Another douchebag: Marty Klein

Ladies, aren’t you used to this yet? Marty Klein is a sex therapist who writes for Psychology Today; he’s also a dishonest hack who will distort the facts to make his case.

You may remember that strange incident in which Elyse of Skepchick was working at a conference, and out of the blue, was handed a card offering group sex by a pair of strangers. Klein has taken that story and turned it into a tale of a prude squawking hysterically at a kindly offer by a pair of friends. It’s one of the more egregious manglings of a story I’ve seen in a long time.

What I find particularly outrageous, though, is that Klein is exactly like Ken Ham: nowhere in his fractured fairy tale does he include a single link to the actual participant and witness to the story, where readers might have discovered how he lied, and of course his article doesn’t include comments, where readers might correct him.

Comments

  1. says

    Yeah, I noticed that he didn’t allow comments, too. Ophelia Benson pointed out that none of his posts seem to, which makes him a consistent coward.

  2. says

    You know you’re old when you remember when Psychology Today wasn’t a fluff magazine. Now, without the title, you wouldn’t be able to distinguish it from a Cosmo magazine.

  3. says

    I see the problem. He cross-posted this to his personal blog, which doesn’t allow comments (linked to on Butterflies and Wheels the other day), but the Psychology Today blog does. Ok, time to tear his article apart. Thank you.

  4. says

    Ah ok thanks for the clarification. The only link I saw was from elyse’s post to psychology today. Didn’t realize he had his own blog.

  5. karley jojohnston says

    You can also tweet him at @DrMartyKlein.

    I asked him to please remove “sex positive” from his description, please please.

  6. Matt Penfold says

    It seems the idiotic and lying Dr Klein has been trying to cover his tracks, and has amended the post both at his blog and PT. It now claims that the events described are a “composite”. Presumably he thinks that making that edit will get him of the charges of dishonesty. In fact all it does is compound his dishonesty since nowhere does he mention that he made that edit. Since it changes the substance of what he wrote, rather than correcting a typo or the like, he really needs to mention what he has done.

  7. twincats says

    You know you’re old when you remember when Psychology Today wasn’t a fluff magazine. Now, without the title, you wouldn’t be able to distinguish it from a Cosmo magazine.

    This.

    I subscribed for a good number of years and finally canceled about 2004. It was utter dreck by then, but I kept hoping it might return to its former nonfluffy glory, so to speak. Instead, it became a monthly parade of mostly nude female models on the cover with the occasional mostly clad male model. The articles followed in lockstep with the visual titillation.

  8. says

    I noticed that “composite” dodge — and I think it makes his post LESS honest, not more so, because it effectively makes the fact-claims on which his opinions are based UNTESTABLE.

    I’m not sure about this, but it seems to me like a lot of bigoted conspiracy theories are based on similar sloppy mishandling of facts. Like, the Nazis can’t name a single actual Jew who’s conspiring to take over the world, but they can still insist that the “composite” behavior of an undetermined number of unspecified Jews kinda exhibits taking-over-the-world behaviors.

  9. scotlyn says

    Not completely unlike THIS tale of a prude sqawking hysterically about an innocent (and scientific) conversational gambit…

    …only in that case, the female colleague quietly found a job elsewhere without ever going public about her experience…while a whole gang of academics worldwide were successfully enlisted by the injured NICE GUY(TM) conversationalist to shame her prudishness…

    It is a learning curve, though, and I am glad this blog has travelled some way along it since then.

  10. dogeared, spotted and foxed says

    If it is a composite, it’s useless as an example of either sexual harassment or “unwanted sexual attention” (whatever that means!) It’s just some made up example. Which isn’t a problem in and of itself. Analogies are a common teaching tool.

    But taking the most biased bias and slapping them into a straw man is usually reserved for people with an agenda.

  11. dogeared, spotted and foxed says

    and “biased bias” should read “biased bits.”

    Funny how sending the signal to your finger to press submit comment button also activates the edit feature of your brain.

  12. says

    It is a learning curve, though, and I am glad this blog has travelled some way along it since then.

    uh… “the blog” traveled quite a bit just in the comments alone, when the actual situation was made clear (primarily, IIRC, by SC’s poking at weird bits of the story). That comment thread was actually one of the prouder moments in Pharyngula history, when the majority of participants ended up changing their mind when more evidence was revealed :-)

  13. markkernes says

    Commenters are of course free to make any assumptions they wish about Klein from this one controversy, but since he’s a personal friend, let me at least point out that he’s written one of the most important books about sex in America, titled America’s War on Sex. (Another excellent one is Nancy Cohen’s Delirium.) I would urge folks to read Klein’s other writings before deciding he’s an unredeemable sexist asshole.

