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Online porn

This page is for young people aged 12 and over. Some of the language and types of things explained are not appropriate for younger children.

Online pornography or porn usually involves films and photos showing naked people or sexual things. It is often created for sexual excitement but there are also harmful types of porn.

Image of boys looking at a phoneCan I talk to ChildLine about porn?

Yes. ChildLine is a safe place for you to talk. We hear from many young people about lots of different things.

Some people tell us about enjoying porn, feeling worried, being pressured, thinking they're addicted and doing sexual things.

We understand that it's normal to be curious about porn and it can be exciting.

Sometimes porn can show violent and harmful behaviour and we want to let you know about the dangers of this type of porn. We also want to support you if porn is affecting your relationships.

Looking at porn can make you feel:

  • excited and aroused
  • curious and interested
  • ashamed and guilty
  • confused and unsure
  • angry and offended
  • embarrassed and disgusted.
  • Whatever you are feeling, you can talk to ChildLine.

    • I enjoy watching porn. Is this normal?

      Lots of young people watch porn and it’s normal to be curious or aroused by naked images. You might look at porn as a way of learning about sex or finding out what certain body parts look like. Some people watch porn for excitement or to try new things with a partner.

      It’s important to remember that most porn is made for adults and it can sometimes show an incorrect picture of what sex is really like.

      What porn usually shows What you should know in real life
      Women with big breasts Breasts come in different shapes and sizes
      People with little or no pubic hair Not everyone chooses to look like this
      People having sex all the time Not everyone chooses to do this
      Men with large penises Penises come in different shapes and sizes
      Men ejaculating on faces Not everyone allows this or feels okay with it
      People having unprotected sex This can cause STIs or pregnancy
      People always having good sex Sex can sometimes be awkward or painful
      People always having orgasms Not everyone has orgasms all the time
      People being forced into sexual acts This is wrong and could also be illegal

      There are also some types of porn that involve rape and sexual assault, violence and sexual abuse. It can be helpful to think about what it is about porn that makes you enjoy it and whether this makes you feel comfortable or not.

    • Do what feels right for you

      Whether you are in a relationship or not, there might come a time when you have sex or when you look at porn. 

      Tips to help you stay in control

      1. Be honest about your feelings and say what you think is right or wrong.
      2. Talk about what you want to happen and what you don't want to happen.
      3. Stop looking at something if it makes you feel uncomfortable or unsure.
      4. Make sure you feel safe where you are and with who you are with.
      5. Say no if you don't feel comfortable with anything. Just because you have kissed someone or done something sexual, it doesn’t mean you have to have sex or do other sexual acts.

    • I masturbate to porn. Is this normal?

      Masturbation is when you touch your body and your genitals (private parts) because it feels good. Both girls and boys masturbate. It's a way of discovering your body and what kind of things make you feel good. Some people think of a sexual fantasy when they masturbate and others might look at porn.

      Some things to know about masturbation
      1. It is a normal part of life.
      2. Don't masturbate in public places.
      3. If you masturbate with your partner, it's important to feel safe doing this.
      4. If someone is forcing you to masturbate or film yourself, this is wrong.

    • I look at porn all the time. Am I addicted?

      If you are watching porn a lot and it is affecting your relationships, school work, family life or hobbies, this can be worrying. 

      You might feel worried if you:
      - struggle to cope without porn and it becomes one of the main things in your life
      - feel uncomfortable about how much porn you’re watching
      - don't enjoy sexual experiences with your partner because you prefer porn
      - feel the need to watch different types of porn because you get bored easily
      - feel like porn stops you from doing other activities.

      A porn addiction can change the way you treat people as you may start to compare them to porn actors. You might also expect them to do things you've seen in porn. It is important to think about your behaviour and be honest with yourself. Admitting you have an addiction is the first step to getting help. Check out the science bits of porn.

