In “New Girl”, one of this season’s hit new comedies, main character Jess Day (played by Zooey Deschanel) discovers her roommate Schmidt’s porn stash.  She had been hoping to take things to the next level with her boyfriend (of one week, I should mention), but after five hours of deep diving through the latest trends in online pornography, Jess is left confused and concerned that she’ll be bad in bed.   When she learns that her new boyfriend enjoys porn, she prepares to break out the role playing, S&M gear and try out some of the moves she saw online.

Presented in an awkward, yet comedic fashion, as they move towards the big moment, she starts “lightly choking” her boyfriend before he runs away, terrified by her “advanced” knowledge of S&M.  Later in the show she confesses that she was only trying to keep up with what she thought was the new norm.  Although “New Girl” (like most comedies today) tends to affirm so-called “meaningless” sex, the hooking up culture, experimentation and pornography, Jess’ expressed insecurity and confusion in this episode echoes what I hear so often from the teenagers I work with today.

When our teenagers look around in the culture, when they see so many naked bodies online and sexually suggestive situations in the movies, TV shows and music videos they watch, they feel as though they can never measure up.  I’ve talked with girls and boys that think they need to study pornography to learn how to be good in bed.  Unfortunately, the sexual content that they see online is often degrading, violent and extreme.  I’ve talked with girls that are afraid of what their boyfriend might want to do next, since they are so often receiving their education about sex from videos that push bodies to the brink.  Our daughters are expected to be extremely experimental, and if they aren’t up for anything, then they’re afraid they’ll be dropped for a girl who is.  It took incredible courage for one girl who confided in me to walk away from a relationship where her boyfriend started trying to choke her during an intimate moment.  She was honestly confused about what was normal and what wasn’t.

Parents: It’s important to recognize that your sons and daughters are receiving a ton of misinformation about what it means to be good in bed.  Whether or not they’ve been using pornography, chances are that their current or future boyfriend or girlfriend will not be immune from porn’s influence.  It’s up to you to set the record straight, to take the premium off of performance and pushing the limit and help build the spiritual foundation they need to discern between God’s truth and the world’s lies about sex.  Their worth does not rest in how good they are in bed.   It’s only by God’s grace, through your prayers and through your constant conversations and support that your sons and daughters will know and pursue healthy, respectful and God-honoring sex.

Check out our Pornography Critical Issues page to learn more about the harms of pornography, and consider using parental controls (like Safe Eyes) or our X3watchPRO to help protect your kids while they are online.