February 27, 2020

STATEMENT – Alabama Recognizes Pornography as a Public Health Crisis

Washington, DC (February 27, 2020) – The National Center on Sexual Exploitation affirmed the Alabama House of Representatives for voting to recognize pornography as a public health crisis. The Alabama State Senate voted unanimously on the same resolution. Alabama Governor Kay Ivey is expected to sign.

“Alabama has become the 16th state to formally recognize the harmful effects of pornography on public health,” said Dawn Hawkins, Executive Director of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation.

“Modern pornography—with its limitless quantity, speed, and violent or degrading themes—is a jarring new variable in human development. It’s not surprising that such a variable would have negative effects on brains and bodies built for person-to-person sexual contact. Medical professionals, elected officials, therapists and more are beginning to acknowledge the universal harms of pornography.”

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation has created a Research Summary that reviews 99 studies on the harms of pornography. Some findings include:

  • Pornography Has Detrimental Impacts on the Brain: There have been over 40 neurological studies which reveal pornography use has negative and detrimental impacts on the brain.
  • Pornography Teaches Users that Women Enjoy Sexual Violence and Degradation: A recent study of PornHub videos found that 43% of videos included what the researchers categorized as “visible aggression” and 15% included “nonconsensual aggression.” This violence was almost ubiquitously portrayed against women, and women responded to that violence with pleasure. In response to these findings, the researcher noted that the prevalence of aggressive and demeaning acts in videos featuring teenagers, “may signal to viewers of all ages that these acts are not only normative and legitimate, but perhaps even expected,” thus creating social pressure on both young women and men to re-enact them with their sexual partners.
  • Pornography is Linked to Depressive Symptoms: A study of young adults leaving college found that higher pornography use was significantly associated with less self-worth and more depressive symptoms. This was consistent after controlling for age, religiosity, impulsivity, race, and parent’s marital status.

The CDC told CNN in early 2019 that “Pornography can be connected to other public health issues like sexual violence and occupational HIV transmission.”

Alabama joins 15 other states including Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, and Virginia, to recognize pornography as a public health crisis.

Learn more about the public health harms of pornography at EndSexualExploitation.org/publichealth

Further Reading