Sex Aid

Sex Aid

More philanthropist than porn-czar, Phil Harvey launched what is
now the nation’s largest adult-oriented mail-order company fueled
by his post-college dreams of saving the world.

As Steve Almond reports in Nerve.com, Harvey’s work
with the CARE organization in India in the years after he graduated
from Harvard taught him the futility of attempting to feed the
world’s hungry. The real key to the future of the developing world,
he realized, was family-planning services. Returning to the U.S. to
pursue a masters degree in family planning administration, Harvey
launched Adam and Eve, a mail-order condom business through which
he hoped to earn money. While he attempted to sell other items in
the catalogue like clothes and shipbuilding kits, he says, ‘(The
customers) just yawned at that stuff. Every time we put something
with erotic appeal in the catalog, the bells would ring.’

Though Adam and Eve experienced its share of bumps along the way
(namely government crackdowns on erotic material), it continued to
grow and enabled Harvey to establish a nonprofit arm, DK
International, through which he can fund family-planning efforts
around the world. ‘By selling sex products to the world’s richest
citizens, he’s been able to distribute cheap contraception to the
poorest’, writes Almond. In the past year alone, DK International
has distributed IUD’s, injectibles, about 23 million cycles of
birth-control pills, and more than 364 million condoms. Harvey
estimates that during the past two decades, he has donated $40
million of his own money to family planning efforts in Third World
countries.
–Erica Sagrans
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