This past April, Utah Gov. Gary R. Herbert signed two new pieces of legislation declaring pornography “a public health crisis” in his state. Sponsored by Utah Sen. Todd Weiler (R-Salt Lake), the bill claims that watching porn increases “the demand for sex trafficking, prostitution, child sexual abuse images, and child pornography.” Beyond equating porn consumption with a rise in sex-related crime, the bill further argues that porn is addictive, therefore constituting a health epidemic.

Emboldened by local supporters like anti-porn organization Fight the New Drug (which offers “facts” about the dangers of pornography like “porn hates families” and “porn leads to violence”), Utah’s anti-porn movement reached a fever pitch when Herbert introduced these measures saying porn leads to “a broad spectrum of individual and public health impacts and societal harms.”

Reverberations of this sentiment can be felt far beyond Utah.

A country-wide ban on pornography has been proposed in Iceland, and in the UK, Prime Minister David Cameron established online “porn filters,” which the EU later deemed illegal. Elsewhere on the net, a Reddit-born, abstinence-based movement called No Fapping offers a “variety of tools and services to those affected by pornography.” Members’ testimonials include glimpses of life post-masturbation, and claims of higher libidos, healthier relationships, and more robust social lives.

With so much clashing information about porn and addiction, I sought to separate fact from fiction, and science from moralized mythology.

This led me to Trevor* and Buck*.