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Most kids don't start actively seeking out online porn until age 14.

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What do I say to my straight 14-year-old son about porn? My sister tells me that research shows my son has been looking at porn for three years already. Am I too late?

Distressed Anxious Dad

According to the Today show and the American Family Association and most of what pops up when you Google "kids and porn," DAD, you're three years late to this pants-shitting party. "The average age a child first views Internet pornography is 11," Matt Lauer warned parents on Today seven years ago. "And those kids don't look away."

But the alarming statistic Lauer cited — which was used to justify all sorts of proposed crackdowns on online porn — turned out to be total bullshit. Back in 2005, Seth Lubove, a writer for Forbes, traced the stat back to its source. Today got it from the Boston Globe, who got it from Family Safe Media, "a small firm in Provo, Utah, [which] is in the business of scaring parents into buying software to protect their kids from Internet smut." Family Safe Media got it from Internet Filter Review, a website that markets content-blocking software. Internet Filter Review got it from The Drug of the New Millennium, a self-published book about the dangers of porn addiction. Lubove tracked down the self-published author, and guess what? He couldn't recall where he got that stat. 

Lubove reviewed actual research done by legit social scientists and reported that most kids don't start actively seeking out online porn until age 14. So you're not too late, DAD.

Now, here's what I think you should tell your son about porn: There's a lot of it out there, some of it's pretty fucked up, and he can get in life-derailing trouble if he gets caught watching the wrong kind, e.g., underage, kiddie, etc. You should tell your son that the sex in porn bears about as much resemblance to real-life sex as action movies bear to real-life life. And warn him that a lot of porn is made by and for guys who have no wives, no girlfriends and no hope. Many of these guys — not most, but many — are angry and resentful, and their anger and resentment is a poison that creeps into a lot of porn. If you put it in your son's head that the poisonously misogynist is there to appeal to angry losers, your son will be less likely to internalize it — because your son doesn't want to see himself as an angry loser, right?

Finally, if your son is watching porn, he's masturbating. Tell him to vary his routine: left hand, right hand, a little lube, a lot of lube, firm grip, loose grip. You don't want your son to ruin himself for partnered sex by using the "death grip" — a fist clenched tighter than any human throat or pussy can clench — during solo sex. And send him to www.makelovenotporn.com for a brisk, sex-positive porn-versus-reality check.

A while ago, I broke up with my long-term boyfriend. A few months later, I met someone new and we started sleeping together. It was the best sex of my life. New Guy wasn't looking for anything serious, and neither was I, so we kept things very casual. After a couple months of amazing sex, my long-term boyfriend came back into the picture. All good, right? Wrong! I love him so much, but the sex just seems so dull and average compared to the volcanic sex that I was having during our time apart. Do I sacrifice an amazing sex life for a happy life of average sex with the man I love?

Missing Amazing Sex

You're not going to be happy having safe, boring sex, right? So if things don't improve, your relationship is doomed. So you have nothing to lose by slapping your cards down. Tell Mr. Long Term the truth: The sex has to get better. 

Now, Mr. Long Term could be lousy at sex, or maybe you two just don't click sexually. But there's a chance your problem is a relatively common hang-up. It's possible that you, or Mr. Long Term, or you and Mr. Long Term feel inhibited during sex because you're in love, and people who are in love are supposed to make safe, boring love. But people who aren't in love are allowed to have wild, passionate fucks.

Give Mr. Long Term permission to fuck you like he's never going to see you again. You should fuck him the same way. Fuck each other like the stakes are low. The "lovemaking" inhibition can be literally fucked death, if it's indeed the problem here. And then you'll see that you can have a committed relationship, and wild, passionate sex — with the same person!

But you gotta want it bad enough to fuck for it.

I'm a straight woman in a monogamous relationship with a straight man. Last weekend, I went out with my roommate (also a straight woman, also in a committed relationship). We went to a club, took some E, and did way too many tequila shots. We stumbled home and ended up fingerbanging each other. I have never had sexual feelings for my roommate, and she says she doesn't have them for me. Do I have to tell my boyfriend? I know he would be confused and upset. It was a strange, one-time thing that I plan on never doing again.

Not A Lesbian I Think

If it was a one-time thing, if you learned your lesson, if you're sure it won't happen again, if you didn't contract anything, and if there are no fetuses gestating (which, barring a miracle, is not an issue for you), you don't need to disclose this indiscretion. Chalk it up to the E and the tequila, change your sheets, scrub under your fingernails, and spare your boyfriend the upsetting details.

Gay Republicans, Dan. Why? How?

Confused

Self-loathing, that's why. Homophobia, that's how.

Find the Savage Lovecast (my weekly podcast) every Tuesday at thestranger.com/savage.

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