"Porn Destroyed My Brain"

Billie Eilish Opens Up About Early Childhood Addiction

Speaking on “The Howard Stern Show” last week, Billie Eilish shared that porn “destroyed my brain.”

As the 19-year old music sensation opened up about her childhood addiction, she confessed that she began watching graphic online movies when she was still in elementary school.

Her addiction followed a script that has become all too familiar: as she sunk deeper into the world of pornography, she sought increasingly graphic videos in an attempt to sustain the high.

“The singer told Stern that she began watching ‘abusive’ BDSM porn, which she says causes her to now suffer from night terrors and sleep paralysis,” Andrew Court reported in The New York Post.

“It got to a point where I couldn’t watch anything else unless it was violent, I didn’t think it was attractive,” Eilish lamented.

As is typical with porn addiction, the attraction to violence made Eilish an easy victim of unhealthy sexual practices: “The first few times I had sex, I was not saying no to things that were not good. It was because I thought that’s what I was supposed to be attracted to.”

Eilish’s story is a common one. For countless girls and boys whose sex education has been mediated through porn, intimacy has become linked with aggression in their brains.

When reporting on a porn epidemic for Salvo #50, I referenced the research of Clay Olsen, who has found that porn is changing our expectations for relationships at the level of neuro-physiology:

Olsen explained that the connection between porn and violence (88 percent of most popular porn films depict violent aggression against women) has a neuro-physiological basis. By commodifying human beings and treating them as mere objects, porn initiates neuroplastic changes in how porn viewers perceive themselves and other people. As viewers respond to violence with pleasure, their neural pathways for intimacy and violence become fused, altering what they desire and expect from others.

Now Eilish is speaking out, concerned about the way porn is demeaning women and injuring our minds.

“As a woman, I think porn is a disgrace,” she declared. “I think it really destroyed my brain and I feel incredibly devastated that I was exposed to so much porn…. I’m so angry that porn is so loved. And I’m so angry at myself for thinking that it was OK.”

Many parents who are concerned about porn may feel awkward having conversations with their children about this, or they may not have the knowledge to articulate exactly why porn is so damaging. If you are a parent who finds yourself in this position, there is a three-part documentary you might consider showing your children. I watched these with my teenage son and they prompted great discussion. This three-part documentary is produced by Clay Olsen, cited above, and his non-profit “Fight the New Drug.” The first part focuses on how porn affects the brain, the second on how it affects relationships, and the third on how porn is impacting society as a whole.

Below is a trailer, and the full video is available here.

is the author of Gratitude in Life's Trenches: How to Experience the Good Life Even When Everything Is Going Wrong (Ancient Faith 2020). He has a Master's in history from King’s College, London, and is currently working on a Master’s in Library Science through the University of Oklahoma. He is Blog & Media Managing Editor for the Fellowship of St. James and a frequent contributor to Salvo and Touchstone magazines. He operates a blog at www.robinmarkphillips.com.

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