Northwestern University cancels controversial sex ed class

CHICAGO Mon May 9, 2011 8:00pm EDT

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CHICAGO (Reuters) - Northwestern University said on Monday it will no longer offer the human sexuality class that caused an uproar this spring when students were treated to a live demonstration of an unusual sex toy on a naked woman.

In a brief statement, Alan Cubbage, Northwestern's spokesman, said the school's psychology department will not teach the popular "Human Sexuality" course during the coming academic year. He said Northwestern was "reviewing how such a course best fits into the university's curriculum."

The class, which attracted nearly 600 students in the winter session, came to national attention in February, when about 100 undergraduates attended an optional, after-class discussion on kinks and fetishes.

At one point during the discussion, a woman undressed in front of the students and was then penetrated -- and brought to orgasm -- with a modified reciprocating saw.

J. Michael Bailey, the psychology professor who taught the class, subsequently apologized and said it would not happen again. But he also expressed surprise at the stir it caused and said it highlighted a stark cultural divide.

"During a time of financial crisis, war, and global warming, this story has been a top news story for more than two days," Bailey wrote in early March.

"That this is so reveals a stark difference of opinion between people like me, who see absolutely no moral harm in what happened, and those who believe that it was profoundly wrong."

(Reporting by James B. Kelleher; Editing by Jerry Norton)

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