I am often surprised by how many comments and forum posts on Feed the Right Wolf come from teenagers and even pre-teens seeking help. Their stories are both heartbreaking and inspiring. It is amazing to witness the maturity, insight, and awareness it takes to recognize this problem, and the strength and courage it takes to face it and seek help.
Teens and pre-teens who are struggling with this addiction, you are not alone. A recent survey says that about 11 million teenagers use porn regularly. Feed the Right Wolf is a community of people who faced a struggle like yours and are working to get better. There are many others. You are not alone.
The fact that so many young people use porn does not mean that it is healthy, safe, or normal. Smoking, underage drinking, and drug use are common problems for teenagers, too, and all of those are unhealthy and often dangerous; so is porn. Our culture today – especially the culture surrounding teenagers and pre-teens – sends a lot of unhealthy messages about sex and relationships. One of those messages is that using porn is something normal and harmless that nearly everyone does. It’s not.
Porn is addictive, in a way similar to drugs and cigarettes. It won’t give you lung cancer like cigarettes, but it will change the chemistry in your brain so that you crave more and more, just like any other addiction.
Porn can also mess up your life in a lot of ways. It will give you very misguided, wrong information about sex, relationships, and women, which will make it very difficult for you to learn how to have a real, healthy, intimate relationship with someone you love.
- Porn teaches that only physically perfect people are attractive, worthwhile, or powerful – this is wrong, and believing it will damage your self-esteem and cause you to misjudge many people in your life.
- Porn teaches that you can treat people (especially women) like they are just things which are there for your entertainment – this is wrong, and believing it will lead you to act in ways that will hurt anyone you are in a relationship with (and probably end the relationship).
- Porn teaches you about sex without respect, love, commitment, or communication – this is wrong, and believing it will cause you to pursue the wrong things in a relationship and ignore the right ones, and you’ll miss out on the joys of a a healthy relationship.
If you are here, reading this, you have already taken a great step.
The next step is just as important. Please talk to an adult you trust and seek help. Telling your parents is the best thing you can do, but if for some reason you feel that you can’t, talk to someone else you trust – a teacher, a counselor, a pastor, another family member. Please find a responsible, trusted adult and tell him or her what you are going through. This may be the hardest, scariest thing you have ever done, but it may also be the best thing you have ever done for your health and your future.