Maker of sex toys and porn is now a U donor

  • Article by: PAUL WALSH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 1, 2011 - 9:38 PM

Adam & Eve company gives $50,000 toward faculty chair in Sexual Health Education.

A major national retailer of condoms, sex toys and producer of pornographic movies is helping fund a faculty position at the University of Minnesota Medical School.

Adam & Eve, founded in 1970 and based in North Carolina, is among the donors to the Joycelyn Elders Chair in Sexual Health Education at the University of Minnesota Medical School.

In five years a faculty member would be hired to create lifelong sexual education curricula. This chair is the first of its kind in the nation to focus on sexuality education, according to the Medical School.

"We support sexual health education," said Adam & Eve Marketing Director Chad Davis, in explaining why his company is making its first gift to a university. "That's how we started, distributing condoms. We believe in safe sex and people being educated about safe sex practices."

Davis declined Monday to disclose the precise amount being donated, saying only that it was "five figures." The university disclosed that the amount was $50,000.

"We are very pleased with the support from Adam & Eve," Eli Coleman, director of the university's program in Human Sexuality, said in a statement distributed by the company. "Through this gift, the program, will be able to continue its success in educating medical professionals, human sexuality research, providing clinical care, and advocating for science-based public policy."

In an interview later Monday afternoon, Coleman expressed no reservations in the Medical School accepting funding from a producer of pornography, adding that Adam & Eve "has been philanthropic with other efforts regarding sexual health promotion [and] sees the value and need of educating the public so people can be more responsible with their sexuality."

Adam & Eve bills itself as "the largest and oldest retailer of adult sex toys in the United States." It has stores throughout the country (none in Minnesota) and does a substantial amount of online business.

It also produces "quality adult movies that regularly sweep in awards at the Adult Video News Awards," according to the company website. One of its leading contract actresses is Bree Olson, who gained notoriety recently in the gossip media for living with actor Charlie Sheen during his recent public meltdown.

The fundraising efforts to establish the Joycelyn Elders Chair attracted more than $2 million from more than 275 donors from 24 states, the District of Columbia, and eight countries.

Elders, the chair's namesake and the U.S. surgeon general in the Clinton administration, completed her internship in pediatrics at the U Medical School in 1960.

During her time in Washington, Elders voiced several frank views on sexuality, including support for distributing contraceptives in schools. The White House fired her after she told the United Nations that promoting masturbation might be a good way to stem the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482

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