Teenage Pornography Addiction
Adolescence is a time of life that includes a normal curiosity about sex, and often parents of an adolescent fear that their active teen daughter or son is addicted to sex.
Separating a teen’s normal sexual curiosity from addicted sexual behavior can be stubbornly difficult. Given the fact that our culture provides access to more and more sexual content makes it easier and easier for teens to potentially become addicted to sexual behavior. Connecting to intense sexually stimulating content of all sorts via Internet and digital technologies makes becoming hooked on this material or the behaviors it portrays as easy as ordering out for pizza. Well, maybe not that easy. But I hope you get the point. Pornography is now commonplace, and adolescents are becoming addicted to it.
Knowing the difference between normal adolescent sexual curiosity and sexually addicted behavior is critical. To begin understanding the difference, look for signs.
Humanity’s normal sexual drives lead all of us to explore our sexuality in some way. These explorations are healthy when responsibility-taking is intact. To illustrate, it is very common that teen girls and boys masturbate (and do so often), and for many teens they do so with pornography. Teens that handle normal teenage responsibilities well such as completing school work, making friends, and other family-accepted adolescent behavior, though masturbating regularly with or without pornography, typically will not fit the profile of addiction, for an important aspect of addiction is that it almost always interferes with one’s responsibilities.
It is important to not solely focus on the sexual behavior because normal teenage sexual behavior can, at times, be mistaken as out-of-control. However, out-of-control teenage sexual behavior almost always is accompanied by disruptive behavior problems. It is important to look at the larger adolescent picture. What tends to accompany teenage sexual addiction are poor grades, disruptive school behavior, loss of interest in previously enjoyable activities, isolating socially or emotionally, depression, anxiety, irritability, abnormally excessive, reserved, or odd interest in dating, secretively or deceptively use of digital devices and/or how they spend time, or inappropriate sexual or romantic activity (Rob Weiss, CSAT).
As we all know, it is normal for many teens at one time or another to have behavior problems. So what we are really looking for is the combination of out of control sexual behavior and disruptive problems that have together been increasing over a period of at least six months. If we do not see this, addiction is not likely the problem. It is always a good idea to consider seeking the help of a Certified Sexual Addiction Therapist (CSAT®) to help clarify if addiction truly is present.
Very importantly, a month doesn’t pass without a new research publication pointing out the significant harm pornography creates for adolescents, and most of it suggests that unaddressed pornography use by adolescents raises the stakes for developing an addiction to it or to other forms of inappropriate sexual behavior as an adult. The long-term potential consequences should not be minimized. Exposure to pornography via Internet and digital technologies alters the brain in ways that if not addressed may require formal therapeutic interventions later as adults. The adult disruptions, as a result, could be dramatic with forms of trauma and losses of significantly important relationships.
It is a highly caring act to speak to your teen daughter or son about their sexual behavior and to help them establish non-judgmental boundaries that protect their healthy sexual development.
Call today for more information on teenage sexual addictions. 208-755-7114