'Porn is a public health crisis': experts call for government inquiry into health effects of porn. sex therapist Mary Hodson (2017)

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Martin Tasker 1 NEWS Sport Reporter (Link to Article & Video)

Pornography might be a difficult subject to discuss for many, but experts say it is causing huge damage to individuals and the community. There are calls for a parliamentary inquiry into the public health effects and societal harms of pornography. There are now calls for a parliamentary inquiry into the public health effects and societal harms of what's being described as a "public health crisis".

Anti violence campaigner, Richie Hardcore first discovered porn when he was just 10-years-old.

While he's never been addicted and has since stopped, Mr Hardcore says porn did shape his views of sex and relationships negatively.

"With all the focus on the physical side of things, you know there's never any discussion about mutuality of pleasure or feelings or intimacy, porn's very mechanical and it follows a set narrative," he said.

Technology has made adult content more readily available than ever before.

There's now a generation who've been educated about sex through the internet.

One mother said her son is only 12-year-old and watching pornography.

"He was searching for how to have sex, he was looking at x-rated videos every single day," she said.

"I think long term, there will be issues to do with his social interactions with women."

Mary Hodson is a sex therapist who has seen the consequences of porn addiction first hand.

"Their sexual intimacy skills are not appropriate they're more about what they've learned as they've watched porn and their partners are starting to say things like, ' I feel that it's disconnected, maybe even abusive'," she said.

Ms Hodson represents over 20 sex therapy clinics nationwide and believes New Zealand's at a tipping point. 

"We're seeing a lot of young men now in the early 20s age group, who have met all their needs through masturbation and internet porn and once they get into a relationship they find they have erectile dysfunction."

Now the Chief Censor wants the government and regulators to intervene, with a comprehensive approach that includes education and discussion, suggesting Kiwis need to be concerned about the harm from pornography.

"Porn is a public health crisis," said  Family First director, Bob McCoskrie.

Family First has launched a petition, calling for a parliamentary enquiry into the health effects.

"I think they should be open enough to appoint an expert panel and wait to see what they say, I think they should be open enough and honest enough to say, yeah okay let's look at the research," said Mr McCoskrie.

Labour, the Green Party and Act agree more research is needed. 

New Zealand First and the Maori Party are still unsure. 

But National and United Future say the health impact of porn, for them, is not a priority.