Archive for the ‘Sex Issue’ Category

Critiquing the Student Life sex issue

Wednesday, February 13th, 2008 | Jill Strominger

Every year, I have to ask myself two basic questions about why Student Life chooses Valentine’s Day to publish a sex issue. The first is: Why does Student Life publish a sex issue? The second is, assuming publishing a sex issue makes sense, why are we publishing it on Valentine’s Day? I believe taking a holiday about love and collapsing it with sex is a mistake. But, as a Forum editor, I have an obligation to write a column for this issue. Still, as a philosophy student, I have an obligation to question the foundations of my obligations. Ergo the following absurd sex issue column.

I have to ask why a newspaper staff feels the need to use its pages to publish an issue about sex. We are far from experts on sexuality, we’re a group that students are supposed to be trusted to report and analyze newsworthy issues. Sure, sex makes for an issue that’s flashy, fun and far more interesting than the latest decision made by the Washington University administration. But are we selling out in the same way papers did when they devoted story after story to covering the more “interesting” Anna Nicole Smith situation? Is it right for a paper to put out an edition that has such little news value? Using the same heading and name it uses for its regular editions?

There are arguments to be made for having a sex issue. You could argue that putting sex out there is important for recognizing sex as a natural part of human existence, and that this is an important step our society needs to take. You could argue that we’re a college newspaper so we should be allowed to have issues that are not focused on newsworthy stories. You could argue that stories about sex do contain important and relevant news for college students.

I still disagree with it. But, assuming we are going to run a sex issue, why are we running it on Valentine’s Day?

Valentine’s Day is supposed to be about love, and particularly in college I think we collapse sex and love far too often. Maybe it’s because right now we’re at a time in our lives where we can’t fully make sense of love. Maybe we’re at the point where we can make sense of sex though. You can see the cause and at least some of the effects right away. Maybe sex is easier, less complicated. The act of sex has obvious stages that can be classified in textbooks. The act of sex has an obvious end. The act of hooking up is finite; we can analyze it. The questions leftover from the notorious “morning after” are rarely questions about sex itself; they’re the more complex questions about love and security.

In so many ways, sex is an answer while love is a question. The act of sex is biology. The act of love is a bunch of questions-it’s philosophy. It’s not a static comfortable space in the world. Love is a question that has to be answered everyday and over time, but primarily everyday. You can’t put together a checklist and know you’ve found love. You find out each morning as you balance your classes, homework, doctors’ appointments, checkbook, hopes, dreams, emotional swings and the needs of the people you love. You answer the question each morning as they do the same.

It’s adding up the way we answer the question of love on a daily basis that defines our relationships with the people we love. It makes an impossible news story. It doesn’t make for good gossip. It does make a satisfying life.

I propose that on the day of the year that is supposed to be devoted to love, we actually think about love. About our family, our friends and also our romantic interests. Let’s pick another day and possibly another venue to analyze sex.

Jill is a junior in Arts & Sciences and a Forum Editor. She can be reached via e-mail at [email protected].

Baseless sex: The Wash. U. hook-up scene

Wednesday, February 13th, 2008 | Shayna Makaron

Remember that huge crush you had on that cute kid in your seventh grade pre-algebra class? You daydreamed in class about how you’d totally go to first base with him after your parents dropped you off at the movies. Maybe even second base if you were one of those girls.

Oh yes, the bases certainly do bring back fond memories of when any sexual encounter could be summed up in a simple, baseball-inspired response to the question, “How far did you go?” And while the bases were a way to discuss our young sex lives in a sort of secret code, they were also a system of checkpoints in the natural progression of a sexual relationship.

By junior year in high school, our fondness for the bases had diminished, and the terminology had completely disappeared by the time we arrived at Wash. U.

Now we use “hooking up,” generally defined as anything from kissing to sex, in order to obscure the dirty details.

So what about the system of checkpoints? It’s pretty obvious that things have changed since seventh grade at the movies. If the majority of girls are expected to give head during the first hook-up, does that mean giving head is the new “first base?”

Despite what you may be thinking, this does not appear to be the case. At most, the traditional first and second bases (that is, making out and feeling up) seem to have been combined into one, and blow jobs are the new hand jobs.

But as for a general campus mentality on hooking up, most students choose to set their own standards.

