THE PENDULUM: WHY AMERICANS SHOULD CARE THAT BRITISH PORN IS FUCKED – Spanking and Female Ejaculation: Everything Good Is Bad Again

Censorship on the rise.



By Malin James

A few day ago, British pornographers were quietly hit with draconian new regulations. The UK’s new Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2014 are aimed at “Video on Demand,” ie: porn on the internet, which is now subject to the same restrictions as porn sold on DVD. As of December 1st, all pornographic content produced in the UK must adhere to the British Board of Film Classification’s rating of R-18, which falls roughly between the NC-17 and X ratings in the U.S. Click here for a full list of the newly banned sexual acts, accompanied by elucidating commentary from obscenity lawyer, Myles Jackman. The ban is fairly extensive, so here are a few highlights from the list of banned sexual acts, courtesy of The Independent.

According to the new restrictions, it is no longer legal for porn produced in the UK to portray spanking, caning, physical restraint, verbal or physical abuse (regardless of consent), humiliation, female ejaculation, face-sitting and fisting. The BBFC banned the last two items on the list on the grounds that they are “potentially life-endangering.”

Really? Interesting…. I’ll remember that the next time I want to take someone’s life in my hands.

There have been a number of excellent articles and essays published in the wake of these regulations that cover the many reasons why the new standards are problematic and discriminatory on multiple levels. Girl on the Net wrote an impassioned break down of the regulation’s idiocy, sex act by sex act. (I especially appreciated her pointing out the ironies inherent in the restrictions). Pandorah Blake addressed the regulations as one of the independent porn producers whose livelihood is going to be directly effected by the ban. Remittance Girl addressed the BBFC’s overblown exercise of governmental power, and Stavvers examined the disturbing manner in which the restrictions target women’s sexuality and sexual pleasure, as well many aspects of the kink / minority / fetish sexualities, while leaving  mainstream / male pornographic tropes far less restricted. For example, while face-sitting is banned as potentially life-threatening, face fuckingis just fine. I’d encourage anyone interested in learning more about the BBFC’s new standards to check any of those articles out, or to go to the Backlash website, an organization committed to defending freedom of sexual expression.

It hasn’t gotten quite so much coverage in the U.S. In fact, apart from an excellent article in Reason, it’s barely registered here. So, why does an erotica writer living in the United States care any all this? After all, it’s not as if people can’t spank each other or sit on their loved one’s faces in the comfort and privacy of their own homes, right? They just can’t see it in porn. Besides, that’s all happening an ocean away. We’re sitting pretty behind the First Amendment here. What does it really matter?

After three days of sitting with that question, I’ve come up with two answers. The first is more general so I’ll start there. I care because our culture, (meaning Western / European culture), moves like a pendulum. Periods of great conservatism are often followed by decades of social progress. Look at the turn of the 20th century when Victorian morality slowly gave way to the Roaring 20’s, a period fueled by popular resistance to prohibition. Consider the way the pendulum swung back to social conservatism in the years following World War II, when sexual and emotional repression became the standard way of life. That repression persisted until the rise of feminism and the sexual revolution pushed the pendulum back towards liberalism in the 60’s and 70’s. Still not convinced? How about the fiscal conservatism in the 80’s that lead to a popular culture that was both totally decadent and oddly repressed, particularly in the wake of AIDS. Then the nineties came around and the LGBT community mobilized, ushering in new struggles and discussions and efforts at re-education centering on sexual freedoms. And now here we are, in a relatively progressive, sex positive age where bondage is out of the closet and people buy 50 Shades of Grey in Walmart. But what does that even mean?

It means a lot changed very quickly, and we are now hitting up against cultural resistance.

Yes, sex positive efforts at education and advocacy are still active, now more than ever. In fact, they’ve expanded to include most marginalized sexualities, gender identifications and sexual kinks, including, but certainly not limited to, BDSM and D/s practices. But that doesn’t mean the pendulum can’t swing to the other way, back to a “safer,” less sexually challenging mode. I believe that the tighter porn restriction in the UK are one sign, (one of many small, subtle indicators), that it is already swinging back to what I will uncomfortably call “moral conservatism.”

The reasoning behind the restrictions is embedded in the language of the BBFC’s new regulations, and that reasoning boils down to this:

Read more:

Spanking and Female Ejaculation: Everything Good Is Bad Again

By Remittance Girl

This week the new Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2014 aimed at censoring On Demand Video in the UK were ratified. I can’t say I watch a lot of porn of any kind, and my personal opinions of the remediated acts listed in the regulations range from a shrug to a shudder. There are lots of things I’m not interested in seeing and, because I have free will, I can choose not to see them. However, I do have a conceptual problem with the regulations for a number of reasons.

