Billie Eilish says porn exposure while young caused nightmares

Billie Eilish attends Variety 2021
Eilish said watching porn as a child damaged her future sexual experiences

Singer Billie Eilish has described how she suffered nightmares after being exposed to “abusive” pornography from the age of 11.

Speaking on SiriusXM, the 19-year-old said she is now “devastated” to reflect on her exposure to the content.

Eilish said the experience led her to “not say no to things that were not good” when she began having sex.

“It was because I thought that’s what I was supposed to be attracted to,” the Grammy Award-winner said.

Eilish, who is about to turn 20, has spent much of her teenage life in the public eye. She forged a reputation for wearing a baggy style of dress and has regularly spoken about body image and being sexualised while growing up.

The topic of pornography came up in the interview as it is referenced in a song, Male Fantasy, on her album Happier Than Ever.

She told interviewer Howard Stern that she now thinks porn “is a disgrace” after watching content she described as “violent” and “abusive” while growing up.

Eilish particularly criticised the way pornography can depict women’s bodies and sexual experiences.

“I didn’t understand why that was a bad thing – I thought it was how you learned how to have sex,” Eilish said about watching, adding her mother was “horrified” when she told her.

“I was an advocate and I thought I was one of the guys and would talk about it and think I was really cool for not having a problem with it and not seeing why it was bad.”

The singer-songwriter said she believed viewing the content while so young had “destroyed” her brain and caused her to suffer nightmares.

Eilish said it is a “real problem” that porn could skewer wider understandings of what is normal during sex, including around consent.

The view is echoed by experts focusing on child welfare, including Unicef, who say exposure to pornography at a young age can be harmful. They say pornography that portrays abusive and misogynistic acts can lead to normalisation, as well as poor mental health and other negative outcomes in children.

Eilish also discussed a range of other issues in her interview, including dating in the public eye and contracting Covid-19 earlier this year despite being vaccinated.

“I didn’t die, and I wasn’t gonna die, but that does not take away from how miserable it was. It was terrible,” she said, adding she was unwell for almost two months.

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