According to the existing evidence, pornography has been described as a public health crisis. But there is a conflict in the researcher’s opinion regarding this issue.
Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researchers suggest that though pornography may have an undesirable effect on some of the people, considering it a public health emergency can lead to harm. They have reasoned against this claim in an editorial to be published in the February issue of the “American Journal of Public Health“.
Along with their argument against pornography as a public health emergency, they have also provided an explanation about why making such a claim can harm the public’s health.
Dr Emily F. Rothman is a Professor at Boston University School of Public Health in its Community Health Sciences Department. Dr Kimberly M. Nelson had knowledge about both psychology and public health and is an Assistant Professor at the same department of BUSPH.
In the editorial, they have written that presenting pornography as a public health concern or something that can harm public health is a political act. Additionally, this claim doesn’t manifest the best existing evidence and is based on an ideology that negates several fundamental principles of public health promotion.
Pornography has been acknowledged as a public health emergency in almost seventeen states of the U.S. via non-obligatory resolutions. But according to the authors, the public health crisis definition criterion isn’t fulfilled by pornography.
With the passage of time, there has been a slow and gradual increase in the use of pornography instead of a sudden climax.
Further investigation has shown that pornography hasn’t any devastating effect on the local health systems. And one can’t expect direct and sudden population displacement, property destruction, disease, or death as a result of pornography.
The available evidence has shown that the use of pornography may lead to adverse effects on the health of some individuals. But Rothman and Nelson explained that many of these adverse health impacts were absent in a considerable number of people.
Instead, in some individuals, safer sexual behaviours like solo masturbation were observed as positive effects of pornography. Authors write that rather than ending pornography entirely, it is better to persuade the public to avoid extreme pornography and to limit its frequent use.
Taking these steps can facilitate in reducing the harms caused by pornography. In the same February issue of the journal, Dr Nelson and Dr Rothman have provided an outline regarding their pornography literacy program via the help of their colleagues.
This program may be proved as helpful for adolescents living in Boston. Rothman and Nelson have also answered the question “how describing pornography as a public health emergency may lead to deterioration of health?”
They have written that claiming pornography as public health crisis may cause shifts in funding sources or result in an unwarranted policy that may lead to a reduction in public health workforce to deal with real emergencies or crises.
They added that making such a claim for any sexual behaviour is adversative to public health and may limit sexual freedom.