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Public university hires puppet sexologist to teach students ‘healthy relationships’

Same event description used for ‘private pleasure parties’

If there’s one thing colleges students need to learn, it’s how to have sex.

That’s why Towson University, part of the University System of Maryland, is bringing a board-certified sexologist who wears genital puppets on her arms to campus.

The Office of Student Activities, Fraternity & Sorority Life and Health Center are hosting Justine Shuey next month to give one of her presentations, “Not Your Average Sex Talk.”

In a description taken from Shuey’s website and lightly edited, Towson tells students she will give them “a hilarious, honest, no-holds-barred approach to sexuality education that uses puppets, proprs [sic], interactive activities and audience participation to address misinformation heads-on while enhancing sexual awareness.”

They’ll do an “Anonymous Q&A session via text message” and leave the presentation “empowered to take charge of your sexuality in safe and appropriate ways!”

MORE: Student prosecuted for BDSM. Did he learn it from the university?

One of Towson’s other edits to Shuey’s generic description is the exact content of her presentation: “Topics such as Sex, Love, Healthy Relationships, Communication, and Consent will be covered.”

On Shuey’s website, her sexuality programming for colleges and universities covers these topics but is “not limited” to them. What else might she talk about?

The other presentations listed on her website offer a clue. The “hilarious, no-holds-barred” language is also used under the heading “Private Pleasure Parties / Adult Sexuality Education,” except the audience will learn “tips, tricks and new skills to improve sexual pleasure” (not “awareness”).

Here’s where it gets graphic. Shuey may cover anal sex, “prostate play,” female ejaculation, “rough sex for beginners,” BDSM, “sensual spanking,” open relationships and “talking dirty,” among other topics.

MORE: Harvard Sex Week includes ‘BDSM in the dorm’ lesson

Her other presentations are targeted toward medical professionals, who will get hands-on experience with sex toys and “have some fun” learning about kink and BDSM. Shuey also brings her presentations to parents of young children and K-12 schools.

Shuey’s teaching may challenge Towson’s sexual-misconduct policy in at least one way.

One of her videos says that body language is “an unreliable indicator of consent,” but Towson says consent can be conveyed by “actions” as long as they “create a mutually understandable permission regarding the conditions of sexual activity.”

MORE: Dungeon master teaches BDSM to Northwestern students

A student who reports sexual misconduct, informed by Shuey’s talk, could claim their body language was “unreliable” and the partner should have asked for consent explicitly. The accused student could respond by citing Towson policy, saying the body language constituted “mutually understandable permission.”

It’s also not hard to fathom that if Shuey goes into her “rough sex” talk, and students try to implement it in their sex lives, one partner will report that consent was revoked even though their body language did not suggest anything had changed.

Universities that punished students who used BDSM with their partners – sometimes inspired by “50 Shades of Grey” – have occasionally been sued for depriving the accused of due process.

One such lawsuit led a federal judge to smack down George Mason University for withholding the “full scope of factual allegations” against the accused student, deviating from its own procedures, holding secret meetings with the accuser and not providing “a basis for its decision.”

MORE: GMU violated BDSM student’s constitutional rights

IMAGE: Dr. Justine Shuey website

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Greg spent several years as a technology policy reporter and editor for Warren Communications News in Washington, D.C., and guest host on C-SPAN’s “The Communicators.” He co-founded the alternative newspaper PUNCH and served as a reporter, editor and columnist for The Falcon at Seattle Pacific University.

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