Steve Haywood

Dr Rebecca Langlands and Prof Kate Fisher

Ivory figurine, China, 19th century. Science Museum/Wellcome Collection

Sex and History

Visit the project website.

This award-winning and innovative approach to improving young people’s well-being and sexual health uses objects from past cultures as a stimulus for discussing sex and relationships.

Stemming from research which explores the ways in which, throughout history, people have turned to the past to make sense of sex in their own presents, Sex and History reconstructs such productive engagements with the past, to open up new ways of thinking about sex today. We have found that encounters with historical material provide eye-opening and empowering examples of cultural diversity which can expand horizons and help build skills in critical thinking about models of sex and relationships which young people encounter today. Learning about what people from across time and place have thought about desire, arousal, intimacy, gender, body image, beauty, power and control provides both an arresting focus for discussion, and a safe distance from sensitive issues, that can have a transformative effect and contribute to healthy sexual development.

Sex and History is jointly directed by Professors Kate Fisher and Rebecca Langlands and is a Sexual Knowledge unit project.

See more on the project website.