Sex Gets Real Ep 109: Teens, porn, sex, and how to talk about it all

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Nadine Thornhill is someone I admire greatly. Not only was she part of the Explore More Summit, but her approach to parenting and talking to kids about sex is revolutionary. And this week, we’re going deep into consent, kids, teens, being a parent, talking about porn, and much more.

I truly believe that future generations will be so much more consent informed and emotionally intelligent because of work like Nadine’s. If all of us are better able to express ourselves and receive rejection gracefully, we’d have drastically healthier relationships and sex for it.

So, let’s dig in and have fun.

“Unlike something like The Transformers movie, where we see regular cars all the time that do not turn into robots, youth especially don’t really have anything else against which to gauge the sex they’re seeing in porn because we don’t talk to them about sex. If [porn] is all they see [of sex], that by default becomes incredibly influential in a way that other types of entertainment may not.” Nadine Thornhill

In this episode, Nadine and I:

  • Field a question from a parent who caught his teen son watching rough, violent porn. How can he talk to him about it?
  • Dig into how porn is impossible to block from kids these days. Even if your child isn’t watching, they probably have a friend who is and talks about it. Nadine offers amazing ways to talk about porn with young folks.
  • Discuss simple ways to share your sexual values and feelings with kids and teens, plus how asking questions is a powerful way to learn about their experience rather than our assumptions.
  • Answer a question from a mom who is wondering how to support her son who seems to be trans or gay.
  • Roll around in all sorts of yummy resources about gender and sexual diversity aimed at kids and why it’s important to share in these discussions from an early age.
  • Consider what it means to be an askable adult and a safe resource for talking about sex.
  • Talk about how part of being a teenager is figuring things out and navigating situations for the first time. You can tell someone all the things, but there’s a huge difference between being told and actually living the experience.

About Nadine Thornhill

Nadine has been helping families and educators talk to kids about sex for over a decade. She has a Doctor of Education in Child and Adolescent Sexuality and is a member of The Sexuality and Information Council of Canada. When she’s not working, Nadine enjoys adventures in the city with her husband and son, off-key crooning at karaoke, eating great food and watching reality television.

You can find Nadine at She’s also on Twitter @NadineThornhill and YouTube with awesome videos. You can also buy my chat with Nadine from the Explore More Summit, along with 29 other experts here.

Resources discussed in this episode

Cindy Gallop’s Make Love Not Porn website and Ted Talk

“Red: A Crayon Story” – a children’s book on being different (Nadine referenced it as “Blue” but it’s actually “Red”

Cory Silverberg’s books “What Makes a Baby” and “Sex is a Funny Word”

S Bear Bergman’s Flamingo Rampant for inclusive kids books

Gender Spectrum


Kind, formerly Pink Triangle Services, in Ottawa

Heather Corinna’s book “S.E.X.”

The Midwest Teen Sex Show

Laci Green’s show

Lindsay Doe’s Sexplanations

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Parents, you'll want to tune in for this special episode of the Sex Gets Real podcast. Parenting expert and sex educator, Nadine Thornhill is joining in the fun as we field questions from parents about catching a teenager watching violent porn, toddlers who seem to be trans or gay, and preparing youngsters for the wild world of college and sex.

  • Dawn
  • May 15, 2016