They purport to be necessary to ‘save our children’ from seeing terrible things and, it is implied, becoming warped by them. (I don’t want to get into the discussion of all the awful non-sexual things they might see on the news, in the theatres, on TV) There are many, many things that children should not see, both in the media and in real life, and it is the obligation of a parent to make sure they don’t see them. State intrusion into the making of cultural product ‘for the sake of the children’ is denying the very real and important responsibility that parents should exercise themselves. Governments that do it end up creating a population that feels itself able to relieve itself of this important aspect of parenting and growth that should be a matter between parents and their children.

Although not explicitly stated, the regulations infer that there is empirical evidence that children who watch, say, a woman sitting on a man’s face, are more likely to be psychologically and socially affected by it that, for instance, seeing 10 men ejaculating on a woman. There is NO creditable research to this effect.  Now, I don’t want to suggest its time to kick the net-nanny to the curb. There is some – not a lot – of research to indicate that exposure to extreme types of violent pornography might be psychologically problematic (Flood 2003) but, frankly, the conclusion is based on a lot of assumptions and not a great deal of solid research. The irony of the discussion is that, since it would be illegal to expose under 18s to porn, it’s almost impossible to get hard data on what the effects of it are.

In the absence of any solid, scientific data, let us be responsible about what our kids our watching, yes? Seems sensible. But in order to do that, we would have to play an active role in how our children formed their thinking about sex. Since, as a society, we are so hell bent on pretending children HAVE no sexuality, thereby neatly absolving parents from their roles as good sex educators, we’re letting the government do it for us? That can’t end well – for many, many reasons.

Meanwhile, the list of prohibited acts on VOD and the rationale behind them remains stunningly puzzling. I don’t agree with the censoring of any of the acts (as long as the actors are of age, consenting and the viewers are equally of age and consenting) but some are actually laughable.

No spanking.

Although, according to Debra Lynne Herbenick PhD, of the Kinsey Instituted, it is assumed to be a very, very common form of sexual play (Washington Post). On an admittedly anecdotal basis, I don’t even KNOW anyone who has not at least tried it once. When regulations don’t reflect some semblance of agreement with what ‘normative’ people do in the bedroom, the regulators stop simply looking like over-zealous prudes; they take on something a little more sinister. Is this an attempt to socially engineer a view of sexuality formed in the image of their own fantasies?

The second newly prohibited act is the remediation of female ejaculation. It’s not totally prohibited: only if it gets on anyone else’s body.  Why, you ask? Because according to this learned group of censors, it’s watersports in disguise. They maintain that since female ejaculation may contain some urine in it, there’s no difference between a squirting scene and a golden shower.

It does tell you something about how utterly tone deaf these people are to the nuances of sexual semiotics that they equate the two. Not that I personally have a problem with either of the acts.

But let us not be disingenuous. Golden showers always carry, however subtly, the implication of degradation about them. The person being urinated on is, from a sexual power dynamic, usually the ‘bottom’ in the scene. That’s why people find them hot.

Squirting, meanwhile, is rarely semiotically degrading to the person who gets ‘squirted on’. It happens to have emerged, for better or for worse, as a symbol of extreme pleasure in an orgasming woman. If anything, there is some flavour of the helplessness in the throws of pleasure of the woman doing the squirting.

But also, what is this obsession with the urine content?

This is where it gets personal for me. Many women don’t experience female ejaculation, but I do. Not after one or two orgasms, but past the third, it is likely to happen. I honestly don’t know what’s in it. It doesn’t smell like urine, but I’m more than willing to admit there might be some in there. When I was younger, the prospect that there might be terrified me. I would forcefully stop a lover from giving me more than two orgasms for fear I would squirt. And, of course, due to the fact that one squirts during orgasms, there’s a very good chance that you will get it on your partner, and all over the bed. But it is a natural consequence of my body reaction. It is not obscene, or perverse, and it certainly WOULDN’T damage a child to see it (anymore than a glimpse at anything else they shouldn’t be watching).

It took me many years to get over the fear of it. It took me a long time to grapple and settle on the reality that sex is messy and involves a LOT of body fluids: saliva, mucus, semen, effluvia, urine, even blood sometimes, and … wait for it… shit too. I can assure you that there are microscopic fragments of feces on every cock caught on camera penetrating an anus, and the censors haven’t banned THAT, why?

