You are on page 1of 44

Research conducted by

Barna Group
Research commissioned by
Josh McDowell Ministry
January 19, 2016

2

The Porn Phenomenon

RESEARCH DESIGN

Who Was Surveyed in the Study?
All participants completed an online survey, and data is weighted to be nationally
representative. Conducted July and August 2015.
Audience

Definition

Sample Size

TEENS

13 – 17

303

YOUNG ADULTS

18 – 24

510

ADULTS

25 +

1,188

PASTORS

Senior Pastor

432

YOUTH PASTORS

Youth Pastor

338

Note: colors correspond to graphs throughout this report

3

4

The Porn Phenomenon

KEY FINDINGS

5 The Porn Phenomenon PORN: WHAT IS IT AND WHY USE IT? .

Teens are sensitive to and affected by porn. • There is a wide range of definitions across various segments of society. People use porn for the obvious: arousal. presumably. • Function: for the purpose of arousal. especially compared to young adults.Porn: What Is It and Why Use It? Porn is notoriously difficult to define. For Americans. masturbation • Form: images that depict sex. it’s more a question of function than form. curiosity. • 25-50-year-olds tend to use for getting sex tips or to set a mood with a partner. curiosity and fun. • “Being less risky than actual sex” is higher motivation among both teens and older adults—for different reasons. But also for boredom. or sexual scenarios. or nudity that is sexually arousing • Most people do not believe full nudity or especially partial nudity qualify as porn. but those feelings of caution tend to dissipate among young adults. • One of the patterns in the data is that teens are not entirely sure what to do with or make of porn. • Younger adults and teens tend to use porn for boredom. 6 . and fun.

Is that Porn? 7 Sexual intercourse is the most common defining factor for considering an image porn— sexual arousal also plays a large part in people viewing an image as porn. a partially nude image a fully nude image a fully nude image that is sexually arousing an image of a sexual act that is not intercourse an image of sexual intercourse 96% 90% 87% 86% 95% 89% 87% 80% 79% 78% 69% 64% 63% 58% 57% 54% 53% 50% 39% 24% 10% 10% TEENS YOUNG ADULTS Which of these things would you consider to be “porn”? 28% 25% 7% ADULTS YOUTH PASTORS PASTORS .

ADULTS . with very little story 83% 70% 66% still pictures of sexual acts 55% 61% close-up still pictures of genitals 47% fully nude show or dance 46% fully nude still pictures 32% 26% sex scenes described in a written story (no pictures) 41% 30% sex scenes that are a short part of a broader story in a movie/video/TV 31% 23% TEENS & YOUNG ADULTS 84% 18% 14% 22% chatting/texting about sexual acts with someone you do not know personally partially nude show or dance partially nude still pictures TEENS & YOUNG ADULTS 32% 11% 9% ADULTS What of these things would you definitely consider porn? Among those who currently use porn. compared to Adults.What is ‘Definitely Porn?’ 8 Teens & Young Adults generally consider more types of images to be pornography. sex scenes that make up most or all of a video.

80% For personal arousal 70% Boredom 60% Curiosity 50% It’s just fun 40% To get tips or ideas for my own sex life 30% Because it’s less risky than actually having sex 20% To express my sexuality 10% To set the mood with a girlfriend/boyfriend/partner 0% Ages 13-17 Why do you use porn? 18-24 25-30 31-50 51-69 . Young Adults (18-24) also cite “fun” and “sexual expression.” is the most common reason people use porn.Why Use Porn? 9 “For personal arousal. Boredom is more common among younger generations.” more than other generations.

Curiosity is also a common reason. + % 13-17 18-24 25-30 31-50 51-69 70+ For personal arousal For personal arousal For personal arousal For personal arousal For personal arousal For personal arousal Boredom Boredom Curiosity To set the mood with a girlfriend/boyfriend/partn er It’s just fun To set the mood with a girlfriend/boyfriend/partn er Curiosity Curiosity To get tips or ideas for my own sex life Curiosity Curiosity Curiosity It’s just fun It’s just fun Boredom To get tips or ideas for my To get tips or ideas for my own sex life own sex life It’s just fun To set the mood with a Because it’s less risky than To express my sexuality girlfriend/boyfriend/partn actually having sex er - To get tips or ideas for my Because it’s less risky than own sex life actually having sex It’s just fun Boredom Boredom It’s just fun Boredom To set the mood with a To get tips or ideas for my girlfriend/boyfriend/partn own sex life er To set the mood with a Because it’s less risky than To get tips or ideas for my Because it’s less risky than To express my sexuality girlfriend/boyfriend/partn To express my sexuality actually having sex own sex life actually having sex er To set the mood with a Because it’s less risky than Because it’s less risky than girlfriend/boyfriend/partn To express my sexuality actually having sex actually having sex er Why do you use porn? To express my sexuality .Why Use Porn? 10 The most common reason why people use porn is for personal arousal. Boredom is more common among younger generations.

