Explicit Material and Early Sexual Activity: The Scary Link Parents Need to Know

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Adolescents and Pornography: Can it Lead to Risky Behavior?

Pornography regularly features sex with multiple partners and usually fails to exhibit protected sex; both are practices that constitute risky sexual behavior that puts people at high risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection. Despite the glorification of these risky sexual practices, porn viewership is not necessarily or inherently negative, as the material may simply intend to portray a sexual fantasy; however, the relationship between adolescents and pornography can be problematic due to their lack or insufficiency of sex education. Risky sexual behavior featured in the material can influence young and impressionable viewers to practice sexually risky behavior in their own sex lives, highlighting the need for educators to address the relationship between adolescents and pornography.

Pornography and Risky Sexual Behavior

A new study has found that the age at which an individual started watching pornography was a strong predictor of their adoption of sexually risky behavior once they began having sex. The small U.K. survey was presented at the annual conference of the British Psychological Society’s Division of Health Psychology in London. The study included responses from 42 women and 31 men between the ages of 18 and 25 who were surveyed about their sexual history. It’s important to note that porn exposure was defined as active viewership of pornography rather than accidental exposure to sexually explicit film or television.

Researchers found a direct correlation between sexual activity among adolescents and pornography. Based on their data, earlier exposure to pornography was linked to earlier initiation of sexual behavior, and initiation of sexual behavior occurred about a year after the participants began watching pornography. The average age of initial porn exposure was 12, indicating that individuals began having sex by the time they turned 13 or 14. The study also found that women who consistently watched porn tended to have a higher number of sexual partners, though the overall volume of porn consumed by both male and female participants didn’t seem to influence their sexual practices.

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