Is Porn Really a Threat to Public Health?

Is Porn Really a Threat to Public Health?

The war on porn has reached a fever pitch. Political elites, religious authorities, and a number of other public figures are coming out in ever larger numbers to warn us about the inherent dangers of pornography. Among other things, they claim that porn is "addictive," that it's causing men to commit rape and sexual assault, and that it's completely destroying our sex and love lives. In other words, they're pretty much arguing that porn is the cause of virtually all of the world's sexual problems. 

However, when you take a look at the research, what you see is that these claims just don't add up.

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Homophobia Is Bad For Public Health

Homophobia Is Bad For Public Health

The targets of anti-gay prejudice and discrimination tend to experience worse health outcomes. Not only does the stress of victimization put wear and tear on the body, but victims of prejudice often turn to alcohol abuse, substance use, and a range of other unhealthy behaviors in order to cope or escape reality.

Anti-gay prejudice isn’t just unhealthy. In fact, it may actually translate to a dramatically shorter lifespan, according to a recent study published in the journal Social Sciences & Medicine. Anti-gay prejudice isn’t just harmful to the health of sexual minorities, though. Another recent study published in the American Journal of Public Health suggests that just holding anti-gay views may pose a health risk.

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Sex, Drugs, and HIV (VIDEO)

Sex, Drugs, and HIV (VIDEO)

In this TED talk, Elizabeth Pisani argues that, in order to prevent the spread of HIV, we need to start making policy decisions that are rational for public health instead of continuing business as usual and doing what is politically rational. Pisani uses scientific data to show how sex and drug policies that are made for political reasons can actually undermine our ability to prevent HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. Although Pisani's talk is going on five years old, I'm sharing it because her points still very much ring true. Indeed, in the last five years, politicians in the U.S. and many other parts of the world have (sadly enough) not significantly changed their positions on sex and drugs, and many of these positions remain counterproductive . Check out Pisani's full talk below for more on the importance of basing policy decisions on science instead of politics.

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