American College of Pediatricians Statement on Pornography Use

The American College of Pediatricians recently released a statement on The Impact of Pornography on Children.

This national organization is committed to the well-being of children. It mission is to produce sound policy, based upon the best available research, to help parents and influence social norms in the interests of the health of children.

The statement cites 42 studies over the past 30 years on the influence of pornography on child, youth and young adult health. Here is a summary.

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  • Pornography has a negative effect on marriage and long term cohabitating couples, making them more vulnerable to divorce or dissolution.
  • The use of pornography in the context of the marriage is largely confined to the husband; the wife being an occasional co-participant, reluctantly accepting the pornography use or being completely unaware of the husband’s personal use of pornography.
  • Women who have husbands or male partners who view pornography feel betrayed.
  • Women see pornography as a form of sexual objectification of women. When women view the pornography their partners are viewing they can develop a lower self-esteem, feelings of inadequacy, and begin to feel sexually undesirable.
  • The more a woman perceives her husband or boyfriend using pornography, the more negative the woman rates her relationship in general and the lower she rates her overall sexual satisfaction.
  • Viewers develop a preference for the fantasy world of pornography over actual sexual activity with their partners.
  • Pornography can reinforce the concept of physical domination of the man over the woman and can increase aggressive and violent behaviors against women.
  • In 2002, the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers reported that 56% of all divorces involved one party having an obsessive interest in pornographic web sites.
  • Men who use pornography and women who accept pornography are more likely to accept marital infidelity and cohabitation which ultimately destabilizes families.

The evidence of the harmful effects of the use of pornography continues to grow. If you are a man who regularly view pornography, we recommend you make an appointment with a professional who can assess your risk for addiction. If you are a woman who is concerned about your husband or partner’s use of pornography, see help.

The ease of accessibility and the spread of the use of pornography may lead to social tolerance, but it need not undermine your personal health or the stability of your family.

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