November 9, 2005 | Testimony on Family and Marriage
Testimony of Jill C. Manning
Before the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rightsand Property Rights Commitee on Judiciary
United States Senate
November 9, 2005
Thank you Senator Brownback, Senator Feingold and distinguished members of the Sub-Committee;
I appreciate this opportunity to address you.
Since the advent of the Internet, the pornography industry has profited from an unprecedented proximity to the home, work and school environments. Consequently, couples, families, and individuals of all ages are being impacted by pornography in new and often devastating ways.
Although many parents work diligently to protect their family from sexually explicit material, research funded by Congress has shown Internet pornography to be "very intrusive." Additionally, we know that a variety of fraudulent, illegal and unethical practices are used to attract new customers and eroticize attitudes that undermine public health and safety. This profit-driven assault jeopardizes the well-being of our youth and violates the privacy of those who wish not to be exposed.
Leading experts in the field of sexual addictions contend on-line sexual activity is "a hidden public health hazard exploding, in part because very few are recognizing it as such or taking it seriously."
Research reveals many systemic effects of Internet pornography that are undermining an already vulnerable culture of marriage and family. Even more disturbing is the fact that the first Internet generations have not reached full-maturity, so the upper-limits of this impact have yet to be realized. Furthermore, the numerous negative effects research point to are extremely difficult, if not impossible, for individual citizens or families to combat on their own.
This testimony is not rooted in anecdotal accounts or personal views, but rather in findings from studies published in peer-reviewed research journals. I have submitted a review of this research to the Committee, and request that it be included in the record.The marital relationship is a logical point of impact to examine because it is the foundational family unit and a sexual union easily destabilized by sexual influences outside the marital contract. Moreover, research indicates the majority of Internet users are married and the majority seeking help for problematic sexual behaviour online are married, heterosexual males. The research indicates pornography consumption is associated with the following six trends, among others:
These trends reflect a cluster of symptoms that undermine the foundation upon which successful marriages and families are established.
While the marital bond may be the most vulnerable relationship to Internet pornography, children and adolescents are the most vulnerable audience.When a child lives in a home where an adult is consuming pornography, he or she encounters the following four risks:
This leadership could unfold in a variety of ways. For example, through:
I thank the Committee for this opportunity to testify and welcome your questions at this time.
For the full research submitted for the record, click here.
The views expressed in this testimony are those of Jill Manning, M.S., and should not be construed as representing any official position of The Heritage Foundation.
 Mitchell, K. J., Finkelhor, D., Wolak, J. (2003). The Exposure of Youth to Unwanted Sexual Material on the Internet: A national survey of risk, impact, and prevention. Youth Society, 34(3), pp. 330-358.
Cooper, A., Delmonico, D. L., Burg, R. (2000). Cybersex users, abusers, and compulsives: New findings and implications. Sexual Addictions Compulsivities, 7, 5-29.