11 The Porn Phenomenon MORALITY OF PORN .

• Adults over 50: believe it’s bad • 31-49 and teens: split between bad or neutral • Young adults: most likely to believe it’s good Only small minority of adults who use porn report much “guilt” about porn. It’s a subject that does not have the same social taboo that it once did. although it’s still a minority of teenagers. Big generational changes on whether porn is good or bad for society. • Teens are most likely age segment to experience feelings of guilt. 12 . • Practicing Christians are twice as likely as others to experience guilt.The Morality of Porn One of the favorable realities uncovered by the research is the degree of transparency respondents display on the topic. • Porn is a much more readily “researchable” topic than it was two decades ago.

same-sex scenarios. accepting. 89% of teens. • Less likely to be “always wrong” – depictions of teens.” Only child porn and non-consensual sex are considered “always wrong” by a large majority of Americans. or encouraging way. and more than two people at once. Teens & young adults view “not recycling” as more immoral than viewing porn. • 32% say viewing porn is "usually or always wrong" compared to 56% who say not recycling is "usually or always wrong. and 95% of young adults say they do so in an either neutral. .The Morality of Porn 13 Teens and young adults have “encouraging” or “accepting” conversations toward porn. demeaning situations. painful or forced sex. • Only one in 20 young adults and one in 10 teens say their friends think viewing pornography is a bad thing. • When they talk about porn with friends.

Is Porn Good or Bad for Society? 14 Young Adults (18-24) are the least likely age group to say porn is bad for society it is very bad for our society 13-17 18-24 27% 51-69 70+ it is neither good nor bad 16% 14% it is somewhat good for our society 9% 48% 30% 21% 24% 14% 32% 20% 37% It is very good for society 47% 17% 25-30 31-49 it is somewhat bad for our society Overall. do you think that porn is a good or bad thing for our society? 4% 10% 22% 59% 8% 13% 44% 36% 22% 2% 2% 5% 19% .

Feelings About Porn Use 15 Teens (13-17) are least comfortable with the amount of porn they use. Middle-aged adults are the most comfortable with their use. Comfort Level with Porn Use I feel a sense of guilt when I use porn 52% 13-17 26% 22% 31% 68% 18-24 22% 10% 69% 25-30 31-50 19% 13% 10% 64% 12% 24% I am comfortable with how much porn I use I would rather 72% not use it as much as I do. but some is OK 18% 51-69 21% 13-17 18-24 14% 15% 17% 25-30 31-50 51-69 It really doesn’t bother me to use it 50% 51% 54% 54% 13-17 18-24 25-30 31-50 I would rather not use porn at all 47% 51-69 . compared to other age groups.

and conservatives are significantly more likely to experience a sense of guilt compared to others. practicing Christians.The Guilt of Porn 16 Minorities. Demographic-Based Segmentations (Adults) Faith 7% Midwest 17% South 17% white 11% all non-white 24% Income less than $50K 17% Not Practicing Xian 29% 12% Catholic 23% 11% Protestant Mainline 18% Protestant Non-Mainline 25% other Christian 17% $50K to $99K $100K plus Denomination Race West Practicing Christian Protestant 19% 28% conservative Politics Region Northeast Belief-Based Segmentations (Adults) 8% Do any of these apply to your personal experience with pornography? moderate liberal 25% 11% 13% .

How Immoral Is Porn? Teens & Young Adults consider not recycling more immoral than viewing porn. + Teens & Young Adults • Taking something that belongs to someone else • Having a romantic relationship with someone other than a spouse • Saying something that isn’t true R A N K - • Not recycling • Viewing pornographic images • Thinking negatively about someone with a different point of view • Reading erotic or pornographic content • Watching sexually explicit scenes on TV or in a movie • Wanting something that belongs to someone else • Overeating • Significant consumption of electricity or water 17 .

