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What It’s Like to Be a Teen Girl Who Struggles With Porn

By July 23, 2020No Comments

The internet has made pornography easier for anyone and everyone to access. It’s no secret that nearly every kid growing up today will likely see hardcore porn well before the legal age. A pornography epidemic is on the rise, not only because it is easier to access, but because of the lack of information people have had on the negative and harmful effects associated with the compulsion, and sometimes addiction.

It wasn’t that long ago when porn was generally believed to be just “a guy’s issue.”

Unsurprisingly, many recovery programs and resources were aimed mainly at only men struggling with pornography. For many years, men have been believed to be more “visual” beings than women, and more turned on by sexual content, therefore accounting for the gap in porn consumption between men and women. Note that studies have shown that about 60% of women admit to regularly watching porn versus over 90% of men.

However, a recent study from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences may bust those stereotypes wide open.

Related: New Study Suggests Women Are Just As Visually Stimulated By Porn As Men

The study found that “at least at the level of neural activity… the brains of men and women respond the same way to porn.” Basically, sexual arousal at the neuron level is no different between males and females, though it was found to be related to sexual orientation.

The growing numbers of women who admit to consuming porn are just one way this trend is reflected. Add this to the new study revealing that men and women aren’t as different as once was thought when it comes to consuming porn, and it means there are a whole lot more people in general exposed to porn’s harms.

Meet Emma, a 19-year-old cosmetology school student who struggled with porn for much of her youth. Her story shows that porn is an everyone issue, not just a guy issue.

And here are the stories of two more young women who also show how universal an issue pornography is.

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Meet Kelsie

Kelsie’s porn struggle began just like most. She was only 11 years old when it started.

“I just discovered it by chance, although, at the time I had no idea what I was doing and no idea it was wrong. It became my main coping mechanism for when I was happy, sad, bored, excited, angry, or lonely. I told myself that my thoughts/fantasies weren’t dangerous, that I wasn’t hurting myself and that since I wasn’t out there having sex, it was OK. I lived with this in secrecy for 16 years before seeking help.”

Doesn’t that sound exactly like the stories we share from guys who become addicted as teenagers?

Related: Don’t Think Women Struggle With Porn? Read Stories From 5 Who Have

This story is the same one we hear so often from girls who are going through the same thing.

When we asked Kelsie how she feels about porn addiction being largely viewed as a guy problem, and she replied, “I lived in shame and secrecy for so many years. I told myself that no one would understand, because this isn’t something that any other girl struggles with. And if anyone ever found out, they would think I was so gross and disgusting.”

She added that if she would have known that it was a human issue and not just a man issue, “I think I may have come clean…and sought help much earlier.”

“In our culture, it is acceptable for men to view pornography. It’s even expected. We see it in almost every TV show or sitcom. It is so ‘normal’ in our culture. But rarely do people mention women. I don’t understand why people would assume that women don’t have any sexual drive or desires or why they wouldn’t be sexual beings just as men are… We are all wired to desire sex at some point. I think women can be just as visual as men.”

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Meet Nicole

Nicole began developing her compulsion to porn at age 13. It continued off and on as she grew older, and then intensified when she went through a difficult breakup. She’s now working through a healthy recovery, but it took a long time for her to get there.

“I didn’t seek help for my addiction because I felt I was a freak of nature, because I was sure that I was the ONLY woman who struggled with a man’s disease. I remember looking up articles and blogs about recovering from pornography addiction, and everything I found was about men, for men, written by men. So, clearly, I was the only one.”

Related: 10 Things Porn Gets Completely Wrong About Real Sex

Not cool. In fact, it isn’t cool for anyone to have to feel shamed because of their porn problem. Whether you’re a girl or a guy, you should never be judged or shamed because of your struggle.

When we asked Nicole what she would say to other girls who are going through this, specifically teen girls, she said, “Understand that you are not the only one. Not by a long shot. Your worth is neither defined nor altered by this addiction. Please, reach out. Find someone you can trust. I promise, you can be free of it.”

Fortify

Why This Matters

Porn has become mainstream and casually accepted as a part of normal sexual expression. But science and research are showing a much different story:  it warps sexual expectations, regardless of gender. It’s time we took another step to remove shame and isolation from those who struggle.

Related: Would Pornography Still Be Harmful If It Didn’t Have Addictive Potential?

Kelsie and Nicole are right. It’s absolutely crazy for any of us to think that women don’t have active sexual drives. And it’s heartbreaking to think that so many girls and women feel like they can’t reach out to anyone because of the stigma that porn is just a “guy thing.”

It’s time to stand up for everyone who’s going through this. We’re fighting with you—you are not alone.

Need help?

For those reading this who feel they are struggling with pornography, you are not alone. Check out our friends at Fortify, a science-based recovery platform dedicated to helping you find lasting freedom from pornography. Fortify now offers a free experience for both teens and adults. Connect with others, learn about your compulsive behavior, and track your recovery journey. There is hope—sign up today.

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