Sex Week at Yale University: Teaching Misogyny at $54,086 Per Year

One of my best friends is a former prostitute/drug dealer/drug addict/alcoholic.

Despite this, I don’t think she would be a star lecturer at Yale.

Prostitutes/porn stars/pimps are welcome to lecture at an annual Yale event called Sex Week. According to an August 21 article by Nathan Harden in The Daily Beast, prostitutes, porn stars and other sex industry promoters are not only welcome at Yale, their “lectures” are billed as “sex education.” The article, When Sex Isn’t Sexy: My Bizarre Education at Yale University, says in part:

And what do porn stars Sasha Grey, Ron Jeremy, and Buck Angel have in common? They are just a few of the many sex industry personalities who have been invited to lecture or “educate” Yale students in the last few years.

When the average person thinks of Yale University, sex probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. Nevertheless, in recent years Yale has positioned itself as a leader in a radical new form of sex education, complete with sex toy pageants, porn star lectures, sadomasochism seminars, and fellatio demonstrations. What does any of that have to do with the mission of Yale University? That’s the question I set out to answer in my new book, Sex & God at Yale: Porn, Political Correctness, and a Good Education Gone Bad

Based on Mr Hardin’s article, Sex Week sounds as if it’s all about porn star power and sex industry self-promotion. However, the event organizers do attempt to put an occasional gloss of balance on the proceedings. 

For instance, Gail Dines, professor of sociology at Wheelock College, and Carolyn Bronstein, professor of communications at DePaul University, debated the issue of pornography with various sex industry representatives in 2011. Sex Week hosted another debate in 2008 in which Pastor Craig Gross who runs a support site for pornography addicts debated a pornographic film star.  

My friend might be invited to debate a porn star in an isolated event demonstrating that all viewpoints are allowed. But I don’t think her overall message would be given any serious platform at Yale’s Sex Week. 

The reason for my doubt is that she is a “fallen” prostitute.  

She had an encounter with Jesus Christ. You know — one of those knock-you-flat-in-the-middle-of-the-road conversion experiences that prove to those who experience them that God is real, He’s here and He does care about us. 

In one moment of grace, she lost her cravings for alcohol and drugs and became a new person in Christ. She “fell” from the glitzy glam of the sex industry straight into the boring straight life of love, fidelity, trust and giving to others. 

It’s an old story; two thousand years old, to be exact. My friend the former prostitute is now an anti-prostitution crusader. She founded a ministry, All Things New, that is dedicated to rescuing women who are trapped in the degrading, destructive world of prostitution.

All Things New helps women escape from the pimps and porn-pushers who beat, sell, use and discard them like yesterday’s garbage. She shields women who have been trafficked, women who are running from pimps, women who have lived their lives as things to be used and abused for so long that they’ve lost all knowledge of themselves as full human beings. 

She doesn’t require these women to convert, to profess Christ or to accept any faith. All that they need to get her help is a desire to get out. And they come. More than she can house, more than she can help; they come. Women who were grabbed off the street, those who were lied to and forced into prostitution then trafficked from one country to the next. Other women who slid into it voluntarily because a pimp they thought was their boyfriend seduced them, “groomed” them, then “seasoned” them into it. 

If they let my friend near at mike at Yale a whole lot of ugly truth about what prostitution really is would come rolling out. Those who heard her would have three choices: Ignore her, shut her up or change their ways. 

She would be a major downer at Sex Week, no doubt about it. But anyone who told the unvarnished truth would be. How many cheering studs would want to hear what “sex work” really is?

Do they want to know that according to the FBI,  between 200,000 and 300,000 children in America are forced into prostitution at any given time, that the average age of these new recruits is 13? Do they want to hear that their life expectancy is 7 years? 

How many lecture halls would fill with eager students if they heard about the beatings, the rapes, the murders, the dreadful fear of being caught talking to anyone but a john, the punishments for trying to escape? Who wants to know that by buying porn and backing prostitution they increase the market for international sex trafficking of women and children? 

How much truth is actually spoken at Sex Week? Do they manage at this elite university to make the point that the sex industry is a glitzy front and promoter of a massive, world-wide violation of the human rights of half the people on this planet?

Not according to Mr Hardin:

 … Sexism. I encountered plenty of that at Yale. During my time at Yale, the university hosted porn film screenings in its classrooms that included glamorized sexual violence and “fantasy rape.” Meanwhile, outside the classroom, frat boys were caught chanting “No Means Yes!” and “We Love Yale Sluts!” Yale has suffered a long series of embarrassing high-profile cases of sexual harassment and assault. Therefore, I was hardly surprised when a group of my female classmates filed a complaint with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights last year, complaining that Yale had allowed a culture of sexism and intimidation to persist on campus. It doesn’t take much to get from “fantasy rape” in the classroom to “No Means Yes!” on the campus quad.

These things happened, mind you, at a university that supposedly prides itself on its liberal concern for women’s rights. Never once did Yale officials have the courage to step forward and say that materials that glamorize sexual violence weren’t acceptable in the classroom. Instead, Yale officials claim that these things fall within the bounds of “academic freedom.” And they tried to wash their hands of it all.

Sex Week debases what was once a great educational institution into a base driver and promoter of darkest misogyny. 

