Culture Beat / Apr. 20, 2016

Utah Declares Porn a Health Crisis

Utah’s move is a common-sense first start to understanding solutions to the problem.

It’s about time that this nation seriously considers the effect pornography has had upon our culture. This week, Utah Governor Gary Herbert signed a bill that declares pornography a health crisis that affects individuals, communities and harms society as a whole. It doesn’t not make it illegal. Among the harms, the Utah lawmakers declared that porn creates a toxic sex environment, festers body image issues and violence toward women. It also affects the rates and quality of marriage and leads to child sex abuse. Porn is addictive, the lawmakers declared, something that an addicted person cannot crawl out from by themselves. The text of the bill concludes, “the Legislature and the Governor recognize the need for education, prevention, research, and policy change at the community and societal level in order to address the pornography epidemic that is harming the people of our state and nation.”

While the adult industry may poo-poo the declaration, arguing that Utah’s actions are prudish and possibly controlling, science begs to differ, according to sociology professor Gail Dines. Four decades of research point to the fact that pornography is shaping our society’s views on sex, women, relationships, and it’s not for the better. Put that way, Utah’s move is a common-sense first start to understanding solutions to the problem.

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