College Students Are Struggling With Pornography At An Unprecedented Rate

College students today are part of the “online generation.”

As a result, the presence of pornography in their lives is nearly universal.

One global survey of college students from four different countries (Canada, Germany, Sweden, and the U.S.) found that 76.5% of the sample used the Internet for “sexual entertainment” and 30.8% of American students reported engaging in cybersex.

A 2007 survey found that “Over 90 percent (92.4%) reported ever having looked at pornography with over forty percent (43.1%) reporting doing so between one and two times a week.” Among male students, 31.7% viewed pornography three to five times per week.

The sad reality is that beyond simple pornography use, many individuals report that their “porn habit” has become compulsive. Potentially, addictive.

A new survey  found that 10% of sampled college students are clinically addicted to online sexual activity (i.e. pornography, sexual chatting, Skype-sex, etc.)

What does “addiction to online sexual activity” even mean?

People who are addicted to a form of cybersex often lose control, spending escalating amounts of time watching pornography or participating in cybersex, and as a result experience harmful consequences in one or more areas of their lives.

This survey broke it down by gender and found that 19% of college men and 4% of college women surveyed scored in the clinical range for cybersex addiction.

Another segment of results from this study found:

The three most commonly endorsed items on the [Revised Internet Scale of the Sexual Addiction Screening Test] were as follows:

“I have used the Internet to make romantic or erotic connections with people online” (endorsed by 16.2% of the sample),

“I have attempted to stop my online sexual behaviors” (endorsed by 14.2% of the sample), and

“The Internet has created sexual problems for me”(endorsed by 13.6% of the sample).

One researcher, Dr. Patrick Carnes, reported that many people who are addicted to pornography or cybersex have irrational beliefs that virtual sex isn’t “real” sex, so it doesn’t have any real consequences.

But we can see from the results of the survey that pornography is siphoning individuals into virtual sexual relationships, and it is creating difficulties with real-world sexual experiences.

Further, past research has found pornography use is associated with lower levels of relational support and social integration compared to those who did not use pornography.

Compulsive pornography use is a growing problem that shapes the lives of college students, and every age demographic. Now more than ever it is vital to recognize the harms of pornography, and to educate about recovery programs and prevention methods.

If you, or a loved one, struggles with pornography please visit our Resource Center to find a solution that fits your needs.

The Numbers


NCOSE leads the Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation with over 300 member organizations.


The National Center on Sexual Exploitation has had over 100 policy victories since 2010. Each victory promotes human dignity above exploitation.


NCOSE’s activism campaigns and victories have made headlines around the globe. Averaging 93 mentions per week by media outlets and shows such as Today, CNN, The New York Times, BBC News, USA Today, Fox News and more.



Survivor Lawsuit Against Twitter Moves to Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

Survivors’ $12.7M Victory Over Explicit Website a Beacon of Hope for Other Survivors

Instagram Makes Positive Safety Changes via Improved Reporting and Direct Message Tools

Sharing experiences may be a restorative and liberating process. This is a place for those who want to express their story.

Support Dignity

There are more ways that you can support dignity today, through an online gift, taking action, or joining our team.

Defend Human Dignity. Donate Now.

Defend Dignity.
Donate Now.