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Sexuality Education & Therapy with Children

Pornography use among adolescents and the role of primary care

Full Article Title: Pornography use among adolescents and the role of primary care.

Open Access. Yes.


Given the increase in pornography use among adolescents over the years, we discuss the impact of its use on sexual health development as well as the role of primary care providers (PCPs) in assessing use and providing sexual health education. While pornography use is often viewed negatively, it is important to develop unbiased  understanding of the use in order to provide non-judgemental, adolescent-focused and educational care. As PCPs are often the first point of contact when adolescents  experience medical and behavioural health concerns, it is essential for them to be equipped to screen for pornography use effectively, create a confidential and comfortable  environment to talk about pornography use and sexuality, and be informed of ways to promote open discussion between youth and parents. In addition to PCP involvement,  parental collaboration, knowledge and comfortability with discussing pornography use with their child are powerful tools in understanding and navigating pornography use in  this population. This special communication seeks to provide an objective view of adolescents’ pornography use, guidelines for screening of pornography use and ways to  facilitate conversations about the use between adolescents and caregivers.


“As pornography use continues to rise among adolescents, PCPs are more likely to encounter it in clinical settings, making it necessary for them to play an active role in screening, conducting assessments and providing guidance. Having an unbiased understanding of the impact of and function of pornography use in adolescents is crucial to supporting them through their sexual development. It is critical for adolescents’ sexual health education to equip them with accurate and helpful knowledge regarding pornography and enable them to think critically about consumption.”

Recommendations for parents on how to facilitate conversations about pornography use with your child: 1. Educate yourself first; ask your child’s health care provider for resources. [Note: Culture Reframed recommends our own parents’ programs.] 2. Consider your own emotions and values and what it is important for you to communicate. 3. Be clear and candid with your child, and admit when you do not know the answer. 4. Establish a common language for talking about sexuality and create conversational ground rules to foster a non-judgemental atmosphere [Note: Again, Culture Reframed has free resources that will guide parents through these conversations.] 5. Use teachable moments to have conversations related to a variety of topics on a regular basis. (eg, found child watching pornography)



Jhe, G.B., Addison, J., Lin, J., & Pluhar, E. (2023). Pornography use among  adolescents and the role of primary care. Family Medicine and Community Health, 11, Article e001776. doi:10.1136/fmch-2022-001776