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Fucksaw at Northwestern University: The REAL Story

I was one of the four guest lecturers at Northwestern University– Ken Melvoin-Berg, Faith Kroll, Jim Marcus and myself.  In fact, that infamous fucksaw belongs to me.  I have been too crazy with media interviews, real life duties and such to write a proper response to the events at Northwestern University on February, 21st.  Some discussions I have been having over Facebook prompted me to simply put some of my communication down in a blog post.  I’m tired and apologize for any horrendous grammar faux pas you are about to be exposed to.

I just posted on Facebook a good, thorough explanation of events at NU on someone else’s page and thought it was worth reposting here.  The air really needs to be cleared and the real story needs to be told.

Someone commented in a thread discussing the NU events and this Chicago Tonight interview :  “The radio made it sound like there was some nefarious ‘strip club-like’ activity. Now I’m even more intrigued.”

My response:   “Taken from a post on my page (because I’m too tired to rehash stuff I’ve said elsewhere lol) ‘That stuff was GRAPHIC– no joke! And that was considered a respected academic research film with moaning and masturbating and partners stimulating, etc. No one batted an eye. Our demo was tame compared to that. This is why I don’t understand WHY it’s such a HUGE deal!’” — This was pertaining to the movie that was playing as a REQUIRED part of the class for all 600 students when the four of us walked in the Ryan auditorium. I have no qualms with that film as I’m certain it has played in hundreds of human sexuality classrooms throughout the nation for years (it looked to be a film from the 1970’s).

Afterward, they discussed the commonly held notion that the g-spot and female ejaculation did not exist. We brought a device (strictly for show and tell purposes—we didn’t come there planning to use it. This was my now infamous fucksaw) SPECIFICALLY used for that purpose (female g-spot orgasm and ejaculation) with a near 100% track record. Ken Melvoin-Berg asked the professor if we could demo it on the fly.  After thinking on it a bit, Professor Bailey agreed. He said something to the effect of, “I can’t think of a reason not to do this demonstration, just make sure we tell the students there will be graphic sexual content at the end of the lecture so they have the opportunity to leave.”  We then proceeded to do a 1 hour lecture on other topics before the demo. Mind you, our lecture was an OPTIONAL after class lecture and about 100 students chose to stay— the film, on the other hand, was REQUIRED.

Students were warned of the upcoming graphic nature of our demo about a dozen times and given a chance to leave. The demo took THREE minutes and was a minimum of 30 feet away from students. Faith’s privates were blocked from the audience by Jim most of the time. She was only undressed ONLY from the waist down and they got a flash from a distance—like you’d see in an R rated film. Less than what students would be exposed to with a nude model in an art class.  After we were done, this led to a very productive conversation on female anatomy, orgasmic response, mechanics, orgasm types, etc. (just like the movie had discussed earlier but we felt they left out some very important points which we were addressing with this demo).

All this is relevant to Psych students that may go on to be therapists or sexologists (as was the rest of our lecture that had nothing to do with female sexual response but rather alternative sexual lifestyles both physically and philologically, sexual safety, definitions of non-traditional relationships, etc etc). I DO NOT understand what the big deal was.

I continue to be mystified as to why this is such an issue.  The demo was a teensy part of a greater lecture that covered a gamut of relevant topics.  Those topics aren’t all in textbooks but DO exist in the real world.  This is real world experience all four of us have in both our personal and professional lives (Ken and I most specifically, who cover adult sex-ed as one of the topics on our Weird Chicago Sex Tours and are continually talking to the “average Joe” and sex workers about their private and sex lives).  Some of these students will go on to be psychology professionals.  They WILL treat people in that same REAL WORLD many of which will have elements of kink, female sexual dysfunction, etc in their lives that may pertain to the therapy they are seeking.  So then WHY shouldn’t universities teach real world applications of what is being talked about (and sometimes not talked about) in textbooks? They do for other areas of discipline.

I’m hoping in a way we’re pioneers.  As a society we don’t openly talk about sex enough and unfortunately in a learning environment we’re afraid to as well.  How can professionals in a specific field become thoroughly educated on a topic or conduct research if they are shamed into NOT starting a honest dialogue about it?  I think back 20 years or so ago when the TV show Roseanne aired the first lesbian kiss.  People were OUTRAGED! It was huge.  Homophobia ran rampant in the mainstream media.  Everyone involved in that took a lot of flack.  But you know what?  After the sensationalism died down, it made a difference.  Today, because of that controversy, we are all in a much better place.  We look back at that little kiss and laugh at the big deal we made of it.  With hope, we’ll look back at the fucksaw incident as something silly that propelled us all forward.

I was honored to be involved in this presentation at Northwestern University.  The students were respectful, interested and asked wonderful questions that lead to very productive sex positive dialog.  Since the lecture took place we have had nothing but positive, supportive e-mails in support of both Professor Bailey and ourselves.

Northwestern Fucksaw: Has The New Sexual Revolution Just Begun?
All I Know About the G-Spot I Learned From My Fucksaw



14 replies
  1. Hardin Reddy
    Hardin Reddy says:

    It was a class on human sexuality! What could be more relevant than a demonstration of a G-spot orgasm? And it was OPTIONAL! The uproar over this is ridiculous, except from the standpoint of media outlets that are using it to attract eyeballs to their ads.

  2. Julie C
    Julie C says:

    I think the reason that people are getting so worked up is exactly because they don’t know the whole story–the media isn’t giving it to them. The headlines are all “LIVE SEX SHOW IN FRONT OF YOUR KIDS!!!!!” and very few are actually putting it in context.

