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Porn Nation addresses different point of view

October 29, 2009

National speaker and author of “Porn Nation,” Michael Leahy, spoke to over 400 students and staff on Tuesday in the UC Ballroom with his presentation entitled Porn Nation. Leahy tackled the issue of porn and how it is affecting our relationships.

Matt Warren said, “I liked it because he covered other stuff and other problems and you got to know his story and him as a person.”

Leahy, who has been featured on ABC’s 20/20, The View, CNN, Fox News, in USA Today and on Playboy Radio, among other national and local level news programs, incorporated his story of addiction and statistics on pornography, as well as video segments into his presentation. The video segments included testimonies from former sex addicts, former prostitutes, psychologists, counselors, an author and himself.

Porn Nation was broken into two halves. In the first half Leahy gave facts about porn that he had researched, as well as his life story on his addiction to porn and sex. The second half of the Porn Nation presentation focused on the spiritual side of overcoming porn. This section focused on Jesus Christ being the solution to addiction and the way to fulfill the need for love.

Leahy used several definitions of porn. One definition Leahy used to define porn was from the American Heritage dictionary, which defines pornography as, “Sexually explicit pictures, writing, or other material whose primary purpose is to cause sexual arousal.”

Leahy questioned whether or not consumers are truly free to choose if they want to view porn, or if consumers are being exposed to pornographic materials without knowing it. Anna Reynders said, “It really makes you think, because we are desensitized.”

Michael shared his story about how porn first entered his life. He was 11 years old at the playground at school when some boys on the playground had playing cards with pictures of nude women on the back. His immediate reaction was that he liked it. He didn’t understand it, but he liked it. He also had the opposite reaction, where he didn’t know if he should be looking at it. He decided the best decision was to keep it a secret.

Michael started seeing and dating women with the intent of having sex with them, as he viewed a good date one where his date had sex with him. To Michael, porn was normal, and he believed he would find the person who would meet all of his sexual needs and not need porn anymore, but he was wrong.

After college, Michael worked for IBM, and while at a bar after a work meeting, he met a girl, Patty, who became his wife. Soon, she wasn’t enough. Michael struggled walking in large groups of people and not giving women second glances and undressing them in his mind.

He soon began viewing pornography again, and after 13 years of marriage, he began having an affair. Due to his 30-year relationship with and addiction to porn, Michael lost his marriage to Patty. Mitchell
Slind said it was full of good information and he [Michael Leahy] used his life story as an example.

Leahy said every addict has one thing in common, and that is buying into false beliefs. Leahy said that in order to overcome addiction, that lie has to be replaced with truth. Two main lies that addicts believe are that if anyone knew everything about me, they won’t love me. Michael stated the reality is that if you are with people you can trust, they will still love you.

The second lie is that sex is the greatest need, with the reality being that Christ’s love is the greatest need, and to fill that need you must accept Christ into your life. Three important facts Michael wanted to stress about God was that God is real, God is just and God is love.

Michael Leahy said his motivation to start this presentation was after he started a ministry in 2002 that helped others struggling with porn to find resources, like a counselor, help group, etc. “My board of directors and I talked about how thousands to tens of thousands of people were heading to the cliff and they were sitting on the bottom and catching only a handful.” The Porn Nation presentation is a way for Michael to reach out and connect with many more people. Michael said his reason for speaking about his addiction was to share Christ.

Michael is now re-married to an amazing Christian woman, as he called his wife, named Christine, who is a sergeant in the Army. Michael and Christine live in Herndon, Va. near the Washington D.C. area. Michael said, “The audience was great and very respectful. I could tell from the reactions that there were a lot of non-believers.” He liked how many people still stayed after the break and the open and real responses he received.

Porn Nation was sponsored by Campus Crusade for Christ which is a worldwide movement. The Twin Cities Metro Campus Crusade for Christ has staff members that work on campus here at River Falls.

Crusade for Christ staff Clay Harris, who works on campus, said Leahy was brought here because he had “seen it done on other campuses around the country and knew it had a pretty significant effect on other campuses and knew it would be very powerful here at River Falls. He [Michael Leahy] is also going to speak at the U of M.” Blake Borchardt, student leader for Campus Crusade for Christ at UWRF said, “Porn Nation successfully challenged students’ thoughts on not only a moral level, but a spiritual level.”