history of sexuality

  • Indiana's Kinsey Institute will Have to Carry on Without State Funds

    The pioneering research institute for the study of human sexuality has been a victim of the "groomer" moral panic; the legislator introducing the funding restrictions has called the late Alfred Kinsey a pedophile and suggested the institute was "hiding child predators." 

  • Why Didn't 60 Minutes Push Back on MTG's "Pedophile" Smear?

    While Lesley Stahl responded that Democratic politicians aren't "pedophiles" or "groomers," historians Manisha Sinha and Brandy Schillace explain that the term has a longer and uglier history in campaigns to marginalize queer people and to use fears around sexual purity to justify oppression of outgroups. 

  • Gladys Bentley: Gender Outlaw

    by Cookie Woolner

    Gladys Bentley was one of the most popular speakeasy performers in prohibition-era New York, and used the performance category of "drag king" – women playing on stereotypes of masculinity – to be herself. 

  • Is Archaeology Due for a Sexual Revolution?

    What if the phallic objects of antiquity were less about ceremony or symbolism and had extremely... practical uses? Have Victorian attitudes toward sexuality suppressed discussion of ancient artifacts' use in sex? 

  • Will the Era of the Butt Ever End?

    Heather Radke's "Butts: A Backstory" isn't (just) a provocation, but a carefully researched study of how bodily ideals and attractiveness are constructed and reproduced in societies. 

  • Sex, Society and Scandal in 19th Century France

    Historian Sarah Horowitz found the tale of Marguerite Steinheil too juicy to confine to an academic book, though the scandal shows how women navigated sex and inequality at the end of the nineteenth century. 

  • The Democratic Possibilities of Cruising

    by Jack Parlett

    As a practice, cruising exemplifies the possibilities of urban culture by bringing people into contact with strangers and enabling them to recognize common desires. The history of crusing shows it's not just about sex, but about democracy. 

  • Dangerous as the Plague: The History of Moral Panics over Queer "Seduction"

    by Samuel Huneke

    From the perspective of the post-Obergefell US, this year's politicized attacks on LGBTQ people—particularly as threats to the nation's youth—seem like a sudden reversal. But such attacks have a long and miserable history that has shadowed movements for queer freedom at every turn. 

  • The Asian-Canadian Gay Pioneer Theorist of Sexuality

    by Laurie Marhoefer

    Li Shiu Tong, the partner of better-known German sexologist Magnus Hirschfeld, was an important theorist and activist whose once-lost writings anticipated today's politics of gay rights and liberation. 

  • The 19th Century Woman's Secret Guides to Birth Control

    Women have always tried to share information enabling them to control their reproductive health, and others have always tried to stop them. Secrecy, coded language and misdirection are historical puzzles to untangle, say Andrea Tone, Naomi Rendina, Lauren Thompson and Donna Drucker. 

  • Antiabortion Movement Gunning for Contraceptive Rights, Too

    by Anya Jabour

    A century ago, sex researcher Katharine Bement Davis was silenced because she fought to redefine women's sexuality and contraceptive use as normal and fight for its decriminalization. The right today wants to undo her legacy through the courts.