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Sex Addiction Linked to Porn Exposure in Early Teen Years

In years’ past, the first exposure of teens to sex often occurred through school sex education programs and the occasional access to a pornographic magazine.

Today, reports say that about 50 percent of individuals who receive professional treatment for sex addiction say they began experiencing problems before the age of 16.  Experts say round-the-clock ability to view sexual material online, and a general decrease in knowledge and parental discussions about sex, may be contributing factors.

According to the survey results, as many as 40 percent of teens had viewed pornographic material before they were 12. For those that are adults seeking sexual addiction treatment, nearly all said they believed this early exposure was an element in the development of the addiction. Around 50 percent of those who shared information in the survey also said they were victims of childhood abuse.

Other factors cited in the study suggested that a divorce or a split up of parents, and lack of access to adequate information/education about sex, may have also been involved in the development of the addiction. From a gender perspective, more men (about 57 percent) were looking for professional help for sex addiction ,whereas only 38 percent of women sought professional help.

Effects of living with sex addiction included low self-image, chronic relationship problems, sexual performance problems and co-existing problems with mental health. About 50 percent of those who participated in the survey said the loss of a spouse or partner had occurred in the midst of the addiction. Great losses of productivity and in finances were also noted by participants.

Sex addiction is a serious, progressive condition that requires professional help for recovery. Symptoms in adults or teens can include obsessive, compulsive unwanted thoughts about sex; avoiding social functions to engage in sex; engaging in sexual behaviors in public places; or being unable to stop the behaviors even when the consequences are known.

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