How does pornography use affect youth?

The prevalence of pornography use by adolescents varies between studies, anywhere from 43% to 96%. The frequency of pornography use among adolescents appears directly related to the frequency of substance/drug use (50% higher odds of substance/drug use was associated with pornography use), casual sex behavior, sexual aggression, dating abuse, delinquent behavior, depression, condomless sex, early sexual debut, and an increased number of sexual partners.

A study of nearly 4,000 10-15-year-olds found exposure to violent x-rated material predicted an almost 6-fold increase in the odds of self-reported sexually aggressive behavior.

In a study of 582 university seniors, 15% who used pornography more than 3x/week reported depression, compared with 3% of those who reported pornography use <1x/week. Those who started using pornography at elementary school, junior/middle school, or high school had depression rates of 12%, 7%, and 5%, respectively.

On a similar note concerning video game use which is popular among youth, internet pornography consumption and video game use are both often used as substitutions for social contact and are both moderately correlated with reports of isolation and loneliness. In a study of 191 university students, higher levels of internet pornography use were associated with poorer psychosocial functioning and problematic alcohol, cannabis, gambling, and especially video game use.

When servers for the popular video game “Fortnite” crashed in April 2018, the percentage of gamers accessing PornHub increased and searches for pornographic videos using the search term “Fortnite” increased by 60%.. Addiction to online pornography is suspected to be partly due to its use of “supranormal stimulus” (artificiality or novelty) which may activate our natural reward system at higher levels than what ancestors typically encountered, making it liable to switch into an addictive mode. This process may be similar to the addictive nature of video games and other substances.


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