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Pornhub Blocks Access in Five More States Over Age Verification Laws

Published: JULY 2, 2024 | Updated: JULY 2, 2024
Five more states won't have access to Pornhub as of July 1st. Here's why.

In response to more states adopting legislation that requires porn sites to verify a user’s age through documentation such as a Driver’s License or passport, Pornhub is blocking access in five more states, according to a recent blog post. The adult entertainment giant has already shut down in seven other states with nearly identical laws, including Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, Utah, and Virginia. 


The next five states on the spank-session chopping block are Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, and Nebraska. 

Are age verification laws doing more harm than good?

The more recent age verification laws are similar to the one passed in Louisiana, which went into effect on January 1st. These laws are just another wave in the conservative-led “Won’t somebody please think of the children!” moral panic. The broad language and poor implementations of age verification legislation has raised concerns over privacy and free speech as well as questions about how these laws could be used to harm vulnerable communities. 

And so far, these laws doesn't even seem to be accomplishing their stated goal of protecting children from accessing pornography. Pornhub’s parent company, Aylo, told The Indiana Capitol Chronicle that though they were “one of the few websites” that followed Louisiana’s new law, doing so has caused more harm than good.


“Since [Jan.1, 2023], our traffic in Louisiana dropped approximately 80%. These people did not stop looking for porn,” Aylo said. “They just migrated to darker corners of the internet that don’t ask users to verify age, that don’t follow the law, that don’t take user safety seriously, and that often don’t even moderate content... In practice, the laws have just made the internet more dangerous for adults and children."

Privacy concerns are also rampant. With people needing to upload government-issued IDs to either Pornhub or a third-party verification service, everyone’s information is at high risk for theft and fraud.

The actual process of age verification isn’t free, either. Each verification costs money, and with millions of users a day, that becomes expensive quickly.


Considering the complications, Pornhub has made the decision to not operate in states with age verification laws. While they support keeping kids off their site, Aylo has recommended device-based identification as a more effective common-sense measure.

The broader implications of age verification laws

The vague language in these age verification laws is yet another major red flag. According to the text of Indiana’s Bill 17, age verification requirements can apply to any "publicly accessible website that publishes material harmful to minors, if at least one-third (1/3) of the images and videos published on the website depict material harmful to minors.”

So, what is considered harmful to minors?


According to IN Code § 35-49-2-2 (2023), “harmful to minors” means:

(1) it describes or represents, in any form, nudity, sexual conduct, sexual excitement, or sado-masochistic abuse;

(2) considered as a whole, it appeals to the prurient interest in sex of minors;


(3) it is patently offensive to prevailing standards in the adult community as a whole with respect to what is suitable matter for or performance before minors; and

(4) considered as a whole, it lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for minors.

If the term “prurient interest” rings a bell, it's because that's the language many states used in legislation aimed at banning books and Drag shows. Combine the term “prurient” with “prevailing standards in the adult community” and it's easy to see how these laws could be used to hurt queer kids. 


A concerned parent, or any Karen or Chad, could lobby their local officials to put age verification on websites with resources for LGBTQIA+ youth, pretty much banning sites for groups like The Trevor Project. Of course, there's no way to be certain this would happen. But considering how book bannings have been going, there is more than enough reason to be concerned. And given the purposely vague way age verification laws are written, it definitely could happen.

Another scary feature of the Indiana bill is the ability for parents to take civil action against a site if their child gets around the verification, which is all too easy with VPNs. So, any parent with a tech-savvy kid could sue any website the state decides falls under the purview of the age verification laws.

Putting together the privacy concerns, vague language, and difficulty enforcing these practices, it's easier for many sites to stop operating in certain states rather than open themselves up to litigation. The chilling effects this could have on free speech is nothing to sneeze at. 

Even if it is just porn. 

Justin Perlman

Justin Perlman has written about sex, dating, LGBTQIA+ issues, and Pop culture for Philadelphia Weekly, Women's Health Interactive, and Kinkly. He lives with his wife, two cats (Superintendent Chalmers & Dr. Whoopsy Daisy), and a puppy (Walton Doggins).

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