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KORENICH: Pornography has negative impact on adolescents

Photo by Andrew Himmelberg

Photo by Andrew Himmelberg

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Graphic by Maya Korenich

One reason why porn can have such negative effects is because it can depict unusual or harmful scenarios. Not only that, but porn is extremely objectifying to not only women, but men. Women are often seen as instruments of sexual pleasure in porn since there is often a large focus on the man’s orgasm. Often times, men’s faces are not shown, and this can be seen as dehumanizing. If people are brought up constantly seeing sex in this way, they may come to the conclusion that this is what normal sex is or how it should be.

Porn can also negatively affect the brain. This is especially harmful to a child’s brain that is not fully developed. A study done by JAMA Psychiatry showed that the reward circuitry, which is the part of the brain that lights up in response to sexual stimuli, was activated less the more an individual viewed porn. The relationship between the prefrontal cortex and the reward circuitry also weakens with increased porn viewing, and this can lead to impaired decision making.

Another consequence that can arise from increased viewing of porn is porn-induced erectile dysfunction. Porn addictions are much more common than people think since they are viewed as taboo and often not discussed. Porn can kill libido, but it can also kill relationships.

A big problem with watching porn as an adolescent is that it can be easily misinterpreted. A teen may not understand that porn comes from the adult entertainment industry and that this is a job for people. Consent, STD testing and protection are all parts of this industry, but as teens may not know this.

A survey of a Reddit community helped researchers uncover more effects of pornography on viewers’ lives. This Reddit community is committed to abstaining from not only porn but masturbation. Researchers found that one in five people who viewed porn on a regular basis felt controlled by their sexual desires. 53 percent of the people in this Reddit group said they developed a regular porn habit between 12 and 14 years old, showing that this addiction really can start at a young age.

Another big issue with children watching pornography is that it is entertainment made for adults. The intended audience is not children whatsoever, and that is why so many problems can develop when kids begin to watch it. It may start out as innocent curiosity, but it is easier to become addicted to porn than one might believe.

Women can feel threatened by porn as it often depicts sexual scenarios that aren’t the most realistic. This feeling will only be amplified if the viewer is a teenage girl and she has less of an understanding about porn. Men often feel shameful about their porn use, and that is why they try to hide it. The sex lives of 18 million men over the age of 20 were negatively affected by porn according to a 2007 study published in the American Journal of Medicine.

Viewing pornography is a personal preference and is not innately good or evil. However, there may be unintended consequences that come along with it and that are important to know. Overall, the demographics of those who view porn should be kept to those who are older to spare children from the negative consequences that may arise, especially at a younger age.

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About the Writer
Maya Korenich, Executive Opinions Editor

Maya Korenich is the executive opinions editor. Last year she worked as an opinions columnist. She is a junior from Oak Park, IL studying Social Welfare and Justice and Sociology.

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