March 29, 2017

STATEMENT: Arkansas State Legislators Recognize Public Health Crisis of Pornography

Statement by Dawn Hawkins, Executive Director of NCOSE


Washington DC – Yesterday, Arkansas elected officials passed a resolution formally recognizing the public health harms of pornography. The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) applauds this decision.

“We are in the midst of a digital and sexual health revolution,” said Dawn Hawkins, Executive Director of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation. “Personal stories from millennials who experienced negative side effects from exposure to Internet pornography at a young age, and peer-reviewed research, combine to paint a clear picture: pornography harms individuals regardless of age, race, or sexual orientation.”

“It wasn’t long ago that the American public considered smoking innocuous—some doctors even touted faulty research claiming smoking was beneficial. Today, we are experiencing a parallel societal awakening about the negative impacts of a different toxic substance—pornography. Just like the culture shifted regarding tobacco, I believe the general public will come to recognize the public health harms of pornography as they personally experience its negative effects and learn about the existing research.”

Research shows that pornography is linked to decreased erectile function, increased rates of sexual violence, and several neurological harms. For instance, since 2009 there have been 30 neurological studies showing that pornography is linked to negative impacts on brain structure and function—including actual shrinkage of brain regions used for motivation and decision making. I’m grateful that Arkansas elected officials are recognizing both the science about pornography’s harmful impacts and the individual accounts of those effected.”

For an overview of representative research on the harms of pornography visit: endsexualexploitation.org/publichealth.

Arkansas is the latest in a string of states to debate the public health harms of pornography and is one of three to formally pass a resolution recognizing the importance of the issue.

Canada has also commissioned a study into the negative impacts of Internet pornography. NCOSE’s statement on the Canadian study can be found here.

National Center on Sexual Exploitation

Founded in 1962, National Center on Sexual Exploitation is the leading national organization opposing pornography by highlighting the links to sex trafficking, violence against women, child abuse, addiction and more. The organization changed its name from Morality In Media to the National Center on Sexual Exploitation early in 2015 to better describe the organization’s scope and mission, which is to expose the seamless connection between all forms of sexual exploitation.

Further Reading