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-
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.”
If one wants to know about the sex life in explicit terms of a Harvard coed, then the blog to go to is Sex and the Ivy moderated by Lena Chen. The dankprofessor has been reading Lena’s blog for some time as she reports on her various sexual exploits and as others condemn her for being an exhibitionist and being unabashedly promiscuous. But Lena was not content. She was lonely and she wanted to find a special other but felt that such was unlikely because of her notorious reputation.
Now Lena reports in her most recent post that she has found the one in the form of her former sociology TF (Teaching Fellow). Her description of how this relationship was initiated and developed is probably the most detailed account of a “student-professor” relationship.
Lena’s relationship is a relationship that is inappropriate in terms of Harvard’s official policy. Said policy and the dankprofessor’s commentary follows Lena’s narrative-
…Then a couple weeks after my trip to New York, I found myself at dinner with a guy I mostly remembered for his inability to keep me awake during statistics. Patrick was eight years older, German, and a Ph.D candidate in my department. He also happened to be the most attractive person who’d ever been in charge of my grading me. Over the previous year and a half, my best friend Jason and I took three classes with Patrick, and though I’d like to say that it was because I found him impossibly charming, I was mostly just fulfilling sociology requirements. Nonetheless, I silently rejoiced every time I was assigned to his section, especially after I realized my piece of eye candy was a rather efficient and helpful teaching instructor and not merely a hot guy with a funny accent. To Patrick, however, I was then just a sleepy student. Statistics, which I got a C+ in, was a particularly harrowing experience. I recall Jason pinching me a lot in that class … and really not much else.
By the time Patrick and I finally went out, it’d been over two months since I last saw him and even longer since he graded one of my mediocre papers. The prelude to the actual date was fairly undramatic. Following a thinly veiled public declaration of my affection, initial contact was made over email and the date was suggested over text message. Well, actually, I suggested hooking up over text message. But Patrick, for some crazy reason I’ve still yet to figure out, thought that dinner would be more acceptable. I was pretty much thinking, “Yeah, this really isn’t necessary. Can we just fuck?” I somehow suppressed the urge to reveal this thought and along with it, my slutty nature. It would certainly be revealed soon enough.
I immediately gloated to Jason who called me crazy more than once and insisted that I was completely misinterpreting the situation and going to make things extremely awkward with a former TF who we actually might want to take classes with in the future. Basically, Jason had the mindset of someone who wanted to get into law school. I had the mindset of someone who wanted an interesting story to tell at post-grad cocktail parties. I was already getting started by telling every friend in close proximity about the TF fantasy-turned-reality and spent the day feeling rather smug about myself, despite a looming deadline for some mediocre paper I had not yet written. I probably would’ve taken out an announcement in The Crimson if possible. After all, it’s not everyday you get to fulfill a crush three semesters in the making.
Yet somehow, about an hour before the actual date, my excitement over going out with and potentially fucking my former TF turned into total trepidation over going out with and potentially fucking my former TF. What the hell was I getting myself into? I knew next-to-nothing about Patrick, even less about what to expect out of the evening, and I was pretty sure that Jason was right when it came to me totally misinterpreting the situation. By the time I got off the train to meet Patrick, I was ready to get right back on. In fact, I felt a mild wave of nausea, then panic, followed by paralyzing fear. Um, I had a date in five minutes and I was on the verge of an anxiety attack. After taking several deep breaths, I called Jason and told him, “I can’t do this. I’m about to hyperventilate.” Jason, ever so reasonable and probably fearful of jeopardizing his letter of recommendation by association with a whore whore slut, suggested calmly that I tell Patrick I was sick and then go home. Discouragement was exactly what I needed to snap out of it. “That’s the stupidest idea I’ve ever heard,” I declared. “You’re totally useless. I’ll call you when the date is over.”
