For the vast majority of adolescents, porn is something common in their lives and they first accessed content of this type before they were 12 years old. This is how the report shows Sexual (mis) information: pornography and adolescence, released Tuesday by Save the Children. The objective is to get closer to the reality of young people and study the consumption of pornography. For this, the NGO, which calls for an “urgent” affective-sexual education in schools, has asked more than 1,700 boys and girls between 13 and 17 years old: almost 7 out of ten, 68%, see this sexual content more or less frequently – it has done so in the last 30 days – but with very marked differences between boys and girls.
When asked if they have had any contact with porn, they answer affirmatively to a much lesser extent than they do. 38.1% of girls admit that they do, compared to the vast majority of boys, 87.5% and 75% of young people who do not identify themselves as either a man or a woman. Along the same lines, in the last month 40.4% of adolescents have consumed pornography at least once, compared to 81.6% of adolescents, twice. They look for these contents “almost daily” and the responses of the girls express variations between weekly and monthly consumption.
There are also gender differences in the way they do it. Although most see it in private (93.9%), 12.4% of the girls see it with their friends. The percentage is reduced to 1.50% in the male case. The results also show that gay boys have accessed more than lesbian adolescents, but in a similar way to heterosexuals. However, the latter have seen this content to a greater extent than young heterosexual women.
The different impact between genders is also observed when considering the motivations why they access porn and that Save the Children has asked in eleven workshops and that make up the qualitative part of the research. In general terms, the study points out, while boys consume pornography “that is designed for them, through which they satisfy” instinctive needs “, girls enter as a method to” learn “what is expected of them. The first access for boys usually responds to a more active search, while girls find it more accidentally. For their part, LGTBI young people tend to seek practices that adapt to their sexual orientation or gender identity and there are cases that seek “a way to integrate into that” heterosexual normality “that they feel alien, but in which they try to fit.
For half it is “source of inspiration”
The organization has also analyzed how what they see influences their lives and relationships, although it assumes that there is “a great variety of realities” in the adolescent population and considers to what extent the general concern “about the lack of adolescence’s ability to be critical of pornography and understand that it is fiction. ” A belief, explains the research, which is very widespread because it is related to the maturation process in which it is still immersed, the lack of affective-sexual education or the context of gender inequality from which it starts. However, the fiction of these contents “does enter into the debates among adolescents”, although they make a “partial” criticism: they assume, the NGO explains, that the sexual practices present in porn “follow fads” and speak of “the unreality of the superheroes of sex “, although” they do not focus on the unreality, for example, of the bodies that are represented. ”
However, that they talk about it “does not guarantee that they know how to recognize it,” the study concludes, and in this sense there are great differences between those who watch more and less porn. Thus, of those surveyed who make frequent use, up to 36.8% answered yes when asked if the sexual practices that we see in pornography resemble the real ones; the percentage drops to 19.5% among those young people who do not see it regularly. In addition, the study adds, boys see more similarities than girls and heterosexuals more than LGTBI. The majority (72%) recognize that “sometimes” there is violence in porn and the same number says the same about risky practices, but only 31.1% of boys see inequality, compared to 55% of girls. young boys.
Regarding the degree of influence in their life, again there is a difference based on the level of consumption: half (52.1%) of those who watch porn frequently consider that porn has conditioned their relationships “a lot” or ” quite a lot “, while among those who watch little content, this percentage is 21.2%. The organization also focuses on the risk that the normalization of certain behaviors present in pornography – “disparagement of women”, “sexualization of female pain”, “domination of women” or a “background” of their pleasure, among others – can produce “situations of violence and inequality”. In conclusion, Save the Children points out that pornography is “a source of inspiration for adolescents”: more than half, 54.1% say that it gives them ideas for their own experiences (boys, to a greater extent) and 54.9% would like to put into practice what they have seen, a trend that increases among those who consume the most.
The void of sex education
The danger, the organization assumes, is that adolescents “form their desire around what they see” despite the fact that in many cases it is marked by “violent or unequal” treatment and they grow up “thinking that consent, wishes or preferences they don’t have to be taken into consideration. ” According to the survey, half of young people (47.4%) have ever put into practice scenes they have seen in porn. And not always, and that is the point that most worries the organization, with the consent of their sexual partner, the study reports.
However, the organization moves away from prohibitionist positions, points out that “it is not the solution” and advocates promoting a “critical attitude” to the information they receive. In this sense, the research reveals the deficiencies that still mark the educational system in terms of affective-sexual training, which Save the Children claims from an early age. As respondents have shown, in the past two years, more than half of adolescents have received only between one and four hours of training. For this reason, the organization warns of the risk that porn, which they tend to access before maturity, is their source of information and conformation of sexual desire: when asked where they obtain information on sexuality, only 26% indicated to the educational center and 32% to families. In contrast, groups of friends appear in 67% of responses and porn in four out of ten.
It is “worrying” for the NGO that for 30% of adolescents, porn “is the only source of information on sexuality”, a feeling that is greater among young people who consume it more often and among boys. A scenario, the report concludes, that has turned pornography, through different channels, into a “teacher of sexuality.” Adolescence, however, “demands more information and that it be adapted to its needs, but it is telling us that it does not receive it,” the investigation laments.