In our technology-driven modern culture where pornographic media is increasingly common place, it can be easy to downplay the use of pornography among today’s teens as “normal curiosity”, “just a phase” or “part of exploring one’s sexuality”. Additionally, given the deterioration of morality in society, the use of pornography is not even viewed as a problem by some and the idea of its use being pathological is mocked and ridiculed.
Because porn is so abundant, easy to access and regularly viewed, increasing numbers of teens do not hold the belief that viewing pornography is harmful, but rather believe that “everyone is doing it” and view the behavior as normal and acceptable.
Don’t fool yourself and keep your head buried in the sand about this growing problem in our society. Pornography use among teens can have devastating consequences.
1. Pornography is addictive. Neuroscience findings show that pornography addiction impacts the brain the same way that drug and alcohol addiction does. Teen brains are particularly susceptible to pornography addiction as the neurochemicals released while viewing pornography create a euphoria not previously experienced and quickly train the brain to crave the “high” that accompanies viewing. Easier to access and conceal than drugs or alcohol and with a virtually endless supply of free material, pornography can rapidly become an addiction and nobody but the young addict is even aware. Breaking the addiction can be incredibly difficult. Individuals addicted to both drugs and porn share that breaking a porn addiction can be more difficult.
2. Pornography distorts a teen’s view of sexuality. Unfortunately, increasing numbers of children gain their knowledge about sexuality from pornography and the internet, rather than from their parents. More cases are being seen in juvenile courts involving young children and teens exposed to pornography “acting out” activities they have viewed in pornographic media leading to problems such as sexual abuse and reckless sexual behavior. Additionally, regular porn use leads to the “objectification of people for their bodies” rather than viewing them as individuals such as somebody’s sister or somebody’s daughter. Young men who regularly view pornography become trained to view women as mere sex objects and young women come to believe that they must strive to have the body of a porn star to be valued by society. Ultimately the act of sex becomes so devalued and distorted that it serves no purpose beyond a tool for selfish pleasure, rather than the cherished and respected act that is the ultimate form of expression of love and bonding between a couple and the source of creating new life.
3. Pornography destroys relationships. Marriage counselors have seen a dramatic rise in the number of couples experiencing marital problems as a result of pornography. Though hard for youth to comprehend, teens addicted to pornography have trained their brains to arouse to porn, which can interfere with their ability to effectively engage in a healthy marital relationship later in life. A recent phenomena noted by therapists and physicians is erectile dysfunction in young men who can arouse to pornography, but not to regular healthy sex with their partner. Additionally, most spouses do not approve of their partner viewing porn. This leads the addict to keeping the addiction secret which creates trust issues and conflict in a young marriage. Lastly, teens that develop an addiction to pornography often do so at the expense of participation in socialization and relationships with peers. The formation of addiction and the inability to quit viewing creates unwanted emotions of shame, guilt, embarrassment, increased secrecy, depression and self-loathing which make it more difficult in young adulthood to work toward intimacy with a partner.