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In an increasingly sexualized world, it is becoming more and more difficult to avoid encountering pornography. Many people encounter pornography during their childhood, by accidentally seeing an explicit image while browsing the internet. One study found that, on average, first exposure occurs at 12 years of age, though 15% of adolescents interviewed reported being under 10 when they first encountered pornography (Common Sense Media). However, less well understood is what leads individuals to seek out pornography as adolescents or adults. Is it possible that sexual orientation, gender, or other factors could make one more vulnerable to problematic pornography use?
In a study conducted by Hernandez-Mora and Varescon (2022), 1001 French individuals were surveyed about their demographic background, problematic pornography use, and psychological health. 11.3% of the men and .7% of the women were found to have problematic pornography use, with members of the LGBTQ+ community scoring higher than their heterosexual peers. In addition, those with symptoms of ADHD and OCD scored significantly higher on the problematic pornography scale than those without symptoms.
Not only can the frequency of pornography use differ between demographics, but also the motivation behind using pornography. Brown et al. found that college students who only occasionally used pornography (less than once a month) did so to learn more about sexuality. This group also was found to have the highest levels of religiosity. This demonstrates that current faith or religious practices could be a protective factor against pornography use. The group that used pornography once or twice a week often did so for a sexual release or for excitement. This group, as well as the group that used pornography solely for arousal, was mainly composed of men. Interestingly, the group that used pornography for self-pleasure were more likely to be in a relationship than those in the group that largely abstained (Brown et al., 2017).
Even though some groups may be more likely to seek out pornography, this does not determine anyone’s fate. If you fall within these groups, you are not doomed to be dependent on pornography. You can choose to never start down that road through avoiding pornographic websites or movies. If you are currently using pornography, there is hope for you too! Find out how to find healing and lasting change at: https://www.citizensfordecency.org/addiction-recovery.
Brown, C. C., Durtschi, J. A., Carroll, J. S., & Willoughby, B. J. (2017). Understanding and predicting classes of college students who use pornography. Computers in Human Behavior, 66, 114–121. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2016.09.008
Common Sense Media. (January 10, 2023). News report reveals truths about how teens engage with pornography. Common Sense Media. https://www.commonsensemedia.org/press-releases/new-report-reveals-truths-about-how-teens-engage-with-pornography
Hernández-Mora Ruiz Del Castillo, M., Bonnet, P., & Varescon, I. (2023). Profiles of pornography use based on addictive mechanisms and psychopathological features. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11469-023-01087-x