DD's saw something they should not have - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 81 Old 05-23-2009, 12:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My daughters (ages 7 and 5) were using DH's computer today (without permission), and chose a porn site from the drop down menu. It was a page that had many thumbnails of porn clips. Thankfully they did not click on any of them.

Until now, my oldest DD thought that sex was something people did to make babies (and only for that reason). I explained to them that this was something grown ups did when they were in a happy, loving relationship and that it is okay for adults to do these things. I tried to make it seem like a normal activity that adults do but I can only imagine what they saw

They seem fine with my explanation, they had no questions and promised not to use DH's computer anymore.

Has anyone else been in this situation? There are no parenting how-to books for this type of thing. I never thought I would be having this talk with them at such an early age. I feel sick knowing my DD's saw that stuff.

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#2 of 81 Old 05-23-2009, 01:14 AM
 
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If you have that sort of stuff in your house (not locked or passworded away), your kids will find it, I guarantee it. Kids are nosy. Something similar happened to me when I was about 7, and my dad tried to give me an explanation. I remember thinking it was BS even then.

I would recommend passwording the computer from now on, and hiding anything else you might have WELL. I can tell you right now that my father did not bother to hide that stuff well and I suffered from it as a kid and as an adult.

If you think there was anything exceptionally weird (whatever you think that might be) that your daughters saw I would apologize to them for it. Some of that stuff can be very scary for children.

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#3 of 81 Old 05-23-2009, 01:14 AM
 
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Hey - I'm not a parent. But, when I was 6, I found a Penthouse magazine in the woods. At age 6, I was a fairly good reader. I not only looked through it, but I read all the stories.

And then I started asking my mom what some of the words meant.

I just wanted to reassure you that this did not scar me. I'm perfectly normal ... or so I think.

Kids are somewhat protected by their limited experience. So, what seems like hardcore porn to us, and awful to look at - it's a totally different experience for a child to see it. They compute these things much differently.

I remember reading those stories, and I computed them in a very innocent, child-like way. It wasn't until I was in my teens that I put it all together, and was like "ooooh, so that's what Penthouse is."

It's hard for kids not to be exposed to sex at an early age nowadays. Between the computer, television, media, and even just going out in public - sexuality and sexualization and objectification is all around us.

Sounds to me like you handled it well.

I suggest password protecting that computer, though, for future reference.

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#4 of 81 Old 05-23-2009, 04:13 AM
 
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Don't make a big deal about it. At their age... it went over their heads.

Add a guest setting to your computer for the kids and put a password on dh's setting. No biggie.
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#5 of 81 Old 05-23-2009, 04:34 AM
 
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I think it's probably a bad idea to make it about the fact that they didn't have permission to be on the computer, make them "promise" not to do it again, etc. That seems to be framing the situation as they did something wrong and the onus of the situation is on them. Definitely not the message you want to send. Plus, the forbidden fruit problem. That stuff shouldn't be where they can find it, whether they're doing what they're supposed to or not. They probably didn't see enough porn to make a lasting impression, but you definitely don't want them drawing a connection between sex and disobedience/being in trouble.
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#6 of 81 Old 05-23-2009, 10:09 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I think it's probably a bad idea to make it about the fact that they didn't have permission to be on the computer, make them "promise" not to do it again, etc. That seems to be framing the situation as they did something wrong and the onus of the situation is on them. Definitely not the message you want to send. Plus, the forbidden fruit problem. That stuff shouldn't be where they can find it, whether they're doing what they're supposed to or not. They probably didn't see enough porn to make a lasting impression, but you definitely don't want them drawing a connection between sex and disobedience/being in trouble.
They have always known that they are NOT allowed to use his computer (due to his work). They did do something wrong. I didn't make them promise, that's just how they are. We don't punish here (or discipline at all really), so all I did was ask them to please not use his computer again and reminded them that he has important work stuff on there. They said "Ok, I promise I won't do it again" and that was the end of that. I did not punish them, talk harshly, or shame them for this.