Junior Whitney Button explains, “What’s more important than defining what is appropriate and inappropriate is making sure that you are comfortable with what you’re doing and you feel safe. It’s just something you need to judge for yourself.”

Most students agree that the promiscuous hook-up culture is far more popular among underclassmen, but that does not necessarily determine what comprises the sexual experiences. The possibility of dating, however, does often change how the relationship progresses.

Pat Fahey, a sophomore currently in a relationship, says that he likes to, “take things at a much slower pace if [he] thinks it might lead to a relationship.” Fahey also noted that many of his friends have also chosen to “settle down” this year and take it slowly.

Making your own decisions dependent upon the situation is considered to be far more fashionable than pre-designating certain acts as necessary or taboo.

“I think people should accept the fact that as human beings, our natural instincts are to have sex,” explains senior Laelle Busch. “People will do with that as they please and shouldn’t be judged one way or the other-active or inactive.”

So the next time you run into that hottie from Calc II subsection and agree to go back to his room, there’s no need to turn it into a play-by-play of the other night’s Cardinals game. But if you feel like you’re ready to make it to home plate, make sure he’s wearing a glove.

The Contest: Getting Freudian

Wednesday, February 13th, 2008 | Dennis Sweeney

We have this thing, the people I live with and myself, and it’s about not masturbating. It’s this contest, consecrated a Saturday ago at 10 in the evening, where we put in five dollars, and the last man standing gets the 25 bucks. It’s on the honor system, of course.

We couldn’t let in people who had girlfriends. The assumption is that they don’t need to do it anyway.

And, would you believe it, one of my suitemates has already bitten the dust. Less than one full week without-well, you know-and he capitulates. “Yeah, but I already had gone three days before that,” he told us while he was still in the contest. Kind of a premature excuse, it was.

The point is that it is physically difficult for most guys to participate in this kind of challenge. You look at a guy, and a lot of times you say, “There’s no way he does that. You know. That.” Thing is, though, he probably does. One fellow in my suite who I could have sworn never masturbates, and never even needs to, was complaining after the first day of competition. “Good sir,” I told him, “I didn’t even think you ever did anyway.”

We have these conceptions about people, and we carry them through the majority of our life, and they are generally applicable in whatever way we need them to be. That guy is really good-looking, that guy is a total cheeseball, that guy can bench press 225 pounds. That girl is beautiful, that girl has a bizarre sense of humor, that girl is just one of the guys. We assume that our conceptions of people are somewhat absolute and that today and tomorrow they will be true. But, I say, human sexuality is the great leveler.

It’s pretty weird to use our (not) masturbating contest as an example, but it’s currently what we’ve got on our hands. I am sorry to say that it does not include any observation whatsoever about the autoerotic habits of women. I can’t say too much about that, because I don’t know.

But I am pretty confident in asserting that no matter whom you are talking to, one of their primary drives is sexual.

I hate to get Freudian and say it’s our sole purpose in life, but one thing is pretty unarguable-that the reason we (and all other animals) evolved the way we did is because we are good at having sex with each other.

It’s kind of sad because most of the time we pretend that’s not the case. Freudian again, I guess, but flirtation and dating and all that jazz are just a bunch of speed bumps on the road to sex. Unromantic perhaps, but it often is the case. We habitually bide our time and delay the inevitable so we don’t feel dirty when the actual time comes. My ever-wise roommate says: “Denny, everybody wants sex, so I don’t understand why I’m not having sex all the time.” I’m with him. He’s a good-looking fellow.

Sure, social constructs and everything. But the truth is like the “Everybody poops” paradigm, except it speaks to, instead of a relatively involuntary natural urge, a main motivation behind most people’s actions. Everybody, then, is an extremely sexual being. It’s a crucial part of understanding people.

Our idea as a suite was to start some kind of Adultfriendfinder.com at Wash. U. This might be a little much. But the least we can do is remember that everyone is driven by sexuality. It might be nice if we could all put aside just a little of the “No, I don’t do that!” pretense.

I think we can safely say, with my roommate, that everybody wants sex, in some form or another. So, really, why aren’t we all doing it all the time?

Dennis is a sophomore in Arts & Sciences and a Forum editor. He can be reached via e-mail at [email protected].