      Tips to help you stop watching porn include:
      - distractions like reading, drawing, listening to music or playing games
      - exercising and doing sports or hobbies which you enjoy
      - setting small goals to watch less porn until you’re ready to stop completely
      - talking to other people on the message boards, someone you trust or a counsellor
      - writing down what you want to change and how you want to feel, then looking at this list when you get the urge to watch porn.

    • I feel under pressure to do things

      Looking at porn can sometimes make you feel as if you should be doing things which you have seen in porn. It could also be that someone wants you to do things. Discovering new things can be exciting but it can sometimes make you feel unsure. It's important to feel safe and agree on what you want and don't want to happen.

      You might feel pressured into:
      - looking at porn or doing sexual things with your boyfriend or girlfriend
      - looking at porn with your friends or as a dare
      - looking a certain way after being compared to people in porn films or images
      - doing sexual things which make you feel uncomfortable and unsafe
      - having sex without using protection or contraception
      - making a sexual video or taking naked pictures of yourself
      - taking part in violent, embarrassing and abusive sexual things.

      Find out about building confidence and being assertive so you can say no to people.

    • I feel under pressure to look a certain way

      You might compare yourself to people in porn or think you should look a certain way.

      Five things to remember

      1. People in porn are usually actors and many of them have breast enhancements, plastic surgery and wear loads of make-up. Sometimes certain actors are chosen because they have large penises.
      2. Videos and photos are often adjusted and airbrushed.
      3. It’s common to feel unsexy or unattractive when you look at other naked people. 
      4. If you're getting nasty comments from people, you could talk to other young people on our message boards, a close friend, a trusted adult or talk to ChildLine.
      5. Porn can sometimes make you feel good about yourself and we all have different views on what we think is acceptable and how we want to be.

      If watching porn makes you feel bad about yourself, then doing something positive can help.

      Positive things you can do

      1. Focus on hobbies and try new or interesting things which make you feel happy.
      2. Try not to compare yourself to other people. Get advice about how you look and building confidence and self-esteem.
      3. Delete porn videos from your phone, get rid of DVDs or plan to do something else when you get the urge to watch porn. Remember porn is not reality.

    • I'm worried about how my private parts look

      Porn usually shows men and women with private parts or genitals that look a certain way. In real life we all have different looking private parts. These are all normal.

      Find out what real vaginas and real penises look like.

      If you are always worrying about how you look, it can be hard to enjoy sex with someone or feel happy in a relationship. It's important to be with someone who likes you for who you are and makes you feel comfortable.  

    • My girlfriend or boyfriend wants me to look at porn with them

      Some couples like to watch porn. It can be a way of trying different sexual things together. If you are being asked to watch porn with someone or make a video of yourself, you should first think of what feels right for you. Anything done in a sexual relationship should be agreed on first. You may also want to think of how looking at porn or making a sexual video could change your relationship with the person you are with.

      Being forced to watch porn is a type of sexual abuse. If anyone is pressuring you to watch porn or do sexual things, this is wrong.

    • My parents found out I look at porn

      It can be very embarrassing if your parents or carers find out you look at porn or if they walk in while you are watching porn or masturbating.

      Sometimes parents or carers may choose to ignore things and carry on like nothing happened but sometimes they may want to speak to you about porn.

      They might be worried about what you look at online, who you share things with and how this can affect you. It could also be that some parents or carers don't ask you any questions or don't care about what you do online.

      Having a conversation about porn can seem really hard but it could also make it easier after having a chance to talk. If you don’t feel comfortable talking, you could write them a letter explaining how you feel.

    • A message showed on my screen about paying a fine for looking at porn

      If you are on a porn website or have looked at porn before, either by mistake or by wanting to, it’s common for pop-up boxes or messages to appear on your screen.

      These pop-ups are usually spam and are created to scare you.

      There are lots of fake companies that want to get money from people. They do this by threatening to report porn on your computer or phone.

      Some pop-ups will have a message telling you to pay a fine for being on a porn website. Other pop-ups will have information about reporting you for watching porn unless you pay a large amount of money.

