March 29, 2017

Arkansas Just Declared Pornography a Public Health Crisis

Arkansas elected officials have passed a resolution formally recognizing the public health harms of pornography.

“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.”

She continued:

“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.

Elected officials all around the nation are recognizing both the science about pornography’s harmful impacts and the individual accounts of those effected.

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.

For an overview of representative research on the harms of pornography visit:

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

Further Reading