Society

Utah Lawmaker Wants Porn To Be Deemed As 'Public Health Crisis'

| by Reve Fisher
Utah State CapitolUtah State Capitol

A Utah Senator introduced a resolution into state legislature to declare pornography as a “public health hazard.”

Senator Todd Weiler filed Senate Concurrent Resolution 9 ( SCR009), to state the allegedly harmful effect that the “pornography epidemic” is having on Utah residents. He wrote that pornography “perpetuates a sexually toxic environment” and is resulting in various individual and societal problems throughout the state.

Weiler is asking the government to “recognize the need for education, prevention, research, and policy change” in order to address his concerns stemming from use of pornography, such as “hypersexualization of teens,” “low self-esteem and body image disorders,” and  “[normalizing] violence and abuse of women and children.”

According to an article published in the Journal of Economic Perspectives, residents of Utah buy online pornography at higher rates than the rest of the United States, with 5.47 users per 1,000 residents. Benjamin Edelman, author of the article, reported that use of online pornography is higher in states where more people agree with the statement "I never doubt the existence of God,” as reported by Deseret News. The 27 states in which “defense of marriage” amendments have been established report 11 percent more subscribers to online pornography than in other states.

"Subscriptions are slightly more prevalent in states that have enacted conservative legislation on sexuality," explained Edelman.

Edelman theorized that online pornography subscriptions might be more common in Utah because adult entertainment is difficult to obtain or view locally, thus prompting online purchases and consumption. Due to the lack of options in local establishments, residents of Utah would be more likely to appear in his dataset when compared to residents of other states.

“If you're seeing it all the time […] and it flashes up on your computer screen, then it's not that big a deal,” said psychologist Todd Freestone.

Freestone, who works with sex offenders at his Comprehensive Treatment Clinic, has performed various searches in Google Trends for sexually-oriented words and found Utah to rank in the top two in most searches.

"Where you have a culture that is known for family values, morality and apple pie, you will also have curiosity and interest in the forbidden,” said Theresa A Martinez, sociology professor at University of Utah.

Sources: SCR009, Deseret News / Photo Credit: KSTU News

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