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Feb 14 2016

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UTAH STEPS UP, TAKES AIM: Porn May Become Recognized as a Public Health Problem in America

Alexandra Mayers aka Monica Foster commentary:  The truth is porn IS a public health problem in regards to the psychological effects of both performing in it and watching it (which often lead to physical bodily damage).  I’ll never forget the death of pornstar Hunter Bryce, nor will I ever fully recover from the psychological damage I continue to suffer from having worked within the porn industry.  To this day I suffer from SEVERE ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION due to the fact that I’m forced legally to communicate with the porn industry attorneys of Randazza Legal Group ( Nevada Clark County Civil court case Randazza v. Mayers A-14-699072-C ) .

spotted on MarketWatch

health riskPorn may become a public-health problem in Utah

Activist calls porn “one of the biggest unregulated social experiments that’s ever occurred”

The pornography industry has long been criticized for the damage it allegedly causes, including addiction, that it harms real-life relationships, causes body image issues and low self-esteem, encourages sexual violence and more.

Now Utah legislator Todd Weiler has gone so far as to label adult pornography a public health crisis—and he’ll introduce a resolution to that effect in his state on Friday. (The language is already up online and can be seen here.)

Utah has the dubious honor of being the top porn-subscribing state in the U.S., according to a Harvard Business School professor’s study.
The bill may be the first governmental action to present porn as a public-health issue, though the discussion has been going on for decades.

The proposal will take weeks to wind its way through the state legislature. But even if it achieves the support it needs—majorities in House and Senate committees and in floor votes in both chambers—the rule won’t ban porn or regulate it in any specific way.

Rather, the resolution calls for the recognition of the genre as a “hazard leading to a broad spectrum of individual and public health impacts and societal harms,” and requests various education, prevention, research and policy initiatives.

Read: Porn industry’s billion-dollar new frontier

Weiler said he wants to start the conversation about something he believes is both addictive and harmful. A lawyer himself, he’s not arguing that porn is illegal, just that—like tobacco—people should be protected from it.

But is porn really a public health menace? Apart from those in the industry, most people in the space say there is some connection between porn and a range of societal problems.

The distinction comes down to correlation versus causation.

Activists say porn has a broad impact on relationships, sexual functioning, intimacy and even the way the brain itself functions.

They compare it to smoking: “Some people are users and abusers and they’re just fine,” said Cordelia Anderson, the founder of sexual abuse and violence-prevention organization Sensibilities Prevention Services. “Just like not everybody who smokes tobacco gets cancer.”

What’s more, its effect on society has been amplified by technology, which has expanded access and has skewed the videos toward abusive, violent content, she said.

Anderson said she and others call porn “one of the biggest unregulated social experiments that’s ever occurred…We’ve never exposed this many children and youth to this kind of content ever before. And we don’t know what the effects will be or won’t be.”

But those who fall on the side of correlation instead compare porn to alcohol.

Much like a glass of wine at dinner doesn’t make someone an alcoholic, porn consumption doesn’t lead to addiction in all cases, said Dr. Rory Reid, a research psychologist and assistant professor at University of California, Los Angeles.

There are established links between high porn consumption and depression, loneliness, relationship difficulty and relationship discord, he said, but causality isn’t proven.

So the harms enumerated in Weiler’s Utah bill “are overreaching statements at this point,” Reid said.

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