The Kansas Senate voted Tuesday to pass a resolution condemning pornography for the harm it causes both individuals and society; the Kansas House took similar action in 2017. The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) applauds these actions.
It wasn’t long ago that the American public considered smoking innocuous. People smoked at work and in restaurants. Cigarette commercials were common on television and in magazines. Some doctors event touted faulty research claiming smoking was beneficial. But, ultimately, the dangerous effects of smoking could not be denied.
Today, we are experiencing a parallel societal awakening about the negative impacts of a different toxic material—pornography. As research and harms from personal experiences mount, elected officials and the general public are increasingly recognizing the wide range of public health harms associated with pornography.
With yesterday’s action, Kansas joined a growing list of states officially recognizing pornography’s public health harms. These include Utah, South Dakota, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Louisiana. The house chambers in both Virginia and Pennsylvania have also done likewise.
These resolutions are backed by numerous studies that demonstrate the link between pornography use and negative impacts. For instance, 38 neuroscience-based studies of Internet pornography users assessing brain structures and functioning provide strong support for the addiction model, and more than 45 studies link porn use to poorer mental-emotional health and poorer cognitive outcomes. Numerous studies also associate pornography use with erectile dysfunction in men, as well as the link between pornography use and decreased relationship satisfaction.
In light of these significant findings, it is incumbent upon lawmakers to recognize the public and individual health harms of pornography. Pornography consumption is ubiquitous in our society, and its public health consequences only promise to grow if the public is not made aware of the dangers.
The American Family Association of Kansas and Missouri did significant work to advance and encourage the passage of the Kansas resolution.
For an overview of representative research on the harms of pornography visit: endsexualexploitation.org/publichealth.