This past week, the community college in New Haven held its biannual “Sex Week at Yale, ” an interdisciplinary program that discusses sexuality in America.
Founded in 2002 by Yale graduate Eric J. Rubenstein, the program serves to explore love, sex, intimacy, and relationships through seminars, concerts, a published magazine, and discussions centered around topics such as “The Chemistry of Love,” “The Female Orgasm,” and, of course, “The Great Porn Debate.”
Among various celebrities of the love world, including Dr. Ruth and Mystery of VH1’s “The Pick Up Artist” fame, a number of porn stars and porn makers visited the declining Connecticut industrial town.
Steven Hirsch, chairman of the adult film studio Vivid Entertainment, delivered a lecture entitled, “The Business of Pornography: How Vivid Made It Mainstream.”
Hirsch’s appearance at Yale did not come without criticism.
Gail Dines, a professor at Wheelock College and anti-pornography activist who spoke at Harvard this fall, said that bringing Hirsch to Yale in thiscontext was “one of the first times that a major pimp pornographer was sanitized by an Ivy League university.”
“Steve Hirsch is a predatory capitalist, who is basically a pimp in an expensive suit. I can’t believe there aren’t female students at Yale who are outraged by this,” Dines said.
“This makes the women and the students in general look stupid.”
Hirsch was joined by colleagues in the pornography industry Ron Jeremy and Monique Alexander who debated with pastor Craig Gross, founder of the XXX Church, and Donny Pauling, a former porn producer, about the merits of pornography. Their debate will be aired on ABC’s “Nightline” this evening.
Sex Week at Yale has increased in popularity every year since Eric. J. Rubenstein began the effort to involve Jewish students in the school’s Hillel in 2002.
He came up with the idea of a “Kosher Sex Week,” as an outlet for students and professors to talk about the topic of sex at a religious and spiritual level.
Since then, the organizers have taken a different approach to spreading sex awareness. Rubenstein started a new student group, called Students for a Sexually Aware Campus, which is now responsible for planning and running the event.
“The attendance and how engaged the whole campus gets with the events has changed a lot,” Rubenstein said.
The goal of the week is to raise awareness about sex in society, Yale junior Joseph Citarrella, the current director of the week, said.
“I believe in the mission of it.”
The college’s administration said it supports the week’s activities. Yale is happy to let the students have the intellectual freedom to create events that are meaningful for them, said P. Gila Reinstein of the Yale Office of Public Affairs,
“We stand ready to assist the students.”
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