About 30 seconds after the exchange with my truly unadventurous best friend, I found myself face-to-face with Patrick who looked considerably taller than I remembered and was dressed in decidedly un-academic clothing. He looked hot, and not even in a scholarly kind of way. Given our previously limited interaction and his non-American background, I didn’t have any idea how to read him. Maybe he thought that I’d be an easy lay, but then again, he always seemed so proper in class. No, it was more likely that his intentions were genuine, which was almost endearing. Here was a semi-awkward foreign grad student too culturally unaware to realize that asking out a former student is a mildly scandalous affair. Poor thing. Also, I thought: he so does not know about my sex blog. It occurs to me in retrospect that I was being extremely condescending, but in all likelihood, I probably employed every defense mechanism available to stay calm and feel in control. Surprisingly, as soon as we got into a cab and started talking, my anxiety dissipated along with my theory that Patrick was awkward with women and clueless about American prudishness. We compared frat life at Yale (where he did undergrad) to the final club scene at Harvard and discussed the “athletic” rivalry between our schools. Patrick actually seemed normal, and my stomach seemed calm. It appeared as if I was not going to puke after all.
Dinner was at a South End establishment with live music and dim lighting, the key facilitators to close-up conversation, which is like the foreplay to foreplay. It was a relatively grown-up venue given my recent romps in fraternity houses and dorm rooms, and I realized early in the evening that I felt uncharacteristically nervous. Typically on dates, I acted self-assured and liked to challenge guys by teasing them or being playfully argumentative. With Patrick, however, I couldn’t muster up my usual feistiness. I was so used to viewing him as an instructor that it seemed inappropriate to treat him like a peer. For the first time in a long while, I actually felt flustered. Patrick, on the other hand, was completely at ease which only disarmed me further. When I failed to look him in the eye while clinking glasses, he said to me, “You know what that means, right? Seven years of bad sex.” I almost choked on my drink. My TF just the word “sex” in a reference to me. Thankfully, my nerves were nothing alcohol couldn’t fix. I rarely drank but on this night, I happily chugged glass after glass of wine. Liquid courage along with Patrick’s disarming attitude made for surprisingly entertaining conversation. I was regaining my confidence and ten-fold at that. Two hours and several courses into the date, I put my hand on his knee and leaned in closer. I wanted to kiss him and was too drunk to even be subtle about it.
All in all, the turnaround from initial email to his cock in my mouth took about 24 hours. We had sex that first night. And again the next night. And then he went away to New York for two days, picked up the pair of flats I left at a West Village repair place during that miserable Valentine’s weekend, and returned them to me first thing when he got back, not even stopping by his apartment beforehand. I spent spring bouncing from my Harvard Square dorm to his place in Beacon Hill and summer bouncing from Kennedy’s Heidelberg flat to his home in Osnabrück. When September came, I paid a full month’s rent for a sublet I never moved into. I cancelled it and have been in Beacon Hill ever since.
Don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t like we went out and it was happily ever after that, not unless your fairy tales include Internet sex scandals advanced by overzealous online stalkers or unprecedented emotional outbursts from yours truly. The path toward cohabitation has hardly been a smooth one, but slowly, I infiltrated Patrick’s life and apartment to the point where breaking up would have been both awkward and inconvenient. And now, here we are today: me, Patrick, Hamlet, and two suitcases of my stuff under the bed! It’s more than I ever could’ve hoped for. And to think, all I wanted on our first date was to get laid.
I write all this because a year ago, I really, truly didn’t believe in the possibility of love (at least not for myself) and it wasn’t just because I was single during Valentine’s Day. My blog was a legitimate barrier to meeting guys, and as the nude photo leak and subsequent breakdown suggested, it was perhaps a barrier to, um, life. Maybe if my friends were different people, they would’ve told me to shut it down instead of insisting that I was lovable, blog or no blog. Maybe if I were a different person, I would’ve listened. I’m glad I didn’t, not just because my friends were right, but because I would’ve always thought from then on that the only desirable version of myself was the sanitized version. The fact that I’m now happily playing house with the Adorno-spouting, bulldog-owning German of my dreams indicates that there is hope for pretty much ANYONE out there. If I can finagle a boyfriend with my reputation and dismissive attitude toward dating “rules”, then love is a possibility for everyone.
