People often ask us here at Desert Solace, “why does Utah have the highest rate of online pornography subscriptions in the Nation? I don’t want to get into a huge debate about this topic but I did want to write a short article about my thoughts about why this is the case. The idea of Utah having the nation’s #1 pornography problem comes from a study published in 2009. In the article “Red Light States: Who Buys Online Adult Entertainment?” Dr. Benjamin Edelman stated that Utah has the highest rate of online pornography subscriptions with 5.47 users per 1,000 internet broadband users (Alaska had the second most with 5.3). Now before I go on, I want everyone to know that the purpose of this article isn’t to try and disprove this study, Utah and the rest of the country has a pornography problem! But with any academic study it’s important to understand what was studied and how the method of the study took place.
Some possible Explanations:
The study used population data from four Utah counties: Sevier, Salt Lake, Morgan and San Juan County. The percentage for Mormons in Utah is 62.2%. The Mormon population percentage of these is counties is:
- Sevier: 77.3%
- Salt Lake: 51.4%
- Morgan: 86.1%
- San Juan: 39.6%
Since three of these counties have large amounts of LDS members then it would make sense for people to infer that Mormons have a problem with pornography. But it’s also important to remember that just because you are on the rolls doesn’t mean you are an “active” member. Regardless of the level of activity, it is still alarming to see such high rates in heavily Mormon populated areas.
Utah has some of the strictest anti-pornography laws in the nation, and online pornography subscriptions are the most cost effective way to view pornography for Utah’s residents. In many states people have more access to pornography than just the internet so they may not need online subscriptions. Here is a link to one Utah’s laws about pornography and you’ll see how hard it is to access pornography in Utah.
Utah has many attributes that would lead to its high score in this study. For example Dr. Edelman found that states that had these characteristics would have a higher rate of online pornography subscriptions than states that did not meet all of these criteria:
- High Average Income
- A younger overall population
- A large number of college graduates
- Conservative legislation against pornography
- Conservative moral ideas about pornography
These are just a few ideas I’ve had as to why Utah has such a high rate of pornography subscriptions. While the study provides new insights, it does not tell the whole story. The most important thing to remember that it doesn’t matter what social class you belong to or where you live, the negative effects of pornography are everywhere and it’s important to safeguard your family against them.