Porn University: What College Students Are Really Saying about Sex on Campus

Porn University: What College Students Are Really Saying about Sex on Campus

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by Michael Leahy
     
 

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Porn University reveals the startling results of a brand new study on the sexual attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors of more than 25,000 college and university students on more than 100 campuses all over America.

The revealing results offer a closer look at the shifting sexual trends and histories of the next generation of leaders in America.

Overview

Porn University reveals the startling results of a brand new study on the sexual attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors of more than 25,000 college and university students on more than 100 campuses all over America.

The revealing results offer a closer look at the shifting sexual trends and histories of the next generation of leaders in America. Included are commentary and analysis from the author and other experts in this field on key findings and discoveries, as well as predictions of where the sexual trends of tomorrow might be headed.  

There are an estimated 18-22 million male and female sex addicts in America today, and the average American teen is exposed to over 14,000 sexual images and messages every year through our mainstream media. This is the new reality.

Don’t be discouraged. There is hope!

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781575673332
Publisher:
Moody Publishers
Publication date:
03/26/2009
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
176
File size:
2 MB

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Porn University

What College Students are Really Saying About Sex on Campus


By Michael Leahy, Christopher Reese

Northfield Publishing

Copyright © 2009 Michael Leahy
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-57567-333-2



CHAPTER 1

BACK TO SCHOOL


As an activist of sorts on the subject of pornography and the sexualization of our culture, I'm often asked, "Why do you speak mainly to college students? Shouldn't you be spending more time talking about this with younger kids?" It's a good question; since the average age of first exposure to porn is twelve to thirteen years of age (and falling), it would seem to make more sense for me to target preteens with my message about the hidden dangers and long-term consequences of porn consumption. But while on the surface this might seem more logical, the truth is I speak more often to college students than I do to any other demographic group because that's where I was when what eventually became my thirty-year relationship with porn started to escalate. Like many college students today, I wasn't just a casual consumer of porn. I was one of the industry's biggest fans! For that reason, I think my strongest audience connection has been and always will be with college students.

I was eleven years old when I was first exposed to porn. Porn fascinated me. I liked it a lot. Even though the material was not nearly as accessible then as it is today, I diligently stayed on the lookout for it. But there was a small obstacle keeping me from openly pursuing my passion for porn—my parents. Like most preteens, I lived under my parents' roof and would continue to do so throughout high school. They were the lawgivers, and I never had to guess how they might have felt about my perusing a Playboy or Penthouse magazine here or there: I fully expected that my life as I knew it would cease to exist! In fact, the whole subject of sex was pretty much off-limits in our home, or so I thought.

Therefore, like most of my peers, I ogled over the images in secret. Whatever porn I found lying out in the woods or carelessly tossed in the neighbor's garbage, I confiscated it and kept it in secret stashes well hidden from others. That's part of what made it all so exciting to me back then. The danger, the intrigue. Maybe those were also the early seeds of what would later blossom into a pretty large dose of teenage rebellion. Of course, most of my friends didn't care one way or the other about my use of porn. It was expected and all of the guys did it, or so it seemed to me. But since the risks of getting caught were just too great compared to the hassle of finding and hiding the stuff, more socially acceptable pursuits started to take up the majority of my time—sports, hanging out with friends, and family activities. Porn would go on the back burner until it became easier to access and hide, and before it would take center stage in my life again.


OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS

As it turned out, my friends and I wouldn't have to wait all that long. Once I got to college, porn was the norm in campus life. I attended Eastern Washington University, a small liberal arts school just outside of my hometown of Spokane, Washington. As a student athlete recruited to play football, I arrived in midsummer of 1976. It didn't take me long to realize that while there would still be teachers, administrators, and other adult authority figures I'd have to contend with, porn was generally seen as no big deal. Living in the dorms and later off campus was a far different environment than being at home. From the standpoint of living out my porn-inspired sexual beliefs, I was free—free at last!

Life in the dorms was pretty wide-open sexually back then too, much like it is now. Of course, that doesn't mean it was a nonstop orgy like stories I'd heard about campus life at some colleges during the sexual revolution of the late '60s. But no one seemed to care much if you had a "visitor" stay the night in your room (except for maybe your roommate). For the most part, as long as no one got hurt, we figured you could do whatever you wanted to sexually. And the porn that was our inspiration, our blueprint of human sexuality, flowed just as freely as the sex it inspired. While we didn't have Playboy magazines lying around in the common areas of the dorms, they were prevalent behind closed doors. Once I moved out of the dorms into off-campus housing, porn was THE status symbol for independent male living. Having porn magazines and videos lying around in plain sight was compelling evidence that we had cut the cord from Mom and Dad and were on our own, that we were truly adults now fully capable of legally enjoying adult entertainment. Of course, they were temporarily replaced by Field and Stream whenever our parents paid a visit.

