You may have already known this, but porn culture is a serious emerging issue in high schools and for the next generation. It fuels sexting and thus revenge porn, self-esteem issues, harassment, abuse, bullying, and provides the lowest quality information about sex. Watching isn’t worth it.

The next big thing has arrived in high schools around the world, and it’s not the latest iPhone.

Pornography has been a normalized pastime for our generation and the upcoming for more than a minute, but now—perhaps more than ever—porn culture is affecting the way students interact with one another, and even with themselves.

From sexting to harassment, and even revenge porn, how porn culture has developed in high schools is not only shocking, it’s pretty sad.

Here are 10 facts about porn culture in high school today that everyone deserves to know whether you’re headed there soon, or you just lived through it yourself. If education is power in this fight for love, knowing what’s going down is the first step to fighting against it.

1. Porn is an introduction to sex for basically everyone.

In today’s tech-savvy society, explicit adult content can be found virtually anywhere at any given time. Because the upcoming generation has embraced technology starting at a young age, it should come as no surprise that children have their first—and often unintentional—interaction with porn when they’re as young as 11 years old.

For most kids, that is years before they formally learn about sex either, from parents or in the classroom, which no doubt makes this a confusing situation.

Because of these early overly-sexual experiences, and the fact that actually talking about porn is still pretty taboo, more and more high schoolers are turning to porn to learn about sex—often before their first real-life sexual interaction.

In this New York Times article published earlier this year, a suburban boy explains, “There’s nowhere else to learn about sex…and porn stars know what they are doing.” This mentality, paired with a serious lack of educational settings to learn about sex, means easy-to-access pornography will continue to fill the vacuum for sex information in among youth in America.

2. Sexting is the new flirting.

It’s 2018, and saying “Send Nudes” to a crush is officially the new way to flirt.

Sexting has completely skyrocketed with the existence of smartphones and the prevalence in porn among the rising generation. With more than 1 in 7 teens sending sexts and 1 and 4 receiving them, sexting has very much become a regular form of communication.

There are tons of issues with sending sexts like nonconsensual forwarding or sharing, or “revenge porn”, among one of them—but more on that later. There’s an even bigger issue at hand, where teens feel it is necessary, normal, or are pressured to send pics sans clothing as social currency, without considering the very real ramifications of what pressing “send” can mean.

3. Porn encourages and promotes objectification among peers.

It’s common for porn consumers to start seeing people as objects, merely there for the entertainment, rather than people. The same is true for teens in high school—usually where pornography is present, respect for others—girls, more specifically—can be totally absent.

We know from personal accounts that in schools where porn is not only present but perceived as totally normal, boys often treat girls like objects by showing their friends explicit images of them, or using them for sexual favors to gain social status. Not cool.

4. Revenge porn is something a lot of teens are dealing with.

Sometimes high school romances last a lifetime, but that is more the exception than the rule. Sexting and sending nudes almost naturally lends itself to nonconsensual sharing of images or, as it is more commonly referred to, “revenge porn,” when the relationship goes south.

A recent report showed that 12% of teens reported to have forwarded a sext without consent, and over 8% have had one of their own sexts forwarded. A different study by the University of Kent shows that a shocking 99% of people surveyed expressed at least some approval with non-consensual explicit pics being posted online. How is this at all acceptable?

5. Doxing is becoming more of an issue.

“Doxing”, which is the malicious act of searching for and sharing private information about someone on the internet, has found its place in high schools as a likely result of porn culture.

One-third of teenage girls have reported being sexually harassed online, but doxing takes it a step further where young people share personal details of someone (usually a girl) who is seen as “easy.”

This is probably best explained in our recent article about student from more than 70 Australian high schools who were used as targets in a revenge porn-sharing online group. Basically, young men use the site to request explicit material (nudes) of a specific girl or girls from a specific school. Others would help by posting detailed information about the girls in question—their full name, phone number and even their address. The boys then start “hunting” and ultimately collect and barter their “wins.”

Doxing takes harassment to a whole new level, making revenge porn a game in which innocent girls are often the objects. Definitely not cool.

6. Degrading sex acts are becoming the norm.

In this New York Time article, high school students debate about certain sex acts their partners have asked them to do, like facials. In the conversation, one girl chimes in saying, “I actually don’t think [girls] like it. They do it because their partner likes it.”

The article describes a similar debate among the high school students about anal sex. Among the guys who reported trying it, many said their friends encouraged them or they felt pressured and competitive with other guys doing it.

Girls as young as fifteen describe boys pressuring them to provide sexual acts that are inspired by the porn they consume on the regular.

7. Sexual harassment and cyberbullying are further fueled by porn.

Bullying and sexual harassment, unfortunately, happen on their own, but how does porn culture add fuel to the fire?

We know from personal accounts that someone who chooses not to watch porn when their peers do are often put on blast. With the existence of social media, online bullying and harassment are so much more prevalent and less manageable. In a survey of girls and young women aged 15-19 throughout Australia, participants reported that lone sexual abuse and harassment were more and more becoming a normal part of their everyday interactions.

Porn consumption seriously normalizes sexual harassment, convincing students that unwanted sexual attention is normal and acceptable. Pornographic films that show men verbally abusing women teaches young men how to treat women and—perhaps worse—teaches women how they should be treated. How sad is that?

8. Girls going under the knife to pursue unrealistic beauty.

One of the problems with porn is that is doesn’t accurately portray reality. Men are shown as strong and dominant whereas the women are portrayed as perfect, airbrushed beauties. This can seriously kill the self-confidence of both boys and girls, especially during a time where the pressure to look a certain way is so prevalent.

A shocking report showed that from 2013 to 2016, the rate of labiaplasty—a plastic surgery performed to alter the appearance of the labia, the inner and outer folds of the vagina—increased by over 100%. Not only that, but the total number of patients 18 years and younger increased from 158 in 2013 to 559 in 2016—a 253.8% increase in just three years. We think it is safe to assume that porn culture is a big part of why this procedure is on the rise.

9. Guys struggle with arousal when with real-life partners.

Erectile dysfunction (ED) has been increasing in sexually active men under the age of 40, and internet porn is to blame for this rise, with a growing number of studies showing a correlation between porn and ED. Pornography can also leave people wanting more, causing them to feel dissatisfied with what they experience in their real lives which can contribute to depression and anxiety symptoms.

Fight to de-normalize porn culture

Violence is not sexy. Harassment is not acceptable. Revenge porn is harmful. Sexual assault is toxic. This is why we fight against the normalization of porn and all the issues it carries with it.

The youth of today are our next generation. They’ll be steering our innovations and raising the next generation behind them. This is a pivotal time in people’s lives to develop the healthy habits that will be with them for the rest of their lives.

The more we accept porn culture as the norm, the more we accept the subcultures it supports—like sexual assault, rape culture, harassment, and violence. We don’t have to accept porn as normal. We can fight for real love, and change the conversation.

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Porn is not part of a healthy, thriving culture. SHARE this article and get the word out that we can do better than accept porn in our lives.

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