kat
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Humans are allergic to change. They love to say, "We've always done it this way." I try to fight that. That's why I have a clock on my wall that runs counter-clockwise. - Grace Hopper

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Kachina
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I want to add that I have never heard of any young people being charged with viewing erotica online, and I do think it is common (I did it myself.) so I don't think your risk of actually getting in trouble with the law is high at all. I just wanted to make the point that if it is illegal (albeit not really enforceable) than I can see why your mother might have a problem with it in that regard. Although it does sound like she never mentioned that part of it, and maybe she would be just as unhappy if you were viewing legal erotica.

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~Kat
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Humans are allergic to change. They love to say, "We've always done it this way." I try to fight that. That's why I have a clock on my wall that runs counter-clockwise. - Grace Hopper

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Violet1234
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Thanks for all the input! (Sorry if I'm incoherent right now, I'm at home with a nasty cold and the fever may be screwing with my grammar/spelling/brain).

The fact that reading erotic stuff is something I see as, well, "me time," even if I'm not actually masturbating too makes me agree with the statement that it's not entirely her business. Granted, if it gets either of us into legal trouble it is her business, as Kat pointed out, but I really don't think that's going to happen. As you said, it's common, and not obvious so I don't think it's the kind of thing your neighbors can phone in to report (now that's a funny picture). Although the idea that a teenager could get into a court case from reading something online sounds horrifically like censorship- it would be equating written or drawn material to something like alcohol, saying that certain sexual ideas are as potent as something physical. And where would we draw the line? If they became stricter about it, would sites like Scarleteen be considered "18 or older" simply because they discuss sex in detail (which, you know, is really important in order to teach about it). Imagine if in a drivers ed. course people were told they had to be a certain age to read about someone driving, because if they did so too young it would make them want to drive and then they'd crash and die.

I think I needed to understand that she'd probably be unsupportive of whatever I did sexually not matter how old I am, not because she doesn't love me but because she still wants to see me as her little girl. She did say that she wouldn't want to hear about me and my sex when even when I am 18, which makes me sad that I won't be able to share those parts of my life with her (I don't know if most people tell their parents about that kind of stuff when they get older) and also thinks that people shouldn't be sexual until a certain age- something I don't agree with because everybody can be ready at different times- and thinks that time is college (18-19). This sounds like a horrible idea to me- because when you go off to college you're away from home for a very long time, usually the first time you've ever been away from home for so long, and getting in a relationship right off the bat sounds like a not so good idea, but anyway, that's just my two cents and I'm getting off topic. I guess I just really wanted her approval that it was okay to be sexual right now, but I actually did know what I thought was right all along. It's okay for me to be a sexual person no matter what age I am, as long as I feel like sexual things are something I'm ready and something I want. And right now, this is something I do feel ready for and want, it makes me happy, and I'm going to continue doing so apprehensively, with or without her approval.

Thank you bluejumprope, Kat, Jill, and Kawani for your wonderful advice. I'm really glad that I have the matter resolved [Smile] .

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Burdened with glorious booty
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Use Incognito mode on your computer (CTRL-Shift-N if you're using Google Chrome, for people who don't know), she'll never know.

Besides, it's not as if you're looking at full video porn - as long as you don't stumble across something that might disturb you, then you're alright as you are.

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Ta-da!

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