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Your Conversation Blueprint

How do you start a general conversation with your friends about porn? Should you ask them what their stance is or wait until they volunteer that information? What if their stance is different than your stance? Once the topic is brought up, what do you even say? We hope this information helps you open up the conversation in a way that is healthy and productive for both you and the friend you’re discussing this with.

If your discussion with your friend leads to different conversations in the future, we can help with those too.

I want to talk about my struggle with porn.
I want to talk about my friends porn consumption.

What To Do

Know the facts.

Before you begin the conversation, it’s important to make yourself aware of the science behind how porn impacts individuals, relationships, and society, so that you have a solid, holistic understanding of the issues you’ll be discussing. You can get the facts on the Fight the New Drug website, where we have many videos and articles about the harms of porn. You can also utilize our three-part documentary series Brain, Heart, World.

Set the tone.

This conversation can set the tone for this and any future conversations you and your friend might have about porn. This is why we’ll talk more about how to start this conversation once you’ve had a chance to think through your goals for this conversation. Do you want to chat with them about porn to learn their general thoughts on it? Would your friend be comfortable opening up to you about this if it is something they struggle with? What open-minded questions will you ask? Are you prepared for them to possibly disagree with you?

Know why you fight.

See what it means to be a Fighter, this can be a great reminder of why we are a part of this movement for love. Maybe you’ve been impacted by porn directly, or know someone who has. Maybe you’re a fighter because of the societal impacts of porn and links to sex trafficking. Whatever your reason, it’s important for you to know that before you start discussing this generally with others—especially if you don’t know what their stance on the issue is. In order for you to help your friend see how porn can be harmful if they don’t already know, you’ll need to know for yourself, first. So go ahead and ask yourself, why are you a Fighter? Why are these issues important to you? Help your friend understand the harmful effects of porn and help them see the benefits of life without it.

Listen.

Once you express yourself, give your friend a chance to respond. They might not have much to say, they might have never even thought about how porn could be harmful. Maybe they’ll open up about their current and/or past experiences with porn, or they might need more time before they open up fully. Try to listen and be understanding as they express their opinions or how they feel about their experiences, past and/or present. If your friend does disclose a past or present struggle with porn, check out our tips here. If you, on the other hand, want to tell them about your past or present struggle with porn, then we have tips for you, too!

Show that you care.

Even if your friend expresses an opinion that doesn’t align with yours, remember that they are still your friend. Keep in mind that not everyone is aware of the harmful effects of pornography, and this conversation might be the first your friend is hearing about this issue. Being combative likely won’t be good for your friendship and won’t be convincing to help them see your perspective. Try helping them see that you’re having this conversation with them because you care about them and value your friendship. If they open up to you about a struggle with porn, try to thank them for their honesty, even if they say things that are difficult to hear. If they don’t think porn is an issue, help them see how it can be harmful by focusing on the science, facts, and personal accounts that demonstrate porn’s harms. If your friend is already aware of the harmful effects of porn, consider talking with them about ways you could raise awareness on this issue together! Regardless of what direction your conversation takes, trying to maintain a respectful conversation can make all the difference in the world.  Know that you can always revisit this conversation with your friend.

Know about available resources.

If applicable, know that there are a variety of resources to help you and/or your friend. Fortify is a free, online, video-based recovery resource that helps break the cycle of going back to porn. Learn more about Fortify and talk to your friend about trying it today if they’re struggling with pornography. Accountability partners can be extremely helpful to those ready to leave porn behind. What they do is ultimately up to their own self-control and motivation, but knowing that you are in their corner can help immensely.

Know that there are also many resources to help educate others on the harms of porn. Learn more on the Fight the New Drug website or utilize our three-part documentary series Brain, Heart, World. You can also check out Consider Before Consuming to share an interactive learning experience with your friends, join the Street Team together, or share Truth About Porn for current research and video interviews from experts.

What Not To Do

Avoid shaming—it won't help.

This can happen a lot with disagreement. It can be easy, when we disagree with someone, to intentionally or unintentionally shame the person we disagree with. What does shaming look like, you may be asking? It’s like making someone feel like a “bad” person or unworthy of love because of something they’ve done. It’s important to keep in mind that shaming someone usually does not help them see your perspective. Shaming can wound relationships and discourage progress in recovery. All in all, avoiding shame will likely lead to a better outcome for all parties.

Try not to force the conversation.

There’s a good chance your friend wasn’t anticipating this conversation, and they might be feeling a bit awkward about it because porn can be a personal topic. That’s totally understandable. Don’t force them to disclose or talk to you about something they don’t feel comfortable talking about. Simply opening the door to having this conversation is a great start. By opening the conversation up, they’ll know that you’d be a safe person to talk to if they want to talk more in the future.

Don't brush it off.

It may seem easy to simply brush off this issue. But research shows just how harmful porn can be, and Make sure you’re giving adequate respect to your friend and their perspectives, but don’t be afraid to share what you’ve learned about the harms of porn. Try to have an open and honest dialogue in which both of you are respectful of each other’s perspectives.

Success Stories

My friend told me I wasn’t alone. He said that I hadn’t messed up more than I could fix, that I was capable of overcoming my addiction. That was something I hadn’t thought was possible before.

N

He didn’t know it then, but him talking to me about his problem was the beginning of my journey to overcoming my own issue with pornography

M, 25
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