Utah Declares Pornography ‘Public Health Crisis’
The Utah House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution last month declaring pornography a “public health crisis.” This represents the first time in United States history that a legislative body has passed such a measure. While the resolution doesn’t restrict pornography in any way, it is meant to raise public awareness of the devastating health impacts and societal harms of pornography addiction.
Utah State Sen. Todd Weiler initially introduced the resolution at the end of January in response to reports of widespread pornography online addiction across the state. A 2009 study found that Utah led the 50 states in terms of online pornography subscriptions.
“When I was a kid, people might sneak a Playboy magazine and look at it. Now, you’ve got all kinds of horrible, graphic images that are available to anyone with an Internet connection one or two clicks away,” stated Weiler during his speech introducing the resolution.
The official text of this resolution cites pornography as a root cause for “low self-esteem,” “problematic sexual activity at younger ages,” “lessening desire in young men to marry,” “infidelity,” “abuse of women and children,” “prostitution” and “sex trafficking.”
Many liberal media outlets have dismissed this resolution as an example of conservative moralizing. However, 40 years of peer-reviewed research give indisputable proof that pornography shapes people’s views of sexuality, relationships, intimacy, sexual violence and gender equality in a bad way.
In a Washington Post editorial, Gail Dines wrote:
Extensive scientific research reveals that exposure to and consumption of porn threaten the social, emotional and physical health of individuals, families and communities, and highlights the degree to which porn is a public health crisis rather than a private matter. But just as the tobacco industry argued for decades that there was no proof of a connection between smoking and lung cancer, so, too, has the porn industry, with the help of a well-oiled public-relations machine, denied the existence of empirical research on the impact of its products.
One study, published in Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity, found that college men exposed to mainstream pornography within the past 12 months were more likely to admit that they would commit rape or sexual assault if they knew they wouldn’t get caught.
Lines 45 through 47 of Utah’s resolution state: “WHEREAS, pornography equates violence towards women and children with sex and pain with pleasure, which increases the demand for sex trafficking, prostitution, child sexual abuse images, and child pornography.”
This claim is backed up by the testimony of infamous rapist and serial killer Ted Bundy. Just before his execution in 1989, Bundy placed much of the blame for his actions on his pornography addiction:
In the beginning, it [pornography] fuels this kind of thought process. … Like an addiction, you keep craving something which is harder, harder—something which gives you a greater sense of excitement—until you reach the point where the pornography only goes so far. You reach that jumping-off point where you begin to wonder if maybe actually doing it would give you that which is beyond just reading about it or looking at it.
Lines 58 through 61 of Utah’s resolution state: “WHEREAS, pornography use is linked to lessening desire in young men to marry, dissatisfaction in marriage, and infidelity… this link demonstrates that pornography has a detrimental effect on the family unit.”
Another study, conducted in 2012, found that college-aged women suffered diminished self-esteem, relationship quality and sexual satisfaction in direct correlation with their partner’s porn usage. A 2002 survey of America’s top divorce lawyers also revealed that over half of all divorce cases in the nation involve a spouse hooked on pornography sites.
It is now estimated that one in 10 Americans is physiologically addicted to Internet pornography. Sadly, this resolution by the Utah House of Representatives probably isn’t going to have any effect on bringing this figure down. It is a rare example, however, of a state legislature at least trying to fight against society’s moral decline.
Like the drug industry, the pornography industry won’t be completely eradicated until public demand for its vile product ceases. Until the day when indecent books no longer find a market and pornographic films can no longer draw an audience, the devastating health impacts and societal harms of pornography will continue.
To learn more about pornography’s devastating effects on society, read Ryan Malone’s article “Porn Is the Devil.” To learn how to avoid the pitfalls of pornography in your own life, it cannot be overstressed that you must study Herbert W. Armstrong’s book The Missing Dimension in Sex.