Into ear sex? Go for it

Wednesday, February 13th, 2008 | Katie Ammann

I’m sure a lot of you have seen the episode of “Family Guy” that involves Meg having “ear sex.” That’s right-an expression of love involving the insertion of the male sex organ into his partner’s ear. This episode was particularly hilarious, since it addressed the issues couples face when they decide why, when and how to have sexual relationships.

Of course, people can have sex (or ear sex, or oral sex or abstinent relationships) for many reasons. Clearly it’s important to consider not only your own but also your partner’s personal desires, moral beliefs, religious interests and comfort level in the relationship. If there’s anything that one person isn’t ready for, it shouldn’t be done. If a long-term relationship is what you’re looking for, make sure your partner’s in it for the long haul too; if you just want someone to snatch up for the night and return in the morning, make sure he or she is also looking for that from you.

Also, there’s still some controversy over what actually counts as “sex.” Some say it’s only vaginal intercourse; others say virginity is lost when oral sex occurs. I say it’s about the way what you’re doing makes you feel. If sex is pure fun to you, just remember that to someone else it may be the ultimate expression of love, and to someone else it may be what consummates a marriage. (These can all overlap, obviously.)

If you get the same emotional connection or pleasure out of oral sex, that’s great too. Or if ear sex is what fl oats your boat, rock on and lose your ear virginity.

Short- and long-term physical relationships take a lot of trust, thought, discussion and experimentation; so does love. There are countless ways for couples to express devotion and care in physical and nonphysical ways. You can write notes to each other, cuddle up and watch a movie, get a little playful in bed or, like Meg and her boyfriend, get a little creative. As long as you know what messages you’re sending and you are ready to take on the delights and challenges you’ll encounter, you’re all set to give and receive great feelings.

These were more or less (read: a little bit) like the ideas found in the “Family Guy” episode. Meg made decisions and discoveries about love, “real” sex and ear sex, although it only took her 23 minutes or so. Our lives are so full of possibilities for interpersonal emotions, symbolism and physicality that sometimes it’s hard to remember that we’ve got to be introspective to know how to handle it all. Through that introspection, love yourself and know yourself. Give what you want to give; don’t let anything be taken away from you.

As you find, keep or even end relationships, keep a level head. Remember the people who’ve been there all along, remember the good times in all of your relationships, and love, in different ways, as many people as you can. If you choose to have what Borat calls “sexy time,” be safe, careful and confident. And the next time you run into someone from Wash. U.’s a cappella group More Fools than Wise, let them do what they do best-“giving it to ya in the earhole.”

Sex, music and our evolving toleration

Wednesday, February 13th, 2008 | Altin Sila

I was browsing through YouTube videos the other day when I came across an episode of “Crossfire” from 1985 in which the brilliant Frank Zappa was the guest. He had come onto the show after testifying before Congress about the possibility of government censorship of popular music. Tipper Gore and many other politicians’ wives had become very upset over the sexual lyrics of some of the popular music at the time and Zappa, along with many other musicians, appeared in front of Congress to defend music and stand against government censorship.

As I watched the older conservatives hurl insults at Zappa for supporting such “garbage,” I began to realize how sex has always been a controversial component of popular music. I also began to realize how far we’ve come as a society in terms of what we tolerate, despite the controversies.

In 1956, Elvis Presley was the most obscene performer popular music had ever seen, because he shook his hips and made girls go crazy. He was so obscene that Ed Sullivan refused to show his hip-shaking on television in 1956 and forced his cameramen to only shoot Elvis from the waist up. That same year, a judge in Jacksonville threatened to have Elvis arrested if he shook his hips onstage.

In 1967, Jimi Hendrix shocked many of the hippies at the Monterey Pop Festival when he essentially made love to his guitar on stage (before setting it on fire). Shortly thereafter, his onstage performance frightened many preteens when his band opened for the Monkees on tour.

In 1968, John Lennon and Yoko Ono released an album called “Two Virgins” in which the two posed nude on the cover. Many copies were confiscated by state governments and most stores sold the album in brown paper bags.

After Congress intervened in the 1980s, the familiar “Parental Advisory” label became required on albums containing content deemed indecent by the Recording Industry Association of America.

And who can forget the events of this decade? Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” resulted in the largest fine the Federal Communications Commission has ever given out, and Madonna and Britney Spears’ onstage kiss caused an uproar.

