The singer revealed on The Howard Stern Show that she started watching porn from age 11.
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On The Howard Stern Show on Sirius XM radio on Monday, Billie Eilish shared that she watched a lot of porn from the young age of 11 — and that it "destroyed" her brain.

"I think porn is a disgrace," the singer said on the show, explaining that it made her feel like "one of the guys" at the time. "I used to watch a lot of porn, to be honest. I started watching porn when I was, like, 11."

Eilish told Howard Stern that she feels "incredibly devastated" that she was exposed to "so much porn" at a young age, noting the nightmares that ensued due to the violent and abusive nature of some of the content she consumed. She also said that the videos she watched took a toxic toll on her personal sex life as she became sexually active with partners.

"The first few times I, you know, had sex, I was not saying no to things that were not good," she says in the interview. "It was because I thought that's what I was supposed to be attracted to." (Related: Billie Eilish Says She Has a 'Terrible Relationship' with Her Body)

Eilish isn't alone in watching porn at a young age. Of youth ages 14 to 18, 84 percent of males and 57 percent of females have been exposed, a nationally representative survey suggests. In 2015, an NSPCC ChildLine survey found that a tenth of 12- to 13-year-olds are concerned that they may actually be addicted to porn, and 10 percent of seventh-graders worry that they watch enough to be addicted, according to BBC.

While it's common to start watching it early, "porn itself does not 'destroy our brains,'" says sex therapist and clinical director of The Center, Erika Miley, M.Ed, L.M.H.C. Nonetheless, she agrees that the "shame we have built around our bodies, pleasure, sexual activities, and sexual interests absolutely can destroy us."

"I feel for Billie here," says Miley. "I imagine that is probably what she was trying to articulate."

Other experts agree. "If an adolescent is trying to explore their sexuality or gain information and is feeling shame in doing so, this can negatively impact them throughout their life," says marriage and family therapist Ashera DeRosa, L.M.F.T., of Whole Stories Therapy. "Linking shame with sexuality does everyone a disservice."

Like Eilish, many people use porn without comprehensive sex education; some use it as a substitute for sex education, says DeRosa. And, because "porn is a performance" and "it's shot to be visually appealing," she adds that it doesn't necessarily portray what pleasure or consent should look like. This may explain the effect that porn has had on Eilish's sexual relationships.

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Credit: Courtesy of ABC / Jimmy Kimmel Live! / Randy Holmes

People's experiences with porn can also vary based on the porn and the comfortability and safety they feel to unpack the experiences that it arouses, says David Khalili, L.M.F.T., a sex and relationship therapist and founder of the soon-to-open Rouse Sexual Wellness Clinic in San Francisco.

"I think we can hold multiple views on Billie Eilish's experience," he says. "Depending on the porn, viewing it without age-appropriate explanation and discussion at the age of 11 can be both traumatizing and open up someone's mind about sexual expression and desire."

At that age in early adolescence, children's brains are still developing, their sexuality is starting to develop more, and they are "consciously learning about their sexual and romantic interests," he explains. "So when I hear Billie Eilish talk about porn destroying her brain, while I hold a very sex-positive view towards porn and sex expression, I can understand how she felt like consuming porn without context and without discussion at that age of learning about her sexual self and experience could've left a lasting impact on her view of herself and her sexuality."

With that being said, he adds that society's view of sexual expression and desire — and particular for female-bodied folks — ups the stigma." If she had the support, or if there was a culture that allowed for an age-appropriate and open discussion of sexuality, it could have helped her process what she saw," he says.

It's also important to note that, while Eilish may find porn "disgraceful" due to her own very valid experiences with it, perpetuating the notion that porn is of poor taste shames both pornstars and other porn consumers alike — especially those who, in contrast, have their own equally valid positive experiences with porn. (Related: Is Porn Bad for You? This, Plus 5 Other Porn Myths You Should Forget Now)

"Anti-pornography activism teaches youth that women who are porn performers are not human and do not have real bodies, and they teach youth that 'defeating' pornography is a masculinity challenge where 'weak' men view porn, recreating damaging narratives around male sexuality," says Nicole Prause, Ph.D., a neuroscientist who researches human sexual behavior and addiction. "Anti-pornography teaches youth to experience more shame around viewing pornography than they otherwise would, which directly causes distress and harm."

After all, many womxn find porn empowering. For some pornstars, sex work has enabled them to rise from poverty, care for their families, afford educations, or just plain feel sexy. Among industry insiders and viewers alike, many emphasize the creativity in pornography and space to explore and push the boundaries of pleasure.

Never mind that female filmmakers are cropping up across all corners of the globe, pushing sex-positive porn that's by and for womxn. Take, for example, feminist pornographer Erika Lust who is the brain behind the ethical porn sites Else Cinema and Lust Cinema, as well as the award-winning crowdsourced subscription site, XConfessions. Cindy Gallop of Make Love Not Porn, Michelle Flynn of the independent Lightsouthern Cinema, and feminist creator Jacky St. James are other examples. Even female-founded audible sex story platforms, like Dipsea, are popping up with powerfully positive messaging about pleasure. (Related: How Might Virtual Reality Porn Affect Sex and Relationships?)

In short: everyone has inimitable experiences with porn — experiences that often start from a young age and that span the spectrum of good and bad. Everyone would benefit from shame-free sexual education and safe spaces in society to open up about their sexual experiences, expressions and desires. And more female-founded, ethical erotica, of course.