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‘Porn Nation’ author speaks at UC Irvine; Conversation in Hot Tub with Ron Jeremy That Changed His Life

IRVINE, California-c It was a conversation in a hotel hot tub with porn star Ron Jeremy that changed Michael Leahy’s life. That discussion, about death and the afterlife, Leahy said, led him on a path that ultimately embraced Christianity.

“It was pretty surreal, because we were talking about heaven and hell and ‘Is there a God?’ and those coeds were walking up and asking Ron to autograph their body parts,” Leahy, 49, recounted Thursday night, as he shared his life story as a sex and porn addict during a presentation at UCI’s Student Center.

Leahy’s message to about 300 students was that sex is so pervasive in our society that images that used to be viewed as pornography are now on TV and billboards for all to see.

While viewing pornography may be viewed by many as a harmless pastime, Leahy said it desensitizes people to true sensuality and can become a drug that prevents genuine intimacy.

Leahy, author of the book “Porn Nation” scheduled to be released in May and a frequent campus speaker around the country, was invited by to speak by UCI’s Campus Crusade for Christ.

However, only the last few minutes of his speech discussed Christianity, and he took a break beforehand so students who didn’t want to hear his religious talk could leave.

During the four-minute break, UCI freshman Michelle Kim, 18, said she liked how Leahy “incorporated his own personal story” into the presentation.

“I appreciated how honest he was,” Kim said. “This is obviously a rampant issue in our society.”

Roy Chan, 21, a member of UCI’s Campus Crusade for Christ, said his group achieved the goal of attracting 200 to 300 people to the presentation. This was the club’s first public campuswide event in years, though it regularly holds Bible study and other events.

Most people stayed, if only to hear the promised tale about porn icon Ron Jeremy and the hot tub.

Leahy said that his addiction to pornography began as an 11-year-old on the school playground, viewing playing cards with topless girls on them, and then grew over the years to become an uncontrollable compulsion after Internet porn became available.

He said his addiction ruined his marriage, destroyed his real sex life with his wife because he was too busy in the basement with his virtual world on his computer, and led to a real-life affair with a fantasy woman that ultimately destroyed both his family life and his business.

After he lost everything, Leahy said he went to Sexaholics Anonymous to start recovery but was unable to heal completely because he still thought the most important thing in his life was to “be loved.”

He struck up an unlikely friendship with porn star Jeremy, who boasts he’s had sex with 4,000 women, while the pair were debating each other on a series of campuses over the evils and virtues of porn.

One morning after a debate in Baton Rouge, La., while Med-Evac helicopters were still buzzing in and out of Louisiana State University, transporting the dead to be placed in the gymnasium there in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Leahy said the grim spectacle led him and Jeremy to sit in a hotel hot tub and discuss God.

According to Leahy, Jeremy said sadly that, if a God existed, then he must be going to hell.

Feeling sorry for his friend, Leahy said that the talk triggered his own renewed interest in spirituality. Ultimately, that led him to become a Christian, and he said he learned that his “greatest need is not to be loved, but to love others.”

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