ast August, hundreds of adult entertainers joined academics from all over the world for a weekend at a California hotel. And they had a bangin' good time.

"It was an amazing success," says Taliesin, an erotic storyteller, porn star, activist and eroticist. "Professionally, personally – I was on an emotional high from the whole thing."

California State U., Northridge Professor Vern Bulloughs agrees. "It was a great success in terms of learning and experiences," he says. "I think the interaction between the professional researchers and the professionals in the field who have been engaged in pornographic activities was the highlight.""

So what are these guys talking about? Have the nation's professors shunned their straight-laced images and chalk-stained fingers in exchange for a life in skin flicks?

Hardly.

Members of the Center for Sex Research at CSUN joined with the Free Speech Coalition (a trade association for adult entertainers) to conduct the first event of its kind – the World Pornography Conference. The four-day convention brought together the world's most prestigious sex experts, scholarly and um, otherwise, to cover topics ranging from "Porn Perspectives and Performances from the Experts" to "Pornography, Censorship and the Campus."

"This was an academic conference and a First Amendment conference," says Taliesin. "But I was looking at it as the performers in the adult entertainment industry reaching out to academia, so we made sure it was something that covered a wide variety of topics."

Attendees of the conference have deemed it a smashing success. One of the most unique aspects of the conference was the mutual stimulation the adult entertainers and the academic community felt – cerebral stimulation, that is. "The performers have information about pornography that few others have," says North Carolina State U. Professor David Austin. "Many of the performers are very smart, insightful social commentators who could become deservedly successful academics."

Now wouldn't that give hands-on learning a whole new meaning.

By Julie Keller, Assistant Editor