The Largest Unregulated Social Experiment:"Industrial Strength" Internet Porn

Over 80% of people seeking medical help for compulsive sexual behaviour report they have a porn-related problem.

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Sexual Dysfunctions and Pornography

More information
TFR logo The Reward Foundation

“Of all internet applications, porn has the most potential to become addictive.” (Meerkerk, 2006).

The Reward Foundation is a pioneering relationship and sex education charity. The name comes from the 'reward system' of the brain, the part responsible for motivating behaviour. This system can be hijacked and diverted by artificially strong rewards such as drugs, alcohol, nicotine and the internet. Binging on these substances and activities can shrink the grey matter in the brain. This in turn affects our ability to put the brakes on impulsive or risky behaviour and to make good decisions. 

Internet porn is a super-normal or "industrial strength" sexual stimulus. It's nothing like porn of the past. As with cocaine and heroin use, it can lead to compulsive or addictive use in some people. Children and young people are particularly vulnerable to its effects. They are also the most motivated to use it. Porn can poison relationships, promote mental health issues, cause sexual dysfunction and even lead to criminal behaviour like watching child sexual abuse material. Learn more from a neuroscientist on how this can happen and what to do about it. 

The Reward Foundation is a key source of evidence-based information about love relationships and the impact of internet pornography on mental and physical health, relationships, learning and legal risks.

We do not offer therapy nor provide legal advice. However, we do signpost routes to recovery for people whose porn use has become problematic. Our aim is to help users, parents, professionals and politicians to access the evidence and support they need to take make informed decisions and take appropriate action.


Download our free lesson plans  on sexting and on internet pornography
at this website and at the Times Educational Supplement.

Age Verification Legislation for Websites and Apps containing Porn

Children make up 20-30% of users on adult Internet pornography sites. This alone should drive governments to implement age verification legislation to restrict access by children to protect their mental and physical health, and social development. Their health and privacy are affected by the absence of rules to protect them.


Years or younger*

Age that 60% of children first see porn



# UK children a month watching pornography



Parents wanting age verification on porn websites


Years old*

Age of some children exposed to hardcore pornography

* British Board of Film Classification

Photography thanks to Christopher Ivanov, Annie Spratt, Matheus, Farias and Nik Shuliahin via