  14. scotlyn says

    Jadehawk – thanks for that clarification…I am an avid reader of the Pharyngula blog for many years, but learned early that the comment sections were simply too long and too esoteric (to my taste) to wade through and stopped trying.

    However, I’m going back to read the comments on that post now and stand corrected.

    It is worth pointing out, though, that that post was widely cited at the time in NICE GUY (TM) arguments around the world – and particularly here in Ireland.

    Again, thanks.

  15. scotlyn says

    Jadehawk – further to the last, the comments seem to have disappeared. But I am glad, nevertheless, to hear that the commenters challenged the post.

    And on current evidence, very successfully!

    /delurking

  16. says

    Mark Kernes, I don’t give a fuck what his “other writings” say. What he wrote about Elyse is under discussion. He reported the incident dishonestly and he is refusing to admit that he did. If you’re his friend, maybe you should tell him he’s behaving atrociously.

    Also, men don’t get to tell me which men are or are not sexist. HTH, HAND.

  17. says

    Jadehawk – further to the last, the comments seem to have disappeared.

    crap, I forgot about the loss of sciblog comments. anyway, yeah, people discussed the situation, and more and more evidence ended up coming to light that the dude was a sleazebag both to his coworkers and to female students, and so a lot of people ended up reversing their conclusions

  18. kamsly... says

    Markkernes @20: I’ll just go ahead and tell MY personal friends Elyse and Rebecca that your buddy gets a free pass on belittling their agency and experience because he wrote a book, then shall I? Yeah, no. You’re an idiot if you think his despicable article attacking women is an acceptable in any way regardless of anything else he’s ever done.

  19. Happiestsadist says

    Mark Kernes: I’ve read enough of Klein’s writing in the past that when I saw that he was involving himself in this clusterfuck, my immediate reaction was “What has this sexist asshole done now?” His understanding of healthy sexuality is so limited that the fact that he calls himself an educator on the subject should be laughable to all. The post in question here demonstrates that he knows nothing about consent, sexual violence awareness and what actual communication looks like.

    Also, DUDE, your defending another dude in claims that he’s totes not sexist is noted.

  20. dogeared, spotted and foxed says

    markkernes, So the guy who wrote a screed on how to weasel your way out of taking responsibility for sexual harassment has written an entire book from that perspective? Not a particularly compelling argument.

  21. Matt Penfold says

    Commenters are of course free to make any assumptions they wish about Klein from this one controversy, but since he’s a personal friend, let me at least point out that he’s written one of the most important books about sex in America, titled America’s War on Sex. (Another excellent one is Nancy Cohen’s Delirium.) I would urge folks to read Klein’s other writings before deciding he’s an unredeemable sexist asshole.

    I note you do not take your friend to task for his lack of honesty. Is that because you share his lack of ethics ?

  22. chigau (違う) says

    markkernes
    Since you are friends with Dr. Klein, could you tell us which universities granted his degrees, what body licensed him and what body certified him.
    I can’t find this information on his web-site.

  23. keenacat says

    Commenters are of course free to make any assumptions they wish about Klein from this one controversy

    How fucking generous of you. Currently I am also busy making assumptions about you based on the people you associate with and the shit you choose to defend.
    Hint: My assumptions are not exactly favourable.

  24. says

    Since I don’t think I can say it any better than this:

    There’s a particular blogger at a major psychological publication with the initials M.K. who likes to masturbate while watching videos of livestock and then invite unsuspecting women into his office to “accidentally” catch him in the act, and then he assuages his guilt and shame by making up lies about women who face sexual harassment to make them look foolish.**

    **This is a composite of several bloggers with the initials M.K. who write for major psychology publications, adding some details and subtracting others… you know, SCIENCE!

  25. says

    Commenters are of course free to make any assumptions they wish about Klein from this one controversy, but since he’s a personal friend, let me at least point out that he’s written one of the most important books about sex in America, titled America’s War on Sex. (Another excellent one is Nancy Cohen’s Delirium.) I would urge folks to read Klein’s other writings before deciding he’s an unredeemable sexist asshole.

    wait wait wait. I should buy his fucking book before deciding, based on some really skeevy shit, what I think of him? I usually research a book before spending my hard earned money (and finite time) on it, and I am not impressed with what I have found.

    I read up on the book and klein and his political analysis frames issues of sexuality and public policy as being prudes vs sexually liberated people. It is the same line of shit that pimps and pornographers try to sell all the time. The opposite of prudishness isn’t consuming pornography and hiring prostitutes, they are both different varieties of misogynistic male-centric sexuality.

