Sex & History is an award-winning programme that using objects from the past to open up discussions with young people about urgent issues such as consent, body image, pornography and gender identity.

Fisher and Langlands with Chinese fertility goddess at our Intimate Worlds exhibition

Our pioneering methodology harnesses the powerful effect of learning about what people from across time and place have thought about desire, arousal, intimacy, gender, body image, beauty, power and control.

Exploring different cultural attitudes takes us outside ourselves and our everyday concerns, brings fresh eyes to our own ideas and quite simply shows that sex is nothing new and it’s OK to talk about it. Intriguing images from history provide an arresting focus for discussions, affording a safe distance from sensitive subjects and allowing us to bring in as little or as much about our feelings and experiences as we feel comfortable with.

Sex& History is directed by Professors Rebecca Langlands and Kate Fisher – an interdisciplinary initiative between the University of Exeter’s Classics and Ancient History department and Centre for Medical History.