Dankprofessor’s Weblog

A weblog examining sexual politics in higher education and beyond.

The ickiness factor and beyond at Northwestern U

The sex toy publicly induced orgasm at Northwestern University seems to be getting even more bizarre.

Initially, the Northwestern administration issued a statement indicating there was no problem with the classroom demonstration.   Then the President of NW states he is disturbed by the event and orders an investigation.

The professor J. Michael Bailey initially indicated that there was no reason to apologize and then issues an apology but states there is no reason for said apology.

Professor Bailey stated the following-

“Those who believe that there was, in fact, a serious problem have had considerable opportunity to explain why: in their numerous media stories on the controversy, or in their various correspondences with me…But they have failed to do so. Saying that the demonstration ‘crossed the line,’ ‘went too far,’ ‘was inappropriate’ or was ‘troubling’ convey disapproval but do not illuminate reasoning.

If I were grading the arguments against what occurred, most would earn an ‘F.’

Yes, but maybe the University’s investigation will find out what the basis of the disapproval may be; may find out why the President of the University was so disturbed.

Clearly, the University seems to be oblivious to the Supreme Court decision last week regarding the usage of hateful and degrading rhetoric at military funerals by members of the so-called Westboro Church. In that decision, Chief Justice Roberts stated: “Speech is powerful. It can stir people to action, move them to tears, of both joy and sorrow- as it did here- inflict great pain.  We cannot react to that pain by punishing the speaker.”

The dankprofessor accepts the notion that the post classroom orgasm demonstration falls under the mantle of  the Supreme Court’s protected speech.  The orgasm demonstration does not come close to promulgating anything relating to hate and degradation.  And those in attendance at the demonstration were their by their own freedom of choice; they were not forced to endure anything like those who were subject to the rantings of the Westboro cadre.

And as Professor Bailey states those demanding some type of redress never state what was the nature of the problem other than embracing the notion that it was in bad taste.

And the dankprofessor asks is bad taste an adequate reason for banning and/or investigating anything at a university that embraces a liberal arts education?  Certainly a discussion and examination of what constitutes bad taste may be of some educational value.  But basing action on the belief that something represents bad taste should be given no consideration.

Or putting it in other terms, the “icky” factor may be a reality.  But ickiness should not be the basis for a President of any university issuing formal statements and calling for an investigation.

But then again, some student could yell sexual harassment, could feel that a hostile learning environment was created, could feel that one did not engage in informed consent as to what was to occur.  Such would trump issues of freedom of speech, issues of taste. Such could very well occur given the nature of  the modern university in contemporary America.

March 6, 2011 Posted by | higher education, Northwestern University, sex, sex toys, speech | Leave a comment

Troubled Northwestern president orders sex investigation

In response to the public usage on Northwestern University campus of a sex toy which induced an orgasm by a prone female,  the President of Northwestern issued a statement indicating he was “troubled and disappointed” by what happened after the sexuality class of Professor Bailey. He said the professor used poor judgement and ordered an investigation of the incident.

What troubles the dankprofessor is exactly what will be investigated.  The consensual nature of the act as well as the consensual presence of the students are not in dispute.

Maybe the President is projecting his troubled feeling on to others and wishing to determine if others have been similarly troubled and disappointed.  On the other hand university presidents are almost always troubled; they are paid to deal with troubles and disappointments.  And to date the President is the only person who has publicly confessed to being troubled.

There must be more.  Maybe, just maybe, the sex toy is being fraudulently advertised.  Maybe the so-called sex toy induced orgasm was faked by the woman.  Whether the woman really had an orgasm might merit an investigation.

Investigating whether the orgasm was real shouldn’t be difficult since Faith Kroll who was the subject of the orgasm stated she had no shame and would be happy to do it again.  Of course, she could end up faking it again, if such be the case.  What we need is a scientific controlled study with experts independently evaluating the alleged orgasm.  And the experts would have to be screened to insure that the observers would not be troubled and disappointed.

Bottom line for the dankprofessor is that Faith Kroll says she is satisfied. Now if some people are troubled by her satisfaction, such should simply be their problem and outside of the purview of university presidents who all too often can’t get no satisfaction.

March 4, 2011 Posted by | higher education, Northwestern University, orgasm, sex, sex toys | Leave a comment

No controversy at Northwestern over live sex demonstration

And why should there be controversy.  The demonstration occurred after class, it was optional and apparently involved only consenting adults.  And the dankprofessor finds it to be a breath of fresh air when the professor stated he had no regrets, after all he stated his students are open minded adults rather than fragile children.  Let us hope that the student as child obsessed are able to control their obsessive thinking, unlikely but not impossible.  Following is the text of the article-

Northwestern University defends after-class live sex demonstration

BY KARA SPAK 

Staff Reporter/kspak@suntimes.com

Last Modified: Mar 3, 2011 11:11AM

More than 100 Northwestern University students watched as a naked 25-year-old woman was penetrated by a sex toy wielded by her fiancee during an after-class session of the school’s popular “Human Sexuality” class.

