Sexual Behaviors Trouble Students

Article excerpt

Byline: Cheryl Wetzstein, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

First of two parts

Ah, pornography. There's always so much more than meets the eye with this important family issue. University of Maryland students recently attempted to show the X-rated film, Pirates II: Stagnetti's Revenge, complete with 11 sex scenes, on campus.

When Maryland state Sen. Andrew Harris learned of this, he didn't care that Pirates II is the most expensive ($8 million) adult film ever made. He didn't care that its producer, Digital Playground, had sent hundreds of complimentary copies of the film to students on college campuses, purportedly to inspire discussions about modern sexuality, gender roles and adult entertainment.

No, Mr. Harris was outraged that a state-funded university was promoting pornography and threatened to yank its $424 million in state funds. Alarmed university leaders quickly gave a heave-ho to the sex show.

Defiant students, with the help of some staff, regrouped and scheduled an alternative educational event that included 30 minutes of the film.

The 200 students who attended the April 6 event heard a lot about free speech, censorship and adults' rights to see porn, all industry-approved topics.

But was there also discussion about the mounting evidence that viewing pornography can become compulsive, or that porn habits can devastate personal relationships, marriages, families and careers?

Pornography can be compared to Big Tobacco, says recovering sex addict Michael Leahy, who regularly speaks on college campuses about pornography.

In Big Tobacco's heyday, cigarettes were seen as a cheap, harmless form of entertainment that was sophisticated and even chic, Mr. Leahy wrote in his new book, Porn University: What College Students Are Really Saying about Sex on Campus.

For decades, people puffed away in theaters, restaurants, workplaces, cars, homes and bedrooms, thanks in part to the billions of dollars in glamorizing advertising and marketing.

Then people started dying of cancer, emphysema and lung disease; getting sick from second-hand smoke; and getting burned in fires lit by sleeping smokers. …