Scott Tibbs
Published in Hoosier Review, 10-27-2002

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Porn in dorms evidence of deeper problem

The Indiana University campus is in a fuss over reports that a company called "Shane Enterprises" filmed parts of a pornographic movie in an IU dorm. The Indiana Daily Student reported on October 23rd that an IU freshman said actresses from the film were performing oral sex on students in the hallway. This report was contradicted in the next day's edition. My first reaction to reading this story was "Do people have no shame"?

But should we really be surprised at this story?

The IDS criticized both the students and the filmmaker who participated in this incident. But the IDS ran an article on April 24th about students "hooking up", an ambiguous term which can mean random sexual encounters. When this type of activity is practically lauded in a special "perspective" section of the student newspaper, is it really a surprise that IU students would engage in random sexual encounters with porn stars instead of just other students?

As a society, we have moved farther and farther away from the Biblical sexual model of lifelong, monogamous heterosexual marriage. Since the "free love" era of the 1960's, we have seen increases in sexually transmitted diseases (including the explosive expansion of the virus that causes AIDS), abortion, teen pregnancy and out-of-wedlock births. The divorce rate has increased dramatically and all indications are that marriage isn't taken seriously.

Indiana University officials want to avoid the embarrassment of being labeled the nations "#1 party school", a distinction that brought Shane Enterprises here to begin with. (Never mind that much of the press generated on the Princeton Review article was from IU officials whining about it.) But on a campus where nobody bats an eye when an article about the prevalence of "hooking up" is published in the student newspaper, the fact that a pornographic film company came to IU to "party" with students, and that those students willingly participated, is hardly a major shock.

The deeper problem is that too many people don't regard sexual intimacy as the sign of deep commitment that it should be. Sex is viewed being just for fun, not an act of deep love and devotion for one's partner. Society has cheapened sexual intimacy and the importance it has to human relationships. Instead of getting overwrought over symptoms, we need to take a look at the underlying problem and ask ourselves what can be done to fix it.

The reaction of the IU administration has been both amusing and frustrating. IU Chancellor Sharon Brehm was quoted in the October 24th Herald-Times as saying "Our students need to understand there are people and there are organizations out there who will exploit them for monetary gain. They need to be wary and skeptical and careful, because they can be taken advantage of."

Excuse me? IU students are legal adults, old enough to know right from wrong, and if students were engaging in sexual activity with porn actresses they knew exactly what they were doing. To suggest that these adults were "taken advantage of" is silly and an attempt to deflect responsibility from where it belongs. IU may have a right to be upset at Shane Enterprises but any students who were "serviced" by its representatives were hardly "exploited" or "taken advantage of".

As someone who has been active in the pro-life movement for several years, I understand that we cannot separate society's cavalier attitude toward sex from the deaths of 1.2 million unborn children each year. The culture of birth control has taught us that sex is to have no consequences and we should be able to engage in sexual behavior without worry of what might come of it. If sexual intercourse is to have no consequences, why are we surprised that people simply want to get rid the results of sex so they can continue with their behavior?

Christians and churches have sat on the sideline for too long as sexual sin is tolerated and promoted. What we need is a revival of the sexual morality laid out in the Bible. If Biblical sexual morality were embraced on a wide scale, we could dramatically reduce the spread of sexually transmitted diseases like AIDS. Indeed, universal acceptance of Biblical sexual morality would likely wipe out AIDS within a generation.

In a free society, we cannot and should not use the force of government to control people's sexual behavior. But we can recognize and speak out on a phenomenon that has caused great pain, suffering and death to our people, and look for ways to change it through persuasion and shame.