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Report of the Surgeon General's Workshop on Pornography and Public Health

NCJ Number
American Psychologist Volume: 42 Issue: 10 Dated: (October 1987) Pages: 944-945
C E Koop
Date Published
2 pages
This article reports on the consensus reached by participants in the U.S. Surgeon General's Workshop on Pornography and Public Health held June 22-24, 1986, in Arlington, Va., which examined the impact of pornography on mental and physical health.
Participants, who were nationally and internationally recognized clinicians and researchers known for their research on pornography, discussed five background papers. Participants agreed that children and adolescents who participate in the production of pornography experience adverse, enduring effects. Also, prolonged use of pornography increases beliefs that less common sexual practices are more common than they actually are, and pornography that portrays sexual aggression as pleasurable for the victim increases the acceptance of the use of coercion in sexual relations. Acceptance of coercive sexuality apparently is related to sexual aggression. Laboratory studies which have measured short-term effects indicate that exposure to violent pornography increases punitive behavior toward women. The Surgeon General concludes from this consensus that 'pornography does stimulate attitudes and behavior that lead to gravely negative consequences for individuals and for society.' 1 reference.


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