A View from Riverside Drive, Commentary by Ed Hynes, May 2007
Survey: Most college students are sexually active and many suffer depression
Forty-five percent of 90,000 American college men and women surveyed in the Spring of 2006 said they engaged in oral sex in the month before the survey, and nearly 70% of both men and women said they had one or more sexual partners in the last school year.
Within the last school year, 43.8% of students also reported experiencing on one or more occasions “feeling so depressed it was difficult to function.” The survey disclosed that nearly 15% of students had been diagnosed with depression at some point; and of those students, 34.4% were diagnosed with depression in the last school year.
The survey is conducted annually by The American College Health Association’s National College Health Assessment. There are 17 million students at more than 4,000 colleges and universities in the United States. The Spring 2006 survey collected data from more than 90,000 of the students (57,903 women and 33, 476 men) at 117 of the schools. The survey covered substance abuse, sexual behavior, weight and nutrition, violence, and physical and mental health. Thirteen of the approximately 300 questions dealt with sexual behavior.
Survey results are available at: http://www.acha-ncha.org/data_highlights.html [Data on depression is in “Mental and Physical Health” category. Scroll down for 2006 data]
Sex on campus causing psychic distress that pills won’t help
In a book published anonymously last December, a college psychiatrist wrote that rampant sexual promiscuity is the cause of psychic distress among college women, and that the solution is sexual continence and religious faith rather than the anti-depressant drugs routinely prescribed by college health services. Evidence of this distress includes eating disorders, self-mutilation, and suicidal thoughts and behaviours.
The book is “Unprotected: A Campus Psychiatrist Reveals How Political Correctness in Her Profession Endangers Every Student.” It was published by Sentinel, a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
The author chose to write anonymously out of fear of professional reprisal, LifeSiteNews.Com reported in December, quoting her: “I’m discussing a taboo topic here: the dangers of radical social agendas in my profession… Campus counseling centers are whitewashing the painful consequences of casual sex, STDs and abortion. They are promoting the notion that men and women are the same.” (http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2006/dec/06121409.html)
Coping with sex-related issues at college runs a wide gamut
Students and school administrators around the country are dealing with sex-related issues in a wide variety of ways.
At Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, a lecture on pornography by Professor Gail Dines, who was visiting from Wheelock College in Boston, inspired a columnist with the student newspaper to write (in the April 27 edition), “The exploitive, degrading, violent images that she showed of women were like nothing I had seen or heard about before, but her explanation of why these images can be so dangerous was familiar. . . . A lot of people find porn to be harmless fun, a way to relieve stress or even learn about sex . . . . but it’s naive to think that watching it doesn’t have any influence on both your perception of sex and your sexual partners. I don’t think it’s possible for these images not to seep into our minds. . . . The more men and women are bombarded by these sorts of negative images, the more desensitized we become to them. Are we starting to imitate the porn actors? If so, that can be pathetic and degrading.” (http://orient.bowdoin.edu/orient/article.php?date=2007-04-27§ion=3&id=3)
At Castleton State College in Vermont, Reel Action Club members Marissa Williams and Matt Kimball put on a slide presentation called “Who wants to be a Porn Star” on March 26. The student newspaper reported the event on April 11 under this headline:
Living in a ‘pornified’ world Reel Action club presents “Who wants to be a Porn Star”
Reporter Miriah Miner wrote, “Reel Action was putting on a slide show about the porn industry and how the industry is sexist and racist. Reel Action members wanted to educate the Castleton community on how the porn industry really works.”
Young Mr. Kimball told the paper, “The slide show was about how pornography degrades women to an object, most notably specific body parts that make men begin to expect a certain standard for all women. It teaches us that women are just pleasure centers and not real individuals. This significantly affects our personal relationships and we begin to expect certain things, just because porn does it.”
Ms. Miner wrote, “The obscene, but honest pictures of porn had a real impact on the audience. They were shocked at how far the porn industry has gone and how easily porn is obtained these days.” One student said, “The show wasn’t what I was expecting at all. The images are truly disturbing and they had to get out of my head. I had no idea that the porn industry was that bad.”
(NOTE: “Who Wants to be a Porn Star,” can be purchased from the National Feminist Antipornography Movement athttp://feministantipornographymovement.org)”
At Harvard, the Associated Press reported March 22, “Sometime between the founding of a student-run porn magazine and the day the campus health center advertised ‘Free Lube,’ Harvard University seniors Sarah Kinsella and Justin Murray decided to fight back against what they see as too much mindless sex at the Ivy League school.” They formed a student group called True Love Revolution to promote abstinence and now have more than 90 members plus any number of friendly and not-so-friendly naysayers. But the AP said that columnist Jessica C. Coggins of the Harvard Crimson “praised the group’s low-key approach and scolded Harvard students for their ‘laughter at the virgin.'” Ms. Coggins wrote that students on the campus should “find a different confidence booster than making fun of celibate peers.”
