Principle 3: Curiosity and Compassion (Shame Reduction)
All porn-related conversations and care should be undertaken with professional curiosity and compassion that actively seeks to reduce any shame or guilt surrounding porn. This can help open up the conversation and create a safe environment for young people to share any porn questions or concerns they may have.
Shame-reduction tips include:
Take a curious,

sensitive, open and non-judgmental approach.

Avoid binary language

when discussing porn such as ‘good/bad’ or ‘right/wrong’.

Listen with empathy

and allow a young person to openly share their perspective.

Normalise young people’s experiences.

Many youth describe feeling uncomfortable with what they see in porn – but still being aroused by it, which can result in confusion and/or shame.

Normalising any reaction to porn (such as feeling curious, grossed out, aroused – or all of these at the same time) can help reduce shame and open the conversation.

Be calm in your responses,

avoid showing shock or surprise, and use open and engaged body language.


about the role culture or faith may have in a young person’s beliefs around porn, the impact that may have, and the appropriateness and safety of openly discussing porn.

Model respect

for diverse sexualities and genders, as Rainbow young people may be accessing porn as part of a ‘coming out’ process and may need support with this.

“It’s the whole thing of shame you know, like when we open up to people, especially adults there’ll be a shame. It will cause guilt, or we’ll get punished for it or, it’ll just be exposed. I think shames stops a lot of people from wanting to tell an adult, or wanting to tell their parents.”
Male, 18 years