When Friends Talk about Porn.it’s just assumed we all look at porn sometimes 43% 37% Neutral . Only a small minority talk about it in a way that is disagreeable.we don’t really discuss the morality of it Disagreeable . 13% Encouraging . neutral.my friends think viewing pornography is a bad thing 36% 11% 5% When you and your friends talk about pornography.we talk about pornography in a positive. or encouraging? 13-17 18-24 18 . even lighthearted way. accepting. Context Is… More than half of teens and young adults talk about porn in a way that is completely accepting. no one is ashamed of viewing it 17% 40% Accepting . is it most often in a way that’s disagreeable.

0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% Depictions of children under the age of 12 Depictions of sexual acts that are not consensual (one or more of the people did not agree to the act or to sharing it with others) Sexual acts that may be forced or painful 13-17 18-24 25-30 Someone being depicted in a demeaning way Depictions of teens 31-50 Sexual acts between two people of the same gender 51-69 Sexual acts involving more than two people at once What sexual images that involve any of these things are considered always wrong? Among those who currently use porn. 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% .Sexual Images That Are ‘Always Wrong’ 19 Only child pornography. non-consensual. and painful sex are considered “always wrong” by the majority of people.

20 The Porn Phenomenon PORN IN THE “SCREEN AGE” .

21 . whether they are seeking it or not.Porn in the “Screen Age” Pornography has gone almost completely digital.” Not only is porn more accessible in the digital context. • Nearly half of young adults say they come across porn at least once a week—even when they aren’t seeking it out. graphic novels. but unsolicited porn has increased as well. on-demand videos and cable or rented/purchased DVDs are a very small part of the “market. • Example: 71% of adults. 85% of teens and young adults who have viewed pornography did so using online videos • Magazines. • Nearly three-quarters of young adults (71%) and half of teens (50%) come across what they consider to be porn at least once a month.

• Teenage girls and young women are significantly more likely to actively seek out porn than women over age 25. among teen and young adult men. perhaps due to digital access. Most teens are “sexting”—either on the receiving or sending end of sexually explicit images. Among men ages 25-plus. its usage among young women seems to have become more common. the comps are 65% and 47%.Porn in the “Screen Age” While porn has typically been a man’s domain. More than half of women 25 and under ever seek out porn (56% versus 27% among women 25-plus) and one-third seek it out at least monthly (33% versus just 12% among older men). 22 . • In contrast. • 62% of teens and young adults have received a sexually explicit image and 41% have sent one (usually from/to their boy/girlfriend or friend). 81% ever seek it out and 67% at least monthly.

And while the research does not prove causation. the increases may be related to digital exposure.Porn in the “Screen Age” More than one quarter (27%) of young adults ages 25-30 first viewed pornography before puberty. of which only 13% started viewing porn before puberty. 23 . • This is significantly higher than the Gen X cohort. and the Boomers (6%).

Avenues of Porn 24 The Internet is by far the most frequented avenue for viewing pornography. 90% 13-17 18-24 25-30 31-50 51-69 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% videos online online pictures images in an app (on cell phone or tablet) What are the ways that you normally view porn? graphic novels magazines images sent via on-demand videos rented or text on cable or purchased DVDs satellite .

You mostly view pornography online 66% You mostly view pornography on your phone 66% 64% 61% 50% 44% 35% 23% 16% 1% 13-17 18-24 25-30 31-50 51-69 27% 13% I started viewing pornography before puberty I sometimes pay for porn 6% 25-30 31-50 51-69 5% 6% 5% 25-30 31-50 51-69 *65% adults say they mostly view porn at home while only 1% say they mostly view porn at work . Very few people actually pay for porn.Personal Avenues of Porn 25 Younger generations are more likely to have viewed porn before puberty and on their phones.

or app? If yes. via text. usually from/to their boy/girlfriend or friend. email.Social Porn and ‘Sexting’ 26 Two-thirds of Teens and Young Adults have received a sexually explicit image and 41% have sent one. Teens & Young Adults Received a nude image? Sent a nude image? no 37% yes 41% no 59% yes 63% Who is receiving? 57% 69% Male Female 44% 13-17 Who is sending? 69% 18-24 Has anyone ever sent you a nude image. social media. who sent it to you? 33% 51% Male Female 24% 47% 13-17 18-24 .