Yet we still tolerate quite a lot. Lil’ Jon is free to yell “skeet skeet skeet” on the radio, and Soulja Boy can talk about super-soaking hos. I wonder what that Jacksonville judge might have to say about that.

So, where does all this leave us? Over time we’ve grown to tolerate more and more explicit sexual content in music. Where does sex in music have to go? What more is there to do? I’m not sure what will be tolerated in 20 years, but I sure can’t wait to find out.

Altin is a senior in Arts & Sciences and Forum editor. He can be reached via e-mail at [email protected].

ResLife: Twin beds are too small

Wednesday, February 13th, 2008 | Staff Editorial
Scott Bressler

Looking to have sexual relations? It can be fun, but not if you have a TINY BED.








The moral of the story: ResLife, a twin bed just doesn’t cut it. When it comes to sex in beds, bigger is better.

More than study buddies: couples enjoy class time together

Wednesday, February 13th, 2008 | Ben Sales
Scott Bressler

Even as they sit in class, passing notes to each other or comparing test scores, the professor may not even be aware of their relationship beyond the classroom.

No matter what the circumstance, lovebirds across campus are finding fulfillment in lectures, language classes and studios.

“We met in Arabic class,” said junior Thom Wall, who has taken multiple semesters with his girlfriend. “She said she was the one that sat next to me, and I say I sat next to her [first]. It’s a point of contention between us.”

Wall has had classes with his girlfriend every day of the week, which he says he enjoyed because it gave them an opportunity to see each other during an otherwise busy schedule.

“It gave us an excuse to talk more,” he said. “It was more meaningful than a lecture class.”

Junior John Monnat, an architecture student, also met his girlfriend in class. Although there’s little division between their work and leisure atmospheres, Monnat says he values the time with his significant other.

“[Class makes it] easier because we can see each other, but [it’s] harder because there’s no boundary,” he said. “We were both in studio every day for hours. There needed to be some sort of boundary, but it being a constant thing was a good thing.”

Marketing major Ali Crouch, a junior, has had a different, but still positive experience with her boyfriend-a fellow marketing student-in business school lectures. She said that being with him makes it easier to pass the time.

“Sometimes we end up writing stupid notes to each other and get distracted that way,” said Crouch. “Mainly I don’t pay attention as much as I would if I didn’t have someone next to me talking to me. But if the class is boring, you have someone entertaining next to you.”

Crouch said that she also enjoys studying with her boyfriend.

“It helps to study together and we only have to buy one book for the class,” she said. “It helps to have a second opinion when we’re studying.”

Monnat said that being in architecture makes it easier for his girlfriend and him to concentrate on the work because they both know how important it is.

“We both understand why we were in studio and why we spend so much time there,” he said. “We have a lot of common things to talk about.”

Monnat added that being architecture students also means they have the same social group. Because of that, classmates are comfortable with their relationship in a classroom setting.

“It would be hard if one of us wasn’t in architecture, because you get so focused in that group of people and in the projects that you do,” he said. “It would be hard if someone wasn’t in the same environment.”

Although Crouch does not know everyone in the classes she shares with her boyfriend, she figures that people have found out about their relationship.

“We’re not all over each other in class,” she said. “We come to class together, leave together and are in group projects together, so I’m sure it’s assumed.”

Wall’s experience in language classes was different regarding his classmates because the setting is so relaxed.

“The student/teacher dynamic isn’t quite the same as it would be in a lecture,” he said. “Arabic classes are pretty small to begin with. The class was maybe 12 people tops, so we were all friends.”

But Wall said that even though being with his girlfriend increased the time it took to study, he is glad to have had the experience.

“It took a lot longer for obvious reasons,” he said. “There are a lot of things that are more important than your GPA.”

There’s always room for ‘more love’

Wednesday, February 13th, 2008 | Kat Zhao

Imagine this: Melissa and John have been in an intimate relationship for two years. They are perfectly happy. One day, Melissa meets Michael, and begins to develop a deep attachment to him. She brings Michael home to John. All three sit down to talk and by the end all three are content with the outcomes.

Melissa is now in two relationships-one with John and the other with Michael.