The computer is usually locked, they happened to go into our bedroom while DH was taking a bathroom break. They seem to be totally over it, actually I don't think they thought much of it in the first place.

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#7 of 81 Old 05-23-2009, 10:54 AM
 
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Or you could just say, "No porn in the house with small children." Seems like the easiest answer to me.

My husband was exposed to porn at a young age and it had a lasting negative effect on him through adolescense. I'd be horrified if my young kids were exposed to something like that. How sad.

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#8 of 81 Old 05-23-2009, 11:16 AM
 
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The computer is usually locked, they happened to go into our bedroom while DH was taking a bathroom break. They seem to be totally over it, actually I don't think they thought much of it in the first place.
That's how things like this usually manage to happen! But as PPs say, as long as you don't make a big deal out of it, it more than likely won't be a big deal to them. Children do indeed have a much different perspective about these things than we adults do, which doesn't mean they won't remember seeing what they saw, but it does mean that they have no frame of reference. Know what I mean? It sounds like you gave them a perfectly appropriate explanation- props for thinking on your feet!

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Or you could just say, "No porn in the house with small children." Seems like the easiest answer to me.
Hmm. I don't know about the rest of the married women in the world, but this sounds like a dictatorial and impractical solution. I wouldn't ask my husband to not look at porn- I might ask him to safeguard his computer a little better, but asking him to not look at porn is something an overbearing mother would say to little Timmy when she caught him with a Playboy in the guest bedroom! Not really something a wife ought to say to a husband...
Maybe I'm just sick.
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#9 of 81 Old 05-23-2009, 11:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Or you could just say, "No porn in the house with small children." Seems like the easiest answer to me.
I don't think that is an easy answer.

They could have just as easily seen it on the family computer with the way our "parental blocks" work. If they have access to the internet, even with all of the blocks in the world, porn will find a way to pop up. So really, parents should not have any computers in the house if they want to truly protect their children from this stuff. For that matter, do not allow them to use a computer at school or the library. Their school computers were recently bombarded with a virus that had porn pop-ups. It's just the chance you take with allowing a child to use a computer.

We do not have "porn in the house". DH has a private computer, which has access to the internet. The internet is full of porn. Was he viewing it? Probably ... on his private, locked computer, sometime in the past.

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#10 of 81 Old 05-23-2009, 11:18 AM
 
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#11 of 81 Old 05-23-2009, 11:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Ditto
If you have a computer, you have porn in your house. This was not downloaded. It was a website that was apparently viewed 4 months ago (according to the history)

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#12 of 81 Old 05-23-2009, 11:30 AM - Thread Starter
 
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That's how things like this usually manage to happen! But as PPs say, as long as you don't make a big deal out of it, it more than likely won't be a big deal to them. Children do indeed have a much different perspective about these things than we adults do, which doesn't mean they won't remember seeing what they saw, but it does mean that they have no frame of reference. Know what I mean? It sounds like you gave them a perfectly appropriate explanation- props for thinking on your feet!
Well, I definitely want them to know the facts about this subject. I just didn't expect them to see it. They already knew the basics about it, because of the whole "where do babies come from" talk. I just added on that sometimes couples in relationships do it for fun too (and not just to get a baby). I never want sex to be a taboo subject, when they are older I hope they can talk honestly with me about their feelings. I think making it something shameful or something that is never talked about will do much more harm than good. I think I did ok by telling them it is something adult couples in relationships do, and that it's for adults only. They seemed to accept that.

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#13 of 81 Old 05-23-2009, 11:34 AM
 
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Or you could just say, "No porn in the house with small children." Seems like the easiest answer to me.

My husband was exposed to porn at a young age and it had a lasting negative effect on him through adolescense. I'd be horrified if my young kids were exposed to something like that. How sad.
I did that, after finding not-ok (imo) porn. Having three daughters, including two who use the computer, I don't want to risk it.

My partner completely agrees too. (now, )

btw, no porn at all, not just with young children.

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#14 of 81 Old 05-23-2009, 11:35 AM
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You can also set up your computer to not track cookies (just as a precaution for the future, in case they break the rule and go to his computer again during a bathroom break). Then there is no way for them to find it unless they look it up themselves.

