Floyd Godfrey, PhD


Exposure to Sexually Explicit Websites and the Impact on Adolescents

By Floyd Godfrey, PhD

In my years of clinical practice, I have observed a significant shift in adolescent sexual behaviors and attitudes, largely influenced by the pervasive availability of sexually explicit material online. The study by Braun-Courville and Rojas (2009) serves as a critical piece of research that underscores the profound impact such exposure can have on young individuals. As a Clinical Sexologist and Certified Sex Addiction Specialist, I find this study particularly relevant in understanding the psychological patterns that contribute to sexual addiction and the development of effective recovery strategies.

Understanding the Impact

The prevalence of internet access among adolescents has introduced a new dynamic in the development of sexual attitudes and behaviors. According to Braun-Courville and Rojas (2009), there is a notable correlation between exposure to sexually explicit websites and more permissive sexual attitudes and behaviors in adolescents. This correlation suggests that early and frequent exposure to such material can normalize risky sexual practices, potentially leading to detrimental consequences.

From a clinical perspective, this normalization of risky behavior is concerning. Adolescents are in a crucial developmental stage where their understanding of healthy sexual relationships is still forming. Exposure to unrealistic and often harmful representations of sex can distort their perceptions and expectations. This aligns with the observations of Patrick Carnes, a pioneer in the field of sexual addiction recovery, who emphasizes the role of early exposure to sexual content in the development of addictive behaviors and arousal interests (Carnes, 2001).

Educational Strategies

Addressing this issue requires a multifaceted approach, beginning with education. It is essential for parents, educators, and mental health professionals to engage in open and honest discussions about the nature and consequences of consuming sexually explicit content. Adolescents need to be equipped with critical thinking skills to discern the distorted representations they may encounter online.

Integrating comprehensive sexual education programs that include discussions on media literacy can be particularly effective. These programs should not only cover the biological aspects of sex but also emphasize emotional intelligence, consent, and the portrayal of sex in media. Educators can utilize resources from experts like Rob Weiss, who advocates for informed discussions about the impact of digital media on sexual behavior (Weiss, 2015).

Therapeutic and Coaching Interventions

In my practice, I have seen the benefits of incorporating therapeutic and coaching interventions tailored to address the specific challenges faced by adolescents exposed to sexually explicit material. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is particularly effective in helping young individuals reframe their thoughts and behaviors concerning sex. This approach can help them develop healthier sexual attitudes and behaviors, mitigating the risk of developing addictive patterns.

Additionally, coaching interventions can provide ongoing support and guidance. Coaches can work with adolescents to set realistic goals, develop coping strategies, and build resilience against the pressures and influences of sexually explicit content. Collaborating with families is also crucial, as creating a supportive and open home environment can reinforce the positive changes facilitated through therapy.

Encouragement for Recovery

While the exposure to sexually explicit websites poses significant challenges, there is hope for recovery and the development of healthy sexual attitudes and behaviors. With the right educational strategies and therapeutic interventions, adolescents can overcome the negative influences of such exposure and build a foundation for healthy, fulfilling relationships.

It is essential for professionals in mental health and education to stay informed and proactive in addressing this issue. By combining evidence-based practices with compassionate care, we can guide adolescents toward a healthier understanding of sexuality.

Floyd Godfrey, PhD is a Clinical Sexologist and a Certified Sex Addiction Specialist. He has been guiding clients since 2000 and currently speaks and provides consulting and mental health coaching across the globe. To learn more about Floyd Godfrey, PhD please visit his website: www.FloydGodfrey.com


Braun-Courville, D. K., & Rojas, M. (2009). Exposure to sexually explicit web sites and adolescent sexual attitudes and behaviors. Journal of Adolescent Health, 45(2), 156–162. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jadohealth.2008.12.004

Carnes, P. (2001). Out of the Shadows: Understanding Sexual Addiction. Hazelden Publishing.

Weiss, R. (2015). Sex Addiction 101: A Basic Guide to Healing from Sex, Porn, and Love Addiction. Health Communications, Inc.


Fill Out Form
Would you like to speak with Floyd Godfrey, PhD?