Study Reveals Changing Attitudes and Behaviors on Pornography—Especially Among Young Adults

The increasing impact and reach of pornography in the digital age cannot be overstated. In “The Porn Phenomenon: A Comprehensive shutterstock_168360026_PRESSNew Survey on Americans and Pronography,” compiled by the Barna Group, the research reveals a younger and younger exposure to pornography, increased desensitization and an escalating usage of pornography. These results are particularly evident among teens and young adults and reach into the Christian church as well.

Detailed survey findings of the study were announced at a news conference on January 19th; however, abbreviated highlights of the survey include the following:

More than one quarter (27%) of young adults ages 25 – 30 first viewed pornography before puberty.

Nearly half of young people actively seek out porn weekly or more often.

Teens & Young Adults consider “not recycling” more immoral than viewing pornography.

Teenage girls and young women are significantly more likely to actively seek out porn than women over age 25.

Of Teens and Young Adults, 66 percent have received a sexually explicit image and 41percent have sent one.

More than half of Christian youth pastors have had at least one teen come to them for help in dealing with porn in the past 12 months.

Twenty-one percent of youth pastors and 14 percent of pastors admit they currently struggle with using porn. And about 12 percent of Youth Pastors and 5 percent of Pastors say they are addicted to porn.

A wide-ranging, nationally-representative audience of nearly 3,000 participated in four online studies, including in-depth surveys among the general population, American teenagers, Christian pastors and the Christian church.

The research study was conducted by Barna Group, a visionary research and resource company located in Ventura, California. Started in 1984, the firm is widely considered to be a leading research organization focused on the intersection of faith and culture. The study has been commissioned by Josh McDowell Ministry, based in Plano, Texas.

According to Josh McDowell, “It is vital to raise awareness about the threat of Internet pornography.” He said, “Pornography violates all relational values between the individual and self, the individual and society, the unity of our families and our moral fabric and fiber as a nation. When we objectify and demean life by removing the sanctity of the human person, our future is at risk.”

Josh McDowell is a speaker and writer specializing in Christian thought, contemporary culture and family relationships. Since 1961, he has delivered more than 27,000 talks to over 25,000,000 people in 125 countries. He is the author or co-author of 145 books, including New Evidence That Demands A Verdict, recognized by World Magazine as one of the top 40 books of the twentieth century.

“We hope and pray that the findings of ‘The Porn Phenomenon’ survey, will not only point to the seriousness of the situation, but open ways to creatively seek solutions and help us network with other organizations to help families and individuals of all ages and stages,” said McDowell.

For more information on the survey, visit

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