Talking with Your Teen About Porn: Is Today’s Pornography Harmless? Part 2 of 4

Do I really need to talk to my son? It seems like viewing porn is pretty harmless and just a normal part of being male these days. Isn’t this just a phase most boys (or young people) go through?

Although it is certainly normal to be curious and interested, the average young male today will not “casually” view pornography without being seriously impacted by what he consumes.

There are several reasons for this and therefore several reasons parents need to be talking with their kids about pornography. In today’s blog, we will explore the second of four reasons:

  1. Advanced brain imaging scans now show us that viewing pornography creates a neurochemical high in the brain that compares closest to the high of using Heroin. The pleasure centers of the brain are impacted, neurochemicals are firing (ie., norepinephrine, dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, vasopressin, testosterone, endogenous opiates), and connections are made that reinforce the desire to repeat the behavior.

The chemical high of arousal, pleasure, and euphoria serves to reinforce the false message that porn is an easy escape from anything dull, boring, or unwanted. Porn temporarily masks the pain of loneliness, rejection, fear, worry, loss, stress, or anxiety. This neurochemical reward cycle makes it easy to create a life-dominating habit.

Mindy Pierce, LPC
mpierce @

Photo Cred: Jean-Paul Boudreau