Ken Melvoin-Berg, one of the three guest lecturers at Prof. J. Michael Bailey’s after-class demonstration, has spent the past two days in a media whirlwind.
More than a week after Bailey permitted the live performance of a sex act in an optional after-class demonstration on Feb. 21, the news has generated national — and even international — headlines. As early as 5 a.m. Thursday, local broadcast stations had set up vans around campus to begin coverage.
Melvoin-Berg, who gives sex tours in Chicago, spoke about bondage, domination, sadism and masochism at the demonstration. Then, partners Jim Marcus and Faith Kroll, who had accompanied Melvoin-Berg for the BDSM discussion, demonstrated female orgasm with the use of a motorized sex toy for a group of students who had been warned repeatedly of the explicit nature of the demonstration.
The trio had not planned this demonstration in advance. They witnessed the end of Bailey’s regular lecture, which included a video of a woman reaching orgasm. The video mentioned that the G-spot and female ejaculation have yet to be verified.
“We have a tool in here that can actually demonstrate both of these items,” Melvoin-Berg recalls telling Bailey. Kroll, an exhibitionist, agreed to be penetrated onstage and Bailey supported the decision. Kroll could not be reached for comment at this time.
“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,” Bailey wrote in a statement, which he has sent to reporters and his students.
President Morton Schapiro issued a statement saying he was “troubled and disappointed” by the incident, and that he has called for an investigation. Director of Media Relations Mary Jane Twohey declined to comment on the details, saying, “What we have now is the statement, and that’s what I have to tell you.”
Even so, Melvoin-Berg said he does not regret the demonstration.
“We’re actually getting a lot of sex-positive information out there about a lot of very esoteric issues,” he said. “I don’t see this as a negative thing in any way, shape or form. I can see that this is a controversy but I would do the demonstration over exactly the way I did.”
Melvoin-Berg noted that he has received more than 100 emails from students who were present at the lecture. He said their responses have been exclusively positive.
Weinberg sophomore Jennifer Kao chose to stay for the demonstration, and she said she was not offended by it. She noticed some people leave as Bailey and the speakers warned them about the sexually explicit nature of their demonstration but she said she found it very educational. She has been “kind of shocked” by the media attention and Schapiro’s statement.
“I understand that it can be scandalous on a small scale. I don’t think it should be that much of a deal, especially on a college campus,” Kao said. “If [Bailey] wants to teach about human sexuality, what’s better than a demonstration?”
This is the type of response that Melvoin-Berg said he hoped for. He said he wanted to educate students and show them the diversity of sexuality.
“We used the saw on [Kroll] and I think to great effect,” he said. “This is a really good educational tool. One of the things that we gear our lectures towards is that these may be future psychologists and this is going to add to their body of knowledge.”
Full disclosure: Jordyn Wolking is enrolled in Bailey’s human sexuality class. She was not present for the demonstration.