Teenage boys as young as 16 are experiencing symptoms of erectile dysfunction due to excessively viewing violent and hardcore pornography, an expert has revealed.

And the ready access to porn on every device at any time of the day is teaching dangerous lessons about what healthy sexual relationships should be like.

Psychologist and writer Collett Smith has written the new book They'll Be Okay, outlining the conversations parents should have with their children.

One of the trickiest topics to tackle is undoubtedly porn, which Ms Smart said is one of this new generation's biggest issues to navigate.


"Porn affects how they see relationships, sex and intimacy before most of them have even had their first kiss or held someone's hand," Ms Smart said.

Pornography is not new, but its availability has gone from hidden magazines and the odd VHS tape to quick, free and always on. And the content itself has changed, she said.

"The problem is how much violence is depicted in porn. I've just read a new research paper about how much more violence is in teenage genre porn — videos that use actors playing teens. It's much more than in adult porn.

"Teens are learning that it's sexy to be violent. It's a massive issue for this generation."

Ms Smart described the acts depicted in most pornography as "selfish sex", which warps the views of young viewers.

"There's no tenderness, there's rarely ever kissing of affection, there's no kindness or asking, or care about the other person. It's about getting what you want and getting out."

Researchers and experts have documented increasing rates of children watching porn, including at a primary school age.

The individual pleasure element, as well as the more violent nature of it, is blamed for a rising trend too, she said.


More boys and girls report engaging in anal sex in heterosexual scenarios, with both viewing it as just "what happens" and the norm.

"They expect it to be painful but that's just the accepted thing — it's like, too bad, that's just what we should do," Ms Smart said.

Anecdotally, doctors are seeing an increase in the number of teenage girls with "anal tears", she said.

"It's really shocking," Ms Smart said. "There's no gentleness or kindness in it."

Excessive consumption of porn is also leading to documented increases in the number of boys in the final few years of high school who are psychologically impotent.

Ms Smart said it's a complex issue and an emerging field of study, but school counsellors she works with said they are seeing it "more and more".


"Spending so much time masturbating to porn can lead to more and more graphic or hardcore content required to get the same level of arousal they once did," Ms Smart said.

"More and more boys in year 11 or 12 are coming forward with (symptoms of) erectile dysfunction problems. Some of these boys have never had a girlfriend so when they do try to be intimate, they're not aroused. This is a real issue."

The good news is that research shows young people are open to talking to mums and dads about these topics and would prefer to discuss it with them than a peer, she said.

"For pre-teens and teens, if you've never had the conversation before, start now. It's going to be completely awkward and both will squirm in the chair. It will feel like the worst conversation you've ever had. But that's OK. Don't give up.

"You don't have to dive into the conversation about porn to start with. Talk about love and romance and breakups. Refer to movies or shows they're watching and ask them about it.

"Use their mode of communication to slowly start dealing with some of the trickier topics like sex and porn."