Pornography as a Health Hazard: Rethinking Pornography Through Rethinking Health

57 Pages Posted: 11 Feb 2014

See all articles by Lihi Yona

Lihi Yona

Columbia University, Law School

Date Written: February 2014


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.

Keywords: pornography, sexuality, internet, health, disease, medicalization, health policy

Suggested Citation

Yona, Lihi, Pornography as a Health Hazard: Rethinking Pornography Through Rethinking Health (February 2014). Columbia Public Law Research Paper No. 14-371, Available at SSRN:

Lihi Yona (Contact Author)

Columbia University, Law School ( email )

435 West 116th Street
New York, NY 10025
United States

Do you have negative results from your research you’d like to share?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics