Need help breaking free from addiction?
Call 24/7 for treatment options. Ad Info & Options

Gay Websites On Son's Computer


Our son is almost 18. We have accessed his computer where he visits gay websites frequently. These websites are very graphic. He has a lot of friends that are girls but no girl friend. Should we talk to him about this? He is very reserved and shy and I would worry that he would be mortified that we knew he was visiting these sites. Should we make an appointment with a psychologist, ignore it until or if he talks to us about it? Would this kind of behavior be somewhat normal teenage curiosity?

This Disclaimer applies to the Answer Below
  • ‘Anne’ is the pseudonym for the individual who writes this relationship advice column.
  • ‘Anne’ bases her responses on her personal experiences and not on professional training or study. She does not represent herself to be a psychologist, therapist, counselor or professional helper of any sort. Her responses are offered from the perspective of a friend or mentor only.
  • Anne intends her responses to provide general information to the readership of this website; answers should not be understood to be specific advice intended for any particular individual(s).
  • Questions submitted to this column are not guaranteed to receive responses.
  • No correspondence takes place.
  • No ongoing relationship of any sort (including but not limited to any form of professional relationship) is implied or offered by ‘Anne’ to people submitting questions.
  • ‘Anne’, Mental Help Net and CenterSite, LLC make no warranties, express or implied, about the information presented in this column. ‘Anne’ and Mental Help Net disclaim any and all merchantability or warranty of fitness for a particular purpose or liability in connection with the use or misuse of this service.
  • Always consult with your psychotherapist, physician, or psychiatrist first before changing any aspect of your treatment regimen. Do not stop your medication or change the dose of your medication without first consulting with your physician.

I hope that your son was simply sloppy in covering his tracks and that you weren’t snooping around looking for things you should not have been looking for. That would not reflect well on you, as an almost 18 year old child should have some expectation of privacy even while still living under his parent’s roof. I think it is reasonable that your son should have a sexual life apart from your knowledge, provided that you have educated him in how to remain healthy and to avoid pregnancy. Would you have appreciated your parents prying into your sex life at that age? I know I wouldn’t have. You should be preparing your son for life as an independent self-responsible adult; not trying to govern his behavior at this level. How you got this information aside, this is normal teenage curiosity — for a normal bisexual or gay teenager. If your son was straight, the websites would be just as graphic but filled with women. In other words, this is probably not a phase he is going through, but rather an expression of who he is as a person. Sexual interest in hetero or homosexual partners is something that gets established very early on in life, possibly in utero. It is not something he has any more control over than whether he will go bald or keep his hair when he is 30; whether he is right or left handed. He does have a choice about whether or not to express himself by seeking out homosexual partners, but he will never control his interest. Assuming that your son has no knowledge that you know what you know and how you learned it, I’d say that it would be better for you to keep this knowledge to yourselves for now. There isn’t any therapy that could ‘fix’ him, and really, he is not broken. Homosexuality is considered a normal variation of human sexuality by the medical and psychological establishments. What you could accomplish is to show him that his privacy is not respected by his parents (which would not be a good thing for your continuing relationship I wouldn’t think). You could also embarrass or shame him greatly (depending on how comfortable he is himself with his sexual orientation). At his age and lack of emancipation, he is likely to not be very comfortable with his sexual orientation and I would think the risk of shaming him is very high. Consider that depression and suicide occur with heightened frequency among gay youth compared to straight youth. If you are comfortable with the idea of having a gay son (or can become that way), you can profitably let slip that you are accepting in this way. I’d also make sure that he is up to date on how to protect himself from sexually transmitted disease if he hasn’t had that education. I’d leave it to your son to tell you who he wants to partner with, however. That is a very personal thing.

More "Ask Anne" View Columnists

  • Edward

    I'm pretty sure I'm bi, and the fact that I can't just live my life without my friends and especially my parents knowing about this is pretty hard. I have no idea how they would react, I just wish they were more open minded, and hearing them make negative comments about gay people just makes me even trying to express myself even harder. Living like this has not been easy, it's like living two different lives. People should be able to be happy with someone else all the time, weather they're gay, straight or bi. Please respect your son's privacy, and do not, do not, make negative comments about sexual preferences because you'll build a barrier between you and your son. I wish the best of luck to you and your son. Let him be happy and if he's happy you should also be happy.

  • Anonymous-1

    i've gained a son. i was instantly and enormouly relieved when he told us. why? because i finally knew, knew why he had been so pointedly and sharply unpleasant and angry for several years. and, yes, he has gotten quite a bit easier to deal with. mostly i was relieved because i knew a period of high risk for suicide had passed. count blessings with great care. err on the high side.

