Is Porn a 'Public Health Crisis'?

Is Porn a 'Public Health Crisis'?

Virginia and South Dakota have joined Utah in passing resolutions declaring pornography a public health crisis.  What, you might ask, does this mean?

Nothing.  It means absolutely nothing.  The resolution doesn't do a damn thing.  It is an idea that has been promoted by an anti-porn group called the National Center of Sexual Exploitation who have been partaking in a massive campaign to get states to adopt it.

The long and winding resolution lists all of the supposed harms of pornography - everything from addiction, to sexual dysfunction, to low self-esteem to eating disorders.  It then simply states that the legislature recognizes the need for education, prevention, research, and policy change.  It doesn't say exactly what any of these things would entail, it just recommends them.

The state senate of South Dakota, and the others who have passed this resolution, don't seem to care that it means nothing.  They also don't seem to care that not a single one of the claims of harm listed in the resolution is supported by any generally accepted, unbiased, clinical research.

So why should anyone care about this?  Isn't this just anti-porn activists making noise?  Well, here's why it's a problem.

I believe the NCOSE which is pushing this thing is using it as a wedge to pry open the door to censorship.  I believe they want to be able to expand laws around the production of adult entertainment, to pursue legal action against people that produce porn, and to restrict the general public's access to adult content on the web.  Because they believe porn is bad, they want to keep everyone from watching it - supposedly in the name of protecting children.

Why do I believe this?  Because a senator in Utah already stated, once this resolution was passed, that he was working on a bill that would allow any resident of Utah to sue producers and distributors, and possibly even performers, of porn, if they felt that material had caused them damage or caused them to become addicted.  It sounds ridiculous but the resolution itself is ridiculous.  If the senators were willing to pass that resolution, why wouldn't they think this bill is reasonable?

This is something we should all be concerned about.  This bill would essentially allow people to divorce themselves from any personal responsibility for their own actions and pursue action against someone who had absolutely no direct involvement with them whatsoever.  It seems farfetched that such a suit would ever get anywhere - after all, how could they prove the damage existed and if it did, that it was caused by porn?  But all it will take is one lawsuit that sticks and one producer or distributor to have to spend their time and money fighting one of these suits for everyone to get scared.  A lot of producers will quit or at least consider it or limit their production.  That, I think is exactly what NSOSE and this senator are hoping for.

So yes, the resolution is silly, but it could be the thin edge of the wedge that allows unfair persecution of people who are legally producing and enjoying adult entertainment.  It is the beginning of a massive effort to bully and shame adults for their natural interests.  We all know how these things go - the more pressure we put on people to deny or hide their sexual desires and interests, the more they act out in harmful and dangerous ways.

I get that people are concerned about their children watching porn.  They are worried about the kinds of things they are seeing - particularly when they are unsupervised.  But there is a simple way to deal with it.  Talk to your children.  Start teaching them from a pretty young age about what healthy sexuality looks like and what porn is about.  Help them gain an understanding of sex and relationships so that they can evaluate the things they see online and make good judgements for themselves.  As much as these people might want to get rid of porn, that is simply never going to happen.  The best approach is to acknowledge its existence and teach our children skills that they need to evaluate it and to make good decisions about their real life sexual interactions.

 


Tags: porn pornography sex education