      You must not give your name, personal details, address or bank account details to anyone on the internet. Close pop-ups, delete history and cookies on your computer and block sites that use these scams. 

      Find out more about staying safe online. If you have given your personal information online or are worried about anything else, you can talk to a ChildLine counsellor.

    • I looked at porn but now I'm confused about how I feel

      Watching porn can leave you with mixed feelings because it’s not something people usually talk about openly. 

      You might feel:

      - excited or aroused by what you've seen
      - interested in watching different types of porn
      - curious about trying things that you've seen
      - worried about what will happen if someone finds out you look at porn
      - embarrassed about enjoying porn because you think it’s wrong
      - disgusted about liking porn because it feels dirty
      - angry about how some people are shown in porn or how it's often stereotypical
      - ashamed about watching porn because you think it is against your religion or beliefs.

      Some people look at porn to find out more about sex or to try different things in a sexual relationship. Porn can sometimes change the way you see the real world, even if you don’t mean it to. For example, thinking all women shave their pubic hair or thinking people always have orgasms during sex.  

      There are also harmful types of porn. For example, porn which involves child abuse, rape or violence. These things are against the law .

      You can talk to a ChildLine counsellor about anything. You can also contact CEOP to make a report if you're worried about something online.

    • I saw something online that I was not expecting to see

      It’s common to look online for information about sex or to search for sexual things. Sometimes while you’re online you may see pages or get lots of pop-ups with other things that you weren’t expecting to see. Some things can be shocking to look at, for example, images which show child sexual abuse, violent sex or abuse.

      Pop-ups or other pages about sex might also appear on your screen if someone else has searched for porn or sex on your computer. 

      It's important to remember that you have not done anything wrong.

      Close pages or pop-ups, delete history and cookies on your computer and block these sites. Try to use anti-virus software and check your privacy settings too. Find out more about staying safe online.

      If you are worried or unsure about something you've seen, you can talk to a ChildLine counsellor in confidence. You can also contact CEOP to make a report if someone is making you feel unsafe online, asking you for sexual pictures or chatting about sex.

    • Someone wants to film me doing something sexual. What should I do?

      You might feel unsure if someone wants to film you. It could be to make a porn video or a video of you doing sexual things like masturbating. It's important to feel safe and agree on anything that happens. Find out more about peer pressure and being assertive so you can say how you feel.

      You might be tricked into doing something by someone pretending to be friendly. This is called online grooming. Find out more about online grooming and online safety.

      Things to remember:

      1.Think carefully about what feels right for you, who you talk to and what personal details you share online.
      2. When something is put online, it can be forwarded to other people and you can lose control over who sees it.
      3. If you have been filmed or shared a video or photos of yourself online, you can get support by talking to ChildLine or asking an adult for help.
      4. You can contact CEOP to report it they can try to remove these videos and images.

    • Is looking at porn illegal?

      It's not illegal to look at most porn but it's important to remember that porn is usually created for adults.

      Watching or sharing some types of porn is illegal. For example, degrading porn (which can include someone urinating on another person), violent porn (which includes things like rape or abuse) or anything that shows sex with children are all against the law.

      It is against the law to have, share or look at images of child sexual abuse. This is what people sometimes call child pornography. It’s illegal to have this even if it’s on your computer, mobile or laptop. The law sees a child as being anybody under the age of 18.

      Remember: the law is there to protect you and others.

      If you’re worried, confused or uncomfortable about something you have seen, you can talk to a ChildLine counsellor in confidence. 

    Other sites that can help

    Science and facts about porn and how it can affect you.
    Think u Know - Science and porn

    Get advice about porn and online sex addiction.
    TheSite - Online sex addiction

    Crime or a bit of fun? Find out more about porn and the law.
    You&Co - Pornography

    Message boards

    Have you got something to say, or want to ask a question? Visit the message board to have your say.

    Go to the message boards

    Ask Sam

    Write Sam a letter about what's worrying you or look at what other people have asked. You don't have to sign up to send Sam a letter.

    Ask Sam

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