At Marshall University in Huntington, W. Va., some 500 students filled an auditorium February 28 to hear Michael Leahy give his 90-minute multimedia and speaking presentation on the harms of pornography, called “Porn Nation,” along with his own personal story of porn addiction. Mr. Leahy has toured colleges around the country and has been well received. He can be reached at http://www.pornnation.org/default.htm
At Princeton, The Anscombe Society sponsored a conference in February for two purposes: “First, we plan to bring in speakers to educate students on the positions ‘Anscombers’ hold in regards to marriage, family, and sexuality. The second purpose of the conference is to coach other students on how to start and organize an Anscombe Society on their campuses. These ‘workshop sessions’ will be directed by the Princeton University Anscombe Society officers, and will cover more practical matters, such as advertising techniques, media relations, activities and events, etc.
The conference was titled, “Making Love Last: Finding Meaning in Sex and Romantic Relationships”
The announcement included this statement of belief and purpose: “The Anscombe Society believes in the inherent dignity of every human person. We, furthermore, look to what sociology, psychology, medicine, philosophy, theology, and human experience agree works for the good and health of the person and for the common good and flourishing of society. In this way we have been led to take stated positions on the family, marriage, sexual ethics, chastity, and sexuality. We believe that these positions protect human dignity, the individual and common good, and the healthy and flourishing society, for which all people must endeavor.
At William & Mary College in Williamsburg, Virginia’s colonial capitol, the approach to issues of human sexuality in February had nothing in common with the Anscombe Society’s high ideals.
Local TV News on WTKR reported it this way on February 16: “Some students at the College of William & Mary are questioning the use of student activity funds to bring a controversial cabaret-style show to campus.
“The ‘Sex Workers’ Art Show’ was performed Monday on the campus. Various student groups, including the campus gay and lesbian organization, helped to sponsor the event. The show travels nationally featuring former and current sex industry workers. It attempts to dispel negative stereotypes.
“‘It’s degrading to women!’ said Ashley Bush, a William & Mary freshman. ‘I heard they had prostitutes there showing you how to do things that you really don’t need to do.'”
At Northeastern University in Boston, the Resident Student Association managed to give human sexuality a dirty name. The RSA organized and ran “Sex Week” March 18-23, an event that promoted pornography and the objectification of women students, and trivialized human relationships. Lisa Thompson of the Salvation Army saw the materials and reported in an e-mail to others in the fight against all the things that Northeastern University was supporting in “Sex Week.” She wrote:
WARNING: The following message contains very explicit sexual content.
My emotions on sending you this email are mixed: outrage, disgust, and sadness top the list. From March 18-23 Northeastern University’s Resident Student Association organized a so-called campus “Sex Week.” Sex Week featured daily events such as “Condom Casino” (see: http://www.rsa.neu.edu/sexweek.html). I did not attend any of these events, so I cannot describe their supposed purpose or nature. (Also know that this is not the first such event at Northeastern. A couple of years ago Sex Week was themed, “Doing it Doggie Style.”)
However, I do have a copy of the 28-page magazine that was published (6,000 copies were printed) and distributed (for free) in connection with this event. The cover page features this title, “Stripped Sex Week 2007.” The magazine, from cover to cover, features pictures of nude Northeastern students (male and female): alone, in threesomes, in large groups . . . fondling, kissing, touching. Their genitalia are not exposed but the pictures are very sexually suggestive.
The magazine has such features as “Sex Horoscope 2007,” “Top Ten Places to Have Sex on Campus,” “Dirty Doggy Tails,” and a “Sex Week Survey” which includes questions like “Have you ever had a threesome” and “Favorite place to have sex on campus.” As shocking as this magazine may be to some, it is the predictable result of the hyper-sexualized culture in which these young people have grown up. It contains strong themes of casual, recreational sex; group sex; sex and alcohol; voyeurism; promotion of male sexual violence to women; objectification of women; and representation of women as either sexually obsequious to men or as uncontrollable nymphomaniacs. Thus, it is completely irresponsible; but then again, this is how American youth are socialized to think about sex. There is one article on the subject of HPV and one text box on gynecological exams; otherwise the 28-page magazine is devoid of redeeming value.
I have to wonder if hookups, lap dances, group sex, and posing nude are what parents had in mind when they sent their children off to college for purposes of higher education. One has to also wonder about the role of the Northeastern University administration and faculty in all this. Did they know about this, support this, or were they simply out to lunch?
At Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA, LifeSiteNews.Com reported April 24 that “A new report indicates Virginia Tech butcher Seung-Hui Cho hired an ‘escort service’ a month before he turned the gun-free campus into a bloody slaughterhouse, and adds to the emerging picture of a young man deranged by uncontrollable pornographic fantasies.”
The story said Dr. Judith Reisman, “one of the foremost experts on the insidious effect of pornography and its relationship to violent crime, told LifeSiteNews.com that Cho’s behavior fits a ‘pornography users profile.'”
Dr. Reisman added, “In our current erototoxic environment certainly rapists, child molesters, ‘thrill’ killers are fueled by pornography. . . . I would guarantee that a serious investigation would locate pornography among almost all if not all kid killers and serial killers.”
In a column for WorldNetDaily, posted April 23, Dr. Reisman wrote that often what Cho and other school killers have in common is “a society drenched in sadosexual arousal as entertainment, some family troubles of a trivial and/or serious nature”, and a lethal combination of pornography, violent video gaming, and antidepressant drugs known to facilitate violent behavior in some people.