In Search of Porn 27 Teenage girls and young women are significantly more likely to actively seek out porn than women over age 25. Teens & Young Adults Male 19% Female 2% 32% 15% 16% daily 16% 14% 23% weekly 19% 44% once or twice a month less often never Adults Male Female 9% 1%5% 18% 6% 20% 19% 16% daily 35% 73% weekly How often do you actively seek out porn? once or twice a month less often never .

28 The Porn Phenomenon PORN AND PASTORS .

Porn and Pastors Like the general population. • About 12% of youth pastors and 5% of pastors say they are addicted to porn • 87% of pastors who use porn feel a great sense of shame about it. a popup on a computer or tablet. or via an unsolicited email with sexual content. either currently or in the past. Most pastors (57%) and youth pastors (64%) admit they have struggled with porn. • Overall. • 55% of pastors who use porn say they live in constant fear of being discovered. faith leaders are quite likely to admit being exposed to porn that they didn’t intend to find. • Most likely to have been exposed to porn on a website accidentally. 29 . 21% of youth pastors and 14% of pastors admit they currently struggle with using porn. • Youth pastors are more likely than senior pastors to find sexual content via social media like Twitter or Instagram.

• In contrast. Most pastors think s/he should deal with the struggle through counseling or accountability.Porn and Pastors The vast majority of faith leaders who struggle with porn say this has significantly affected their ministry in a negative manner. 30 . 41% of adult Christians think that pastors should be fired or asked to resign if they are found to be using porn. There is a big difference of opinion between faith leaders and congregants when it comes to the consequences for pastors who struggle with porn. • It is not clear why. Younger Christians are more likely to take a lenient approach. • Only 8% of pastors think that a pastor should resign his/her position if s/he is struggling with porn. but youth pastors are twice as likely as pastors to report this kind of unfavorable impact.

like Instagram or Twitter 12% none of these 5% none of these 7% Have you personally ever come across the following types of pornography. accidentally 73% received a solicitation via pop up ad on a computer or tablet 66% received a solicitation via pop up ad on a computer or tablet 58% received a solicitation via email received a solicitation via email 56% 57% went to a website where I knew I would find pornography 50% went to a website where I knew I would find pornography 37% flipped through adult TV channels or movies 46% flipped through adult TV channels or movies 37% searched for it on social media. like Instagram or Twitter 30% obtained a magazine or other printed material 23% obtained a magazine or other printed material 27% received a solicitation via text/phone 17% received a solicitation via text/phone 17% searched for it on social media. even if you did not respond or engage with it? .Pastors Coming Across Porn 31 The differences between what youth pastors and pastors come across is likely a reflection of their age. Youth Pastor Pastor came across a website where I found pornography. accidentally 75% came across a website where I found pornography.

this is a current struggle yes. and they use it at least once a month.Pastors’ Struggle with Porn 32 Just over one in five youth pastors currently struggles with using porn. this is a current struggle YES 21% yes. I have not struggled with this 36% Pastor yes. About 12% of youth pastors and 5% of pastors are addicted to porn. this was a struggle in the past Frequency 43% no. I have not struggled with this 0% no 21% Frequency YES 14% daily Addicted? Addicted? 1% not sure 26% 15% 35% 26% 21% Have you ever struggled in your own personal life with using pornography? How often do you/did you actually use pornography? Would you say you are/were addicted to pornography? no 41% yes 33% . this was a struggle in the past 43% multiple times per week a few times per month 44% 22% 19% less often 19% daily multiple times per week a few times per month less often not sure 23% yes 56% 35% every few months every few months no. Youth Pastor yes.

Porn’s Impact on Ministry 33 BASE: Pastors Who Currently Use Porn The use of porn negatively impacted my ministry very true YOUTH PASTOR PASTOR somewhat true not really true 44% 18% not at all true 31% 46% For these items. 14% 27% 12% 9% . please rate them according to whether each is true of your personal experience using pornography.

Church Leaders & Porn 34 Only 8% of pastors think that a pastor should resign his/her position if s/he is struggling with porn. Most pastors think s/he should deal with the struggle through counseling or accountability. How much does the issue of porn interfere with your ability to find strong lay leaders in the church? very 1% somewhat 22% not too not at all 49% 29% Which of the following do you think are usually a good idea when a pastor is struggling with porn? find a professional counselor 82% have a group of mature Christians who can hold him accountable 59% tell the spouse (if married) 58% find a counselor who is a pastor 45% tell the elders/deacons/board at his church 21% resign his position tell the congregation 8% 1% How much does the issue of porn interfere with your ability to find strong lay leaders in the church? Which of the following do you think are usually a good idea when a pastor is struggling with porn? .

