Internet Porn Shaping the Minds of Youth

Gail Dines, probably the best-known anti-porn feminist today, was interviewed on CNN recently about her new book, Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality.

What I appreciate about Gail, aside from the fact that she has decades of experience in this area, is her strong message about porn shattering the dignity of women. Her research highlights the frightening direction the culture of pornography is going as fans demand more and more debasing and violent material.

Gail mentions that the average age of exposure to pornography today is 11 years old. In a recent survey of more than 16,000 college males, 82% said they had been exposed to pornography by the age of 14. In same survey of more than 11,000 college females, 52% said they had been exposed to pornography by the age of 14 (Michael Leahy, Porn University). Studies reveal why this is significant:

  • A study of more than 2,000 adolescents found that frequent exposure to sexually explicit online material was associated with greater sexual uncertainty and more positive attitudes toward uncommitted sexual exploration (i.e., sexual relations with casual partners or with sexual partners in one-night stands).
  • In The Journal of Adolescent Health, researchers documented the effects of frequent exposure to pornography in adolescents. In general, those exposed to pornography had (1) developed a tolerance to the more offensive/bizarre sexual material, (2) exaggerated ideas of sexual activity in the broader culture, (3) experienced a diminished trust between themselves and intimate partners, (4) abandoned the idea of sexual monogamy and marriage, (5) developed the belief that sexual abstinence was unhealthy, and (6) become cynical about love and the need for affection.

Given the degrading pornography teens are often exposed to online, it is not surprising that pornography would have an impact on an adolescent’s developing sexuality.