Sexuality

Attorney Gloria Allred (left) and Norma McCorvey (right), the anonymous plaintiff in Roe v. Wade, during a pro-choice rally in Burbank, California, on July 4, 1989

Women Who Shaped History

Who Was Norma McCorvey, the Woman Behind Roe v. Wade?

Dubbed "Jane Roe," McCorvey sought an abortion after becoming pregnant in 1969 but was thwarted by Texas' restrictive reproductive laws

The book included reader-supplied recommendations for clubs and baths in countries such as South Africa, Yugoslavia and Panama. Two-thirds of the 1965 edition, though, were devoted to the U.S.

LGBTQ+ Pride

Where Could Gay Men Dine in the 1960s South? This Coded Guide Held the Answers

For locals and tourists alike, the "International Guild Guide" identified places of refuge in a ruthlessly homophobic society

Li Shiu Tong and Magnus Hirschfeld at the 1932 conference for the World League for Sexual Reform

LGBTQ+ Pride

The Gay Asian Activist Whose Theories on Sexuality Were Decades Ahead of Their Time

In the 1930s, Li Shiu Tong's boyfriend, Magnus Hirschfeld, was a prominent defender of gay people. But Li's own research has long been overlooked

At a time of widespread public health crises and evolving ideas about how illnesses spread, kissing was an easily avoidable vector of disease. Unfortunately for Imogene Rechtin, most people proved unwilling to give it up.

Untold Stories of American History

The Woman Who Fought to End the 'Pernicious' Scourge of Kissing

New understandings of how disease spread informed Imogene Rechtin's ill-fated 1910 campaign to ban a universal human practice

The archive of written work and speeches delivered by suffragists simply doesn’t indicate that abortion was at the forefront of discussions about women’s rights during the mid-19th to early 20th centuries.

History of Now

What Did the Suffragists Really Think About Abortion?

Contrary to contemporary claims, Susan B. Anthony and her peers rarely discussed abortion, which only emerged as a key political issue in the 1960s

Scientists want to open a dialogue with intelligent extraterrestrial beings in the Milky Way.

Art Meets Science

Why NASA Scientists Want to Send Nudes to Space

The naked truth: It’s a plan to make contact with intelligent life forms in the Milky Way

In the ancient Roman world, sexual pleasure was a cause for celebration rather than a source of shame.

Why Was Erotic Art So Popular in Ancient Pompeii?

A new exhibition spotlights 70 examples of sensual imagery discovered in the Roman city

In 51 B.C.E., Julius Caesar noted that people in Britain did not eat hares due to their religious significance.

The Ancient Origins of the Easter Bunny

A scholar traces the folk figure's history from the Neolithic era to today

Researchers are getting closer to creating a birth control pill for those with testes, according to findings presented this week at a meeting of the American Chemical Society.

Male Birth Control Pill Expected to Start Human Trials This Year

The new non-hormonal pill was 99 percent effective at preventing pregnancy in mice

Today, Betty Boop is an immediately recognizable cultural icon, appearing on everything from luggage to coffee mugs to chunky heels to board games.

The Evolution of Betty Boop

Film censorship sparked the beloved cartoon character's mid-1930s makeover

ONE Condoms become the first condoms approved for anal sex by the FDA. 

FDA Approves First Condom for Anal Sex

Health experts say FDA authorization may increase condom usage during anal intercourse and reduce sexually transmitted infections

The Shakers, who reached the peak of their popularity in America between 1820 and 1860, loathed the institutions of marriage and family for the sinful “natural affections” that accompanied them.

The Sects That Rejected Sex in 19th-Century America

Why three religious groups traded monogamy for celibacy, polygamy and "complex marriage"

A female dolphin cald swims about her mother at the Madrid Zoo and Aquarium in 2018.

Female Dolphins Have a Fully Functional Clitoris

A new study finds surprising similarities between human and cetacean sexual anatomy

Ary Scheffer, The Ghosts of Paolo and Francesca Appear to Dante and Virgil, 1835

Before Romeo and Juliet, Paolo and Francesca Were Literature's Star-Crossed Lovers

Centuries after Italian poet Dante published "The Divine Comedy," Romantic artists and writers reimagined the tragedy as a tale of female agency

Researchers studying Edvard Munch's Madonna (left) discovered hidden underdrawings (right) that reveal how the artist tinkered with his composition over time.

Art Meets Science

Hidden Sketch Reveals a More Traditional Version of Edvard Munch's Sensual 'Madonna'

A chance discovery suggests the woman's provocative pose was originally somewhat subdued

Mary Ware Dennett wrote The Sex Side of Life in 1915 as a teaching tool for her teenage sons.

The Sex Education Pamphlet That Sparked a Landmark Censorship Case

Women's rights activist Mary Ware Dennett was arrested in 1929 for mailing a booklet deemed "obscene, lewd or lascivious"

#FreeBritney activists protest at Los Angeles Grand Park during a conservatorship hearing for Britney Spears on June 23, 2021 in Los Angeles.

Britney Spears and the Age-Old History of Men Policing Women's Trauma

The singer's conservatorship, on trial this month, recalls the history of hysterectomies, insane asylums, forced contraception, among others

Queer artist Gilbert Baker preserved this 10- by 28-foot section of an original 1978 pride flag.

LGBTQ+ Pride

Long-Lost Fragment of First Rainbow Pride Flag Resurfaces After Four Decades

The brilliantly colored banner—now on view in San Francisco—flew on "Gay Freedom Day" in 1978

This month's book picks include The Engagement, How the Word Is Passed and Drunk.

Books of the Month

The Fight to Legalize Gay Marriage, the Woman Who Couldn't Be Silenced and Other New Books to Read

These June releases elevate overlooked stories and offer insights on oft-discussed topics

An undated view of the Seven Hills of Bonn by Josephine Butler, who campaigned for sex workers' rights and pushed Parliament to raise the age of consent

Pioneering Victorian Suffragist's Unseen Watercolor Paintings Are Up for Sale

Seven landscape scenes by 19th-century British social reformer Josephine Butler are headed to the auction block

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