Now here is the Harvard policy regarding relationships such as the one between Lena and Patrick-
Officers and other members of the teaching staff should be aware that any romantic involvement with their students makes them liable for formal action against them. Even when both parties have consented at the outset to the development of such a relationship, it is the officer or instructor who, by virtue of his or her special responsibility and educational mission, will be held accountable for unprofessional behavior. Graduate student teaching fellows, tutors, and undergraduate course assistants may be less accustomed than faculty members to thinking of themselves as holding professional responsibilities. They may need to exercise special care in their relationships with students whom they instruct, evaluate, or otherwise supervise, recognizing that their students might view them as more powerful than they may perceive themselves to be.
Amorous relationships between members of the Faculty and students that occur outside the instructional context can also lead to difficulties. In a personal relationship between an officer and a student for whom the officer has no current professional responsibility, the officer should be sensitive to the constant possibility that he or she may unexpectedly be placed in a position of responsibility for the student’s instruction or evaluation. This could involve being called upon to write a letter of recommendation or to serve on an admissions or selection committee involving the student. In addition, one should be aware that others may speculate that a specific power relationship exists even when there is none, giving rise to assumptions of inequitable academic or professional advantage for the student involved. Relationships between officers and students are always fundamentally asymmetric in nature.
So should Patrick and Lena be concerned that others may speculate that “a specific power relationship exists even when there is none”? Should they be concerned that others may think that there may be “inequitable academic or professional advantage for the student involved”? Should Lena and Patrick discard their relationship because it will always be “fundamentally asymmetric in nature”?
In terms of Lena’s description of the relationship, she and by implication Patrick, never gave a thought to the Harvard policy and warnings. The policy for them was probably an irrelevancy. And if it was an irrelevancy for them such should not be surprising since TF’s are essentially novices who are learning to navigate the teaching process. Those who wish to have the TF punished for what they consider to be a flagrant violation are simply out of order, whether they be in favor or in opposition to such rules. Learning by a novice as a result of ones “mistakes” represents a positive outcome; punishment of a novice for ones mistakes may very well represent a form of sadism or simply small-mindedness.
The irony for Lena who has flagrantly violated the societal dominant sexual norms as applied to women is that she now embraces a loving relationship in cohabitation which may be in violation of Harvard’s official norms as applied to students and teaching fellows. And it also should be piointed out that the Harvard rules, like most rules in this area, are ambiguous. But when it comes to sexual norms or rules, ambiguity almost always rules the day.
The dankprofessor believes that Lena has made a significant contribution albeit unintentional in exposing the utter absurdity and impossibility of Harvard’s policy regulating student professor relationships, a policy which is both anti-sexual and conformist in nature.
The Los Angeles Times recently reported on the naked oblation run at the University of the Philippines. The run has been an annual event at the UP, but this year according to Armand Padilla, a fraternity alumnus, the new run was a part of the University’s centennial celebration with the blessing of the University’s centennial committee.
The Times gave the impression that the nudity was engaged in only by fraternity members. But such was not the case as indicated by the following photo-
View other photos of the run within the environs of UP. The pictures do speak for themselves in terms of the success of this event.
And the dankprofessor cannot help but note that our last posting reported that the University of New Hampshire terminated its Freshman camp because of the nude rituals of the camp counselors. Truly we have two different worlds here with the Philippines being eons “ahead” of New Hampshire. It seems that it was only a few years ago that the Philippines was dominated by the sexually repressive Marcos. Better to have public nudity than closeted shoe fetishes.
Freshman camp at the University of New Hampshire is no more. Such is a result of freshman camp counselors, both male and female counselors, getting naked.
