I was struck by Billie Eilish’s comments to Howard Stern about her experience with pornography. She stated in the interview that she began watching porn when she was 11 years old. She talked about how she first turned to porn as a way to learn about sex. She stated, “I thought that’s how you learned to have sex. I was watching abusive porn to be honest, when I was like 14.” She went on to say that she felt “porn destroyed her brain.”

I give her a lot of credit for speaking out to what so many teens and preteens experience. I admire her courage for speaking out on the evils of pornography. I talked extensively about porn and the havoc it can wreak on the adolescent brain in my book “Sibling Sexual Abuse: A Guide to Confronting America’s Silent Epidemic.” I have never worked with a sibling sexual abuse occurrence without porn being one of the driving factors of the abuse.

She goes on to describe a process that is common for many adolescents in the world today. They start by seeking out porn around the age of 10 or 11 in an effort to learn about sex. It starts with curiosity. Then the more they watch, the greater the impact on their brains. As Billie discussed in her interview, extensive and prolonged use of pornography  can affect the brain’s chemistry. The adolescent brain is ill-equipped to handle continued viewing of pornography, followed by masturbation causing a sensory overload. Dopamine (the feel good neurotransmitter in the brain) floods the brain and overwhelms or damages the brain’s dopamine receptors. This is the pattern seen in the case of excessive alcohol or drug use. The damage to dopamine receptors means that only a fraction of dopamine released gets absorbed by dopamine receptors, and feelings of pleasure are diminished. As a result, “normal pornography” no longer releases enough dopamine to arouse the person, which causes the need for more and more dopamine. This is how addiction develops.

If an adolescent, watches porn and masturbates frequently, over time, watching “regular porn” will not give the person the same satisfaction. The person then starts looking for more extreme kinds of porn to provide an extra kick of dopamine. They are looking for novelty to jump start dopamine in their brain. In fact, Gary Wilson (2014) stated in his book “Your Brain on Porn,” todays youth find the internet far more compelling than the porn of the past due to this unending novelty. This pattern can continue for adolescents as they escalate their viewing behaviors to different kinds of extreme and violent porn in order to increase this stimulation. This is the process that Billie described in her interview.

Billie discussed the violent kinds of porn that she spent many hours watching. She talked about how this affected her concept of consent and that she allowed sexually abusive acts to be done to her because she had been deceived by the porn industry in thinking this is what sex is. Porn continues to get more and more violent. Even as some have observed that “the rougher the better” is the mantra among these profiteers. As she said, she thought that she had to suffer in order to be thought of as being “good in bed.”

I discuss in my book the damaging effect that this kind of porn viewing has on sexual offending. Now, I’m not saying that watching porn makes someone sexually offend, but it has been shown to change viewers attitudes toward women and makes them more likely to engage in abusive acts when they watch porn that dehumanizes others. Todays porn is littered with assaultive acts full of hitting, slapping, and gagging. The typical response, as Maria Ahlin discusses in her Ted Talk “Lets Talk Porn” would be to get upset if someone hit or slapped us if we were walking down the street. However, in porn youth see the exact opposite of a typical response to these abusive acts. How do these women respond, by moaning, and yelling for more.

When are we going to stand up and not tolerate this anymore??! Our children are being abused, victimized, trafficked, deceived  and exploited. When are we going to protest the porn industry. No child should have to experience what Billie has through her experience with porn. Love is much better than false narratives shown in porn. Relationships are so much better than violent sexual acts and one night stands. Lets rise up and not accept what the porn industry is doing to our children. We and our children deserve so much better. As I have been asked by many over the last several years why is porn even legal with all the damage and devastation it wreaks? I just don’t know.

Written by : bradwatts44

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