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Speaker espouses dangers, pitfalls of pornography

Pornography is a $57 billion-a-year industry. The United States alone accounts for $12 billion of total revenue, which surpasses that of ABC, NBC and CBS combined, according to Brigham Young University’s Women’s Services and Resources Web site.

Speaker and self-acclaimed former pornography addict Michael Leahy set out to explain the pitfalls of casual porn use in his multimedia presentation “Porn Nation.” The event drew more than 200 people to the Upper Gym of the Student Recreation Center on Wednesday and featured prepared videos as well as lecture sessions.

“(My goal) really is to educate students about what pornography is, how it affects you,” he said. “Also, I’ll answer the question: ‘Are there any harmful effects in terms of the way porn affects you – in the way you view yourself, in the way you view others?'”

Campus Crusade for Christ is sponsoring the event nationwide, but Leahy emphasizes that his beliefs on porn are not influenced by his faith.

“While my value system may have changed over time, my early belief system was heavily influenced by pornography and the sexual revolution of the 1960s and ’70s.” Leahy said. “In fact, I purposely try to stay away from any kind of value judgments.”

Leahy, a former employee of IBM, blames pornography for ruining his marriage of 13 years and coloring his personal reaction toward women for years. He likened his addiction to porn to that of alcoholism or other drug-related dependencies, and he even completed a 12-step program to defeat what he saw as an affliction.

He calls this disease “sex syndrome.”

“Sex syndrome by definition is a condition where we actually experience a decrease in our capacity for sexual pleasure and intimacy as we are increasingly exposed to hypersexual, hypersensitive material,” Leahy said.

As part of his presentation, Leahy points to scientific data to support his claims and encourages students to take his online survey. The survey, a sexual addiction-screening test, can be found at

USF instructor of Human Sexual Behavior Jodi Nettleton remains skeptical.

“There is no research in our field that states that pornography is linked with increased sexual aggression,” she said. “If I wanted to find something that says that it is good to have your nails cut at a sharp angle, I bet I could get online and find that document.”