Survey sheds light on how internet use is damaging body image and real-life relationships

Young people are more likely to watch "rough sex" than any other age group, a survey by The Sunday Times has found. 

Overall, the study found that nearly-two thirds of Brits (58%) watch such content, with nearly a third of men (31%) saying they watch it "most days" and a quarter of women watching it once a week. 

For Gen Z - those aged 22 and under - "rough sex" proved popular, being defined in the survey as hair-pulling, biting, slapping, choking and other aggressive behaviour.

Nearly half of Gen Z (42%) said they enjoyed watching this type of content, far exceeding any other age group. 

By comparison, under a third (29%) of Millennials - those aged 23 to 38 - said they liked watching this form of content, while among Gen X (17%) and baby-boomers (6%) the numbers were even lower.

Those aged 22 and under were also more likely to enjoy watching BDSM content (18%) - bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, sadism and masochism.  

(Source: The Sunday Times)

The study looked at the experience of 3,415 British adults who said they watched this content online.

It found that the viewing habits of youngsters is also having a significant impact on sexual activity as well as how sex is viewed, with more than one in 10 Gen Z-ers (12%) saying that all of their sex education came from watching this content, and a quarter saying that it formed the "majority" of their knowledge. 

A staggering quarter (24%) of those surveyed said they believed the interactions they were watching to be "somewhat similar" to real-life sex, while 7% said it was "very similar". 

Just under a quarter (23%) said that watching such content had "negatively affected" their body image, while many of these content users (29%) said they had turned to rougher varieties because they had tired of "mainstream" content like this. 

(Source: The Sunday Times)

Nearly a third (31%) said it had become increasingly difficult to satisfy their sexual desires through the content they were watching.

Almost a quarter (23%) said their consumption had negatively affected relationships.  This included their sex life, with 17% of users saying they found it difficult to be aroused by their real-life partners.

The survey comes as the Government's plans to introduce checks on the age of online content users continues to face delays. 

Former digital minister Margot James said last month that she was "extremely sorry" that the deadline for launching the scheme had been missed. 

Age verification checks for UK visitors to these websites were supposed to be mandatory from July 15 but the Government revealed that the scheme had been set back because officials had failed to notify European regulators in line with requirements.