Scroll To Top

Sex-Toy Demo Arouses Controversy

Sex-Toy Demo Arouses Controversy


Psychology professor J. Michael Bailey, a sexuality researcher who has angered LGBT people in the past, is now the subject of more widespread controversy over a sex-toy demonstration his students witnessed last week.

About 100 students from his Northwestern University psychology class watched as a man penetrated a naked woman with a phallic-shaped object on the end of a device resembling a power saw and brought her to orgasm, the Chicago Tribune reports. The demonstration was part of a special guest lecture on bondage, swinging, and other fetishes. The couple, self-described exhibitionists Jim Marcus and Faith Kroll, hadn't initially planned to demonstrate the toy's use but decided to do so because they thought a film shown to the students offered an unrealistic view of female orgasm -- and once they made that decision, Bailey and guest lecturer Ken Melvoin-Berg warned the students.

Chicago media carried stories about the matter Wednesday, and Northwestern president Morton Schapiro issued a statement Thursday saying he was "troubled and disappointed" by the demonstration and is launching an investigation into it. "Although the incident took place in an after-class session that students were not required to attend, and students were advised in advance, several times, of the explicit nature of the activity, I feel it represented extremely poor judgment on the part of our faculty member. I simply do not believe this was appropriate, necessary or in keeping with Northwestern University's academic mission," Schapiro said.

Bailey came under fire in 2003 for his book The Man Who Would Be Queen: The Science of Gender-Bending and Transsexualism. Several of the transgender people whose stories were chronicled in the book said they had never given Bailey permission to publish the information. Some critics of the work also said it presented a sensationalized and stereotypical view of transgender people that played into right-wing assumptions. In 2005 he was the senior author of a study that cast doubt on the existence of bisexuality. In 2001 he coauthored an article stating that if it became possible for parents to choose the sexual orientation of their children, "selecting for heterosexuality seems to be morally acceptable. ... Selection for heterosexuality may tangibly benefit parents, children and their families and seems to have only a slight potential for any significant harm."

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories Editors