People start watching pornography at early age: Study

Indian-origin psychologists Raj Sitharthan and his wife Gomathi Sitharthan, of Sydney University's Department of Medicine, surveyed 800 people about their pornography use and found that more than 80 per cent of those who watched porn on internet were male, a TV news report said. There were other startling results. 

"The starting age to view porn was between 11-13 years, which actually surprised us, given that at such an early age people do seem to have some form of access to sort of look at porn material," Raj said. "It's quite easy. You can be sitting anywhere at any time and access porn even via your telephone, mobile phone," he said.

According to the experts, many young people reported a positive experience watching pornography, while there were many others suffering detrimental effects. "They actually skip education and also we have found they have social skills deficits where they have difficulty speaking to members of the opposite sex," Raj said.

"And they have all these false assumptions about what is right and proper in a relationship," he said. Referring to a case of a young boy, Raj said: "His view of the world after watching excessive porn was that it is a very normal thing to sort of just approach the opposite sex and then within 10 minutes, 20...within 5 or 10 seconds, they'd be sort of doing it," he said. "So I think this is the kind of false impressions that we need to correct," he said.

However, Queensland University of Technology's Alan McKee does not believe pornography is addictive in the same way that drugs like nicotine or heroin are. McKee said that people watch material that reflects their own sexual identities.

"Some people argue that if you start off by looking at mainstream heterosexual pornography, then you'll be drawn onto looking at sadomasochistic pornography and then looking at child pornography and finally at snuff pornography where people are murdered," he said. "That is the slippery slide theory.

There is absolutely no scientific evidence for that," he said. But the Sitharthans say their work suggests otherwise. "When we ask [people] about their porn-viewing history, it has always started with something very small but then escalated into something more and more and deeper and deeper disturbing," Raj said. 

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