  • Craig

    The majority of gay people or bi will tell you that they didn't choose to be gay, just as I'm sure you didn't ask to be straight - you just are and that's it, it's no different from gay to straight. Porn especially for an 18 year old "man" should I say, is completely normal, whether it be gay porn or not. He's expressing himself, having time to be who he is to himself where he can feel comfortable.

  • Fadly

    i feek interested to drop a comment about this. My comment might not that good for you to hear, and therefore, i would like to apoloze before i jot down this in a while.

    Take a note that there's no one in this world wanted to be born as what they wish. Meaning, if your son is a gay, I'm pretty sure that he never asked to be born to be sexually attracted to the same sex person. As for me, it is still not that obvious whether he is really a gay boy or not. we dont know what he thinks. It might just be a matter of curiosity. he might just want to know about the size of the penis that most men have in this world. he might also just want to know how a gay couple having sex.

    we dont know the real thing. it can also appears that your son really a gay. if he is, why dont you try to find the best time for you to have a seat with him and discuss nicely about this? Let him know what will the consequences would be...Being left by his couple, being hurt, or it can be anything. i have friends who are gays but they have low self-esteem because of being left by their boyfriends and almost commited suicide. Luckily I managed to bring them back to the normal.

    Again, we dont know the purpose he visited all those websites. As for me, when I was 14, i wanted to know how a gay couple have sex, how they maintain the relationship, how the sexual relationship would last up to certain period. As a result, I found out that an average gay couple's relationship will only be roughly 5 years, and could be above. (This is based on my own so called research).

    Now, in the age of 21, I'm glad to know that i have found myself as a gay. the only thing that i should always bear in my mind is that I never asked to be born as a gay. In fact this also makes me realize that i have to really understand how the life as a gay is. Also, i always bear in my mind that i must practise a safe sex everytime i have sex with someone.

    Again, i'm sorry about what I have jotted down here. But please, do remember that if you want to interfere your son's life, make him understand first that yiou really worried about him, and you love him.


  • cf222

    I think you should not be on your sons computer. This is a very personal thing. If your son is gay he will tell you in his own time. He will have to wrestle with the question himself before he can share with you or anyone.

    Please give him the space he needs to deal with this. Then love him for whatever he realizes himself to be.

    It is certainly not a choice , just immaging what he is going through.

  • Jon

    Anne, your comments were right on the money. As a gay man of 46 years old from a small town in Texas, I can say that what your son needs most is to know that being gay is ok with you. He has no idea how accepting (if at all) his family will be. One can never know for sure until it is out in the open. He needs unconditional love and support from you now.

  • Anonymous-2

    Anne, thank you! Your comment to these parents are well justified. If only parents could realize that what is right for them is not always the same for the child. People have a way of expressing themselves and parents should realize that. But only if clues left around or certain behaviors that prove that a child is about to hurt themselves in some way only should then approach the child. To the parents: Sexual orientation is the least of your worries. Yes, some gay men/women have that same fear of "telling the parent's" of their preference. But hiding it is only a sense of experimenting, the curiousity of it all and is not to be judged in any shape or form. Just be there for him if HE decides to discuss the issue. But don't ridicule or embarrass him. Just please accept him for who he is. As for me, when I told my mom about myself 15 years ago, at first she thought she did something wrong raising me and blamed herself. After awhile, she realized differently. We're closer now more than ever before it was ever discussed. And she has also admitted that I'm far better off than my two straight siblings that are older. Their lives are worse than mine because children are involved. I personally don't have anyone I'm seeing at the moment and haven't in the last 5 years. It's not to say I'm going back straight. I just haven't found the right one. But to tell you the truth, when I told my family it was like having a huge weight lifted off my shoulder for not knowing what to expect. Your son needs Love, Compassion and understanding. Be there for him no matter what the decision is he gives. But don't spy on him by monitoring his websites. Unless it is a website that offers something that could hurt him or cause injury to himself or others. Be patient! He will tell you what he needs when it is his time. The worst thing you could do is approach him on the subject. It will only cause pain, distrust and entrapment and that's where suicide starts. God bless!!!

