Our 11-year-old boy recently burrowed through my home office, unearthed a hardcore comic book, and brought it to a sleepover to show his dopey gangly friends. He was busted when my wife found it stashed in his pillow case when he got home.

Sponsored
The Prom, playing May 31st-June 19th at The 5th Avenue Theatre
The Prom is a musical comedy about big Broadway stars on a mission to change the world.

We discussed how to handle it. I put the kibosh on the "it's demeaning to women" message, agreed on the others, which I delivered: He rifled through my filing cabinet where he didn't belong, the material was inappropriate for kids his age, and he brought it into somebody else's house—we wouldn't want him to get busted by them and never invited to their home again. (You never know how people will react to this stuff.)

What next? I explained to my wife how important porn is to curious burgeoning boys. But this stuff was pretty nasty, and even I, a lover of porn, think it's too advanced and too hardcore for an 11-year-old. How do I explain "too advanced" to a kid? When I was a kid, we got peeks at Playboys purloined from somebody's dad. Some boobs, maybe a hint of bush, was plenty exciting to a kid that age. Do I give him an avenue to softer stuff? Or just tell him to stay the hell out of my things? Is some sexual education meant to be surreptitious, shared only with peers?

Down And Dirty

My response after the jump...

•••••••••••••••••

When I was just a little older than your son is now, DAD, I found some insanely hardcore porn sitting on a bench at a bus stop. It was back in the Playboy/Penthouse/Hustler era, but this shit wasn't boobs and bush. It was really hardcore and pretty bizarre—and I vaguely recall there being an enema bag or three involved. I didn't take it with me, and I didn't talk to anyone about it, but for a long time I wondered...

Do all adults do this stuff? Do my parents do this stuff? Am I going to be expected to do this stuff when I grow up?

The thoughts kind of plagued me for a while—until I finally talked to one of my aunts about it. She laughed and said, "People don't do everything you're going to see in porn. Not even people who look at that kind of porn necessarily want to do the shit that's in it. You won't have to do that stuff if you don't want to, and you probably won't want to."

Hearing that was a huge relief. I imagine the relief would've been even greater if I had found that hardcore porn not at a bus stop, but in my dad's filing cabinet.

You're going to have to have a much more involved conversation with your son about the porn he discovered in your office. He probably doesn't want to talk with you about it, DAD, so you're just going to have to talk at him about it. Explain where you got that porn, why you hang on to it, and that some porn is designed to shock, and that not everyone is interested in the kind of stuff represented in that porn, or aroused by it, not even all people who own it.

For all I know you are aroused by it—and that's fine, DAD, really. But your son doesn't need to be plagued by mental images of you doing nastyassshit to mommy after he goes to bed on school nights.

Even if you are.

Sponsored
Day In • Day Out returns this summer, August 12th thru 14th!
Featuring The National, Mitski, Mac DeMarco and more! Full lineup and tickets at dayindayoutfest.com