  26. Akira MacKenzie says

    Sigh… When did “sex positive” become “An-excuse-to-foist-unwanted-sexual-advances-on-woman-I-meet?”

  27. says

    @20 markkernes:

    I would urge folks to read Klein’s other writings before deciding he’s an unredeemable sexist asshole

    Nobody said anything about unredeemable; There’s always a chance that he could stop being a sexist asshole at some point.

  28. carlie says

    Sigh… When did “sex positive” become “An-excuse-to-foist-unwanted-sexual-advances-on-woman-I-meet?”

    When Hugo Schwyzer happened, probably.

  29. dysomniak says

    @carlie

    When Hugo Schwyzer happened, probably.

    Do we really have to use such disgusting language?

  30. ibyea says

    It looks like based on the comments above that Psychology Today went in the way of Discovery Network. They start really good, and then when they try to appeal to the lowest common denominator, they get crappy.

  31. Akira MacKenzie says

    When Hugo Schwyzer happened, probably.

    Wait, who?

    [Akira Googles "Hugo Schwyzer"]

    Oh… Ummmmm… yeah.

    Morons like him are the reason why we can’t have nice things.

  32. patrick jlandis says

    So, is there is consensus on this blog that pornography and prostitution is always misogynistic and never healthy for all participants?

  33. Gnumann says

    So, is there is consensus on this blog that pornography and prostitution is always misogynistic and never healthy for all participants?

    No – but I suspect consensus about you is forming very rapidly.

  34. Stacy says

    So, is there is consensus on this blog that pornography and prostitution is always misogynistic and never healthy for all participants?

    No, not at all. I think few if any people on this blog would agree with that.

  35. Emrysmyrddin says

    No. Or did you mistake skeptifem’s post for one of PZ’s? If you need to move that closely to the screen to see the usernames, I’d suggest glasses. Or a very long screen break. Say, about a fortnight.

  36. Emrysmyrddin says

    *gets out the GROUPTHINK! HIVEMIND! DEEP RIFTS! popcorn*

    Anyone? It’s anarchy-flavoured.

  37. Stacy says

    Anyone? It’s anarchy-flavoured

    Thanks!

    Mmmmm. Anarchy. *drool*

    There’s a shaker of hasty generalization around here for spice. Sprinkle sparingly, it’s bad for the blood pressure.

  38. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    I read up on the book and klein and his political analysis frames issues of sexuality and public policy as being prudes vs sexually liberated people. It is the same line of shit that pimps and pornographers try to sell all the time. The opposite of prudishness isn’t consuming pornography and hiring prostitutes, they are both different varieties of misogynistic male-centric sexuality.

    Not this shit again…

  39. keenacat says


    So, is there is consensus on this blog that pornography and prostitution is always misogynistic and never healthy for all participants?


    Well, I have always been a fan of one-sentence trolling as opposed to wall-o-text-trolling, so this works in your favor. The use of misogyny as a hot button topic is spot on, yet lacking in creativity.
    I am sorry to inform you, though, that the hivemind-complaint as a fallacy of composition is really overdone, this will detract from your final score. I also recommend abstaining from the Loaded Question and strawmanning, it is usually considered poor form.
    At large, this is at most a C+. You can do better.

  40. keenacat says

    Noted for next time: Positioning the q-tags outside of the blockquote-tags results in larger margins but does nothing re Comic Sans.

  41. opposablethumbs says

    At large, this is at most a C+. You can do better.

    The examiner, however, gets an A* :-)

  42. says

    So, is there is consensus on this blog that pornography and prostitution is always misogynistic and never healthy for all participants?

    I am a one-woman consensus, apparently.

    I do discuss porn and prostitution in terms of what the vast majority of it entails, and the vast majority of both are totally misogynistic. 90% of prostitutes want out, the average age of starting in the industry is 13, and what johns want is pornography style sex, where men dictate everything that happens and women never complain. There is a website called make love not porn, and it exists because of the confusion young people have about sex, having been raised on pornography. They don’t understand why their girlfriends won’t do ass to mouth.

  43. dysomniak says

    @ skeptifem

    I do discuss porn and prostitution in terms of what the vast majority of it entails, and the vast majority of both are totally misogynistic.

    I’m sure you and I could have a long and lively disagreement about the finer points of the sex industry but I can’t find any fault with this. No matter one’s opinion on the abstract idea of selling sex the toxic combination of patriarchy and capitalism makes the entire endeavor deeply problematic in the real world.