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What is porn?

I know this is probably strange for you but all my friends talk about porn and  I don't know what it is please can you help me???
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Sam

Hi there,

Thanks for your letter. I’m really pleased you’ve written to me about this subject as I know it’s a question lots of young people would like to ask but don’t always feel ready to.

I can hear how you feel unsure about what your friends are talking about when they’re talking about porn. This can be a really difficult situation to manage and to try to join in with your friends without letting on that you don’t know. 

When your friends use the word ‘porn’ it’s actually short for ‘pornography’. This means any printed or online films or photos which show naked people or sexual activity. So this can be sexualised stories, pictures or videos on the internet. Nowadays it's mostly used to refer to sexualised videos.

There are some important things I would also like to explain about pornography. Pornography is something for adults. Seeing pornographic images can affect people in different ways, and it can be upsetting or confusing. If you do feel like this you can talk to ChildLine about it.

If I could give you one message about pornography it is that it does not show a realistic image of sex. It can create false or wrong ideas of what sex is like - for example, porn shows people who look a certain way but these people are actors and sometimes have surgery to make them look the way they do. Porn videos and photos are often adjusted and airbrushed too, so remember it's not how most people look in real life.

There are some really interesting topics of discussion about pornography on the message boards under the topic of Sex and Sexual Health.

I hope this helps. I know that the counsellors at ChildLine get asked lots of questions about this subject and you can talk to them anytime. They will not be shocked by what you say and they will support you with how you feel. You can ring on 0800 1111, you can log on for a 1-2-1 chat or you can send emails through a ChildLine account.

In the meantime, take care,
Sam

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