South Eastern Centre Against Sexual Assault: ESafety website


We are seeing many problems emerging around the use of pornography by young people.  They are often using pornography as a way to learn about sex.  Unfortunately the pornography available to them is becoming more and more extreme as pornographers vie for customers.

Unhealthy pornography use by young people can have impact on their relationships, body image, health and their brain chemistry.

  • Research by the universities of Bristol and Central Lancashire concluded that a fifth of girls had suffered violence or intimidation from teenage boyfriends, a high proportion of whom regularly viewed pornography, with one in five harbouring "extremely negative attitudes towards women". (4)
  • Studies show that when people watch porn more often, they think the porn-type sex acts are more prevalent than they actually are (1)
  • Research shows that masturbating to porn creates a “high” that is more “neuro-chemically” rewarding than other sexual behaviours, making real sex less enjoyable. (2)
  • Research shows how pornography affects the brain or how people who use a lot of pornography have different brains from those who do not (3). 




(1) Brown J. D., & L'Engle K. L. (2009). X-rated: Sexual attitudes and behaviors associated with US early adolescents' exposure to sexually explicit media. Communication Research, 36, 129-132.

(2) Hilton, D. L. (2013). Pornography addiction-a supranormal stimulus considered in the context of neuroplasticity. Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology, 3, 11-16.

(3) Voon, V., Mole, T. B., Banca, P., Porter, L., Morris, L., Mitchell, S. & Irvine, M. (2014). Neural Correlates of Sexual Cue Reactivity in Individuals with and without Compulsive Sexual Behaviours. PLOS ONE, 9(7), e102419.

(4) STIR. (2015) Briefing paper 4: young people's views on intervention and prevention for interpersonal violence and abuse in young people's relationships. Preston: STIR.


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