I imagine it was in your husbands recent history if they found it so quickly (he was only gone for a bathroom break) i think its cool that kind of thing doesnt bother you. I guess I am really insecure - partly because I knew a man who had a porn addiction and how that can effect their ability to be attacted to their spouse. We have a no porn in the house rule too (prude I know...) but I don't think the answer is to have no porn because you have small children, though that may be why some people have a no porn rule. If it is something you are okay with then just take some extra precautions for next time

I think you handled the situation well.
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#15 of 81 Old 05-23-2009, 11:41 AM
 
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If you have a computer, you have porn in your house. This was not downloaded. It was a website that was apparently viewed 4 months ago (according to the history)
No, if you have a computer you have the potential to have porn in the house. If the computer is regularly used to view porn, you DEFINITELY have porn in the house, as you have learned first-hand.

There is no way my young children could access porn on our computer. Its *never* viewed on our computer. When they use the computer, they have a list of websites saved in their favorites that they are allowed to click on. The computer is out in plain view of everyone, in our living room.

I guess I just don't *get* making it 'safer' for your husband to get off on a bunch of other women. As long as your kids don't see it, it doesn't effect your family....oh yeah...unless your kids see it.

Some things you can't 'unsee'. Seeing porn at a young impressionable age can have lasting effects JUST like sexual abuse can. Not something I'm willing (or my husband is willing) to risk with kids in our house.

Forsaking ALL others for us really means forsaking ALL OTHERS.

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#16 of 81 Old 05-23-2009, 11:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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You can also set up your computer to not track cookies (just as a precaution for the future, in case they break the rule and go to his computer again during a bathroom break). Then there is no way for them to find it unless they look it up themselves.

I imagine it was in your husbands recent history if they found it so quickly (he was only gone for a bathroom break) i think its cool that kind of thing doesnt bother you. I guess I am really insecure - partly because I knew a man who had a porn addiction and how that can effect their ability to be attacted to their spouse. We have a no porn in the house rule too (prude I know...) but I don't think the answer is to have no porn because you have small children, though that may be why some people have a no porn rule. If it is something you are okay with then just take some extra precautions for next time

I think you handled the situation well.
Thanks. I will definitely be changing the settings on the computer so it does not track the cookies. That computer is not used for the internet very often and still has a website I was looking at in December in the recent history list (the drop down list vista has when you go to type in a website). He very well could have been looking at it recently, but that is ok. It's his private computer, and I'm fine with porn in general. Not fine with my children seeing it, but fine with my husband looking at it.

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#17 of 81 Old 05-23-2009, 11:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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No, if you have a computer you have the potential to have porn in the house. If the computer is regularly used to view porn, you DEFINITELY have porn in the house, as you have learned first-hand.

There is no way my young children could access porn on our computer. Its *never* viewed on our computer. When they use the computer, they have a list of websites saved in their favorites that they are allowed to click on. The computer is out in plain view of everyone, in our living room.

I guess I just don't *get* making it 'safer' for your husband to get off on a bunch of other women. As long as your kids don't see it, it doesn't effect your family....oh yeah...unless your kids see it.


Some things you can't 'unsee'. Seeing porn at a young impressionable age can have lasting effects JUST like sexual abuse can. Not something I'm willing (or my husband is willing) to risk with kids in our house.

Forsaking ALL others for us really means forsaking ALL OTHERS.

They would have seen worse if they would have walked in on us (which seems to be a pretty common thing after reading posts here). You can not compare walking in on parents having sex, or seeing thumbnail clips of sex acts once with sexual abuse. They may both have lasting effects, but they are no where near being the same.
My husband has not done anything wrong here. I find porn to be perfectly acceptable for adults to view.

I doubt porn was viewed on their elementary school computers either.. but that didn't stop a group of 4th graders from getting an eye full while looking up information on the presidents. You are naive to think that it could never happen to your children.

