Pornography as a Health Hazard: Rethinking Pornography Through Rethinking Health

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The issue of pornography is traditionally understood by the legal system through a moral perspective as an obscenity problem, or through a sexism perspective as an equality problem. Both these approaches were insufficient in addressing the harms caused by pornography and problematic in promoting moralistic perceptions of sexuality. This article examines new data on the harms caused by pornography in light of the immense changes that have occurred in its nature, mainly due to the rise of the internet, and argues that the perspective pornography should be viewed through is the health perspective, characterizing it as a health hazard. Through a critical examination of concepts such as “health” and “disease”, as well as the possible risks of medicalization, this article considers the ways in which the political nature of the concept of health allows new thinking both of health and of pornography. The article concludes with drafting preliminary guidelines for a possible health policy regarding pornography that would address the harms associated with it, without causing greater risks of its own.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherColumbia Law School
Number of pages57
StatePublished - 11 Feb 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • pornography
  • sexuality
  • internet
  • health
  • disease
  • medicalization
  • health policy


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