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3 Reasons to End Teen Porn

**Trigger Warning: This article contains written references to sexual abuse and graphic porn scenes.

WATCH BEYOND FANTASY: “BARELY LEGAL”

Picture this:

The scene opens on a young girl in her bedroom climbing into bed to fall asleep. The room is filled with stuffed animals and other toys. Her bedspread is pink and purple and there’s a nightlight in the corner. The door opens and in walks her father.

He lifts up the bedspread, which awakens the girl, and reassures her everything is alright. He then begins touching his “daughter” and the two engage in various sex acts.

This is a typical scene in the barely legal genre of pornography—one through which porn consumers fantasize about sex with little girls.

The teen category on Pornhub got 33.5 billion visits in 2018. It has consistently topped the charts for most searched term on the site for 6+ years, according to Pornhub’s Most Popular Search Terms. A simple Google search for teen porn produces 3.1 billion results, more than any other category.

The multi-billion dollar porn industry can account for a huge amount of its profits from this teen genre.

What is Barely Legal or Teen Porn?

In barely legal porn, it’s common to see girls dressed up as children and being spoken to as little kids. The porn sets range from playgrounds, classrooms and doctor’s offices to bedrooms and bathrooms. Scenes feature young-looking girls with lollipops, pigtails, stuffed animals, and high knee knee socks.

The scenes all follow a basic script. There’s usually a man with a position of power or authority who begins to have his way with her, often violently, and she is shown to be enjoying it.

But why is this such an obsession? This is criminal behavior in real life and, yet, the porn industry fetishizes this abuse of young girls.

Exodus Cry founder and CEO, Benjamin Nolot, asked this exact question of porn producers and performers in episode 1 of our new documentary miniseries, Beyond Fantasy. The first episode is called, “Barely Legal” and reveals how producers cast aside ethical boundaries in order to meet the demand for this genre.

Why is Barely Legal Porn Legal?

In 2002, the Free Speech Coalition, the porn industry’s lobbying organization, brought a court case against the government known as Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition (2002) arguing that two provisions of the Child Pornography Prevention Act of 1996 (CPPA) were overbroad and vague – specifically the banning of so-called “virtual child pornography” and images of adults who may look like children but do not involve real children.

RELATED: Why is the Fictional Depiction of Child Porn Legal in the US?

The US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) struck down the two clauses from CPPA, claiming it was an infringement on free speech, and established that “simulated child pornography” is protected by the First Amendment. This decision made it legal to create porn in which performers are made to look like children so long as the performers are 18 or older.

Between ages 18-19 I was in about 130 pornographic movies… I was so naive as an 18-year-old. I desperately wanted to believe I was in control of this very scary situation. Now when I look at myself in these movies, I see myself being raped over and over again.

3 Reasons to End Teen Porn

1. Teen Porn Sexualizes Children

The barely legal or teen genres of porn often depict 18 to 20-year-old girls as prepubescent children and teens. The actresses are completely devoid of body hair, often have young-looking features and are filmed with teddy bears and other kids toys.

Producers intentionally scout out young-looking girls and then dress them up to look as young as 10 years old. Their defense? The girls are 18. It’s legal.

But what they are really selling is the image of a child as sexy and erotic – not an 18-year-old.

Barely legal porn performer, Tracey Sweet, told director Benjamin Nolot, “There are times when I’ve felt so little, it’s weird for me to look in the mirror cause I have to remind myself that I’m 20 years old.

Similarly, Aiden Ashley, another performer, stated, “If you’re really trying to get me to look like I’m 18, like I’ll show you what I wore at 18. It is not little knee socks and little shorts with a yellow bow in my hair. I didn’t wear that at 18… I didn’t carry around my little teddy bear either when I was 18.

The reality of this genre is that the industry is intentionally trying to make these girls look like children, specifically children who are in vulnerable positions.

In 2013, an in-depth study of 10,000 female porn performers found that they were most commonly cast as “teenagers” in pornographic films. Around half of these roles explicitly sexualize girls under the age of 18 (daughter, schoolgirl, babysitter) and / or target women in need of some kind of support (hitchhiker, runaway).

2. Teen Porn Fuels Pedophilia and Child Abuse

Barely legal and teen porn are grooming consumers to see children as appropriate sexual partners, thereby normalizing child sexual abuse.

Porn fuels deviant appetites among frequent consumers and it’s well-known that the preferences of frequent viewers of porn often escalate. For many porn addicts, they start watching “vanilla” porn, but eventually, this doesn’t produce the same effects and they need to up the stakes. What had previously disinterested or even disgusted a porn user, now becomes necessary viewing to get the same dopamine hit. This can include genres like beastiality, hardcore, BDSM, and child sexual abuse material (“child pornography”), whether its real or simulated.

During an interview for the film, former porn producer, Hansel Orzame shared, “I remember when we were shooting one of those scenes, I was like, we are giving people the image of having sex with a child.

RELATED: Barely Legal: Teen Porn Promotes Child Sexual Abuse

The very scary reality is that someone can start watching teen porn and end up with a sexual appetite for children.

