I work in an adult video store, and I’ve come to see that pornography is not a “public health crisis” or even an “addiction” in any meaningful sense of the word.

The majority of my customers appear to be everyday, regular guys. In the 19 months I’ve been there, I’ve never watched any porn myself.

Someone said to me recently, “You must have a great DVD collection.” I replied, “Yes, I have the entire series of ‘I Love Lucy,’ and ...”

“No, I mean porn.”

“Oh, I have two porn DVDs, I think.”

“Two?”

“I’d rather watch ‘Miss Congeniality’ or ‘The Vicar of Dibley’.”

Being around porn all the time didn’t lead me down the path to “addiction” any more than looking at it occasionally over the years did. My husband watches porn more than I do, and that’s fine with me. But it certainly doesn’t control our lives.

In graduate school, I took a course on human sexuality. One day, the professor showed us pornographic slides. After each photo, he asked, “Who is offended by this?” There was a show of hands. “Who finds this erotic?” Another show of hands followed. “Who wants to ban this kind of material?” There was yet another show of hands.

He continued with more photos of pretty much every type of porn. Some people found certain photos objectionable, wanting to ban this or that one. Then came the professor’s last question:

“Who in here wants someone else to decide for them what they can and can’t see?”

Not a single hand went up.

Parents have every right to put restrictions on the phones and computers of minor children. And clearly society has a moral obligation to protect people against fringe producers who coerce people into sex. But those are separate issues. (One doesn’t ban all producers of baby formula, for example, because a few unethical companies add harmful ingredients to boost their product’s protein content artificially.)

If pornography causes harm to a marriage, there are a thousand other things we do every day that can cause harm, too, and I don’t think banning this one thing is going to “save” any particular marriage.

What’s also clear is that the LDS Church is leading this anti-porn campaign and, while they’re free to teach their members anything they want, it’s not appropriate for them to dictate secular laws that affect all people.

The church says that any porn use is a “problem.” But the only time it’s a problem is if it keeps you from living a competent life. For example, does it prevent you from performing well at work? From feeding your kids?

After a health issue 18 years ago, I found myself taking long naps on my days off. I was concerned, as I’d always used my time “productively.”

So I talked to a counselor, who basically said, “Do you enjoy your naps?”

“Yes.”

“Is there important work you’re not getting done because of them?”

“No.”

“So what exactly is the problem?”

Moral expectation was the problem. Once I accepted that napping wasn’t a moral failing of some sort, the “problem” disappeared. Not the napping, the problem. I think porn “issues” are often the same thing. They’re only a problem because we think they are.

We are facing many legitimate crises in our society. Opioid addiction. Gun violence. Suicide. Domestic abuse. If there are issues we need to solve to make the world a better place, porn is nowhere near the top of the list. Let’s focus our public resources where they’re really needed.

| Courtesy Johnny Townsend, op-ed mug.

Johnny Townsend, Seattle, is the author of “Behind the Bishop’s Door” and many other collections of Mormon short stories.