Potency of today’s porn poses danger to teens

For those not familiar with today’s pornography that is now so easily accessible to children, teens and adults alike, it is important to note the extreme difference between current online porn and the porn found in magazines of just a few decades ago.  Certainly any exposure to pornography is harmful to children and teens, but the typical Playboy magazine of the eighties or nineties is relatively sexually benign compared to that available today on the internet.

Today’s porn includes virtually limitless websites and more free videos and images than a young user could ever find the time to watch….all in HD 1080 quality.  Free websites comprise between 70-80% of the adult material online and are used to “lure” users to eventually move to a pay site with more provocative porn.  Many sites allow the user to choose their favorite sexual activity template, actress hair color, breast size, nationality, etc. and just watch video after video of it. It’s all free, easy to access, available within seconds, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and can be viewed instantly on a smartphone at any age. 

Because of this potency, increasing numbers of teens find themselves quickly becoming addicted and more and more secretive and deceitful in their efforts to maintain their habit.  Pornography has been around a long time, but the dopamine spike from the images of a Playboy magazine can’t come close to competing with the never ending supply of HD erotic stimulation that is found in today’s online porn. This is the reason why internet pornography can create such powerful addictions in teens. 

Children and teens are particularly vulnerable to porn addiction as the strength of the dopamine high is likely the strongest, most euphoric sensation they have ever experienced in their young lives. Skeptics and critics need to recognize this “high” created by porn rivals what drugs and alcohol do to a young brain.

Beyond the more erotic experience it creates, other aspects of today’s pornography are particularly damaging to children and teens involving the sexual violence depicted.  A common porn video scene often includes a casual sexual encounter that begin as non-consensual rape and then somehow ends in supposed mutual erotic consenting, pleasurable sex.  These video scenes give young male teens the idea that sex partners will eventually begin to enjoy sex if it is forced upon them.   Beyond this, the language used by men in pornographic videos is typically highly derogatory and reinforces the idea that the woman is merely an object that is to be used soley for sexual pleasure.  The viewing of porn by teen boys can easily lead a sense of male dominance and entitlement that diminishes their capacity for developing healthy relationships with females.

Pornography use by teens is an issue that we can not afford to ignore or trivialize.  We need to be proactive to educate teens and parents about the dangers posed by today’s porn.  We need to take the stigma out of treatment for pornography addiction and provide intervention early for porn addicted teens.