Billie Eilish Shares Detrimental Impacts of Her Early-Age Exposure to Porn

During an interview with radio and television personality Howard Stern, the pop singer opened up about how fervently watching sexually explicit material as a pre-teen negatively affected her mental health and shaped her views of sexual consent.

Credit: Getty Images
Credit: Getty Images

19-year-old pop musician Billie Eilish, whose meteoric rise to fame was jump started at the age of 14 with the SoundCloud debut of “Ocean Eyes,” opened up to Sirius XM Radio host Howard Stern about the harmful impacts of her pre-teen consumption of pornography during Monday’s episode of “The Howard Stern Show.”

In the interview, Eilish, who said she began watching porn at the age of 11, spoke candidly about its detrimental impact on her mental health, saying it “destroyed” her brain. The singer said her early exposure to the mature content also shaped her views about sexual consent.

“The first few times I had sex, I was not saying no to things that were not good. It was because I thought that’s what I was supposed to be attracted to,” Eilish said, calling porn a “disgrace.”

Eilish also commented on the unrealistic portrayals that she believes porn perpetuates, saying, “The way that vaginas look in porn is f*king crazy. No vaginas look like that. Women’s bodies don’t look like that. We don’t come like that.”

Social media posts in response to Eilish’s observations about the adult film industry show mixed reactions. Some fans expressed their support for Eilish's stance, asserting that pornography is the essence of “monetizing misogyny,” while others alleged the singer was body-shaming sex workers.

Before delving into more serious subject matter concerning Eilish’s porn habits at a young age, Stern’s interview with the artist had primarily focused on her advocacy of COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness. Eilish credited the vaccine with saving her life after she contracted the virus in August of 2021.

“I want it to be clear that it is because of the vaccine that I’m fine ... I think if I weren’t vaccinated, I would have, like, died, because it was bad,” Eilish said. She added, “The vaccine's f*cking amazing. And it also saved Finneas [her brother] from getting it, saved my parents from getting it, saved my friends from getting it.”

After the debut of her 2019 album, “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?”, the then 18-year-old Eilish made history at her first Grammy Awards when she swept all four major categories – Best New Artist, Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Album of the Year – becoming the youngest person to achieve the feat.

The singer's authentic online personality and earnest lyrics catalyzed her popularity among Gen-Z listeners. With nearly 100 million followers on Instagram and 6.4 million on Twitter, Eilish has solidified herself as a powerhouse in the music industry, not only for her chart-topping hits but also for her raw representation of youth culture. “In the public eye, girls and women with strong perspectives are hated. If you’re a girl with an opinion, people just hate you,” Eilish said. “There are still people who are afraid of successful women, and that’s so lame. What’s the point of pleasing other people? You’ve got to get out and change the world, and we’re the generation that’s going to step into that.”

In September, Eilish hosted the 2021 Met Gala alongside a star-studded lineup of fellow Gen-Z celebrities: Amanda Gorman, the 23-year-old U.S. Presidential inaugural poet; Noami Osaka, the 23-year old tennis phenom and mental health activist; and Timothée Chalamet, the 25-year-old star of “Dune” and “Call Me By Your Name”.

The singer also told Stern how nervous she was to make her debut as a Saturday Night Live host over the weekend, during which she used her opening monologue to mock the backlash she’s received about her recent transformation in her fashion, from baggy clothes to form-fitting corsets.

“This is hard to say for me, but the real reason I wore big oversized clothes back then is… I was actually two kids stacked on top of each other trying to sneak into an R-rated movie,” Eilish joked.

In the past, the singer has said the reason she wore such loose-fitting clothes was to deter people from commenting on her body.