The New Hampshire Union Leader quoted a UNH disciplinary report in the following terms-
Counselors got naked for campers on two occasions: during a skit and when campers were departing on a bus, the report says. In the second incident, female counselors lifted their shirts for campers, while several male counselors mooned campers and other male counselors stood by naked, with only socks or hats covering themselves.
In addition, one counselor urinated on herself during a talent show skit, the report says.
“The counselors all wildly clapped and cheered” in response to the urination, the report says.
Although UNH faculty members attend portions of the three-night, four-day camp, none were on hand for any of the antics that led to the camp’s closure.
The disciplinary report indicated that counselor nudity was nothing new going back as far as 2004. The report also expressed concern that counselor nudity could potentially be considered as a form of sexual harassment. Although no harassment charges had been filed or represented a clear and present danger of filing, the powers that be felt that the prudent thing to do was to close the camp down.
Anne Lawing, UNH’s senior assistant vice president for student affairs said “the university is replacing freshman camp with an as-yet-undecided program that will focus on leadership skills and healthy involvement in campus life.
Freshman camp is not funded by UNH, but UNH has the final say as to the continuance of Freshman camp.
As for students who attended Freshman camp this past summer, one camper framed the situation in the following terms in a letter to Union Leader.
I was very taken aback by the above article as I have myself went to camp this past summer. The activities that took place may have gotten slightly out of hand, but were not like this article describes. I got to know many of the counselors personally and I highly doubt that they would not want to cooperate with the administration and devise a board to side step the university. I met the people I feel most comfortable with today at camp and I truly believe it is because the counselors were able to help break the ice by acting foolish themselves so we might all have something to talk about.
And another student commented-
I would wonder exactly what kind of reporting goes on at the Union Leader, reading this newspaper. Being an alcohol/substance free student at UNH for the fall 2007 Semester I attended, I cannnot agree with much of what this article has to say. I attended freshman camp, and it was one of the most rewarding experiences I had at UNH. The counselors were supportive, friendly, helpful…for someone like me, who is not good in social situation, and doesn’t do well with crowds, I had thought that Freshman Camp would not be at all for me. Furthermore, I can report NO nudity whatsoever during my stay at the camp. There were certainly suggestive themes to some of the activities, but that is not only a fact of life, but a very unavoidable fact of life at university. If anything, the camp prepared those who attended for the real side of UNH and most college campuses – the truth that sex and substances are ubiquitous and common throughout the post-secondary education system in this country, and no amount of conservative right-wing narrow-mindedness can change that. I would question the responsible journalism of this article as it seems that no priority was given whatsoever to interviewing those who attended this organization, those who were responsible for its administration, or indeed anyone except those responsible for its end. As an attendant of UNH and Freshman Camp 2007, I am both offended and disgusted that reporting has fallen to this level of mud-slinging one-sided opinion-based slander.
– Travis Gates, Pembroke
Clearly, Freshman camp had much to offer. Such camps help students to transition to entirely new environs. And very importantly, these students when they arrive on campus, already have friends which helps to make this transition a little less difficult.
The dankprofessor cannot read the minds of the counselors as to their motivations for engaging in the reported nudity antics. However, given that these behaviors had been going on for a number of years, such can be viewed as social bonding rituals, rituals which function to differentiate group members from the larger society and then make the exiting process a little less difficult.
No matter that the antics did not include any sexual contact, Freshman camp had to go. We have two different worlds here- the world of the young at heart and the world of the prudent and the conservative. And for the prudent and conservative, it may have been that their final judgment was based on fear of sexual harassment suits; that some anonymous other at some future time may be offended and decide to sue. If such be the case, how terribly sad that the legalists and the lawyer possessed play such a pervasive role in campus life.
Oh, and let us not forget that the antics of the Freshman camp were nothing compared to the booze based bonding rituals of university based fraternities and sororities throughout the United States.