Wrong? Unnatural? Plain cheating? Perhaps to some, but for those engaged in such relationships, it is simply the most natural and right way-that is, to polyamory, the practice of multiple relationships.

“[Polyamory] is the belief in having open relationships, but having your partner know about these various non-monogamous relationships,” said Susan Stiritz, professor of women and gender studies. According to Stiritz, the practice is grounded in the belief that humans are not inherently monogamous and that the limitation to only one relationship is unnatural.

What is natural in polyamorous relationships, however, is the establishment of hierarchy.

“You begin with a primary relationship,” said Stiritz. “If you meet someone new, you would introduce that new person to your primary relationship, and you would all discuss how the primary person would feel about having this person around the house.”

Stiritz attended a workshop on polyamory as part of a wider sex education conference held in St. Louis. As the only non-polyamorous person at the workshop, she learned a great deal from those around her. “These are very serious people,” she said. “They’re innovators in exploring how humans can connect.”

Stiritz does not study or teach the topic herself, she said, primarily because it is not a theme most students are interested in and it is not a type of relationship that would generally apply to adults looking for long-term intimacy.

However, that is not to say that students are not curious.

Senior Josh Ellman, a member of Safe Zones, said that the group at Washington University held a panel on Tuesday, Feb. 12 that touched on issues including polyamory. The panel was made up of Washington University students and faculty, as well as others from the St. Louis community.

“They [spoke] about their experiences and what polyamory means to them. For Safe Zones, this is definitely something we want to learn more about and be able to educate other students on. It’s not something that’s frequently talked about. Also, there have been some misunderstandings,” said Ellman.

Stiritz and Ellman are both firm in making the distinction between cheating and polyamory.

“Most people cheat, but they don’t practice polyamory,” said Stiritz.

“[Polyamory] isn’t just some sexual hookup thing. It is meaningful. It just happens to be different from what people are used to,” said Ellman, “It’s also a common misconception that polyamorous people are just not interested in being monogamous; these people are realizing that just the typical man and woman [relationship] is not working. It’s not realistic; it’s not what’s happening in the world.”

For Michael Brown, coordinator for LGBT Student Involvement and Leadership, polyamory goes as deep as to question what a relationship is.

“It’s really rethinking intimate partner relationships and asking what intimacy is,” said Brown.

“Polyamory simply challenges the whole concept that one person has to be with one person, that this is the only kind of intimacy, and that anything outside of this must not be intimacy,” said Ellman.

According to Stiritz, a book called “Open Marriage,” first published in 1972, promoted the idea that non-monogamous relationships would enrich the lives of all those involved and make them better partners for each other.

“A lot of people tried it, but there is just not enough social or structural support,” said Stiritz, “I think we have a hard enough time getting along with one person.”

Stiritz emphasizes the great amount of work polyamorous people commit to in order to maintain their relationships, especially in dealing with jealousy-an issue even monogamous couples have trouble overcoming.

“They have developed their own techniques, insights that would help anybody understand how to give up jealousy,” said Stiritz. “If you want to go to somebody who can work through marital difficulties, go to somebody who is polyamorous.”

However, despite the valuable qualities of polyamory, Ellman pointed out that the practice is still largely unfamiliar and unaccepted by a society that is grounded in a heterosexual normative concept. Ellman does not know anyone at the University who is engaged in polyamory.

“But the people who practice polyamory swear by it,” said Stiritz. “They find that it is liberating, that it gives them a higher level of being. They love their freedom, the passion that they have in their loves, because they always have a new relationship starting.”

Deep Inside the World of Porn

Wednesday, February 13th, 2008 | Brian Stitt
Zach Telthorst

Porn has been threatening to go mainstream for quite some time now. Time magazine warned of it all the way back in 1998. But this year, they have finally achieved their much heralded objective. The Adult Video News (AVN) Awards, considered by most to be the Oscars of porn, were covered this year by the CBS program, Sunday Morning. Sunday Morning! If you aren’t familiar with the show that’s probably because it’s a news magazine program watched exclusively by people over 60. Not to knock Sunday Morning or Bill Geist’s humorous report; I just use this to highlight that if my grandmother knows who Tera Patrick is, porn has most definitely arrived.

