The House has advanced a resolution condemning pornography – warning that it treats women as objects, lowers the desire to marry and can lead to erectile dysfunction.
The chamber advanced the resolution Wednesday on a voice vote. The yes votes were much louder than the no votes.
It has no binding legal effect.
The resolution calls pornography a public health hazard that leads to a broad spectrum of individual and public health effects and societal harms. Pornography, it says, perpetuates a sexually toxic environment.
"When a person consumes pornography, it’s like consuming cocaine, or opiods. It has a detrimental effect. It messes up the wiring in our brains, it changes the way we function," Rep. Chuck Weber, R-Wichita, said.
The resolution cites a 2016 study by the Christian research firm Barna Group that found that 27 percent of people age 25 to 30 first viewed porn before puberty.
Early exposure leads to low self-esteem and body image disorders, an increase in problematic sexual activity at younger ages and increased desire among adolescents to engage in risky sexual behavior, the resolution says. Porn treats women and children as objects and commodities for the viewer’s use, it adds.
Rep. Randy Powell, R-Olathe, said he has worked with men and had seen first-hand the damage porn brings into people’s lives.
"I’ve known men who are not even able to entertain the idea of having relations with a real person because what they’ve been experiencing is so strong and so impactful on the brain they’re being neutralized from actually having a real relationship with a real person," Powell said.
Rep. John Carmichael, D-Wichita, said in a free society people have a First Amendment right to freedom of expression.
"My vote no…is not meant as an encouragement to violent, graphic depictions, but rather it is a defense of freedom, liberty and the First Amendment despite the fact that the price of freedom is high," Carmichael said.
The resolution also says porn use is linked to a lessened desire in young men and women to marry and has contributed to a rise of erectile dysfunction in young men. Overcoming pornography’s harms is extremely difficult for the afflicted individual to address alone, it reads.
A study published in 2015 in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found little evidence associating the use of porn and erectile dysfunction or lower desire.