Today, the curiosity about sexuality, which is normal for teenagers, can take a different turn if not navigated in a healthy way. The Internet and cable television have ushered in an age of unparalleled access to hardcore pornographic images and teenagers are jumping in with both feet.
According to Patrick Carnes, recognized as the leading expert in the field of sexual addiction, the largest consumer of Internet porn is the 12–17 year old age group, while the average age for first contact with Internet porn is approximately 11 years of age. Dr. Alvin Cooper, Author of Sex and the Internet: a Guidebook for Clinicians, calls the Internet the triple engine because of its accessibility, affordability and anonymity, which has become the super fix for a new breed of addicts.
Are teenagers just exploring their newfound sexuality or should we take a closer look to the possibly of a developing addiction? Recent buzz surrounds MTV’s new controversial teen drama show Skins, based on the popular British show of the same name, which follows a group of nine friends (involving actors as young as 15) navigating the often-tumultuous world of high school; sex, drugs and trouble included. The network is planning to air 10 episodes despite receiving criticisms from different sources that it is borderline child pornography. Our culture seems to have gone astray and continues to push the envelope without really thinking through the long-term effects of how it will affect the teen population.
When treating sexual addiction in adults, clinicians often find that the addictive patterns began in adolescence and progressed into other forms in adulthood. This is why it would be irresponsible and unwise for us to ignore the fact that our culture is handing teenagers loaded weapons of social and personal self-destruction. Let’s take a look at some of the criteria for teen sex addiction.
What is the criterion of teen sex addiction?
1.Loss of Control – clearly the sexual behavior in which the person does more than they intended or wanted to do
2.Compulsive Sexual Behavior – a pattern of out of control behavior over time
3.Efforts to Stop – Repeated specific attempts to stop the sexual behavior, which failed
4.Loss of Time – Significant amounts of time lost doing and/or recovering from the sexual behavior
5.Preoccupation – Obsessing about or because of the sexual behavior
6.Inability to Fulfill Obligations – the sexual behavior interferes with school, family and friends
7.Continuation Despite Consequences – Failure to stop the sexual behaviors even though you have problems because of it (social, legal, financial, physical, work.)
8.Escalation – need to make the sexual behavior more intense, more frequent, or more risky.
9.Losses – Losing, limiting, or sacrificing valued parts of life such as school, hobbies, family, relationships, and work
10. Withdrawal – stopping sexual behavior causes considerable distress, anxiety, restlessness, irritability or physical discomfort
If you or someone you know fits the criteria above when it comes to sexual behavior, including pornography viewing and compulsive masturbation, there are specially trained clinicians, called Certified Sex Addiction Therapists (CSAT), who can help get life back to normal and help with putting protective measures in place for the future.
NOTE: You can freely redistribute this resource, electronically or in print, provided you leave the author’s contact information below intact.
About the Author: Relationship Expert, Janie Lacy, LMHC, NCC, CSAT Candidate offers expert advice to Local and National TV News, Relationship Websites and provides phone or face-to-face counseling in the Orlando area. Janie has a relational approach and a unique ability to connect with individuals. Drawing upon her broad range of experience in private practice, not-for-profit organizations, hospitality and the medical industry, she has helped countless people in many arenas of life. She offers keen insight on all aspects of relationships – family, marriage, parenting, dating, and personal growth. Connect with Janie on Facebook or Twitter.