  • Anonymous-3

    Well I'm actually an 18 year old gay male, that still lives with his parents. I still haven't told them about my sexual preference even though I've been in several relationships. It really does get hard to live a double life. And I'm assuming your son is going through the same thing, living a double life. My advice to you is the same as the one you recieved from 'anne' slip it to him that your ok with the idea of him being gay. Trust me, it will reassure him that when he is ready, you will accept him. Also don't be shy to familiarize yourself with the gay community like the pride parade, or support centers, etc. The more you know the better. Also don't even think about telling him that you saw his history of the websites he's visited! It will KILL him. I'm actually really good with computers and so know how to cover everything I do. In other words your son really needs to catch up with this era. But just make sure to be ready for the day that he comes out to you guys, it will be one of the hardest things he will do, well at least that's what I think he thinks. So my ending advice just play it cool and get familiar with gay things. and of course be prepared to be told by your son that he is gay, cuz trust me, no guy watches gay porn without actually being gay. well at least dosn't visit it more then say four or five times.*straight guys get curious too!*

  • L. Pat Williams

    This is comment is to the parents of the son who has been watching Gay porn. I am an individual that has worked with the medical community. As you may be aware there is a slippery slope and arguments out there as to whether or not an individual is "born gay."

    There are arguments on both sides, the argument that sexuality is a learned and "experiemental" practice (i.e., many heterosexual individuals alas wind up in homosexual relationships) and many homosexuals who alas wind up in heterosexual relationships. Most notably coined: "Ex-Gay" movement.

    So-called Heterosexuals that wind up in Homosexual relationships (known in the Gay community as "tainted lovers") are equally as controversial as those that make the "b-line" from homosexuality into heterosexual relationships.

    This is very puzzling and challenging for the medical and psychological communities as one's surmising as to whether or not he or she is Homosexual or Heterosexual is usually based upon "first account" testimonial.

    Meaning, in layman's terms, you have to "take a person at their own word" since one can not "feel on behalf of another being" neither "articulate" what another individual may feel about themselves.

    Therefore, what I would advise is that unlike a lot of the advise sans Anne, here, I would have a heart-to-heart discussion with your son as to what his thoughts are on sexuality, relationships, dating, intimacy and love.

    At the age you say that your son is, honestly he is well into his teen years and really should have possibly had the "birds and bees" discussion before now.

    I will not be presumptious to think that you perhaps have not had the discussion. But, typically when parents do discuss such sensitive issues with their children, they, i.e., parents tend to do all of the "discussing" and not really allow children and teens time to "respond" and share their "sincere" thoughts on the issue.

    I would encourage you to do that.

    Have a talk with your son. Give him an ear to express that which is in his heart and what it is that he may feel about "sex" and "sexuality" overall.

    This is helpful as it will accomplish (2) things..

    1. It will remove the "guilt" that you may be having finding such material on his computer. It will also let him know that he has parents in whom he can confide his "deepest" trusts to.

    2. It will even "ease" the burden of what you may be correctly "suspecting" or incorrectly suspecting that he may share with you concerning his thoughts on homosexuality.

    NOTE: Another respondent I believe hit the nail right on the head when he/she stated that to not assume anything and that his visits to such sites could be "mere curiosity."

    For fact, children are known to expose themselves to porn (though as adults we hate to know this and with much chagrin we acknowledge such) but many times children are just "curious" about the "functionality" of "sexuality" and "want to know" about "how" sexuality manifests itself via various types of individuals.

    For instance, in my research with children and teens many are curious about "pregnant women expressing sexuality" so it wouldn't be strange to see these children visit "graphic sites that reveal pregnant women in such an intimate way."

    Children, especially in this time in the world are "exposed" to homosexuality via Hollywood movies, MTV, BET, public school education and merely just watching the evening news.

    In our time, we had no "exposure" to others who were "homosexual" so thusly, the curiosity factor was not there as much. One is only curious about that which he or she has had some "limited exposure" and "limited knowledge of" so, don't be surprised that your son could have simply visited these sites to "see" and "know" that side of intimacy as manifested by adult males.

    So, if this was say, 20 or 30 years ago and if there had been an Internet, and your son was "cruising" gay sites, I would say you'd be pretty hard pressed to not "assume" that your son was perhaps grappling with his sexuality in that way.

    But, today Gay is front page news, headline stories and Hollywood marquee! Children and teens that do not have "proclivity" or "predispostion" to homosexuality may out sheer curiosity "visit" such sites.

    The real issue I would advise and caution is that children and teens are visiting pornographic sites at all (regardless of whether Heterosexual or Homosexual content).


    Dont' be surprised also if your son really is grappling with his own sexuality in this way as well.

    Bottomline, do not rule either case out.

    Don't assume that your son is gay.

    Don't assume that your son is not gay.

    Talk with your son about sex and sexuality.

    Be prepared to give and take advice.

    Be prepared to hear his heart.

    Be ever prepared to (always) love your son.

