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Is Love Still On the Table for Teens?

Updated: Sep 2, 2022

I recently watched an enlightening video presentation featuring Natalie McAneney with, who talked about pornography and the impacts it has on teens’ intimacy patterns. According to McAneney, most kids do want to fall in love and be loved, and they want to feel a connection with others.

So, what is stopping teens from having a human connection?

In a word, Porn. Porn overwhelmingly influences the way teens think about sex and intimacy. Easy access to online porn is decreasing the level of human connection people have with one another.

You may think it doesn’t matter, but your brain thinks differently after watching porn.

According to Norman Doidge, PhD (2017), author of The Brain that Changes Itself, states that “our brains biologically change through each pornographic experience.” These biological changes are having an impact on our relational expectations (Doige, 2017).

Specifically, what damage does porn cause?

Pornography reinforces gender types, violence, objectifies people, and it harms society and relationships (Foubert, 2018).

Dr. John Foubert is an interdisciplinary scholar with over 50 peer-reviewed publications that have appeared in some of the top-ranked journals in Education, Psychology, and Gender Studies. Dr. Foubert conducted research that examined brain scans of men while viewing porn, and discovered the part of the brain that was activated while watching porn focused on objects, not people. The research showed that porn objectifies people and makes it hard to have natural relationships with others. Objectification makes it easier to be violent against others.

What else does watching porn do to us?

Porn impacts physical expectations about other people and negatively impacts self- esteem. It leads to depression, anxiety, and loneliness (National Center of Sexual Exploitation NCOSE, 2018). These issues alone can have a huge impact on society at large.

This is what we can do about it:

Parents, leaders and friends can educate and empower our youth to make healthy choices about this growing epidemic. McAneney suggests the following actions:

  • Talk with your teen and have honest, positive conversations about porn.

  • Educate them about the harmful effects of pornography by visiting sites like:,,, and

  • Empower young people to make a change.

  • Set safety defaults on their phones and tablets.

  • When we are educated and able to equip our teens with knowledge, we can protect them from the dangers of pornography and help them learn to cultivate deep human connections, develop mutual respect and learn to experience meaningful relationships that flourish and lead to real love.


Doidge, N. (2017). The brain that changes itself: Stories of personal triumph from the frontiers of Brain Science. ReadHowYouWant.

Foubert, J. D. (2017). The Public Health Harms of pornography: The brain, erectile dysfunction, and sexual violence. Dignity: A Journal on Sexual Exploitation and Violence, 2(3).

NCOSE, B. (2014, June 15). Porn use and mental health: Is there a relationship? NCOSE. Retrieved August 25, 2022, from

Vimeo (2018), Ready or Not, Porn is Influencing the Way Teens Think About Sex and Intimacy. June 1, 2018.



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