Hey Bloggernacle. All those snarky comments complaining about Utah’s porn use have been heard.  The problem is, I don’t think you’re going to like Utah’s solution.  Several media outlets, such as the Deseret News, and the Washington Post, are reporting that Utah is the first in the nation to declare that porn is a public health crisis.

Utah Governor Herbert’s signing ceremony declaring porn a public health crisis

Let’s be clear.  I’m not pro-porn.

But I am anti-bad science.

A psychologist I know wrote the following on his Facebook page.

A few reasons why using the term “sex addiction” or “porn addiction” (or hypersexual disorder, or others) may not be the best available way to describe the problem:


1. These labels often also include non-consensual sexual behaviors, thus putting in a porn viewer in a category with a child molester.
2. It is not clear if adding a disease model (addiction) to what is already clear as a problem regulating sexual behavior, adds anything to explain the problem. I.e., it may not be a necessary label.
3. There is not enough data to demonstrate that these labels are distinct disorders.
4. Therapists and others may unwittingly create a bigger problem. Some clients experience negative effects from labels, such as beginning to display symptoms of the new label that they had not had prior.
5. There is a lack of scientific consensus on the addiction model for these behavior problems, yet the public and many professionals widely accept it (because let’s face it, it’s sexy; it’s great marketing).

Fwiw, I’m not anti-the addiction model for behavioral issues, but I want to wait and see, and meanwhile use the best available treatment with my clients based on the available evidence. I know some people have found a lot of help with the addiction model. More power to them. I’m not convinced in my own practice, however.

The question is this:  is the term “sex addiction” even real?  The Salt Lake Tribune did an interest Trib Talk with 2 social workers in favor of a sex addiction model, and 2 academics against a sex addiction model.  You can listen for yourself whether you think sex addiction is even real.  I heard a story of a man whose bishop told him to visit a Sexaholics Anonymous meeting, only to discover he had a normal sex drive.  (There were people with a lot bigger problems than he had.)

Here are several links concerning whether porn addiction is even real:

Utah Physicians for Healthy Environment said that there are a lot of other things the Utah Legislature should be more concerned about than porn.

It’s been a big week for air pollution research. Following almost 67,000 people, researchers found there is a strong correlation between chronic exposure to particulate pollution, and death due to all types of cancer. In particular for every 10 ug/m3 of PM2.5 (which is about the annual average for the Wasatch Front),
there was an overall increase of 22% in death from cancer, and even higher rates for lung and digestive system cancers, and an extraordinary increase of 80% in death rates for breast cancer, the most common cancer in women. Any of your loved ones have breast cancer? This should make the issue of air quality very personal to everyone.

Remember that the World Health Organization declared air pollution the most important environmental cause of cancer. Remember also that one out of every two men, and one out of every three women will get cancer in their life time.

Send this information to your state legislators, Gov. Herbert’s office and our Congressional delegation. Tell them their love affair with dirty energy and disregard for cleaning up our air, is a serious risk to the lives and health of your family. And that if they won’t clean up our air, you’ll elect someone who will.

Why is porn a bigger problem than air pollution? Or health insurance for the poor?  (Utah still won’t accept federal funds to expand Medicaid, and thousands of poor have a public health crisis because they simply can’t afford health insurance and aren’t eligible for Obamacare.  Governor Herbert has sent 2 bills that have died in the legislature to help these people.)  Utah also has a prescription drug problem.  Why isn’t this a public health crisis?  Why isn’t obesity a public health crisis?

If Utah was trying to help minors escape porn and prostitution, or tried to cut down on sexually transmitted infections, and were putting efforts to avoid this, I can accept that as a valid public health crisis.  Last year, I wrote about how Ed Smart is trying to help women forced into prostitution and sex slavery, but the Utah legislature doesn’t seem be concerned about these issues, so I think the “public health crisis” label is an example of all talk, no action.  Are we really concerned about sex slavery and want to end it?  What is the legislature doing to combat these problems?  Why even declare porn is a public health crisis when there are so many other legitimate public health issues are a crisis?  Can you help me here?