In a survey carried out for the programme, 77 percent of young men, and nearly half of young women, admitted to watching porn within the last month.

London - Most young adults watch pornography – and almost a quarter of those who do may be addicted, according to a shocking BBC documentary.

Porn Laid Bare explores abuse and drugging in the sex industry, and reveals the toxic effect that explicit material may be having on young people’s relationships and self-esteem.

In a survey carried out for the programme – which follows six British men and women into Spain’s murky porn world – 77 percent of young men, and nearly half of young women, admitted to watching porn within the last month.

About 23 percent of the 18- to 25-year-olds who admit watching porn said they might be addicted to it, while a third said they had been encouraged to have "riskier sex" after watching extreme material online.

Over half (55 percent) of men said pornography was their main source of sex education, compared to a third of women (34 percent).

But the poll also showed that many young people believe pornography creates unrealistic expectations around sex.

More than half of respondents said porn creates impossible standards for beauty and bodies, and three-quarters said depictions of sex were unrealistic.

One in four said watching pornography had stunted their self-confidence and made them consider plastic surgery. And women were concerned about how porn depicts other women, with 50 percent saying it is dehumanising.

More than half of the 1 000 respondents, however, saw the financial benefits of making explicit material – 52 percent said porn was a good way to make money and just over a quarter (26 percent) even said they would like to appear in porn themselves.

The BBC Three series focuses on a group of under-30s with different relationships to porn, including an addict and an aspiring adult film actress. The participants see adult films being shot in dingy studios on the Spanish coast, with actors having sex on a public beach in the middle of the day. They even looked on as a Russian actress, who claimed to be 19, had sex with 20 men.

On a film set in Barcelona, director and star Rob Diesel is shown explaining that many of the movies are made in Spain as "they’re more liberal".

"They respect you as an artist. It’s a job here, it’s not like 'Look at the freaky guy there who’s doing porn'," he said. "There’s so many myths in porn still. You don’t have to do anything you’re not comfortable with and the artists I work with all have contracts."

But a whistleblower later claims some women are drugged on set and are unable to refuse doing certain sex acts. Mr Diesel is confronted by the British group after they see footage of him pulling a woman by her hair to "disgrace" her.

One of the group, Neelam Tailor, 24, said: "I felt like I’d been lied to. He’d talked so much about respect and choice…When we confronted him, his argument was that people are into it. But I completely disagree with him and he has to think about the message he’s putting out into the world."

Daily Mail