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#18 of 81 Old 05-23-2009, 11:59 AM
 
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One quick and easy fix is for your husband to set up a screen saver on his private computer, and password protect it. It can turn on after two minutes of idle time, and then the computer can't be accessed again until he types in his password. This would prevent this kind of "daddy's in the bathroom" accident again, unless of course they're waiting outside the door for him to leave and jump right on before the two minutes are up.

As a former public librarian, I can also vouch for the fact that having computers connected to the internet at all makes you vulnerable for having porn pop up. One of the great examples I learned back in library school (about 10 years ago) was whitehouse.com -- now it's a legit site, but back then it was owned by a porn company. Someone who didn't realize that they needed .gov to get to the official White House website would get an eyeful instead of info on our president.

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#19 of 81 Old 05-23-2009, 12:01 PM
 
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I think you handled it very well. Just be aware that they may have more questions in a few days as they process the info you gave them and what they saw.

My dad had a subscription to Playboy when I was young. I was probably 8 or so when I first thumbed through the magazine when I knew I wouldn't get "caught." I was curious. Most kids are. It's not something that scarred me for life or turned me into a sex addict or something.

That said, passwords are very easy to put in place on the computer, especially if it's dealing with sensitive work information. DH's laptop has a password, and his work notebook (with HIPPA-protected patient info) even has a fingerprint scanner to unlock it.
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#20 of 81 Old 05-23-2009, 12:02 PM
 
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They would have seen worse if they would have walked in on us (which seems to be a pretty common thing after reading posts here). You can not compare walking in on parents having sex, or seeing thumbnail clips of sex acts once with sexual abuse. They may both have lasting effects, but they are no where near being the same.
My husband has not done anything wrong here. I find porn to be perfectly acceptable for adults to view.

I doubt porn was viewed on their elementary school computers either.. but that didn't stop a group of 4th graders from getting an eye full while looking up information on the presidents. You are naive to think that it could never happen to your children.
I'm not naive, thanks. My kids are not old enough to read, much less make inappropriate searches. When they are old enough, there are steps that can be taken to prevent that.

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#21 of 81 Old 05-23-2009, 12:05 PM
 
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My daughter was looking up information on Bearded Dragons. Guess what popped up? She didn't say anything to me but got curious and kept on looking. It was devastating to me but I think I handled it well. No shaming at all. I told her about the magazines my cousin showed us that belonged to his dad. Then I had to do some explaining on what she saw. That was hard but I kept cool and calm. I then bought
"It's Perfectly Normal
Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex & Sexual Health"
It has been fun for us to read it together.
I updated the protection on my computer to avoid this situation again. I had the parent controls on but I did not know that the windows parent controls do not work with Mozilla.
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#22 of 81 Old 05-23-2009, 12:18 PM
 
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my dd recently saw the CD cover of my porn movie. told her not meant for her. not until she is in high school. she made big eyes and said in a conspirital tone, 'mom i saw the penis and boobies.' then we went into what porn was - all the whys and whats and told her why i disliked usual porn coz of the way they treat women. blah. blah blah. seems like curiosity for her. wasnt affected.

i am not against porn myself. an addiction yes - is bad. not otherwise.

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#23 of 81 Old 05-23-2009, 12:47 PM
 
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#24 of 81 Old 05-23-2009, 12:59 PM
 
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I don't know about the rest of the married women in the world, but this sounds like a dictatorial and impractical solution...Not really something a wife ought to say to a husband...
H and I talk about everything. For reasons I won't get into here, it's important to me that my home be a safe space and that includes no porn. H is respectful of that and I appreciate it.

I'm not clear why it would be "impractical" unless a person had an addiction to porn.
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#25 of 81 Old 05-23-2009, 01:01 PM
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Coming from a parent of older kids....

I know there's a world of difference between a 6yo viewing porn and a 16yo viewing porn, whether it's accidental or not.

But believe me, if kids want to look at it, they'll find a way. Computer-savvy teens know how to get around filters and parental controls. Don't be fooled into thinking that things are "safe" just because you have extra software on there.

It took me quite some time to figure out that my son had installed keylogging software on his computer. Because of that, he was able to get the passwords for the parental control settings and sneak around them.

