New research has revealed that young men are ‘hooked on porn and desperately lonely’ as socialising, dating, and intimacy are brought into the digital age.
Facebook was launched as today’s 18-year-old started primary school, so we are now able to observe the impact of growing up in an instant gratification society which updates its trends and culture at a rate that current policy and education does not keep up with.
The research from the Family Stability Network (Fastn) showed that six out of 10 men aged 16-19 worry they will never find love and explain how online porn plays a big role in shaping teenagers’ views of relationships.
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One in three of the 500 men said they expect sex in real life to be like it is in porn, with 63 per cent of young men admitting to watching at least once a week, and 28 per cent viewing five times or more per week.
Thinker and speaker Simon Sinek perfectly voiced the struggles and entitlement Millennials experience in the workplace, and the effects of parenting, technology, impatience, and environment on our relationships, mindset, and happiness.
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It’s not that often that a real, serious, honest video goes viral, but this one obviously resonated with millions of people when he explained we were ‘dealt a bad hand’ which has resulted in low self esteem, unrealistic expectations, higher suicide rates, unfulfillment, social media addictions, and superficial relationships.
The report, titled Love, Lust and Loneliness, paints a picture of the obstacles today’s young men navigate in their quest for happiness and revealed a lot of fears and worries.
A concerning 60 per cent worry about being alone, 61 per cent are scared they’ll be a disappointment in a relationship, and 55 per cent are anxious they’ll be laughed at if they are emotionally open.
This lack of education and normalisation leads to the isolation of young men who think they are the only ones dealing with issues which in reality are very common.
Peter Saddington, a sex therapist and counselor from Relate, a charity which is focused on supporting people with every type of relationship, said to UNILAD:
The findings reflect very much what we see. Young people are experiencing more problems with sex and their relationships, and are under pressure and anxious that either they’re not going to have a relationship or they’re not going to be able to perform sexually as they think they should do.
It is a confusing and worrying time for the younger generation coming through.
I think that technology is a really useful tool but in the areas of sex there are some risks associated with the fact that most young men do look at porn.
It is trying to think about how we might be able to educate them in terms of the risk, and acknowledge that a lot of young men do watch it.
Porn isn’t real life and one of the key things we notice in young people coming through is that they are dissatisfied with their sexual relationship or unable to be sexual because partner sex is a very different sex to porn.
Education starting in schools to talk about porn, accepting it’s out there rather than pretending it doesn’t exist or saying ‘don’t watch it’, because they’re going to watch it.
I’d campaign for celebrities to talk about what real relationships are like and the difficulties as well as sexually some of their experiences and normalising the idea of going and asking for help rather than the isolated approach where people have problems.
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Catherine Barker from Fastn said:
Eight out of ten young men would welcome better advice about their relationship problems, but they often rely on porn and advice from friends to guide their expectations of relationships.
We can’t bury our heads in the sand about the realities of the digital world we live in and needn’t see social media and the Internet as a barrier to supporting young people to develop healthy relationships.
We have a responsibility to extend sexual relationship education beyond the classroom and onto the internet, which is where these young men are really paying attention.
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Frank Young, Head of Family Policy for the Centre for Social Justice said:
This report is a wake up call and points to a new crisis of loneliness amongst young men.
We look to families to do so much and yet this report highlights a worrying trend in young men struggling to maintain really good relationships.
No wonder we lead the world in family breakdown. The Government needs to step in and look beyond the classroom
Fastn and other organisations are campaigning for government to improve sex and relationship education and continue it into late teens and early twenties.
They are also calling for those providing relationship advice to bring their mindsets to the 21st century, acknowledging the huge difference it has made to intimacy and relationships.
You can read the full report here.