Going to college amid this newfound sexual liberation and freedom was intoxicating. Not just because of the communal nature of our environment, but also because we could pursue a hedonistic lifestyle with a total lack of accountability. We found ourselves wrapped in this cocoon of relative protection from the outside world while at the same time free from the inquiring eyes of our parents and other authority figures who might be wondering what we were up to.

Of course, that world suited me just fine. I studied hard, played harder, and experienced life pretty much on my own terms. The influence of my parents and the values and social mores of their generation were quickly abandoned and replaced by those of my own and my peers'. Throughout my life, pornography and the remnants of the sexual revolution of the late '60s—my older siblings' generation—had a great impact on me. What I didn't realize was that it also played a key role in the formation of my sexual belief system. In college, I was able to live those beliefs out loud, unencumbered by what other people thought of me or whether or not they judged me. I was my own man now, living by my own rules. As a result, memories of my college days are punctuated with recollections of all-night parties, plenty of drinking and drugging, and a lot of casual sex and one-night stands. Always thinking about having sex. Doing it. Fantasizing about it. Then thinking about it some more. Some would say this sexual exploration and experimentation is an understandable rite of passage at that age, but for me it was always about far more than that. It was also about filling a deeper need for connection, about feeling wanted and accepted. Yet I never sought those things out in the context of a committed relationship. That just sounded like too much work to me. Casual sex, on the other hand, was easy. Especially in college. For me college was all about variety and playing the field and sexual conquests. It's what most guys I hung out with back then were all about—sex as a type of collegiate sport. And yes, it's true. A lot of us even kept score.

At the same time, many of the women I remember in college seemed like they were on a quest of their own. Some appeared motivated by finding true love during their college years, but most that I knew were all about making friends, getting a degree, and having fun along the way, which included having sex. Friendships on campus came easily, and the opportunities were endless. Then there were the friends who offered something extra, often referred to today as "friends with benefits"—girls and guys who were willing to have casual sex with no emotional or relational strings attached. At least that's what we tried to do. In the end a lot of feelings inevitably got hurt, so there seemed to be a lot more students who were into one-night stands than into ongoing "friends with benefits" arrangements.

In the years that followed, I continued to consume porn and pursue sex as a recreational sport. But soon sex was less about recreation and more about satisfying the growing sexual urges I had developed. For instance, getting together with friends after work was never really about just being with friends. There was always an underlying plan to get away at some point in the evening so I could go out and score. I'd troll the bar scene, always on the lookout for a woman whom I thought might sleep with me that night. To go home alone was to end the night in bitter defeat. Disappointed, yet motivated to do better the next time around, it became a game of maintaining emotional equilibrium. My belief was that I had worked hard and was entitled to some fun, even if it came at another person's expense. I still wasn't really looking for a committed, lasting relationship. I was mainly just looking for sex. I needed it to feel a sense of worth and significance, to feel good about myself and who I was. To be a real man in the way I always saw real men portrayed in porn. That was my ideal, to become fulfilled and satisfied as a sexual conqueror of women.

Meeting the woman who would later become my wife was never my plan. It just kind of happened. I was out at a bar with some friends, doing my usual routine of scoping out the dance floor looking for prospects, when I accidentally bumped into Patty. I was living in Seattle at the time but attending a sales training class in Atlanta, and she certainly looked the part of the modern-day Southern belle to me. One dance led to another, and one date led to many more, until I found myself standing at the altar one day getting married. We were definitely in love so getting married seemed like the right thing to do. The only problem was that my desire for a pornographic lifestyle hadn't really abated all that much. If anything, the stress and strain of the next few years of married life only increased my desire to pursue the "Great Escape" of my youth, that being masturbating to pornography in secret. When the stress or pressure would start to build up, or the boredom of my life would settle in, I would turn to my mood-altering drug to rescue me from the trials and tribulations of life and the emotional ups and downs of a real, committed relationship.

Many years and two children later, while still secretly using pornography, I discovered a new world of porn on the Internet while at work as a salesman in the computer industry. Suddenly, I found myself rapidly falling into a black hole of sorts with no defined limits on what kind of porn or how much I could see and experience. As was my custom, I indulged. And I quickly started to lose control. Eventually, even Internet porn didn't offer enough to keep me sufficiently interested and aroused. By now, my thought life was increasingly wrapped up in sexual thoughts and fantasies. Affair scenarios involving other women seemed to pop up constantly. By the time a real woman walked into my office one day and started flirting with me and making advances, I was an affair waiting to happen.

By the time she and I had exchanged a few flirtatious phone conversations and business meetings, I was well on my way to having an affair. Several months after it began, I confessed it to my wife, who was already beginning to suspect that something wasn't right. Eighteen months later, after what could only be described as an all-consuming, totally self-absorbed, increasingly compulsive and addictive relationship with this other woman, I divorced my wife of fifteen years and broke up our family of two boys.

I also lost my job and an opportunity at a promising business partnership with my brother. Friends and family soon abandoned me as well, and disappearing with them was my reputation and sense of self-worth.

