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Teens In Victoria Start Watching Porn Pretty Young

Almost 70% of males surveyed had started watching porn by age 13.

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Most (84%) young men and 19% of young women in Victoria watch pornography on a daily or weekly basis, a new study has found.

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Up to 90% of Victorians aged from 15 to 29 surveyed in the study, published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, had accessed porn, with more frequent viewing associated with those who were male, highly educated, identified as non-heterosexual and had recent mental health problems.

Almost 70% of males surveyed had watched porn for the first time at age 13 or younger.

The median age at first pornography viewing was 16 years for women, and more than half (57%) of the those surveyed who had accessed pornographic material were yet to experience their first sexual encounter.

"I guess I wasn't hugely surprised, because the anecdotal evidence says that every teenage boy is watching pornography," one of the study's authors Dr Megan Lim told BuzzFeed News.

The survey of 941 people also found those who had watched porn more often, or started younger, were among the most likely to report having had mental health problems in the past six months.

"We still don't know for sure that pornography is harmful, but the evidence we found indicates that it could be," said Lim, deputy program director of behaviours and health risk for the Melbourne's Burnet Institute.

Those who had reported having had an experience of anal sex were likely to watch pornography more frequently.

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"We don't know if seeing [anal sex] in porn leads you to try it, or if you're more curious about different sexual acts, so you're interested in pornography," Lim said.

"We do know there is anecdotal evidence saying that boys are pressuring girls into having anal sex because they see it in porn and they want to imitate it."

Analysis showed that compared to heterosexual participants, those who were gay, lesbian, bisexual, questioning, queer or other (GLBQQ+) were three times more likely to watch pornography more frequently.

"This highlights that gay, lesbian, bisexual and queer youth are in need of better sex education because what we learn about from school and society is very heteronormative so [these children] don't get to see any alternative romance, intimacy or sexual expressions, and pornography has the most to offer out there," Lim said.

Gina Rushton is a breaking news reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney.

Contact Gina Rushton at gina.rushton@buzzfeed.com.

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