Younger Christians are more likely to take a lenient approach. he should be fired or asked to resign 41% he should be asked to take a leave of absence until he is no longer using it 29% he should be allowed to teach and be given the help he needs to deal with it 16% nothing. no action should be to resign leave of absence until he is teach and be given the help taken by the church no longer using it he needs to deal with it What do you think should be done if a church finds out that its pastor is using pornography? 4% 4% other 10% 7% 1% 2% 0% he may remain on staff but no longer teach .If a Church Finds Out its Pastor is Using Porn… 35 41% adult Christians think that pastors should be fired or asked to resign if they are found to be using porn. no action should be taken by the church 5% other 5% he may remain on staff but no longer teach 4% 57% Millennials (25-30) Gen-Xers (31-50) Boomers (51-69) Elders (70 plus) 47% 35% 27% 32% 30% 23% 25% 20% 24% 13% 6% 11% 10% 4% 4% 5% he should be fired or asked he should be asked to take a he should be allowed to nothing.

36 The Porn Phenomenon PORN AND CHURCHES .

most churches do not have programs specifically designed to assist those struggling with porn use. More than half of youth pastors have had at least one teen come to them for help in dealing with porn in the past 12 months. believe pornography is a bigger problem in the Church than it was two decades ago. are coming to pastors for help with pornography struggles. • Although teens seeking help are mainly teen boys. there is still a significant amount of teen girls seeking help from youth pastors. Despite the awareness of the problem. including leaders and laity. but especially married men. 37 . • 93% of pastors and 94% of youth pastors say it is a much bigger or somewhat bigger problem than it was in the past.Porn and Churches The vast majority of the faith community. Men of all ages and stages.

believe that pornography is a bigger problem in the Church than it was two decades ago. how does the issue of pornography compare to 20 years ago. Pornography compared to 20 years ago. specifically for the "Church” a much bigger problem  Non-Practicing Christian Practicing Christian Youth Pastor Pastor a somewhat bigger problem  23% about the same  smaller issue 34% 51% 33% 10% 24% 75% 70% In your view. including leaders and laity. specifically for the "Church" in America? 23% 20% 6% 19% 6% 7% 1% .Porn Compared to 20 years ago 38 The vast majority of the faith community.

there is still a significant amount of girls seeking help from youth pastors. how many teens have come to you for help in dealing with porn? 50% 32% 0 1 to 5 9% 7% 3% 6 to 10 11 to 24 25+ Which types of youth have sought help in dealing with pornography? 92% 57% 23% high school boys middle school boys high school girls In the past 12 months. In the past 12 months. Although teens seeking help are mainly boys.Teens Struggling in the Church 39 More than half of youth pastors have had at least one teen come to them for help in dealing with porn in the past 12 months. how many teens have come to you for help in dealing with porn? Which types of youth have sought help in dealing with pornography? 10% middle school girls .

Adults Struggling in the Church Men of all ages and stages. Pastors: who has sought help in dealing with pornography from your congregation? married men 59% unmarried men 36% teenage boys 33% none of these 29% married women 5% unmarried women 5% teenage girls 4% 40 . are coming to pastors for help with pornography struggles. but especially married men.

but especially married men. Pastors: sought help in dealing with porn from your congregation married men 59% single men 36% teenage boys 33% none of these How Often Do Practicing Christians Actively Seek Out Porn 8% 6% 10% 21% 15% 15% 10% 29% 20% daily married women 5% single women 5% 2% 5% 2% teenage girls 4% 2% 3% 2% 11% weekly 61% 6% 23% 42% 21% 43% once or twice a month 87% 7% 15% 84% 81% less often never .Who Is Struggling in the Church? Men of all ages and stages. are coming to pastors for help with pornography struggles.

93% no not sure 47% 42 .Church Programs for Porn Use Most churches do not have programs specifically designed to assist those struggling with porn use. Does your church currently run a program specifically designed to assist those struggling with porn? yes Adults: 9% 44% yes. 7% Pastors: no.

43 The Porn Phenomenon QUESTIONS & DISCUSSION .

org . please contact: David Kinnaman President dkinnaman@barna.Questions about the research.org Roxanne Stone Editor in Chief rstone@barna.