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Porn in the U.S.A.: What’s the Harm? Plenty.

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Today, Utah is poised to declare pornography a “public health hazard”: 

Utah Gov. Gary R. Herbert is planning to sign two pieces of legislation on Tuesday that aim to combat what’s called “a sexually toxic environment” caused by porn.

One is a resolution and one is a bill:
S.C.R. 9 Concurrent Resolution on the Public Health Crisis. This resolution declares that pornography is “a public health hazard leading to a broad spectrum of individual and public health impacts and societal harms.”
The resolution claims Utah would be the first state in the nation to make such a declaration.
It cites what is says are numerous detrimental effects of porn, including the treatment of “women as objects and commodities for the viewer’s use.”
It also says pornography “equates violence toward women and children with sex and pain with pleasure, which increases the demand for sex trafficking, prostitution, child sexual abuse images, and child pornography.”
The resolution has no punishing powers; it doesn’t specifically ban pornography in the state.
Jon Cox, spokesman for the Republican governor, said the point of the resolution is to raise awareness and education. “We want Utah youths to understand the addictive habits” of porn that are “harmful to our society.”
— H.B. 155 Reporting of Child Pornography.  This bill is more specific, and has enforcement muscle.
It requires that computer technicians who find child pornography during their work should report it to law enforcement officials. The bill further stipulates that “the willful failure to report the child pornography” would be a class B misdemeanor.
The Washington Post adds: 
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.

Using a wide range of methodologies, researchers from a number of disciplines have shown that viewing pornography is associated with damaging outcomes. In a study of U.S. college men, researchers found that 83 percent reported seeing mainstream pornography, and that those who did were more likely to say they would commit rape or sexual assault (if they knew they wouldn’t be caught) than men who hadn’t seen porn in the past 12 months. The same study found that porn consumers were less likely to intervene if they observed a sexual assault taking place. In a study of young teensthroughout the southeastern United States, 66 percent of boys reported porn consumption in the past year; this early porn exposure was correlated with perpetration of sexual harassment two years later. A recent meta-analysis of 22 studies between 1978 and 2014 from seven different countries concluded that pornography consumption is associated with an increased likelihood of committing acts of verbal or physical sexual aggression, regardless of age. A 2010 meta-analysis of several studies found “an overall significant positive association between pornography use and attitudes supporting violence against women.”

In a timely coincidence, our own Katrina Fernandez answers a question from a reader, wondering what to do about her boyfriend who looks at porn. You’ll want to read Katrina’s answer for yourself.  It’s punchy, pungent and perfect.

And since we know you probably have an opinion about this, what do you think? Do you think watching porn is a deal-breaker in a relationship? Let us know by taking our poll over The Daily Catch.

Photo: Pixabay

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