The woman said she showed up at the Feb. 21 lecture in the Ryan Family Auditorium in Evanston expecting just to answer questions, but was game to demonstrate. The course’s professor on Wednesday acknowledged some initial hesitation, but said student feedback was “uniformly positive.”

And Northwestern defended the class and its professor.

“Northwestern University faculty members engage in teaching and research on a wide variety of topics, some of them controversial and at the leading edge of their respective disciplines,” said Alan K. Cubbage, vice president for University Relations. “The University supports the efforts of its faculty to further the advancement of knowledge.”

The optional, non-credit demo followed psychology Prof. John Michael Bailey’s sexuality class. Nearly 600 students are in Bailey’s class this quarter, and most didn’t stick around for the after-class show, which featured four members of Chicago’s fetish community describing “BDSM,” or bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism.

“I didn’t expect to see a live sex show,” said Justin Smith, 21, a senior economics and political science major who was in the after-class session. “We were told we were going to have some people talk to us about the fetish world and kink.”

Smith said it took him awhile to process what happened, but he doesn’t object to the way the material was presented.

“It was for me academic like everything else,” he said.

He told his grandparents about the class.

“My grandma was like, wow, Northwestern is a little bit different then when I went there,” he said.

In a statement, Bailey said he hesitated briefly before allowing the public sex act.

“My hesitation concerned the likelihood that many people would find this inappropriate,” he wrote. “My decision to say ‘yes’ reflected my inability to come up with a legitimate reason why students should not be able to watch such a demonstration.”

After the demonstration, several students tried a different sex toy that gave a “titillating” but not painful shock, testing it out on their arms, said Ken Melvoin-Berg, who narrated the after-class lecture. Melvoin-Berg said the school paid him between $300 to $500 for his appearance.

Faith Kroll, the woman who stripped, was laying down on a towel when she was penetrated. When she arrived, she thought she just would be answering students’ questions and showing off sex toys they brought, including whips, paddles and a clown wig.

An “absurd, clinical” video and subsequent discussion about various aspects of female orgasm led Faith and her partner Jim Marcus, 45, to prove to the class that female orgasm is real.

Faith said she was not coerced in any way and students were repeatedly warned it was going to get graphic.

“One of the students asked what my specific fetish was and mine is being in front of people, having the attention and being used,” she said. “The students seemed really intrigued.”

In his statement, Bailey said student feedback was “uniformly positive.”

Marcus, a musician who said he has worked as a sex educator, said he thinks it is “smart and important” for students to be learn about sexuality.

“It’s really scary for young people who want to get involved in the BDSM community who don’t understand issues regarding consent and safety,” he said.

Melvoin-Berg said he met Prof. Bailey through a swinging couple who previously spoke to the class. Melvoin-Berg runs the “Weird Chicago Red Light District Sex Tour,” which has participants playing games like “spot the ho” as they travel the city looking for prostitutes. He also teaches “Networking for Kinky People,” a 3-hour version of the one hour lecture he gave at Northwestern.

Melvoin-Berg said the sex toy used was BDSM, but was “not like a pain thing…we wanted to make it poignant.”

“I did mention this was going to be the best money their parents had spent on their education,” he said.

Bill Yarber, a researcher at Indiana University’s Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction and author of the textbook Human Sexuality: Diversity in Contemporary America, said he’s never heard of a naked woman being brought to orgasm in front of a class of students.

“The way you present it there is very unconventional,” he said. “There’s certain boundaries of things, I think, that are acceptable and that would certainly be pushing that.”

This isn’t Bailey’s first brush with controversy. His 2003 book, “The Man Who Would Be Queen,” sparked hostile debate in the transgender community by claiming that there were more reasons for men to become women then simply that biology trapped them in the wrong body. Several transgender women who spoke with Bailey claimed they did not consent to being used for research and accused him of practicing psychology without a license.

Bailey said in his statement Wednesday that during the Feb. 21 after-class lecture, “I was not in a mood to surrender to sex negativity and fear.”

“Do I have any regrets?” he wrote on Wednesday. “It is mostly too early to say. I certainly have no regrets concerning Northwestern students, who have demonstrated that they are open-minded grown ups rather than fragile children.”

March 3, 2011 Posted by | exhibitionism, higher education, Northwestern University, public sex, sex | Leave a comment

   

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