    Be prepared. (period)

    I have parental strategies that parents can use when approching the very difficult of subject of "talking about sex" with their kids.

    Be more than happy to forward them to you!

    Feel free to email me at:

  • Tyler

    Hi. My names Tyler 16..Live in pennsylvania, and im gay...i think that your son is perfectly capablee of coming to you when he is stepmother did something of the sorts but...looked at a note i had written to my was in a lock box in my room...well i hate her so much...i want nothing to do with her...she ruined my friends are very acceptable....i think u should let him do what he wants and when hes ready he'll tell you....right now hes probibly very confused, upset, and deppresed...he has friends that will help him through the situation im sure...

  • Allan N. Schwartz, PhD

    LPatWilliams and others,

    Your presumption that when we were younger (I'm 67) we were not exposed to homosexuality is invalide in my opinion. All of us grew up with other youngsters and all of us were curious about sex, including the same sex. Boys common had "cirlce jerks," or contests to see whose masturbation ejaculation could go the furthest. There were also urinating contests to see whose stream could flow farthest. We also made crude homosexual comments to one another. Then, there were "unsavory types" of adults in the neighborhood who were looking for sexual favors from boys.

    My point is that neither myself or my friends ever became gay despite all of this. We were "hard wired" for heterosexuality despite powerful sexual urges and curiousities that sometime took us "elsewhere."

    Whether its web sites, Hollywood, or the media in general, none of this graphic sexuality causes anyone to become one orientation or the other. Yes, boys will explore gay sites, etc but that is just curiosity.

    For those boys who are gay, the gay sites will simply increase their curiousity because they are wired that way. These sites will not cause them to be gay or otherwise.

    So, what does this mean if you have a son who is looking at gay porn? Perhaps he is gay or, perhaps he is just curious. Either way, Internet porno is not good and should be totally discouraged. Whether gay or straight, it does not accurately depict what human sexuality is all about.

    Dr. Schwartz

  • Anonymous-4

    Homosexuality is an environmentally-induced condition. Help is possible. Visit Narth or Exodus on the web. Christ's love is there for you as you transition back to the heterosexual person God created you to be. Good luck. Thousands have made this transition and are living wonderful lives, often married with children.

    Dr. Dombeck's Note: Everyone is entitled to their opinion. This one happens to be wrong and, as an added bonus, hateful. Renouncing sin, getting married and having children do not make a homosexual person any less homosexual in orientation. Being gay is a state of desire not a behavior.

  • JD

    I am 20 years old. My mother found websites like these on our family computer when I was 14 years old...a history of websites dating back to when I was 12. She never said anything to my father because she was afraid of what his reaction would be, but she discussed it with me saying that we could pray about it and that we can do all things with God's help. She was very nosy after this discussion and while we never really talked about it she always pointed out to me when she found evidence of my "gayness" around my house. I don't know how religious you are but i was at the time and still am a religious person. "God" was the hardest obstacle for me to deal with on the road to accepting myself as a gay man. I used to pray for him to help change me or send me the "right girl" I needed to realize that I am straight. I used to watch straight porn on the computer just to try to be aroused by it. this went on for about 3 years. What developed was a deep sense of self loathing. Thankfully I was never the type of person to consider suicide, but had I been a weaker person, this type of pressure could have been enough to push me over the edge. Eventually to save myself I had to come to the conclusion that God knows my heart and he realizes who I am because he made me. When I accepted myself as gay the greatest relief washed over me because i no longer had to fight with myself. What ensued then was a double life that I knew was wrong. So i honestly confessed to my parents who I mom was confronted with terrible guilt because she thought she should have done more when i was younger. I never saw my dad cry until that day. This caused a great divide in my family, we still love each other but we are not a close family because of this. If you can find it somewhere in your heart to just accept that your son is the same person he always was, now you just know more about will help save your relationship with him. Your most important concerns for him should be health and happiness.

  • Alex

    I am 22 im a homosexual male and I think this was a great topic and anne answered this very well. I realized i liked men around the age of 13 and i was scared of what people would think. I was more afraid for my parents to know and i had a few friends i would do stuff with and i got away with it, because i was aloud to stay with my friends my parents liked pretty much whenever i wanted and they would never know. So i lived like that until i was about 15 or 16 and i finally came out to my mom and me and her became pretty good friends after that and i wasnt pushing her out of my life anymore. She did not act suprised when i told her though so maybe she knew before i told her but whatever it was she was happy that i was happy. Everyone in my family knows now and all my friends and everyone supports me i only lost one aquaintance when i came out. sry about the long story just though i could share but the point is just wait until your son can tell you and be very supportive. And make sure you talk to you kids about protection, girl or boy, heterosexual or homosexual its very important to let them know about stds and that they are really out there and this is a very serious disease i had a friend die at age 27 of a std. Like my mom always said wrap it or loose it... well thanks for the time hope

  • James

    Most boys and young men look at porn on their computer whether it be gay or straight porn. He is probably at a very curious stage in his life and may start experimenting with other guys to figure out what exactly his sexuality is. I am a 20 year old bi-sexual male. I am not completely out and have not had very many open conversations with my parents, altough I am 1005 sure that they know. They have also noticed that I look at gay and straight porn on my computer.

