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Breaking: 1 in 3 Teens Report Being Misled about Sexuality After Using Porn
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Breaking: 1 in 3 Teens Report Being Misled about Sexuality After Using Porn

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new study says porn creates confusion, unrealistic expectations for teen viewers

A new study led by Durex says that 1 in 3 teens report that they were unprepared for real-life intimacy as a result of porn. The researchers found that one-third of teens say that they were ‘surprised’ by what sex was actually like, and one-quarter of teens say that sex in real-life was a disappointment and harmed their self-esteem as a result of their previous porn-viewing.

The impact of pornography use on teenagers’ brains is still new territory for researchers. This is the first generation where pornography is everywhere. It’s not just the Playboy hidden in the garage or under the bed anymore. It’s on the same tablet and laptop where your kids are doing their homework every night. And it’s getting more violent, more hardcore and taboo all the time.

Furthermore, teenagers’ brains are at particular risk when it comes to the potentially harmful impact of pornography use.

Many teens admit to watching porn, but new research shows just how damaging this can be adolescent brains. Our brains are plastic, meaning they are always evolving and being re-shaped, and this is especially true when we are young. Watching porn triggers the release of dopamine and other feel-good chemicals, and overtime teens can easily become addicted to seeking this rewarding feeling. We also know that porn use can literally change your brain, making it smaller and less active, and it can even change our sexual tastes, with 56% of young men reporting that online pornography use led them to seek more aggressive and demeaning material, even though that was not their initial interest.

In failing to discuss pornography’s risks and potential mental impact on teenagers’ future sexual lives, parents could be missing the mark.

Just saying ‘Don’t look’ isn’t good enough anymore, because it’s literally everywhere, all the time. It’s in your kid’s phone, on their i-Pad, on their laptop, just a few clicks away. You can say don’t look, but say more than just that: Talk about how watching porn can literally change a developing teen’s brain and make it harder for them to be able to perform and enjoy sex with a real partner, and how it can dampen their ability to enjoy sex later in life.

Talk about how porn actors aren’t always there by choice, and it can be hard to decipher whether a video was made ethically and with true consent. Talk about how porn is unrealistic, and how it can set teens up for disappointment and unrealistic expectations when their real-life experiences don’t line up with the fantasy they saw online.

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