Teen Porn 101

If they're taking their laptops and cell phones to bed with them, it's probably not to do homework.

Jeremiah Ramer, the youth minister at the massive Second Baptist Church, initially agreed to talk to the Press, saying that the church counsels a large group of teens on pornography issues. But a media liaison for the church later canceled the interview, explaining, via e-mail, that Second Baptist "tends to keep a rather low profile for the comfort and protection of those involved so that we can gain the level of trust so vital to this process."

Dr. Milton Magness was one therapist who did speak with the Press. Magness runs a practice in Houston for men with sexual addictions, and he treats celebrities and professional athletes, who have the same issues, at a resort in the Canadian Rockies.

Magness's career has been as successful as any family therapist could hope for, but he rarely treats anyone younger than 17.

Illana Kohn
Illana Kohn

"It's such a specialized area of care, that for the most part I will not treat younger teens," Magness says. "I'll get calls from mom and dad who say they want something straightened out, but when I talk to the son on the phone, he's not motivated. I'm not going to treat him."

Jake Turner went to therapists during his entire childhood, starting after he was kicked out of kindergarten. Early on, he was diagnosed with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and separation anxiety, and psychologists loaded Jake up on pills.

"At one time he was on $1,400 worth of meds a month, and that was out of pocket," says Jake's father, James, who wished only to be identified as living in "a Southern state." "A lot of those counselors weren't real good, and one just about killed him with an overdose."

Meds did little to help Jake's behavioral problems, and at school and church, he would lash out at other kids his age, as well as adults. As he grew up, Jake enjoyed the company of young children half his age, his father says, but he couldn't make friends with his peers and constantly caused problems.

"It was always someone else's fault," James says. "His typical answers were, 'They don't like me, nobody likes me, they hate me.' Things would escalate, and boom, he'd burst out the door of high school and run down the road."

During his junior year, Jake hit a teacher. Then his parents found out Jake had been buying hardcore pornography. The family withdrew James from school and sent him to a 51-day wilderness camp for troubled teens in North Carolina.

One evening while he was at the camp, Jake called his parents and told them he had been molested, starting at age five, for about four years by an older kid, the son of a family that lived next to Jake's babysitter.

"It wasn't something pleasant to listen to, to hear him tell that story," James says. "But we felt relief that now we knew what to go and attack."

The family sent Jake to Oxbow after he returned from wilderness camp, to "give him a new thought process," says James. Jake was there for more than a year, spending his 17th birthday and senior year of high school being treated in Utah.

"He begged to come home, and he begged us to come get him," James says. "But we were committed to whatever time it took."
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After he was sent to Oxbow, Ethan Burnett experienced actual withdrawal pains. Missing the endorphins that would shoot into his body from sitting in front of the computer, looking at porn and masturbating, was too much for him to handle.

Ethan broke down, unable to stop crying or punching the floor.

"They have a hard time not masturbating every 15 or 20 minutes," Brooks says.

To combat that, Oxbow has implemented a prison-like regimen. The boys are under constant supervision by staff members, because all it takes is ten seconds, Schultz says, to quickly grope another boy.

"They don't do it to achieve orgasm, but they're trying to create a memory to masturbate to later," Schultz says.

Boys at Oxbow are allowed ten minutes in the bathroom, and because of a variance granted by the State of Utah, the boys are monitored by video cameras and motion detectors while they sleep. It would be nearly impossible for them to escape.

"And we're in central Utah in the middle of nowhere," Brooks says. "There isn't anyplace to go."

The therapy at Oxbow focuses on group sessions, and in one exercise, the boys get together in small groups and try to corral horses without putting their hands on the animals. "Force will normally get what you want, but you don't always need to get what you want," one of the boys said in a recorded session, after being asked what he learned from the horses.

Another major part of the therapy is a lie-detector test, aimed at getting to the underlying issues that caused the boys to get hooked on porn. Some of the teens at Oxbow come from divorced families, some were adopted and some had even been sexually abused, but almost all of them were socially awkward at home and detached from boys and girls their age, causing them to find solace in hardcore pornography.

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