Pornography and Your Teen/Tween

clipart-heart-clip_art_illustration_of_a_red_heart_with_a_white_swirl_0071-0904-2000-1163_SMUApproximately 51% of Americans seek out pornography regularly.   Teenagers spend up to 10 hours a day on media of some sort.  Google is teaching teenagers about sex.  Teenagers seek out porn for 3 main reasons: arousal, boredom, curiosity.  Millennials seek out porn for arousal, curiosity, and to get ideas for their sex lives. The pornography industry is expanding and porn is affecting the church.  Sound dismal?? Thankfully, there is good news.  There is a growing awareness in the Christian community about the porn problem our culture is facing.  Many teens are expressing mixed feelings about porn, including guilt.  And while Christians are definitely struggling, it isn’t to the same degree.  Even millennials are speaking out against porn.  An April issue of TIME magazine had a featured article about young men who grew up with porn are speaking out against it.   (TIME, Vol. 187, NO. 13, 2016)

When talking to your teens and tweens about pornography, I think it’s important to remind them of our make up.  We are not just bodies.  We have a soul made up of our mind, our will, and our emotions; and we have a spirit.  Pornography affects all of ourselves.  In this post, I will specifically address the body. Later posts will address our mind, will, emotions, and spirit.

Pornography often leads to self-gratification which can lead to impotence and porn-induced erectile dysfunction (PIED).  This makes the body physically incapable of responding to the opposite gender sexually, in a natural way.  Pornography changes how your brain releases Dopamine, the reward chemical.  Dopamine is also the imprint chemical, allowing the brain to imprint on the hand (self-gratification) and also the picture.  This is dangerous because the brain is imprinting on fantasy and not a real person.  Cyberspace is not real.  During the act of sex between a man and woman, the brain releases five chemicals.  Dopamine, Norepinephrine, Oxytocin, Protacin, and Seratonin.  Time for a brief science lesson!  Norepinephrine gives us the rush during sex with a long lasting memory, but can have no personal connection. It is the chemical released during the climax of sex which makes sex so enjoyable, but without a personal connection, the brain seeks out whatever or whomever to bring about the next sexual “high”.  Oxytocin is the bonding chemical.  This is released during bonding…moms to babies, dads and kids.  It helps us “fall in love”.  It gives you that twitter-pated feeling you get when you hold hands with someone you like or kiss a person you are interested in.  Unfortunately, the brain will use dopamine and oxytocin to “link” sex to whatever is causing those chemicals to be released.  If it isn’t a person, the brain links to a picture or a hand or whatever the stimulus.  Protacin works to stop dopamine and is released after orgasm.  It Leads to rest and relaxation and is released four times higher with heterosexual couples.  Seratonin is the sleep aid released that helps people fall asleep after sex.  Sadly, during self gratification sex, not enough Protacin is released to counter the Dopamine and Norepinephrine, so the brain isn’t satisfied.  This causes the addiction and eventually changes how the brain releases the chemicals altogether.  I can’t really talk about the dangers of porn without talking about how it affects the body and the brain, not to mention pornography destroys intimacy with God and a spouse.

When I was growing up there was commercial about drugs and brains.  The narrator held an egg in his hand and said, “This is your brain.” Then he cracked the egg into a  sizzling hot pan and said, “This is your brain on drugs. Any questions?” Pornography is more addictive than alcohol and cocaine.  Your kids need to know.  Information, not ignorance is the key.  Teach them how their brain works.  Grab a copy of Good Pictures, Bad Pictures.  Read it with them and then explain the chemical part too.  Teenagers appreciate logic.  We don’t need sexually confident kids.  We NEED sexually competent kids!

TIP:  Teach your kids to sexually competent.  Teach your kids to be culturally discerning.

NOTE: Statistics are from The Porn Phenonmenon, a Barna Report produced in partnership with Josh McDowell Ministry (a Cru Ministry).

Check out for more on how your brain responds to pornography.

Posted by Amy in Pornography

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