The organisers of a Melbourne University’s popular Rad Sex and Consent week have hit back at a Sunday Herald Sun report of its bum massage “furore”, slamming the page eight piece as a “confused” beat-up.

Yesterday, journalist Mitchell Toy produced an amusing exclusive for Australia’s second-biggest selling newspaper, headlined “Uni’s live sex act furore” and describing a student union “controversy” kindly brought to his attention by Young Liberal shrieker Charley Daniel. “The state’s most prestigious university is at the centre of a controversy over a live and extreme sex show performed on campus for “sex education” purposes,” Toy thundered, adding that this was same bunch of ratbags who had previously “refused to fund an Anzac wreath”.

Disappointingly, Toy declined to describe the demonstration in question, which was apparently “too graphic” to be featured in the Sunday Herald Sun — presumably even with one of those “too rude” overlays. For the record, the offending workshop, entitled “Arse-Whole Education”, took place last Monday at 5pm in the UMSU Queer Space and contained the following description:

“In-and-out sex can definitely be hot, but there is so much more that we can add to our sexual repertoire! This is a demonstration of a range of anal play techniques for sexual pleasure, relaxation, remedial pelvic release and methods for incorporating all of the above at once.”

Rather than the “live sex act” described in the Herald Sun, participants were confronted with a rather tame set of bare buttocks and a professional masseuse concerned only with “external” fumblings “that cast the penetrative imperative aside”. Said the blurb: “You’ll also learn a range of techniques for sensory anal mapping and internal massage. Breathing techniques to enhance pleasure, relaxation and trance will also be demonstrated. Whether you’re into resolving pelvic pain, erotic massage, strap-on sex, or any other variation of arse play, this workshop is for you. For sex workers, bodyworkers and erotic explorers alike. Bring a notebook so you can keep a record of new techniques.”

Organisers from the Queer Department and the Women’s Department slammed Toy yesterday, pointing out “a bum massage is not what everyone would deem ‘extreme’!”, adding they’d “hate to have people thinking all sexy stuff to do with bums is extreme & nasty — this has clear links to homophobia!”.

Toy also tried to write around the fact that the $263 A&S fee had not been spent on Rad Sex week by claiming $300 was spent last year on a party bar tab. And he may have missed an even bigger exclusive — one session on Thursday was simply titled “fist-ng”.

Sunday Herald Sun editor Damon Johnston defended the yarn when contacted by Crikey, saying he was forced to personally weigh the act against the sensitivities of the paper’s 1.3 million readers. “These things are considered on a case by case basis, and in this case I felt the details were too graphic to publish,” he said. “Our story was fair and accurate. The president of the student union was quoted as were witnesses and the vice-chancellor.”

It’s been a marquee few weeks in the media for Daniel, who demonstrated some savvy political nous in the lead-up to Anzac Day by phoning up Neil Mitchell to highlight an UMSU Student Council decision to avoid spending $200 on the aforementioned wreath.

On her locked Twitter account Daniel describes herself a “central Victorian Liberal”, which would place her firmly within the Sophie Mirabella orbit of influence. She dipped out in last year’s Student Union elections for education officer by a massive 800 votes and has been railing against the dominant Labor Left and independent ruling clique ever since.

The university responded to Crikey on deadline, saying it is not advised of UMSU activities, a body it funds but remains “independent” of. “We are seeking reassurances from the student union that neither the law nor any resource agreement has been breached,” a spokesperson said. — Andrew Crook