Preceding the yearly AVN Awards is the yearly AVN Adult Entertainment Exposition, known to most as the Porn Convention, but to insiders as the AEE. Originally a small subsection of their annual neighboring convention, the Consumer Electronics Show, the AEE grew large enough that AVN had to step in and start an independent expo. According to the show guide, this changeover happened in 1998, but don’t expect most people to remember that date. The porn industry is historically very fuzzy with numbers. AVN reported that in the year 2000, revenue from sales and rentals of adult videos topped four billion dollars, but that number has never been independently confirmed. An article in Forbes from 2001 quotes Adams Media Research as giving $1.8 billion a year as a “most generous” estimate. For comparison, Adams estimated the yearly mainstream video market at $20 billion in 2001.

A slideshow of the expo. All photos by Zach Telthorst & Russell Barnes.


But in the seven years since that report, porn has exploded. With the combination of high-speed internet, bit torrent technology and a pop-culturizing of the adult film industry, porn is more accepted than ever. Jenna Jameson graces best-selling book covers, Ryan Gosling dates sex dolls in adorable romantic comedies and the famed million-dollar porn movie, “Pirates,” has become a bona fide cultural touchstone for millions of college students. But the world of porn is still a mystery to most, and offensive to many. The AEE is a perfect place to explore the inherent dichotomies of this industry. Men in suits offer contracts to women in platform heels and skimpy outfits. Note that no nudity is allowed at the AEE. Well, no “real” nudity. Fans waiting in line to meet their favorite stars can watch the women perform all manner of sex acts on the hundreds of flat screens populating the convention floor, but if her nipple slips out of that low-cut top while she’s leaning in to sign an autograph, she could be hit with a big fine.

The AEE isn’t all boobs in booths, though. There’s plenty of business going on at the convention, too. Sex shop managers wander the AEE perusing all the new video titles (“Pirates 2” coming soon!), the newest video camera technology and exercise balls with attachable sex toys. What the AEE offers to people who work in porn is an invaluable business resource and a sense of legitimacy in an oft-derided industry. What it offers to everyone else is total sensory overload: thousands of people milling around the booths with telephoto-lensed cameras hoping to close-ups of their favorite stars, performers eating lunch while wearing naught but panties and pasties and booths offering everything from tooth whitening to 3-D televisions. Words, even photos, cannot do justice to the overwhelming nature of the porn convention.

Abbywinters.com

Guilt free porn? Maybe not, but there is something different about Abbywinters.com. Their booth was certainly the surprise hit of the 2008 AEE. In stark contrast to the heavily made-up, tarty porn stars at most booths, Abbywinters.com took a simple, stripped-down approach. A dozen or so girls wandered around a sloping, Astroturfed area smack in the middle of the convention, wearing jeans with white T-shirts and/or bras. They eagerly and enthusiastically engaged fans in conversation or games of speed chess. At the same time the girls weren’t afraid to start snogging halfway through a yoga session. The entire experience felt somewhat like an after-hours party on the set of “Teletubbies,” with all the cute girls from your Writing 1 class-if all the girls in your class were Australian. It wasn’t just the booth, but the product they were promoting that was in stark contrast to what ruled the rest of the convention. Marigold, a long time model and speed chess fiend, describes it best. “Abby Winters.com is an Australian adult Web site with young natural amateur Aussies having fun in our own environment, usually in our own homes in our own rooms in our own clothes no makeup, full bush, everything natural and real.” And then of course there’s the fact that there are no boys. While this site certainly isn’t a clean alternative to porn, there’s something refreshing about seeing girls actually enjoy themselves in a natural environment while they explore their voyeuristic side.

High Tech Sex Toys

From the OhMiBod, the vibrator that pulses along with your Ipod to the Fleshlight, a flashlight-shaped, dishwasher-safe device men can pleasure themselves with, sex toys are becoming high tech and a big business. The inflatable woman has evolved into the silicone sex doll with realistic flesh and customizable features. The simple vibrator now comes with the option of remote controls and various attachments to enhance pleasure. Many blend form with function, attaining a modern artistic sensibility or successfully disguising themselves as normal household items. My personal favorite was presented to me by a Taiwanese man who spoke little English. The business end of the device seemed like any motorized dildo, one with a substantial base that can thrust itself. But then he showed me the electronic brain behind this ersatz phallus: a silver briefcase filled with dozens of lights and knobs. It seemed to be the sex toy of choice for James Bond. Despite its retro appeal, the toy seemed to feature too many functions. But Pussy Galore would have loved it.

