A New Way to Learn

March 7, 2011 by admncc

Allow me to introduce you J. Michael Bailey, a Psychology Professor at the prestigious Northwestern University.  Bailey recently came under fire and apologized for “letting a couple demonstrate the use of a sex toy after one of his classes.”

According to this Associated Press article, “about 100 students attended the after-class, optional seminar on fetishes.”  The Huffington Post later reported that the incident took place on February 21st.  “After a class on human sexuality, Bailey invited students to stay for a discussion of sexual fetishes.  He repeatedly warned that it would be graphic.  The discussion included a woman who stripped and allowed her partner to use a sex toy on her.”

The school is investigating and Bailey has since issued a halfhearted apology saying, “During a time of financial crisis, war, and global warming, this story has been a top news story for more than two days.  That this is so reveals a stark difference of opinion between people like me, who see absolutely no harm in what happened, and those who believe that it was profoundly wrong.”

Now, while this story is entertaining, at first glance, it’s one that I might or might not comment on – depending on my mood.  But here’s why I decided to mention it.  Even though this story is all over the news, the school is denouncing the incident, parents and alumni and in an uproar and Bailey is under scrutiny…he’s still being cocky about it.  In fact, he recently said that “critics have not made a compelling case” against what he did.  He said that “he would give them an “F” if he were grading their arguments.”  Lucky for us though, Bailey also said that he remains open to hearing and reading good arguments.  And that’s exactly what readers of The Constant Complainer can give him.

All Posts / Family/Lifestyle / General Moaning / Schools Associated Press / Fetishes / Higher Education / Human Sexuality / J. Michael Bailey / Northwestern University / Psychology Professor / Sex-Toy Demonstration / The Huffington Post /


  1. NeoConDon says:

    If I were the parent of one of the students in this “seminar” I’d be questioning the “scholarlessness” of this incident. But, while American Colleges and Universities are funded with tax payer dollars in addition to student tuition, room, and board, these institutions still have the freedom to have questionable content that blurs the lines between clever and stupid.

    As a student, I likely would have attended this “seminar”, but if one of my sons were planning on attending next fall and I was footing the bill, I’d have to question that decision.

  2. kittycat says:

    did i miss the part where this was a sex ed class? how was what he was talking about relivent to the normal class studies?

    I dont think I would have a problem with it.
    i mean come on if your in college then you already know about sex toys.

  3. How long can you possibly shelter your kid? Grade school? Junior high? High School? College? Med School? While they are married and have children of their own? Basically we all sit here and say “Oh my gosh that is horrible/disgusting/uncalled for etc” but really? C’mon this happened in UNIVERSITY where the average student is over 18 years old. It was an OPTIONAL seminar which students CHOSE to attend(after being warned it was graphic), if the student was disgusted/disturbed they have the OPTION of walking out.

    I could understand the uproar if this happened in high school or younger but not for university. As for the professor being cocky, since when is that a surprise? I’ve never met a university professor that wasn’t cocky.

  4. Hal says:

    This is an interesting debate. Here’s why.

    Jenny and kittycat make a good point about this being a college environment. Let’s face it, many students that age are sexually active and surely many have seen and/or used sex toys. Next, attendance was optional and the presentation was described as graphic beforehand. You didn’t have to attend if you didn’t want to. And honestly, all the students are old enough to go out and buy porn if they wanted to. LOL.

    On the other hand, this could have been mortifying to certain people. And I still think an argument can be made that having a live public sex show could easily be construed as highly inappropriate, even taking into account the college setting. I think it’s a stretch for this sort of thing to be viewed as acceptable.

    And of course the Professor is going to defend himself. He’s in the hot seat, remember. He probably thinks he was being in tune with the kids of today. But instead he’ll come across as a perv.

  5. Marissa says:

    Hold on, I’m still laughing about how “he’s still being cocky about it.” LMAO!!

  6. Candice says:

    I haven’t heard this story actually, and other than him being a cocky shit about it, I don’t really see the problem if it’s optional. Although I don’t know why a couple would have to demonstrate it…show and tell?