Eventually, I gave up on my affair partner after discovering that she was also sleeping with at least five other guys who were also married and had families. I had gotten exactly what I deserved, and ironically enough, just what I was looking for—the kind of woman you find portrayed in porn. It had been a year since my divorce when I made this discovery. By then, my ex-wife had found somebody else as well, and not believing that I would ever change, was truly moving on with her life. I hit rock bottom around that time and even became suicidal as I started to wake up to the reality of the consequences I had invited into my life. That was about ten years ago. While I had achieved many of the goals and dreams I had set for my life back when I was a college student—a successful career, a wonderful marriage and family, lots of friends, a comfortable lifestyle living in the suburbs—I had somehow traded it all in for a lie and still wasn't sure how I could have been so stupid, so ignorant, so blind and unaware of what was going on around me to let a lifetime of hopes and dreams suddenly slip away like that. This is an abridged version of the more detailed story I tell about my journey through sexual addiction in my first book, Porn Nation: Conquering America's #1 Addiction.


BACK TO THE FUTURE

The development of my sexual attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors from the time I was a college student up until the present day has greatly influenced the choices I've made throughout my life, large and small. As a teen and twenty- something, I basically rebelled against what I thought was a sexually repressed, puritanical upbringing because I thought I knew it all, including what it meant to be a real man. I was convinced that Hugh Hefner had it right, that real men were sexually liberated conquerors and real women were sex starved and sensuous playthings whose main purpose in life was to give men sexual pleasure. So I indulged as much as I could. While some chose to remain abstinent during that season of life, and others would occasionally dip their toes in the pool of sexual exploration just to test the water, I was out there swimming laps in what felt like a race against time, convinced that my peers who weren't indulging were sticks-in-the-mud who were missing out on a good and harmless thing. In my later years, as I became wiser to the realities of love, sex, relationships, and even porn, I constantly found myself fighting battles in my mind and in my body against the lies I had told myself, lies that had created a considerable amount of inertia that was constantly pushing me in the opposite direction of where I wanted to go with my life. Even as my sexual attitudes and beliefs were slowly starting to change, certain sexual behaviors and habit patterns were slow to follow after decades of entrenched thinking and doing. These habitual patterns would take much more work and far longer to change than I ever imagined.

Because I bought into all things pornographic back in college, I paradoxically have found myself back on college campuses sharing my personal life story and the lessons I learned along the way with today's college students. Some might call it fate; others consider it a vocation or a calling. I like to think that when the consequences of my choices finally broke me and my self-will, that the God of the universe reached down and mercifully steered me back to the very place where I wildly and willfully veered off course. I know that in my recovery I've had to go back several times to that point of interruption in my emotional and psychological development to deal with some very real issues that sent me off course. I've learned by observing my redemptive journey and those of others that it's not unusual to see some of the most passionate people helping others in areas that represent the greatest personal struggles and obstacles that they themselves have faced.

Like consulting a frequent traveler who knows every bend and hill along the trail that he's spent his whole life walking, we can all benefit from others' experience and learn to recognize the signs that we might have missed the first time around. That's called wisdom, and it's a rare and valuable gift that is not easily found or kept. With wisdom we see the things we were once blind to, and feel the things we were once numb to. Hard lessons learned are often ignored, causing many to shy away from past experiences in the hopes of forgetting the pain and disappointment. Yet some of us have been drawn back to them, embracing these defining moments of our past in the hopes that others headed down that same path might heed our warnings. Like a lone sentry patiently waiting to shine a light or sound a warning to all who come our way, we do this because we realize we may be the only hope they have of passing safely by. The question that remains is whether they will heed our warning, or blindly continue on by as we once did, convinced that our intellect or education or cunning is enough to dictate a different outcome.

The truth is, we are all living in a culture today that increasingly caters to our senses with the aim of creating insatiable appetites for goods and services. It's consumerism of the highest order, driven by the producer's pursuit of profits and the consumer's desire for immediate gratification and novelty. In this world, pornography and all things pornographic are modern-day "eye candy" that beckons us to come hither and explore. It calls out to us, offering a deeper connection with our desires than many of us were allowed to imagine while growing up. For some of us who grew up with a penchant for porn, we made such pursuits part of our "Great Escape," a secret fantasy world where for a time we could numb the pain, the guilt and shame, the anxiety, even the boredom that crept uninvited into our daily lives. Too young to grasp or even care about the price such pursuits would exact from us in later years, we continued to slip out of sight on occasion to sip the elixir and taste the forbidden fruit.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Porn University by Michael Leahy, Christopher Reese. Copyright © 2009 Michael Leahy. Excerpted by permission of Northfield Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

MICHAEL LEAHY has captured the nation's attention by speaking out on the topic no one wants to talk about. He is founder and Executive Director of BraveHearts, a non-profit organization whose goal is to build a global healing community of ¿brave hearts¿, and is author of Porn Nation, Porn @ Work, and Porn University. He has appeared on national television programs, in major media publications, and nationally syndicated radio programs. He and his wife, Christine, currently reside in the Washington, D.C. area.

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