Sexual Dysfunction:  5 Reasons Your Teen Should Avoid Porn

The April 11, 2016 issue of TIME Magazine featured a surprising cover story entitled “Porn and the Threat to Virility.”  New research and anecdotal stories were highlighted on how young men fed on a diet of porn since their early teens have now developed porn-induced erectile dysfunction. When these seemingly healthy young men attempted to be sexually active with actual women, they physically couldn’t get aroused due to years of porn rewriting their brains.

TIME reports that according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 1992, about 5% of men experience erectile dysfunction at age 40. A study published in the July 2013 Journal of Sexual Medicine found that 26% of adult men seeking help for ED were under age 40. A 2012 Swiss study reported that one-third of younger men, ages 18 to 25, struggled with ED.  This TIME Magazine cover story also highlights the growing pornography industry and consumption among young people—46% of men and 16% of women ages 18 to 39 intentionally view pornography in any given week.  Furthermore, in the age of YouTube and Social Media you don’t even have to go to a porn site anymore to get fed this drug.  So what does porn do to our brains?  It is similar to things like junk food and video games in that it robs you of natural highs.  It increases the pleasure threshold where you have to consume more ad more in order to experience the natural release of dopamine, the pleasure chemicals in our brains.  Research shows that the brain is not fully developed until age 25. 

A recent study was done by Valerie Voon, a lead researcher at Cambridge University. Twenty young men between the ages of 19 and 34, whose lives were controlled by porn, agreed to have their brains scanned while they viewed explicit pornographic images. A control group of men who did not use porn compulsively were shown the same images. The scans were done to see how their reward centers reacted. When the data was analyzed, the results were “astounding.” The reward centers of the compulsive users were twice as active as those in the control group; similar to the responses of drug and alcohol users.  It is no wonder that if fed on a steady diet of porn young adults are experiencing abnormal reactions in how they should respond to normal sex.

The realization of how porn actually changes the brain has led to an anti-porn movement from celebrities such as Russell Brand and Terry Crews.  Noah Church, who runs addictedtointernetporn.com, Gabe Deem, founder of Reboot Nation, and Alexander Rhodes, creator of addiction support community NoFap all encountered porn at a young age and all three developed what researchers call porn-induced erectile dysfunction.  Church has written a free book “Wack” to help teens and young-adults learn how to abstain from porn, to re-program their brains to respond to normal sensations of pleasure.  It is not an easy task, as withdrawal from porn can produced symptoms of headaches, sleeplessness, depression and even shrunken genetalia.

As a parent, it is important to talk to your teen if you think they might be addicted to porn.

Here are 5 Reasons Your Teen Should Avoid Porn:

  1. Porn is a Hyper-sexualized and Unrealistic Interpretation of Sex.  Sex should be a loving act between two people who want to meet each other’s needs.  One should not be more powerfully dominant then the other.
  2. Pornography Fictionalizes How Women Accept or Disapprove of Sexual Interactions. In porn videos when a woman says “no” she means yes.  This communicates a harmful message to teens that boundaries and respect aren’t important.
  3. Porn Leads to Decreased Intimacy in Relationships. Healthy relationships are built on a foundation of trust, good communication, shared values and respect.  Sex celebrates this foundation.  People who watch porn have fictional relationships with the character they are watching.  They don’t have to pay bills together or talk or work through disagreements about time and work.
  4. Porn Leads to Low Self-Esteem. You will never be as cool as the people in porn videos.  People who have real sex have real bodies that don’t always look like you just came out of the gym.
  5. Porn Leads to Sexual Dysfunction. Some young men have found the only way they can achieve orgasm in bed is to look at their smart phone when they are with a girl.  Porn can disassociate you from the very person you want to be with even if they are in bed with you.

If your teen is struggling with porn, it is import to get help.  Just stopping can be harder than you think.  Fight the New Drug, an anti-porn movement helps teens recover from porn addiction with a free recovery program called Fortify.  Personal counseling can help as well.  Trained therapists at Total Life Counseling are available to help educate and counsel with teens and adults struggling with this problem.

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Author: Lyris Steuber, MA, LMFT is a Lake Mary Marriage Therapist & Couples and Individual Counselor with Total Life Counseling Center. Total Life Counseling Center specializes in child teen self esteem, marriage and family therapy.  Our experts are interviewed often by the TV News for their expertise and can be reached at (407) 248-0030