    My husband, for example, first saw the headlines online and was horrified. Then I told him the real story (since I’d gotten it from you) and he saw the CBS report where they actually used the clip of Ken explaining that it was an optional add-on to a human sexuality course for psych majors, and then his reaction was more like, “Oh. Well, that makes sense.” The problem is that most people are just getting the first version of things.

    (Also, the fact that the school is getting calls from parents whose kids weren’t even in the class is ridiculous. Worry about your own stuff, people.)

  3. Tim V
    Tim V says:

    Thank you, nice to hear a very thoughtful, thorough explanation on what happened from someone who was actually there. I guess the media thought “Respectful students asked wonderful questions that lead to very productive sex positive dialog” wouldn’t get people to watch the news. I would, but maybe that’s just me….

  4. Zelda Gillian
    Zelda Gillian says:

    I am glad that you’ve been able to get your side of the story out to the public. I think that the Chicago Tonight piece from last night was helpful as well. You all did such a great job!

    I especially appreciate Jim’s comment, too, that you never know what you’re going to be forced to stand up for and when. I am SO proud of all of you for standing up for this and for giving each of us our own smaller-scale opportunities to do the same.

  5. miss
    miss says:

    The whole thing is ridiculous. i do NOT support the instructor or the two that demonstrated the act. first of all, its a college human sexuality class..im sure everything that everyone saw has themselves personally experienced behind closed doors, therefore the only reason anyone performed such was for their 15 minutes of fame, and that they get off doing sexacts in public. There was no or is no other reason for the “demonstration” Faith and Jim kudos that you’re open with your sexuality but this entire scenario is bull, and i do not support you or the instructor. Find another way to become famous.

  6. mills62joe
    mills62joe says:

    thanks for having a lucid description of what occurred. i guess family newspapers that describe gunshot victims every day cant figure out a way to describe something like this.

    i had a funny experience with the sun-times. i asked them to post mr. marcus response to mr. steinbergs column on his “comments” page and i pasted the link to your website. it was comical, they would not accept the posting of my comment because it had the words orgasm and sex in it. i changed orgasm to climax but still it wouldnt accept it because the word sex was in your link. i had to put brackets around a description of the word sex so folks could figure out your link and then i noticed something:

    fuckzaw was ok! the censor didnt pick that one up!

  7. Sunnymegatron
    Sunnymegatron says:

    @millsjoe– Hahaha! Well, that was actually part of the problem in relating this story. Without being able to use the words g-spot, ejaculation, and orgasm in many of the mainstream media we couldn’t explain WHY we did the demo. Then it just became “we were showing the students how to use sex toys” which is not at all the truth! It’s crazy.

    And to post the link go to the website bit.ly and use the address shortener—it will take the offensive words out of the link.

    Thank you for your support!

  8. Kate
    Kate says:

    I still do not see the purpose of the demonstration. The students could not see her g-spot, the students could not see where it was located, and as you said, the man operating the saw was blocking the woman’s privates almost the entire time. All the students saw was a woman being penetrated with a sex toy and having an orgasm. Prior to this, they already knew what a sex toy was, they already knew how it worked, and they have already seen footage of women having orgasms. So, I ask, what WAS the purpose of this live demonstration?

    I am a very open-minded person in regards to sex, but this makes no sense to me.

  9. Former Art Model
    Former Art Model says:

    I was an art model in college. I stood naked in front of twenty students in a beginning drawing class for weeks, and it was nothing like what you did in this class.

    Art models DON’T MOVE for as long as thirty minutes at a time. If an art model moves even a wee bit, it can throw off the artists’ rendition. It’s far more living-statue like than it is what happened in this class.

    The worst part to me, of all this, is that there are very good, real ways to discuss the issues in this class appropriately and in an academic manner. Sure, it might be weird to talk about the use of certain types of toys, but for crying out loud, the Marquis de Sade is still discussed in academic settings. It can be done, and it can probably even be done by bringing in kink toys to show in class. But not to actually use.

  10. M.A.
    M.A. says:

    Bailey sounds like someone I don’t admire, especially the way he has treated gay and trans sexuality, http://jezebel.com/5776850/the-storied-past-of-northwesterns-sex-professor, http://ai.eecs.umich.edu/people/conway/TS/ChronicleArticle.html. So first off there are many not wanting to give him an ounce of credit. The only point I can see made here is that there has been a problem with people even being able to talk about g-spot, orgasm, etc that comes along with this in a more public, mainstream setting. I agree that we need to have more open discussions about sex and it’s sad it is so taboo when there are articles about people being shot every day, very good point there. But this has just been commodified the way he has done trans and gay sexuality into something freakish – how did you expect any less? Yes the students will probably be smart, and curious, and want to learn and can do so in any environment but no I don’t support this guy at all. I head the class is cancelled and hopefully someone else will teach the class in the future, all though I read this guy is still on to teach some other classes that are more evo-psych bs which is way more dangerous and bothers me way more than a fucksaw.

  11. Amanda
    Amanda says:

    You go to so much trouble to defend how she was covered and blocked most of the time, and was 30 feet away from students, so then HOW on earth can you also argue that it was educational? Please I would honestly like your views on that, and I am a very open minded liberal individual.
    Also, this seems to me an extremely degrading act for a woman, I’m sure a man came up with the idea of a fucksaw am I right? And fine, all is well, go ahead and demonstrate this but also make an asssaw or something for a male to demonstrate in front of hundreds, and then come talk to us about it.

  12. Hank
    Hank says:

    Amanda probably won’t ever see this comment, but yes, there really are “ass saws.” Probably more of them are sold for that purpose than for vaginal use.

    Here you go.

    And it is quite sad that people like Amanda think sex toys are degrading to women – I’ve used the Fucksaws on several women while their girlfriends assisted and rubbed their breasts, kissed, etc — none of these women felt degraded.


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