  7. TallElf says:

    All in all, was it appropriate.. no. Does it have value in his class conversation.. possibly. The fact that it was optional, prefaced as graphic etc. Fine. Everything these days comes with a disclosure so he covered himself as he uncovered the topic of discussion. I went to a private catholic college, and this never could have flown. It was bad enough when my astronomy class went up on the mountain to watch a meteor shower and it turned into a Kegger, but we did have a worth while discussion about what we saw, and were able to bring that material back to class. Entirely different lessons none the less. There was a speaker at another nearby catholic college that the professors brought in, to speak about homosexuality and the christian faith.. needless to say that brought more press in that town than this guy… Isn’t college supposed to be expanding our horizons? If there was actually clinical/ psychological reasoning discussed with this then I say FINE. Do it, but if it was just a pornography demo then go to the book store and make a purchase.

  8. I read this story and I can understand both sides.

    First of all, if you are a parent of one of the students AND you are footing the bill for their college tuition, I can understand why one might be uncomfortable.

    That being said, they need to get over it. Regardless of whether or not they are paying for their childs’ tuition, if the child is 18 years old, they are able to make their own decisions.

    Secondly, this was NOT a mandatory session. It was optional. Meaning no one was required to attend and all that did attend did so with their own free will.

    In addition, not every college student has their parents paying for their schooling. I, for one, did not. So it is irresponsible to assume that all college students have parents footing the bill. Again, this extra after-class session was attended by their own free will.

    And aside from all of these notes on tuition, students, and free will, I would say that this is a great way to open discourse on a subject that holds such a strong stigma in our society. I think it’s incredibly healthy to open up these lines of communication. And also, it is incredibly telling as a society that we are so uncomfortable with being exposed to this. We need to ask ourselves: Would other equal societies be this uncomfortable with sexual expression?

    All of this being said, I’m not certain if I would have been able to bring myself to attend such a presentation while I was in college. I probably wouldn’t have been comfortable with myself enough to do so. Regardless, I agree with the teachers approach after the fact. He’s taking a stand.

  9. NeoConDon says:

    Rachael, this is the UNITED STATES…there is no other equal society on the planet…

  10. Zig says:

    I was a Communications minor in college and I once took a class called Gender Communication, in order to try to get in womens’ minds (and pants). Needless to say, it didn’t work. This class takes sex and life education to another level…sign me up! I see nothing wrong with college students learning how a woman’s reproductive and pleasure zones work. I fully support full nudity in colleges! If more people were less inhibited about sex and sexual pleasure, what a far better world it would be! This professor is my hero! Pornography is profane, this was an beautiful first hand (or toy) (pun intended) example of how a woman’s body works! My onnly regret is that I am not be able to sign up for this profs. class! NCD, FU!

  11. This is the first I’ve heard about it – but as others have pointed out, it’s college, everyone’s an adult, and it was completely optional. I’d be interested in what this lesson was aiming to teach…but even so, optional. I was apart of some pretty racy discussions in college classes, and porn is regularly shown in women’s studies and sex education classes, so, well, I think it comes down to conservative America freaking out over outdated and prudish sentiments (the overblown outrage at Janet Jackson’s boob mishap perhaps another indication that the media and public are looking for something to sensationalize). In the Janet Jackson case it was an international debacle, and yet this gets less attention but is a stronger possible offense to sensibilities. Just seems like a wide variety of the outrage is totally dependent on how much the media decide to cover an story…

  12. Jen says:

    Uh…hold on let me re-read this…

    My guess is that his psychology class becomes the most popular course at Northwestern.

    Technically, he had his bases covered since it was an optional after class seminar…not sure I see the academic merit. I think he could have made his point without being so provocative seems more like he was trying to make a point.

  13. TitforTat says:

    Shit, I couldnt help thinking if I was the professor watching the toy being used on a stripper, I’d be pretty cocky too. 😉

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