SEX

Arkansas Becomes Third State To Deem Porn A Public Health Crisis

A new resolution cites the dangers of "pornography addiction"

SEX
Photo Illustration: Diana Quach
Mar 30, 2017 at 8:02 AM ET

Following in the footsteps of Utah and South Dakota, Arkansas has become the third U.S. state to pass a resolution deeming pornography a “public health crisis” of “epidemic” proportions.

The resolution, which was passed unanimously last week, states that pornography — specifically online porn — is responsible for a host of social problems relating to sexuality and sexual violence.

“It is no longer just available in sleazy stores and distributed in brown paper bags,” Rep. Karilyn Brown, a sponsor of House Resolution 1042, told Arkansas Online.

Similar to resolutions passed and presented in other state legislatures, the resolution claims that pornography proliferates abuse of women and children “by depicting rape and abuse as if such acts are harmless,” hyper-sexualization among youth, and a slew of other things related to so-called pornography addiction.

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Whether or not pornography addiction is actually a real biological affliction remains controversial. Researchers from UCLA who studied brain activity have cast ample doubt on the notion it is, while University of Cambridge scientists found that sex addiction mirrors drug addiction in the brain (though they noted this does not actually mean porn is in itself addictive).

All claims stated within the resolution — like the idea that porn lessens the desire to marry and increases the demand for sex trafficking of young girls — are presented without sources. Though the resolution does not have any specific or immediate impacts, it is intended for use by the state’s Department of Health for “education, prevention, and policy change at the community and societal levels.”

The resolution has amassed support from far-right organizations and other anti-pornography groups like the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, whose executive director likened the effects of pornography to smoking cigarettes in a press release. Conversely, Adult Performers Actors Guild vice president Alana Evans told Vocativ her belief that the societal problems named in the bill run far deeper than the mere existence of adult entertainment.

“The true public health crisis is the lack of sex education in our schools, and the defunding of Planned Parenthood,” she told Vocativ. “The adult industry has become the scapegoat for everything from teenage bulimia to rape on military bases. Instead of the Republican party attempting to censor porn in any way possible, they should be educating our children and youth about the dangers of unsafe sex.”

For the record, residents of Arkansas are especially into mature, cuckold, and amateur porn, according to adult tube site Pornhub‘s data on its own viewership.