This was exactly the case for Derek* who shared how his childhood addiction to porn led him to experience these scenarios for himself. As a result, he sexually abused a dozen girls over a 5 year period, the youngest being a mere 13 years old. Derek was eventually sentenced to prison and was placed on the child sex offender list. (Read the full story here.)

Derek’s story is not an isolated incident. Over time, the pleasure viewers gain from masturbation and the images that arouse them, create pathways in the brain which produce an appetite for more of that content. With the overwhelming popularity of the genre, there is an entire group of boys and men being groomed to find young girls (and boys) sexually attractive.

It’s no surprise, then, that 1 in 5 girls will experience child sexual abuse between the ages of 0 and 17.

RELATED: Child Sexual Abuse Material, “Child Porn,” Has Reached Crisis Levels

In fact, porn is so effective at normalizing abuse that abusers often use pornography to groom victims, this is especially true when children are involved.

Porn producer Max Hardcore, whose amateur style pornography popularized the hardcore and barely legal genres, stated,

I make instructional videos. Men who watch my videos, they wanna see what the girl’s capable of doing. What she’s willing to do, and how to get them to do it. That’s all, it’s that simple. So I show them that we track them down, we find ‘em, we locate ‘em, we isolate ‘em, we get ‘em in the car, we get ‘em in the public bathroom… wherever it is. You give them some compliments and resistance breaks down… This is a fun sport.”

3. Teen Porn Preys on Vulnerable 18-Year-Olds

It is well known that porn producers lure vulnerable 18-year-old girls to play these roles. During an interview for Beyond Fantasy: “Barely Legal,” porn producer Donny shared, “I recruited first-timers. I had one girl come in, she looked like she was maybe 14. So I knew, we’re going to make a lot of money from this girl.

But these “first-timers” are often in a destabilized, vulnerable, and transitional season of life. For a majority, they are just graduating high school and looking to flee the nest and head off to college or take a gap year to travel and “find themselves.”

The reality is that 18-year-olds are not in the place to make a decision which could so drastically alter the course of their life and they often have no idea what they’re actually getting into. For many seeking to enter the industry at a young age, the idea of becoming a porn star is glamorous and comes with riches untold. But once you peer behind the curtain, that idealized picture is quickly shattered.

We know that the rational part of a teen’s brain isn’t fully developed, and won’t be until age 25. Adults think with the prefrontal cortex, the rational part of the brain that responds to situations with good judgment and an awareness of long-term consequences. However, teens process information with the emotional part of the brain, known as the amygdala, while the decision-making part of the brain is not yet fully developed.

For those do who make the decision to enter porn, many of their lives are ruined from this decision – resulting in drug abuse, alcoholism, and even suicide.

The actors are frequently forced to enact sadistic pedophilic fantasies, often ending in physical injury and psychological trauma. This trauma is then immortalized and consumed by millions of people online.

Maggie, a former performer, shares, “Between ages 18-19 I was in about 130 pornographic movies… I was so naive as an 18-year-old. I desperately wanted to believe I was in control of this very scary situation. Now when I look at myself in these movies, I see myself being raped over and over again.

According to one of the most successful female porn performers, Lisa Ann, the average life expectancy for a porn performer is 37 years old. For women, the average duration of a career in pornography is less than six months, and upwards of 30% of females leave the industry after shooting just one video. But even just one video will follow them forever.

During an interview with Vice regarding the film, Hot Girls Wanted, Rashida Jones stated, “When you’re 18 and you’re making choices for yourself, you’re not thinking about the eternal effects of footage online. You’re not thinking about the external and internal costs; the psychological, emotional, physiological, physical costs of having sex for a living. You’re thinking about the fame part. And so you may not be the best candidate to make a decision for yourself but you’re allowed to because you’re 18 and that’s all you need to be.

End Teen Porn

While many in the industry don’t see a problem with this genre, the potential harms are overwhelmingly obvious. In glorifying teen porn, society is putting the perverse sexual satisfaction of adults over the safety of children. We cannot groom millions of consumers to be sexually attracted to kids and not expect it to flow out of the realm of simulation and into the very real abuse of children.

Raise the Age of Entry Into Porn from 18 to 21

At 18 years old, a person cannot purchase alcohol, marijuana, or tobacco, rent a car, or gamble. But they can perform in hardcore pornography. Even to perform stand-up comedy in most venues, individuals have to be 21 because of the environment they’re in. Yet, as teenagers, girls can be penetrated in dehumanizing and dangerous sex acts by one or more grown men. This needs to end.

Nineteen former porn performers are calling on all producers, directors, and agents in the porn industry to stop recruiting impressionable teenagers. In their open letter, published by Exodus Cry, they’re asking the porn industry to raise the performing age from 18 to 21. We are urging people to sign this petition online in support of the letter.

Will you sign the petition to #ENDTEENPORN, calling for the industry to raise the age of entry into porn to 21?

Read the Open Letter & Sign the Petition

Watch Beyond Fantasy: “Barely Legal” for free on Youtube.

*Due to the nature of the topic, viewer discretion is strongly advised.

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