Examples of The ‘Reflect, Reframe, Refer’ tool in action
The following are some examples of porn related questions that a young person might ask, and some responses using the ‘Reflect, Reframe, Refer’ tool.
“Is porn bad?”
  • Reflect: “Great question; it’s good you’re thinking about this.”
  • Reframe: “Let’s unpack the messages in porn and what they tell us about sex and relationships. Once we’ve done that, you can decide how porn sits with your personal views around sex and relationships.” Use open questions here to explore porn from an ethics lens. For example, “What does porn teach us about gender, consent, sexism, racism, aggression, and sexual diversity?”
  • Refer: “Porn’s everywhere and it’s normal to have questions about it – check out these helpful sites (e.g., In the Know or Bish) or speak to someone (e.g., school nurse/sexual health clinic) if you ever want help with anything.”
“If porn is just fantasy, what’s wrong with watching it?”
  • Reflect: “Important question; it’s great you’re asking it.”
  • Reframe: “Yes, porn is fantasy – but some young people learn about sex from porn, and it can affect their real-life sex and relationships. What do you think about the themes in porn fantasy?” Use open questions to explore themes and messages in porn around gender, consent, racism, pleasure, aggression, etc. “What messages do you think these themes give us? How do you think these could affect our real-life sexual ideas and expectations?”
  • Refer: “Check out these sites (e.g., In the Know or Bish) that unpack more on porn, or these services (e.g., school nurse/sexual health clinic) if you want help with anything that’s worrying you.”
“Is porn addiction a real thing?”
  • Reflect: “Great question. Some young people struggle with porn or find it hard to manage their usage.”
  • Reframe: “When someone say’s they feel addicted to porn, this may be because they feel they can’t cut down their porn usage or they feel stressed, shameful, or worried about watching porn. What are some signs that could mean someone’s struggling with porn? Is there anything that’s worrying you or your friends around porn?”
  • Refer: “Any kind of stress or anxiety related to porn needs support, and there are some great places we can point you to if you’re struggling (e.g., Support Services or In The Know.)”
“I like watching gay porn, does that make me gay?”
  • Reflect: “Important question; it’s great you’re asking it.”
  • Reframe: “Young people might watch gay porn for lots of reasons….some might be questioning their gender or sexuality, others might want to explore stuff to try out and some might simply be curious. Being ‘aroused’ to certain kinds of sex, may and may not match someone’s sexual attraction and preferences. You’re the expert on your own sexuality and gender.”
  • Refer: “It can be helpful to unpack any feelings or concerns around sexuality and gender with someone safe. Your local sexual health services are great places to chat with some experts, or here’s some Rainbow services if you’re interested in learning more or connecting with others. And Here’s a site that unpacks more on porn in general.”
“I wish someone had like, told me it was okay to ask questions about sex and pornography.”
Female, 16 years