There is one issue that Mr Hardin raised in his article that Yale has noted:

Yale’s cozy relationship with corporate interests in the sex industry—including numerous major porn production companies and some of the nation’s largest sex toy companies—has been the backbone of its infamous “Sex Week at Yale” event for the past ten years. Other elite universities, including Harvard, Brown, and Northwestern, have begun holding sex-themed events modeled on the corporate-backed events at Yale. Yale’s leaders say that academic freedom requires them to allow these activities. But I think they need to learn a basic business lesson: When a company comes into a classroom to market and sell its products, that’s called advertising, not education.

Simply put, academic freedom isn’t the same thing as having no academic standards. No one, for example, would say it was acceptable for Yale to host a week dedicated to denigrating blacks or gays. That would be hideous, not to mention completely irrelevant to Yale’s mission as a training ground for future leaders of the world. Yale officials would never allow such a thing. So why should events that repeatedly denigrate women be hosted year after year?

Criticisms such as this must have taken a bite. Yale ended the sex industry’s corporate sponsorship of the event. However Sex Week itself goes on. I would guess that the Yale idea of female exploitation and misogyny masquerading as education and academic freedom continues along with it.

As for my friend, I don’t expect that a message like hers will be given serious consideration at Sex Week anytime soon. Her message is not what they’re selling. 

She talks about the saving light of grace; about life and love, about living clean and whole in Christ. 

What they’re selling, at $54,086 per year, is the pit. 

  • Neenergyobsever

    Well said, this event is no about sex nor is it about education it’s about exploitation and misogyny just as you’ve stated. This is a long way for something that was founded to train preachers to fall but, it will fall still further.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      I agree.

  • Manny

    How about we end any government subsidy that goes to Yale? I can’t believe they actually have a relationship with the porn industry. I don’t usually get shocked anymore, but that is shocking.

    God bless your friend. She sounds like a person I would be honored to have as a friend.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Manny, she’s my bff and one of my heroes. I am blessed to have her as my friend.
      BTW, I’ve been holding back about joining into conversations. You guys are doing so well on the Dolan post without me that I think I’ve been inhibiting you. Thanks for your well-considered, courteous contributions.

      • Manny

        You’re welcome. You’ve won me over Rebecca; you’re a nice lady. Just too bad you’re a Democrat (I’m kidding ;))

        • Rebecca Hamilton

          Thank you Manny.

  • Jessica Hoff

    This ought to be unbelievable, but in this world of relativism it isn’t.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Jessica, you are so right! Great to see you, btw.

  • Serena

    How can they get away with this propaganda? Why aren’t parents screaming outside the gates? A college that promotes the sex industry, where the human body is raw material and the human spirit is a discarded waste material, is no longer a college and should lose its accreditation.
    Good post.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Thank you Serena. You raise an interesting point: Where are the parents?

  • Nathan Harden

    Glad to see this thoughtful conversation about Sex & God at Yale. Thanks for raising more awareness about these issues. – Nathan Harden /

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Nathan, what a surprise. Thank you for writing Sex & God at Yale. Good luck with it.

  • Serge


    A great article once again! There is one verse that came to mind as I was reading your post, and the great passages you quoted.

    Matthew 6: 24 – 24 “No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

    Guess which direction Yale is heading…

    My advice is…let’s not be dumbfounded…the devil is the prince of this World…we ought to expect some of this…

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Good advice, Serge.
      “My advice is…let’s not be dumbfounded…the devil is the prince of this World…we ought to expect some of this…”


  • JacQueline Roe

    Thank you for courageously writing the unvarnished truth so that we will (hopefully) no longer shield ourselves from our responsibility to know the truth and do what is right. I recently heard an amazing sermon on Luke 7:36-50 – the “sinful woman” who anointed Jesus’ feet and the self-righteous Pharisee who looked on condemning. I was so convicted when the pastor confessed how like the Pharisee he was, how he had once missed an opportunity to share Christ’s love with a prostitute because he was worried about his reputaion.

    I used to just get riled up and livid when reading a great article like you’ve posted. Now I wonder, “How do I help these students who’ve been deceived? How do we reach these young men and women who are blindly giving themselves to lust and depravity? How do I raise my children to wisely chose friends and be a light to others tangled in these sins?” Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      This is a beautiful post, JacQueline. Thank you!

  • S C Jones

    Great reporting ! So sobering, yet it seems to me that we are ignoring the root of our gradual, moral and cultural decline. It is something that nearly every residence in America has in it’s living room and nearly every bedroom. Hollywood. We are letting the purveyors of ” entertainment ” flood their ideologies almost unchecked into our homes, our minds, and our hearts. We are fooling ourselves if we think it’s harmless ! Why do we have 30 to 60 second commercials ? To sell a product, service, idea, etc. , right ? So, do we believe a 30 to 60 minute TV show, movie, special, etc. will not sell us a lifestyle ? So, what is the solution ? Get rid of our TV(s) ? I raised my kids without one until they were 7 and 8 years old, and they are now 16 and 17, a boy and a girl. They both have a strong sense of what is right and wrong, have good morals, and are grounded in Biblical truths. Are they perfect ? Of course not ! But, they have enough understanding, discernment and wisdom to make good choices. Kids learn more by what they see, than what they hear….
    LORD bless.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Thank you.