Additionally, the marketers of porn sites are quite adept in figuring out how to avoid the pop-up blockers and control settings. An innocent web search can turn up graphic stuff, even with filters. And unless you plan to hit EVERY search engine site and set them to "safe search" (nearly impossible to do), or block them all (rendering the Internet virtually useless for research purposes), your kid is likely to see some off-color stuff at some point.

As for comparing online porn to Playboys and Penthouses back in the 70's or 80's....apples and oranges. That's like comparing the Sunday funnies to a full-length feature film.
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#26 of 81 Old 05-23-2009, 01:01 PM
 
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Or you could just say, "No porn in the house with small children." Seems like the easiest answer to me.

My husband was exposed to porn at a young age and it had a lasting negative effect on him through adolescense. I'd be horrified if my young kids were exposed to something like that. How sad.
A lot of kids walk in on their parents having sex and I don't think it is a good idea to have a no sex rule in the house so the no porn rule doesn't make a lot of sense either. My dd did this to me and my ex when she was two, she had just fallen asleep and we thought she would be asleep for a couple hours but she wasn't. We were a loving couple then and stopping all sex just because of one little incident would not have made sense. It sounds like the OP and her husband have been taking reasonable steps to stop their access to this stuff and when they got access anyways the OP talked them through it. I think she did the right thing and her and her dh shouldn't have to stop having things that are enjoyable to them in their lives.
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#27 of 81 Old 05-23-2009, 01:05 PM
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I'm not clear why it would be "impractical" unless a person had an addiction to porn.
The other poster wasn't saying that it's impractical to keep porn out of the house.

She was saying that it was impractical to boss your spouse around like he's three years old. Not to mention degrading.

If you and your DH agree that porn will remain out of your home, then that's a non-issue. Some other people don't have problems with porn in their marriages. Porn does not make me or my DH feel unsafe.

DH and I respect each other and talk about things that bother us, and find mutually agreeable solutions. That is a world of difference from "putting your foot down." If your partner is so disrespectful of you (general "you") that he or she does not care how something makes you feel, then there are bigger issues than having porn in the house. We do not tell each other what to do.
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#28 of 81 Old 05-23-2009, 01:15 PM
 
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Don't make a big deal about it. At their age... it went over their heads.
Don't be so sure I was first "introduced" to porn at an age younger than this and it greatly affect me throught my entire life. Here porn is not allowed DD actually has her own browser with safe sites already bookmarked for her (she is 6.5). DH and I are fully on the same page over this thugh.

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#29 of 81 Old 05-23-2009, 01:17 PM
 
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But, when I was 6, I found a Penthouse magazine in the woods. At age 6, I was a fairly good reader. I not only looked through it, but I read all the stories.

And then I started asking my mom what some of the words meant.
I could have written these exact words. Just to offer another perspective, though, in my case the experience was damaging and caused me lasting harm. I bring this up only to highlight that we all react to these things differently. I guess the scary bit is not knowing how your kiddo will react/feel/process.

I guess I'm not sure what the issue is for the OP? If porn is acceptable and healthy (as much so as walking in on parents), what's the problem? Is it that they are young? If so, I'd let them know you are available to answer their questions and leave it at that.

ETA:

Quote:
this was something grown ups did when they were in a happy, loving relationship
Actually, in this particular instance what they saw was not grown ups in happy, loving relationships. They saw people getting paid to be naked/have sex. Again, not sure how much detail you want to go into with them or what you'd like to accomplish, but thought I'd put this out there for clarity's sake.

Lucy, mama to Silas and Adelaide
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#30 of 81 Old 05-23-2009, 01:19 PM
 
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Originally Posted by One_Girl View Post
A lot of kids walk in on their parents having sex and I don't think it is a good idea to have a no sex rule in the house so the no porn rule doesn't make a lot of sense either.
I dunno. It seems like some of us see a difference between "kid knowing that mommy and daddy do it" and "kid knowing that daddy likes to watch pictures of strange young women having it done to them, by a bunch of different guys, in every possible way." YMMV.
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