Debate Magazine

Sexual Health Sunday: Is Seeing Believing?

By Romelantoine
Sexuality and gender identity-based cultures

Image via Wikipedia

After a brief hiatus, I’m back.

Thursday’s New York Times featured an article ripe with material for discussion regarding sexual displays, public exhibition, ‘kinky people’, and how these representations of ‘alternative’ sexual behavior interact with academe. In a stunning display of ‘hands-on learning’ a professor at Northwestern University invited two people to demonstrate sexual arousal. He held the event outside of class time, made it optional, and warned his students (on multiple occasions) that the presentation would contain sexually explicit acts. Out of a class of 600 students, 100 showed up for their ‘extra credit.’ The guests he’d invited proceeded to demo female ejaculation achieved through the aid of a ‘prop’.


The incident quickly gained the Chicago university some unwelcome attention forcing the school’s president to comment on the choices of his faculty member. What I’m struggling to understand is why? Is it because there was a display of sex involved? Were some students offended? Were the guests unattractive? Judging from his lukewarm remarks (short of outrightly defending his employee) I don’t think he cared that much.

We are living in an increasingly sexual environment in which sex is relentlessly on display. Blah blah blah sex blah blah blah shirtless man blah blah blah women’s bodies blah blah blah (you get the point.) Due to this change in sexual mores we’re forced to make a choice, do we acknowledge the sexual behavior of young people and use it as a teachable moment? Or do we ignore it and chastise those folks who choose to engage in the former?

During my undergraduate career I contributed to a tongue-in-cheek column in the campus newspaper on a semi-regular basis, a practice that was well received by the student body and (many) faculty members. I didn’t include images in my post (I hoped my writing could lead my readers’ imagination) but maybe that’s the problem in this situation. Perhaps people weren’t offended by my thoughts on sexuality because it afforded them the opportunity to just skip the column entirely. If I’d included any pictures at all it probably would a have been a different story.

I don’t know exactly how I feel about this entire situation other than happy that people are talking about it. For too long Americans have chosen to ignore the sex-laced messages of the 21st century. I’m not necessarily advocating for people to start sexually expressing themselves in the street but instead engaging in healthy discussions on sexuality (especially in an academic setting.)

What are your thoughts about the Northwestern ‘scandal’? Leave them in the comments.

You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Seeing the Male Everywhere

    Seeing Male Everywhere

    I’ve found this not so amusing post on Maryann Johanson’s blog Flick Filosopher, its title is “Winnie the Pooh: slayer of feminist fantasies“. Read more

    By  Erikalust
  • Why I Won’t Be Seeing 30 Minutes Or Less

    Won’t Seeing Minutes Less

    A few weeks ago, I went to see the movie Bad Teacher (not my choice, okay?). A preview for the movie 30 Minutes or Less came on. The movie is about a guy who... Read more

    By  Juliez
  • Sex and Disability – Not Sexual Disability

    “Disabled people are generally seen as being asexual and genderless, and images of us are largely confined to medical or charity based usage. But in fact we... Read more

    By  Erikalust
  • Believing & Perceiving

    Every once in a while, I encounter studies that deserve a category of their own. If I were feeling churlish, I might place them in a “No Sh*t” file; if I were... Read more

    By  Cris
  • Super Sexy Sunday…

    Super Sexy Sunday…

    This week, it’s all about the boys… Girls, if I have left anything out, feel free to add your two cents in the comments :) So this week I want to talk about wha... Read more

    By  Redneckprincess
  • Weekend Warrior: Love at First Sight is Possible, Just Be Sure You're Seeing...

    Weekend Warrior: Love First Sight Possible, Just Sure You're Seeing Clearly Anonymous

    We all have a vision of what we want our lives to look like. We imagine how we'll make a living, where we will live, and the type of family we'll have. We... Read more

    By  Sassarella Says
  • Health Warning

    Health Warning

    Whilst away last week I was waiting in a ski rental shop for Little Girl to be fitted out with skis and boots, when my attention was drawn to a skiing video... Read more

    By  Judithmiddleton