Many teenagers will be exposed to pornographic movies and images. Much of the concern regarding early exposure relates to this curiosity turning into having sex before the teenage is an adult. In some cases, exposure to pornography can have personal and legal ramifications or go from a curiosity to an obsession. The effects can have an indefinite impact on the teenager's life and those around them.
In the age of social media, pornographic images and videos are not only secret stash of magazines or ordering a movie on cable, but they may be made and traded by peers. Many teenagers fail to realize being in possession of these images, even if the other person has willingly sent them and is of a comparable age, is a serious legal problem. Both the sender and receiver may be violation of transmitting child pornography. This charge is a felony conviction and may result in registering as a sex offender.
Forming Unhealthy Behavioral Patterns
For some teenagers, their first exposure to sex and intimate relationships may be through pornography. Many do not make the distinction between real life and the acting or storylines seen in pornography. Some of the major themes of pornographic material is sexual aggression, often towards women. For the viewers of this material, this may become the expectation or "norm" of what sexual experience should entail.
Not only can this exposure develop into unhealthy behaviors in males, but also in females. Some teenage males may believe sex is nothing more than asserting themselves over a partner, whereas teenage females may believe this behavior is acceptable and expected. In pornographic material where rape is a component of the theme, it further perpetuates the falsehood that a victim may say "No," but does not really mean it and sexual assault is nothing more than rough sex.
Precipitation of Sexual Addictions
Researchers may be on the fence regarding the causal relationship between pornography and sex addiction. Not all teenagers with early or routine exposure to pornography will go on to be sex addicts; however, pornography can be a catalyst. Pornography is often extreme in the sex acts performed and situations the characters find themselves in. If early sexual interest, such as masturbation, is tied into these extreme sexual experiences, it may result in "chasing the high."
Eventually, masturbation with the assistance of pornography may no longer provide the same feelings or level of stimulation. The viewer may go on to find a person who is willing to engage in extreme sexual acts to achieve the original level of intensity. Much like any other addiction, the urge to regain the same level of euphoria or rush increases. People who eventually become sex addicts may frequent bars and nightclubs to pick up strangers for sex many times each week. In extreme cases of sexual addiction, the person cannot lead a normal life. They may skip school or work because getting their "fix" supersedes all else.
Failures in Intimate Relationships
When pornography becomes the prototype for sex and the dynamics of interpersonal relationships, it makes healthy intimate relationships nearly impossible. Partners of people with pornography addictions often feel shut-out and inadequate because they can never live up to the unrealistic expectations of pornography. In many ways the indulgence in pornography creates a barrier to real-world intimacy. The pornography addict may never learn to bond with a partner emotionally and in physical (non-sexual) ways. Partners may become nothing more than a sexual object or a decoy to create the facade that they can maintain a "normal" relationship. Intimate (non-sexual) relationships may become non-existent because they may be viewed as trivial, since they do not involve sexual intimacy.
Although pornography may be nothing more than a casual curiosity, it may become an ongoing problem in impressionable teenagers. Having candid discussions about sex and sexuality early and addressing concerns as they arise may prevent problems from spiraling out of control. To get started, contact teen pornography addiction treatment in north Salt Lake UT or other local centers.