A national estimate of U.S. youths (ages 14 to 18) from the Journal of Health Communication in 2021 states that 84.4% of males and 57% of females are exposed to pornography.

We’re not really comfortable talking about porn due to social taboos. Sometimes we don‘t want to talk about it because it’s too embarrassing or it’s embarrassing to our children. However, with the prevalence of pornography and the ease with which children can access it, these conversations are important for protecting our children.

Why do teens watch porn?

It’s easy to see how accessible pornography is for children and teens, especially when they’re online. If kids don‘t look for it, they often come across it. Pornographic images can be found online in a variety of forms, including through pop-up ads and spam e-mails or friends sending links on WhatsApp. Just one little typo on an otherwise innocent Internet search can mean the difference between a harmless site and one loaded with pornography.

According to a study from 2021, about 55% of teens’ first encounters with pornography were unanticipated. Porn is always accessible through your teen’s smartphone. According to the aforementioned survey, teens are using their smartphones more than any other device to view pornography.

What is the average age teens start watching porn?

The average age of a child by the first time they see internet pornography is 11 years. Teens and tweens are naturally curious about sex. With so many readily available porn websites, many people are choosing to view pornography — and doing it more than regularly. 

Pornography today is vastly different from anything we’ve ever seen before. It’s becoming more hardcore over the years, so it’s important to protect children from porn that can cause them harm.

Is watching porn really all that bad for teenagers?

Regardless of the circumstances, research reveals that 40% of 13-year-old females and 67% of 13-year-old boys had viewed at least one pornographic image on a digital device in the previous year. Those numbers increase in older teens. Even though porn is now legal and easily accessible, it’s still highly recommended to be cautious when consuming it. Porn can be a great way to explore your fantasies and get aroused, and plenty of people enjoy watching porn without any negative effects on their lives. But pornography contains some ethical, emotional, and educational landmines that should be avoided whenever possible.

There are different kinds of pornography. Some pornography can convey false and negative messages like these:

  • Mutual consent and safe sex aren’t necessary or important.
  • Violent sexual acts are normal and appealing.
  • Sex is only done to satisfy people in power (often men)
  • Loving relationships aren’t what sex is about
  • Aggressive or degrading behavior towards women is OK

Does watching porn cause psychological damage?

Several reasons exist to believe that pornography might negatively affect an adolescent’s mental health. For example, pornography may cause personal insecurities about one’s body parts, physical appearance, or sexual performance, which may undermine the user’s ability to form healthy romantic relationships, and even result in social isolation.

Pornography use has been linked to poor mental health, lower quality of life, and symptoms of anxiety and depression among adults and adolescents.

Is porn addictive?

Compulsive sexual conduct is now recognized as an official mental health disease by the World Health Organization. Pornography addiction is not specified but it does refer to repetitive sex acts becoming a central focus of one’s life to such an extent that they neglect their health and personal care or other important things in their lives.

A study of men seeking help for problematic pornography use (PPU) found that their brains responded differently to sexual images. Porn addicts’ brains displayed the same brain activity often seen in people addicted to drugs or alcohol.

How to know if you are addicted to porn?

Those who use pornography regularly often experience intense urges or cravings. Porn helps people relax when they’re anxious. They often struggle at work and at school. Experts believe there may be a connection between heavy use of pornography and dissatisfaction with relationships.

There are no established guidelines about how much porn is “too much.” However, most experts agree that if it gets too distracting, you might be watching too much. For example, if:

  • porn becomes the focus of your life.
  • you neglect personal care.
  • you become disinterested in other activities.
  • you become less interested in social encounters.
  • it damages your personal relationships.
  • you let go of other responsibilities.
  • it greatly impacts your responsibilities in your job or school.
  • you’re watching it in places that aren’t appropriate.
  • you become unfulfilled with your real-life sex partner.
  • you crave for more.
  • you can’t stop viewing or watching porn, even when you try.
  • you can’t quit even though you don’t enjoy it as much anymore.
  • you’ve been heavily involved in watching porn for 6 months or more.

Where can you get help if you are addicted to porn?

If you think your porn use is causing problems, there is help available. Psychotherapy is the primary form of treatment for compulsive sexual behaviors. You could try:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a kind of psychotherapy or talk therapy. You’ll engage with a mental health professional to determine problem areas in your life and learn some ways to deal with them.
  • Acceptance and commitment therapy is a kind of CBT that focuses on accepting your thoughts and urges and devoting yourself to actions that are more aligned with other values.
  • Psychodynamic psychotherapy is all about becoming more aware of your own unconscious thoughts and behaviors, identifying your motivations, and resolving conflicts.

Medications that can help regulate brain chemicals associated with obsessive thoughts and actions can also help. They include:

  • Antidepressants. Drugs that treat illnesses like depression, anxiety, or obsessive-compulsive disorder.
  • Naltrexone (Vivitrol). This medication is utilized to treat dependence on alcohol and opiate. It blocks the part of the brain that gets pleasure from such addictive behaviors.
  • Mood stabilizers. Used for conditions like bipolar disorder, which may reduce compulsive sexual urges.
  • Anti-androgens. These medications lessen the effects of male sex hormones (androgens) and reduce sexual urges.

If you have a porn addiction you should speak to a medical expert. Only they can prescribe the correct medication for you.