Porn Addiction: The power of pornography on the teen brain

By Matt Bulkley | Blog Education Series

STAR Guides Wilderness - The power of pornography on the teen brain

Not every teen who sees porn becomes addicted. Some youth simply develop distorted beliefs about women, sex, marriage, and relationships. However, others have an emotional vulnerability that allows the addiction to take over. In some cases, the addiction ends up in illegal sexual acting out. The porn industry hopes that today’s youth become addicted to their product. It’s great for business. Dr. Victor Cline, an early researcher in the area of pornography addiction developed a series of stages of addiction. These stages include; addiction, escalation, desensitization, and acting out.  One additional stage can be added particularly for teens called early exposure as many addicts first begin viewing porn at a young age.

EARLY EXPOSURE

Many teens who become addicted to porn start early. Often in the pre-teen years. This early exposure creates an interest and curiosity which pulls them back for more.

PORN ADDICTION

Many youth become quickly addicted and as a result continue to return to view. It becomes a compulsive, habitual activity. Many become hooked and can’t quit.

ESCALATION

As the addiction progresses, the addict begins to look for more variation, flavor and diversity in the pornography which often leads into “hard core” and the young addict begins using porn that previously had been considered disgusting or vulgar sometimes including child pornography.

DESENSITIZATION

The more pervasive the addiction grows, the more numb to the images the addict becomes. Often, even the the most new and novel porn loses its excitement and becomes unable to produce the previously enjoyed euphoria. The porn addict becomes increasingly desperate to feel the same thrill again, but is unable to achieve it.

ACTING OUT SEXUALLY

This is the point where some addicted teens make a dangerous move and begin acting out the images and activities they have seen depicted in porn into the real world, with real people, in destructive ways.

Porn Addiction: Is my child Addicted?

If you see any of these patterns in your child, it is vital that you seek professional assessment and treatment services. While youth pornography addiction is a newer condition, quality professional help is available. Call us at 800.584.4629 to find specialized help for your teen.

About the Author

Matt is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has been working in the field of youth treatment and psychotherapy since 1995. He did his undergraduate work at BYU and earned his M.S.W. at the University of Utah. He has worked in a variety of treatment setting in his career ranging from wilderness therapy and residential treatment to outpatient treatment and state government.

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