XXXChurch.com

Billing themselves as the number one Christian porn Web site, xxxchurch.com actually features no porn whatsoever. “People ask if we have naked nuns; sorry no porn,” founder Craig Gross jokes. “We want to help people that are struggling with porn. We don’t want to shut it down, we don’t want to picket it, we don’t want to get in a fight. If you look at too much porn and want help, we’re here. If you look at just a little porn and you want help, we’re here.” For just over six years (the church celebrated its birthday during the convention) xxxchurch.com has been offering services to people who want out of the industry. Their agenda is not political, and not even aggressively religious. They hand out Bibles emblazoned with their motto, “Jesus Loves Porn Stars,” at porn shows around the world. “Right wing Christians are saying, ‘Lets make everyone do things our way. Lets take (porn) out of hotels. Lets ban it. Just stop buying it.'” Gross isn’t exactly porn friendly, (“God’s plan for sex is a beautiful thing, but we’ve twisted it,”) but he is porn star friendly (“Jesus loves porn stars just as much as he loves pastors”). He tries to focus on letting women know that they don’t need to accept pornography if they don’t feel comfortable with it. “So many girls on college campuses, now, are into porn. I don’t think they’re as visually turned on as the guys but they think they need that to get the guy.”

Alcohol dependence linked to higher number of sexual partners

Wednesday, February 13th, 2008 | John Scott

Individuals who drink heavily are at a greater risk for sexually transmitted diseases since they are more likely to have multiple sexual partners, according to Psychiatrist Patricia Cavazos-Rehg, a researcher at the Washington University School of Medicine.

She studied 601 unmarried individuals between the ages of 18 and 25 to find a correlation between alcohol use and the number of sexual partners.

“As a person’s drinking becomes more problematic, then the individual could be engaging in more problematic, risky behavior such as having sexual intercourse with random partners or different partners,” she said. “If a person has a problem with substance use, what other risky behaviors are related to that?”

The study found that, on average, participants had more than nine sexual partners and those considered alcohol dependent had nearly 12 partners on average.

Of the participants who were identified as alcohol dependent, 45 percent had more than 10 sexual partners; having more than 10 partners is considered high-risk sexual activity.

Cavazos-Rehg also said that the study gives a better idea of what role alcohol plays in sexual activity and its implications for public health.

“If a person comes in for heavy drinking or alcohol dependence problems, [we can] at that same time test them for STDs [or] provide them with education about using protection,” said Cavazos-Rehg. “In this age group, the spread of STDs has escalated quite a bit recently.”

The study states “prevention efforts should target these high risk individuals because they are at risk for STD transmission and other serious consequences.”

The individuals involved in the study all had a relative with some kind of substance dependency but the study can still be applied to a wide segment of the general population because many people are in a similar situation.

“It’s estimated that one out of four persons [in the general public] have a substance dependent person in their family,” said Cavazos-Rehg. “We’re not talking about a small amount of people in the population.”

Several studies have already addressed binge drinking and other high-risk behaviors, especially in college-age individuals, but this study differed because it addressed those that had been diagnosed with alcohol dependence.

The study also attempted to report issues that are more specific than just “heavy drinking” in self-reported surveys, through the use of clinical diagnoses given by a trained interviewer.

Related studies have been done in the past, but this one stands out because of its focus on clinical diagnoses.

The study also differed from previous research because other studies usually considered lower numbers of sex partners.

“I haven’t seen any studies that actually look at more than six partners, so this study is also new in that way. We were looking at a higher number of sex partners,” said Cavazos-Rehg.

Other studies on how alcohol use influences sexual activity are in progress as well, including the age at which an individual first engages in sexual intercourse.

Freshman Ben Ingell was not surprised by the results of the study.

“I could [understand] that. I think the drinking on this campus is about average,” said Ingell.

The study utilized the Diagnostic Statistical Manual to determine which individuals qualified as alcohol dependent. Criteria include withdrawal symptoms, interference with work or school and hazardous behavior. Multiple criteria must often be met for an individual to be classified as substance dependent. The most prominent symptoms are heavy and persistent use of alcohol.