Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Live University Sex Toy Demonstration Draws Fire

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A controversial sex-education class at Northwestern University in Illinois was canceled after an explicit after-class demonstration involving a woman and a motorized sex toy took place in February. School officials made the announcement on Monday.

The lecturer for the class, Professor John Michael Bailey, has taught psychology at the Illinois University since 1989. Bailey invited guest lecturer Ken Melvoin-Berg, who runs a local sex tour, to demonstrate the use of a sex toy, dubbed the “f---saw,” on Faith Kroll, 25, a woman that was not a student at the university. The woman’s boyfriend, Jim Marcus, 45, assisted in the demonstration, an element Melvoin-Berg called “appropriate” and educational.

The Sun Times reports that Marcus and Kroll “were part of a group of four adults brought to speak to the students about the world of kink and fetish in an optional seminar that followed Prof. J. Michael Bailey’s popular ‘Human Sexuality’ class.”

The university paid several hundred dollars to the guest lecturers and demonstrators. According to, Bailey “gets extra funding from the university’s College of Arts & Sciences for lectures and other activities he routinely holds after class.”

Marcus and Kroll said they participated in the demonstration to help students understand that there are real controversial aspects of female orgasm.

The Sun Times writes of the sex toy in use: “It was a modified version of a power tool known as a reciprocating saw, or Sawzall. The tool used at Northwestern featured a phallic attachment in place of the blade.”

Kroll claims that the demonstration was different from a live sex show or pornography and explained her own participation in the act.

“I was more than happy to. We have fun with it,” said Kroll. “I’m an exhibitionist. I enjoy the attention, being seen by other people. It was entertaining because there were a lot of curious minds, so that was cool.”

Following the seminar, students blogged and posted comments on their Facebook pages regarding the on-stage presentation with comments like, “You won’t believe what I saw in class today.”

Immediately following the demonstration, phone lines at the university lit up from parents, alumni, and students, who were unhappy about the live sex demonstration.

Bailey defended the presentation, entitled “networking for kinky people,” to his 600-student human sexuality class by asserting it was optional. He adds that students were both told that the demonstration would not be covered on examinations and issued warnings prior to the demonstration that the material “wasn’t for the faint of heart.” Of the 600 students registered for the class, only 100 stayed for the after-class demonstration.

Bailey told Fox News:

The demonstration, which included a woman who enjoyed providing a sexually explicit demonstration using a machine, surely counts as kinky, and hence, as relevant. Furthermore, earlier that day in my lecture I had talked about the attempts to silence sex research, and how this largely reflected sex negativity…. I did not wish, and I do not wish, to surrender to sex negativity and fear.

Initially, the university defended the faculty and the course, asserting that the faculty at the university is “at the leading edge of their respective disciplines.”

A statement released by the university read, “The University supports the efforts of its faculty to further the advancement of knowledge.”

The university quickly changed its stance on the subject once it became clear that the issue would not go away. Vice president for university relations Alan Cubbage indicates that Professor Bailey will have “other teaching assignments” in the next year.

A statement released by Cubbage reads: “Courses in human sexuality are offered in a variety of academic departments in other universities, and Northwestern is reviewing how such a course best fits into the University’s curriculum. At Northwestern University, the dean of a college/school has the right and responsibility to determine course assignments.”

Likewise, Northwestern University president Morton Shapiro is reportedly “troubled and disappointed” by the demonstration and has called for an investigation into the incident. “I feel it represented extremely poor judgment on the part of our faculty member,” Shapiro explained. “I simply do not believe this was appropriate, necessary or in keeping with Northwestern University’s academic mission. I have directed that we investigate fully the specifics of this incident, and also clarify what constitutes appropriate pedagogy, both in this instance and in the future.”

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