    I think you should offer to talk to your son about sex and sexuality but don't confront him or take him to a shrink. That is only necessary if he seems very depressed or suicidal.

    Just remember to tell your son that you love him and will always love and accept him no matter who he choses to be with or turns out to be. That is what my parents have always told me. Thankfully they are very liberal and we live in a urban area where there are many gay people and couples. I think he will chose to talk to you about it at some point, but it may not be for awhile.

    Hope this helps

  • Tracy

    I knew at the ages of 5-6 that I was gay. I just didn't know what to call it. And no, it's not a phase. I even realized at the time that a 1st cousin of mine was also gay. But we've never discussed it with each other in all our 51 years of life.
    As has been mentioned, if your son is bisexual, there would probably be a propensity of straight adult material on his computer. If not, you can pretty much assume he's gay.
    Being gay is not as bad as it was when I grew up. Some guys were forced into marriage with a woman & fathered children, contrary to their nature. Many others killed themselves or got themselves killed in war because they felt they couldn't live openly as gay men. I'm sure you'd rather have a living gay son rather than a dead son. Sadly, some parents would actually rather see their sons or daughters dead.
    With the right love & support, your son can live a great life & experience everything you did. He can even have children of his own, if you're worried about grandchildren. But I would hope that his having children would be a decision he would make for himself & not one forced upon him by others.
    By the way, gay sons that are accepted by their families usually have much stronger family ties & can be counted on more often in times of need. In other words, you can count on them to be there for you a lot more often than most straight children, in my opinion. Of course, part of that depends on how they were raised, as well.
    Make a point to mention to your son at some time that you welcome him bringing home any friends, female or male. You might even take the initiative to rent some really good gay or gay-themed movies to watch sometime & make some positive comments about them or the characters in the film. Three films that come to mind are In-And-Out, Say Uncle & Brokeback Mountain. Of course, I'd stay with some of the comedies if you wanted to keep a light-hearted approach to the subject.
    Believe me, when your son realizes that you know he's gay, the ONLY thing on his mind is going to be whether you still love him or not. And how you respond will help determine how the rest of his life will be. You don't have to understand (or know about) every aspect of your son's life as a gay man. But you should always be supportive & loving. His life is going to be hard enough as it is. Having a family disown you for something you have no control over can destroy a person, including their spirit. So, don't make a big deal over it. Just say, "Okay, you're gay. Now what do you want for dinner?"

  • Shane

    I wa born in '64 & knew I was Gay at 12. There was no internet then and being the second youngest of six in a Catholic family there was no way I was coming out. Your son is almost certainly Gay and you shouldn't tell him that you know, because you discovered it in such an underhand way. Let him be himself & make assuring noises that Gay people are OK & it is not a problem for you & your family if there was a Gay family member. By the time I did come out, I had such poor social skills that I doubt that I will ever find a partner to share my life with. You obviously love your son so make him feel loved & accepted whoever he is & hopefully he will lead a very happy life & bring joy to yours. Best of luck to you all, Shane.

  • Shawn

    Your son to me sounds gay. He's old enough to realize his own sexuality and who he is. He has alot of girlfriends, cuz being gay is like being one of the girls. Love your son for who he is. He doesn't need to see a psychologist. There is nothing wrong with him. Just love him for who he is and accept it. IF YOU DON'T, YOU MAY LOSE ALL CONTACT WITH YOUR SON FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE!!!!

  • Thomas

    Those who read other peoples diaries or snoop around on their computers will undoubtedly find something that they will not like. Your son is entitled to his privacy. It's not him who needs the services of a psychiatrist-it's you.


Call the Helpline Toll-FREE

To Get Treatment Options Now.

1-888-993-3112 100% Confidential

Get Help For You or a Loved One Here...

Click Here for More Info.


Call The Toll-FREE Helpline 24/7 To Get Treatment Options Now.

100% Confidential
Get Treatment Options From Your Phone... Tap to Expand