Mimesis Law
20 September 2017

Debate: Criminalize Porn For Public Health And Safety

January 17, 2017 (Fault Lines) — Ed. Note: In light of call for a pledge to rid the nation of pornography, we have charged Chris Seaton and Mario Machado to debate: Is porn a public health crisis in need of prohibition? Below is Chris’ argument:

Restricting speech is a matter no one should take lightly. Criminalizing sexual conduct between consenting human beings is something our nation and courts do not favor. That must change, as America faces a public health crisis with pervasive, continued pornography consumption. It’s time to crack down on this menace by strengthening enforcement of our nation’s obscenity laws.

Obscene material is not protected under the First Amendment. The Supreme Court set perfectly reasonable limits in Miller v. California when defining works outside constitutional boundaries. When a work, per community standards, appeals to the prurient interest, depicts or describes sexual conduct or excretory functions, and lacks serious scientific, political, literary or artistic value, it’s obscene.

Pornography fits every prong of the Miller obscenity test. Its function is to arouse the viewer’s sexual desire. Sexual or excretory acts are depicted in every “adult film,” with some featuring both. And one would be hard pressed to find pornography’s serious scientific, political, literary, or artistic value.

Our nation’s highest court set these time-honored standards in 1973, calling out pornography as obscene material. Despite this, we permit its continued creation and consumption out of a false sense of moral superiority, as if taking a lassiez-faire approach to the subject is the “right” choice. In doing so, America created an industry catering to humanity’s basest instincts, continually undermining our attitudes towards sexuality and the value of other human beings.

The effect of pornography is far more than sexual gratification. It has destroyed the family unit, causes suicidal behavior, and led to a decline in human reproduction. Its effects cause neurological shifts in viewers, causing them to view other human beings as objects. And its pervasive, liberal attitudes towards subjects like rape carry the potential of causing viewers to commit criminal sexual acts.

A 2000 study published in the peer reviewed journal Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity found porn use a contributing factor in sixty eight percent of couples who lost interest in sex. That same year a University of Calgary meta-analysis of 46 studies indicated a correlation between pornography consumption and negative attitudes towards courtship. These medical findings are consistent with a 2002 review of the American Association of Matrimonial Lawyers, whose members indicated pornography was a “significant factor” in over half their divorce cases from the previous year.

Pornography causes an increase in mental health issues, including depression, social anxiety, and suicidal behavior. Entire online communities are flooded with stories of men and women who experienced a drop in their harmful attitudes and behaviors after ceasing porn use. Even porn actors and actresses are not spared from this issue. Consider the case of Alyssa Funke, a 19-year-old college freshman who took her life after performing in an adult film.

Mental health professionals teach us the negative impacts pornography has on the brain. Susan Fiske, a psychology professor at Princeton University, analyzed MRI scans of men watching pornography. The result shocks the conscience. Men’s brain activity after watching pornography indicated they viewed women as sex objects, not human beings.

Findings such as Dr. Fiske’s led the American Psychiatric Association to draft proposed criteria in 2010 for a new medical condition called “hypersexual disorder.” This new disorder would include increased pornography use as part of its criteria. Unfortunately the APA has yet to officially adopt hypersexual disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). The results could be devastating for our nation.

Ignoring the mental effects of pornography forces the morally permissive to ignore a well established scientific principle called the “Coolidge Effect.” Numerous studies of the animal kingdom indicate a loss in sexual desire if an animal repeatedly mates with the same partner. If an animal is exposed to different partners once it has finished mating, it will continue having sex to the point of physical exhaustion. Dismissing the effect in humans is no better than dismissing evolution.

Failure to act now on pornography’s health effects could see the end of American civilization. Consider Japan, a country with one of the lowest birth rates, now seeing a sharp population decline. A 2013 report from the British Newspaper The Observer revealed sixty-one percent of unmarried men and forty-nine percent of women between the ages of 18-34 were not romantically involved.

One-third of those surveyed under age 30 had never dated. Forty-five percent of women ages 16-24 and 25% of men the same age surveyed by Japan’s Family Planning Association “were not interested in or despised sexual contact.” The pervasive amount of both pornography and technology could be a cause of what the Japanese call “Celibacy Syndrome.”

A group particularly affected by celibacy syndrome are the “hikikomori,” or youth who drop out of society altogether, staying at home reading comic books and playing video games. The hikikomori have no need for the dopamine rush of sex since online pornography eliminates the need for physical contact. These youth enter into “symbiotic, codependent” relationships with their mothers, according to psychiatrist Tamaki Saito.

Calling pornography “obscene material” is not taking a prudish stance. It is acknowledging the dangerous effects of consuming such material and realizing the health risks it has on the public. Allowing its continued, pervasive influence on American society could lead to the end of this nation faster than anyone expects. It’s time we finally pay attention to the warnings of mental health professionals and evidence from other parts of the world. Let’s classify all pornography as obscene material and let prosecutors jail those who would create such harmful content. It’s vital to our nation’s health and security.

Rebuttal: Mario’s arguments sound off in the same level of moral permissiveness that placed us in this public health predicament. Claiming “2 Girls 1 Cup” has “serious artistic value” is as spurious a statement as one can get. Calling pornography a health hazard earns the endorsement of no less an authority than a Utah Senator. How many voices must cry out before we end this nightmare?

5 Comments on this post.

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  • Jim Tyre
    17 January 2017 at 11:58 am - Reply

    I was going to write a six part response. But you’ve given me an overwhelming urge to go watch some porn rn.

    • CLS
      17 January 2017 at 12:01 pm - Reply

      Well, there IS a long-standing maxim that states “The Internet is for Porn.”

      You do you.

  • Legalize Child Porn? | Popehat
    17 January 2017 at 3:40 pm - Reply

    […] hear. See PORN! PORN! PORN! WEB PAGES OF DEATH! and see a debate at Mimesis Law where Chris Seaton argues to make all porn illegal, and Mario Machado argues against […]

  • Tom
    18 January 2017 at 11:13 am - Reply

    … and led to a decline in human reproduction.

    Wait, I thought this article was supposed to represent that porn is a bad thing?

  • Peter Gerdes
    2 February 2017 at 5:57 am - Reply

    The claim that porn causes women to be viewed as objects doesn’t even make sense and to the extent it does it would be both false and not a bad thing.

    We use people as objects ALL THE TIME. If I ask my wife to stand on the edge of the tarp so it doesn’t fly away I’m literally using her as just a weight. Yet we don’t find that kind of ‘objectification’ problematic. So what is it you mean by objectification?

    Moreover, anyone who has seen even the slightest amount of porn would realize that it does exactly the opposite of treating women as objects rather than people with feelings and emotions. Women in porn go to great lengths to moan and talk dirty rather sitting passively because people find the idea they like what is going on hot.

    Indeed, the most intuitively objectionable and repugnant types of porn. Porn where the women involved is deeply humiliated or degraded are particularly appealing to the viewer having an understanding of how the subject would mind such treatment. Even fake depictions of rape rely on the viewer getting off on the fact that the victim objects to what is happening. Indeed, IF ANYTHING WHAT IS DISTURBING ABOUT PORN IS THAT IT DOESN’T OBJECTIFY WOMEN BUT ACTIVELY CELEBRATES PUTTING THEM INTO SITUATIONS THEY WILL FIND OBJECTIONABLE.

    Whether or not you think porn is bad saying it objectifies people or causes them to be regarded as objects is simply confusing and misleading.