Yesterday, Utah governor Gary Herbert signed a resolution that put his state on the forefront of the national fight against an industry that addicts boys, abuses women, and destroys families.

Herbert made the case for opposing pornography in a press conference, along with anti-porn advocates and legislators:

There are real health risks that are involved and associated with viewing pornography. This resolution calls for additional research to be done, and education, so individuals and families are in fact aware of the dangers of pornography and its use.

And just what are the alleged “health risks” of porn? From my article at The Stream:

Pornography has been linked to many marital problems, especially divorce….

A link has also been made between pornography — which many researchers say often includes violence against women — and sex trafficking. Feminist professor Dr. Gail Dines says that “the biggest sex educator of young men today is pornography, which is increasingly violent and dehumanizing, and it changes the way men view women.”

Dines’ perspective is shared by the non-profit Fight The New Drug (FTND), whose CEO, Clay Olsen, will join Herbert as he signs the law today. Looking at dozens of studies, Olsen’s group found that “men who go to prostitutes are twice as likely to have watched a porn film in the last year compared to the general population.”

FTND’s research also found that “when these customers show up, many come ready with porn images in hand to show the women they’re exploiting — many of which are human trafficking victims controlled by pimps — what they’ll be forced to do.” And a 2007 study cited by FTND showed that 49% of trafficked women “said that porn had been made of them while they were in prostitution, and 47% said they had been harmed by men who had either forced or tried to force their victims to do things the men had seen in porn.”

And it starts young:

Many children first see pornography before becoming teenagers, with one British study finding 12 percent of children aged 12 to 13 have made a sexually explicit video. Childhood viewing of pornography can often lead to addiction and other problems in adulthood, according to the president of Family Watch International. The group produced the film “The Porn Pandemic” in 2014.

We haven’t even addressed how porn causes erectile dysfunction and distorted perceptions of relationships among boys — including the idea that rape and other forms of sexual violence are normal and acceptable.

For millions of men, pornography is a crutch and an addiction that gets worse with time. Like alcohol, drugs, and other addictions, it requires a greater “kick” to get the same effect, which is why so much of modern pornography is chock full of violence.

At the risk of turning this post into a self-help book, fulfilling relationships based upon love are often emptied by porn. If you’re addicted, you can beat it.

As Herbert noted in the press conference, “sometimes people suffer in silence” about how they are being hurt by pornography. This week, Utah took the lead in making sure America’s silence about porn’s real dangers ends.

Gary Herbert