I am not sure as to how to frame the above photo. NUDES IN A TREE would seem to be an appropriate caption. But some might argue that the caption does not provide a protest discourse since without an initial organized protest this photo would never have been taken.
And what was the nature of the protest?
Last year, the University of California announced that it was going to build a new athletic training facility next to Memorial Stadium at the eastern edge of the Berkeley campus. Unfortunately, in order to build the facility as planned, the University must remove several oak trees that are currently growing on the site.
For reasons that are not entirely clear, local activists have seized on the fate of the “Memorial Oak Grove” as the cause du jour, and a vigorous campaign has been launched to stop the project and save the trees. To that end, protesters have been actually living in the trees since December of 2006, alternating in shifts every few days or weeks. The controversy has received an inordinate amount of media coverage.
OK, so maybe the caption should have been NUDE TREE DWELLERS. But there is more.
Completely unrelated to any of this, a local art photographer named Jack Gescheidt has recently become well-known for a photo series he calls the “TreeSpirit Project,” which involves naked models pictured climbing and hugging trees. But when Gescheidt heard about the Memorial Oak Grove brouhaha, he sensed a perfect media opportunity. He announced that the next installment in his Tree Spirit Project would be a nude photo shoot among the oak trees next to Memorial Stadium. And this time he wouldn’t use only professional models: he issued an open call for anyone and everyone to come get naked for the trees.
And so on Saturday, March 17, 2007, the planets came into alignment and a disparate confluence of people found themselves gathered together in the oak grove: tree-sitters, nudists, activists, journalists, Jack Gescheidt and his assistant, perverts, pornographers, the police and passersby…
OK, how about NUDE POSERS IN BERKELEY TREE?
The whole scene could or should be dedicated to the UC Berkeley nude guy of yesteryear, Andrew Martinez.
For the complete photo shoot, click here.
Inside Higher Ed reports that there are an increasing number of college anchored message boards “which encourage students to “share thoughts, debate ideas and communicate anonymously.” Actually many of these boards require anonymous posting.
However, Oberlin College’s Oberlin Confessional has gone beyond just posting thoughts and ideas. “At Oberlin Confessional, one of the most popular threads (with over 500 comments and counting) asks students to photograph their own genitals and post links to the pictures online so that others can rate them. They have, and they are.”
Supposedly the body parts can be rated, but not dated or hooked up with; said body parts are not associated with any particular person. However, such does not prevent any Oberlin student from claiming any particular body part. Anonymity allows anyone to come forward to claim a particular image as their own image. Of course, the person who donates the image can make a counter claim. But such would lead to one’s identity becoming compromised. Its all very tenuous and very ambiguous.
In terms of ambiguity, the dankprofessor raises the question as to the appropriate way to frame the Oberlin scenario. Might such represent a form of exhibitionism? Committed exhibitionists get sexual gratification from exposing themselves to non-consenting anonymous others. In the present case, Oberlin displaying students have the same anonymity needs as the traditional exhibitionists. But those viewing the Oberlin display are there by choice so such separates them off from the non-consenting others of the traditional exhibitionists.
But is such truly the case? At some level is it not the case that the so-called unwilling victim may at times be quite compatible with the exhibitionist’s fantasy world and obtain voyeuristic gratification? And at the Oberlin Confessional site one can quickly change roles from exhibitionist to voyeur.
And if the dankprofessor can take this scenario one step further, isn’t it the case that the net is driven by the exhibitionistic and that their needs are gratified by the presence of millions looking for anonymous voyeuristic gratification? In a sense, the net has normalized both exhibitionism and voyeurism. Oh, I almost forgot, for those of the voyeuristic bent, here is the link to Oberlin Confessional.
If you wish, you can write to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Guest commentaries should also be submitted for consideration
to the same email address.
Barry M. Dank aka the dankprofessor™
© Copyright 2008
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