Northwestern Sex “Toy” Demonstration: What Really Happened

The Internets have been busy today with sensational stories about a demonstration that occurred during an after-class guest presentation at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. The class in question is a popular sexuality-related psychology class and the demonstration occurred last Monday. It involved a guest presenter taking off her clothes and being penetrated by a sex machine. None of the students in the course were required to stay for the after-class presentation. And reports suggest that the students who stayed for the presentation found it interesting, informative and moved closer to the stage to watch. The professor, according to his own accounts and to student accounts, very clearly indicated that students who would not be comfortable watching this aspect of the presentation should leave before it began, and some did.

This is an interesting case of what it means to study and learn about human sexuality. It also reflects Northwestern University’s commitment to academic freedom, even in controversial circumstances.

For a full account of what really happened, read the statement issued by the course professor, Dr. Michael Bailey, on his web site.

About Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick is a sex researcher at Indiana University, sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, columnist, and author of five books about sex and love. Learn more about her work at