Recent investigations into the everyday lives of 13-16 year old students have had disturbing results. Hard pornography is the go-to resource for the sex education of these self-taught teens. With societal pressures increasing, it is now the norm for teenagers to, not only view pornography regularly, but to create a new class of their own: phone porn. More and more, teenage texts include explicit sexual requests, photographs, and videos. Girls as young as 13 and 14 are receiving text messages from boys they have never met, asking if they would be willing to perform a variety of sexual favors.
Children who 40 years ago might have found a dirty magazine under their big brother’s bed, now have unlimited access to any pornographic material they could desire. Addiction starts young and results in a sex life that is dictated by the pseudo-reality that is porn. Boys expect things from girls that these young girls cannot achieve. Likewise, girls expect boys to be able to “perform” by a certain standard. Everyone is supposed to look a certain way, act a certain way, all within the confines of what porn has taught them is normal and healthy. In an effort to meet expectations, at the risk of losing face or missing out, kids are taking what the porn stars have taught them into their own bedrooms.
This trend is dangerous for numerous reasons, as noted in an article from Channel 4 News (see below). It is not necessary to delve too deeply into the issue: sexting, whether in text or with an image, is a form of sexual assault. A generation of kids are, many unknowingly, assaulting and being assaulted daily.
There have been numerous stories just within the past year of girls being assaulted, their assailants filming and taking pictures of the attack, and, when that media became instantly accessible to an entire community of teens, these young women took their own lives because the shame of an assault had been amplified by public mockery and victim blaming. Thanks in large part to smart phones in the hands of teen boys.
The culture teen’s are growing up in encourages boys as young as 11 to demand social submission from their female peers, to be sexually dominant to prove their manhood, to treat the female body as their property. It tells girls that their self-worth is directly related to how many topless photos they send to their boyfriend, that their value lies only in their sexuality.
Unchecked non-physical assault almost always leads to physical assault.
How will this technological sex trend in teens influence their generation’s experience with sexual violence? How will it influence dating and marital relationships as they age? Early in October, I posted an article from the Resurgence entitled, “7 Negative Effects of Porn”. Here’s a brief synopsis of that article (linked at the bottom of this post):
First, pornography causes severe psychological issues. Depression is one of the leading effects of pornography addiction. Porn causes men to feel inadequate. Porn makes women fear men. Second, porn rewires the mind. People begin seeking sexual satisfaction in photographs rather than in their own relationships. Third, sex becomes one-sided. Masturbation replaces real sex. When a person relies on self-pleasures, the sex act will often become an outlet for exerting their power over another. Fourth, pornography demeans and objectifies human beings, particularly women. Women become objects through which men can exert their sexual desires and physical power. Power. That’s an especially dangerous word. When men decide to live-out the pornographic images in their minds, they will likely end up abusing the woman of choice. Women become something to conquer rather than someone with which to experience a deeply intimate, human act. Fifth, the real beauty of nakedness is lost. A person cannot appreciate the naked body of their spouse or partner if they have been inflicted by the unrealistic bodies of porn stars. The real, flesh-and-blood person you have the privilege of loving in this way will not be able to hold a candle to that erotic image you have in your head. Nor should they ever be expected to.
Sixth, sex is no longer satisfying. Imagine a married couple that has enjoyed incredible intimacy for years. For one reason or another, one of them begins viewing porn regularly and, before long, that sexual pleasure they found in their spouse will be gone. Ultimately, the entire relationship faces destruction. Finally, nothing about porn is real. It lies! The bodies have been tucked and nipped and altered. People in porn have no true emotions, either. Think about it: there are no unwanted pregnancies in porn. There are no trips to the doctor for STD treatment. There is no HIV/AIDS. Abuse is sexy. There are no hurt feelings. There are no betrayals. There are no awkward relationships or ruined friendships. There is no soul.
Real life is nothing like that. Just as your sweet little girl dreams of becoming a princess when she grows up, like Sleeping Beauty or Cinderella, so those who have had their minds distorted by pornography are looking for the day when sex becomes soul-less, consequence-less, and limitless. Our bodies are not designed to function that way.
Now imagine your sweet little girl in her princess dress…as she grows into a thirteen-year-old girl. The princess dream dies when she receives her first explicit picture over text or when a boy asks her to do him a sexual favor. Pornography is dangerous enough to adults. A thirteen-year-old is even more susceptible to these risks of emotional confusion, mental pressures, unrealistic expectations, teen pregnancy, and detrimental health effects such as eating disorders and depression. Further still, it will have a direct impact on their future relationships and, as noted, will increase the likelihood of someone abusing them sexually and/or physically.