It’s a fact. Girls use porn. And when they do, they are likely to hide porn use from their parents.
If you’re like a majority of parents out there, you are probably thinking, “Not my daughter!” Many parents have accepted the fact that their sons might be exposed to and use porn, but those same parents hesitate when confronted with their daughters using porn.
That’s typically when I tell them that I am a woman who used to watch porn and I doubt anyone in my life figured I would. I was the model student and a good daughter. My mom never had to worry about my grades, my friends, or me sneaking out of the house. There were no outward signs that pointed to a porn problem. I hid my porn use from my mom for years. She only found out after I started speaking on the topic.
For whatever reason, when it comes to girls, many people assume that the only ones who watch porn are the ones who are “trouble.” Yet, in my experience speaking with girls, the “perfect” ones struggle just as much, if not more so.
Their struggle is compounded by the fact that nobody would suspect them and they are afraid of letting people down. The fact that their parents would say “not my daughter!” makes the problem worse. These three words teach girls that their parents are unable to handle knowing if they have a problem with porn. In other words, if you are a parent who thinks “not my daughter,” you are precisely the type of parent a young girl may feel the need to protect from the truth. And the truth is that many more girls are watching porn than most parents could imagine.
According to a recent Barna study, one in five women ages 13 and older comes across porn weekly. According to statistics compiled by Covenant Eyes, 60% of girls are exposed to pornography by the age of 18, and 18% of young adult women use porn at least once a week. The same statistics state that 71% of teenagers hide their online activities from their parents.
Girls hide porn
If your daughter is using porn, she’s going to work extra hard to hide it from you, and here’s why:
- Curiosity. One of the top reasons that young women use porn is purely out of curiosity. This is a new world for them to explore and they prefer to explore it without their parents interference. When I was first exposed to pornography at the age of 13, I thought it was harmless. It was a world of mystery and intrigue that I wanted to explore on my own. I thought I would figure out whatever there was to figure out and then get bored with it. That did not end up being the case, but it started innocently enough.
- Shame. Girls who use porn can feel like the odd man out. If your daughter, like many young people, is using porn to get aroused, the topic is extremely personal and intimate. She may feel dirty. She may feel confused. If you are a Christian family, her shame might be compounded by the idea that God thinks she is dirty too. My mom found porn on the computer not long after I started watching it. “What is wrong with you?” she asked me. I knew then that I could never tell her and I never did.
- Fear. Daughters may hide their porn use from parents because they are afraid of how their parents might react. If your daughter feels you might ‘freak out’ or punish her, she will be careful to keep it a secret from you. Unfortunately, this will carry over into other areas of her life. If she doesn’t feel like she can tell her parents, she might be afraid to tell anybody.
These can be eliminated partly by helping your daughter develop internal filters for content she sees online. You have to assume, at one point, that she will be exposed to pornography. Giving her an internal filter helps to keep accidental exposures to pornography from escalating.
Create a relationship where you can talk about anything
Encourage her to come to you if she finds things online, or even if she is curious about something she has seen or heard. Keep an open conversation with your daughter about sex to help eliminate some of the fear and the shame. If she knows she can come to you and that no topic is off-limits, you create an environment where curiosity has supervision, and shame and fear are not present. Foster a relationship like that with your daughter, and a porn habit will have a much more difficult time taking hold.
Important! The industry is after women
The porn industry has been going after men and children for decades. In recent years, they have been seeking women. The industry knows if they can infiltrate women, including mothers, there will be no more opposition to the business. The porn industry has been working on developing material for women with the express purpose of drawing women into pornography. In fact, women are being groomed to be willing to exploit themselves.
Learn more about this and hear my story of pornography exposure by watching my talk, The Rise and Risk of Female Porn Use, originally given at the National Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation 2016 Summit:
Fix this problem by acknowledging the truth
Boys and girls. Men and Women. All people have the potential to be lured by porn. Pornography isn’t a guy problem; it’s a human problem. Have open conversations with your daughters as well as your sons. Kids today are growing up in tough circumstances. They all need your support.