Hughes, Donna

Advisor Department

Women's Studies




pornography; adolescents; addiction


Pornography use has become more prevalent in recent years and research has shown that excessive use can lead to addictive behaviors. This is of special concern for adolescents, who are more vulnerable to addiction because of their immature brains and heightened response to visual stimuli. This study is an inquiry into what adolescent boys are saying about pornography’s effect on their sexual and social functioning. A content analysis was done on messages from online pornography forums written by adolescent boys 19 years of age and younger. A total of 125 comments were extracted and placed into six different categories: 1) Age of beginning use of pornography; 2) Awareness of problem from using pornography; 3) Symptoms of withdrawal from using pornography; 4) Triggers for relapse; 5) Coping skills and 6) Indications of management of use of pornography. The findings suggest that the adolescent boys are aware that they have a problem with pornography, and discuss their problem like it is an addiction using terms such as “slips,” “relapses,” and “triggers.” The boys refer to themselves as “addicts” and discuss skills for coping as well as share their strategies for managing their addictions. The findings from this study suggest there is a significant problem among adolescent boys who excessively use pornography, and that this problem could be defined as an “addiction.”