Tag: Sex

Intersex Revolutionary War Hero Did Good Because Doctors Did No Harm

The startling knowledge that the Polish nobleman and military leader, Casimir Pulaski, a hero of the American Revolution, may have been intersex should leave us with two important takeaways. First, people have always been born with intersex traits, or atypical sex development. Even the ancient laws of the Talmud recognized this fact, offering rules for… Read more →

How to Do It: Sex Education and the “Sex Life”

In 1696, in Somerset county in southwest England, a schoolboy named John Cannon and his friends took their lunchtime break on the banks of a river near their schoolhouse. Unlike other uneventful riverside lunches, though, this day was memorable enough for Cannon to record in his memoirs. An older boy who was “about 17” years… Read more →

Review of Pure: Inside the Evangelical Movement that Shamed a Generation of Young Women and How I Broke Free

My Testimony I always wanted a really sexy testimony. That’s not the word I would have used, of course. Growing up in the evangelical Christian church, I knew good girls were never supposed to be “sexy.” The word “sexy” was said only in hushed tones, like “whore,” “vagina,” or “feminist.” A “testimony,” as used in… Read more →

The Trump Administration Wants to Define a Person’s Sex at Birth. It’s Just Not That Simple

A memo circulating through the Trump Administration proposes that several government agencies should define sex as “a person’s status as male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth,” according to the New York Times. This definition is a blunt instrument that, along with its cruel dismissal of the transgender population,… Read more →

Judy Blume with a Potty Mouth: A Review of Netflix’s Big Mouth

A sex education video plays to a class of middle school students. “As puberty begins, hormones are released and the sexual organs begin to change. The uterus is the center of female reproductive activity….” Two boys, quietly, in the back of the room: “The uterus? I thought girls had vaginas?” “I thought that too, but… Read more →

VD in the Archives

For something that played such a prevalent role in life at the front, sex and venereal disease (or VD) have been largely underrepresented thus far in the public remembrance of the centenary of the First World War. In 1916, one in five of all admissions of British and Allied troops to hospitals in France and… Read more →

Civil War Soldiers’ Wet Dreams

The American Civil War is arguably the most written about topic in American history. Yet for all that has been researched and published, sexuality during the Civil War has been difficult to uncover. This is not due to lack of interest; instead, it is the product of the silences surrounding sexuality during the era. As… Read more →

The Second Sentence: AIDS in Dublin’s Mountjoy Prison

In January 1986, Irish current affairs program Today Tonight reported on a spate of deaths and attempted suicides in Dublin’s Mountjoy prison. These, the reporter intoned, “reveal something seriously wrong in the Irish prison system. A system long-known to be overstretched, antiquated and inadequate has been pushed into the front line of modern Irish society’s… Read more →

Talking Sexing History

Averill Earls: Welcome to the wide and wonderful world of podcasting, Sexing History! Gillian Frank and Lauren Gutterman: Thanks so much! AE: Long time fan, first time interviewer. You both know I am a big fan of your digital and traditional history work, and I am psyched about your podcast. What inspired you to launch… Read more →

A Boy or A Girl? Sex Selection, Regimen, and Fertility in Ancient Greece

Selecting the sex of an embryo brings up a host of ethical, economic, and political considerations. When the issue arises in the western media, the focus is most often on Assisted Reproductive Technologies, such as IVF, or in the context of genetic research (Sex selection: Getting the Baby You Want and Why We Should Consider… Read more →