But, from a purely gendered perspective – why is it socially acceptable to have video of semen all over the place, but not female ejaculation? Why is it fine to show women choking on cock, but not women sitting on a man’s face? Now the legislation doesn’t simply seem prudish, it looks downright sexist!

Look, from a erotic writing perspective, I’m thrilled they’re banning things. Banning stuff just makes it more transgressive and hotter. The writer in me says: heck, ban it all! Ban ankles. I can write a great erotic story about calves!

But the 21st century woman in me says:

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Novelist Ben Okri wins Bad Sex in Fiction prize

The judges were swayed by an ecstatic scene involving Lao, the documentary’s presenter, and his luminescent girlfriend, Mistletoe:


Novelist Ben Okri

When his hand brushed her nipple it tripped a switch and she came alight. He touched her belly and his hand seemed to burn through her. He lavished on her body indirect touches and bitter-sweet sensations flooded her brain.

She became aware of places in her that could only have been concealed there by a god with a sense of humour. Adrift on warm currents, no longer of this world, she became aware of him gliding into her. He loved her with gentleness and strength, stroking her neck, praising her face with his hands, till she was broken up and began a low rhythmic wail. She was a little overwhelmed with being the adored focus of such power, as he rose and fell. She felt certain now that there was a heaven and that it was here, in her body. The universe was in her and with each movement it unfolded to her.

Somewhere in the night a stray rocket went off.

Britain’s best loved literary magazine, now in its 34th year
Reviews of new books in history, politics, travel, biography and fiction
Contributors who are irreverent, accomplished and amusing

“In Literary Review you find something that has almost vanished from the book pages: its contributors are actually interested in Literature.”
Martin Amis

“This magazine is flush with tight, smart writing.”
Washington Post


The winner of the the 22nd Award. Read more.

Jonathan Beckman on this year’s Bad Sex in Fiction Award shortlist
The Man Booker Prize, the Pulitzer Prize, the Franz Kafka Prize, the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, the PEN/Faulkner Award – just some of the accolades won by this year’s Literary Review Bad Sex in Fiction Award nominees, arguably the most distinguished shortlist ever assembled. The prize is intended to draw attention to poorly written, perfunctory or redundant passages of sexual description in modern fiction, and to discourage them. Read more.


Selected highlights from the December 2014 / January 2015 issue:

Jonathan Sumption on Chaucer’s vital year
In the late Middle Ages, the English civil service was a fertile breeding ground for poetic talent. John Gower had ‘worn the rayed sleeve’ of a court official. Thomas Clanvowe was a knight of the royal household. Thomas Hoccleve was a clerk in the privy seal office. We know more about the life of Geoffrey Chaucer than that of any other medieval poet. But we would know almost nothing if he had not been a civil servant, by turns courtier, soldier, diplomat, customs officer and member of Parliament. He lived for much of his life in London in rooms over Aldgate, during one of the most raucous periods of the city’s history. He travelled on the king’s business in France, the Low Countries, Italy and Spain. He read in several foreign languages. In an age when even the great men of the world lived shuttered lives with narrow horizons, Chaucer’s rich variety of experience stood out. Read more.

Jonathan Keates on Jan Morris’s Ciao, Carpaccio!
Everybody likes Carpaccio. I’m not talking about the dish of thinly sliced raw beef devised in 1970 by Giuseppe Cipriani of Harry’s Bar in Venice but about the 16th-century painter whose particular shade of red gave this kitchen classic its name. Carpaccio himself, Vittore or Vettor as he was known among Venetians, was a contemporary of Bellini, Giorgione and Cima da Conegliano and the creator of some of the world’s best-loved paintings. He is not, admittedly, ranked among the movers and shakers of Renaissance art. In discussions of Venetian art of this period he tends to be either treated as a charming footnote or else omitted altogether. Nothing in his work suggests a hankering after grandeur, sublimity or the formulation of timeless theological absolutes. The spirituality of a Carpaccio painting – and they are almost all religious in theme – is grounded in earthly experience rather than divine exaltation. Read more.

James Womack on the career of the Soviet Union’s number one poet, Vladimir Mayakovsky
There are Mayakovsky Streets in forty-five Russian cities and fourteen Ukrainian cities. There are three Mayakovsky Streets in St Petersburg, more than there are in the whole of Kazakhstan, which boasts only a couple, one in Almaty and one in Ust-Kamenogorsk. Triumph Square in Moscow was called Mayakovsky Square from 1935 to 1992; the metro station that serves it is still called Mayakovsky. Omsk seems particularly fond of the poet: as well as a street, it has a cinema and a nightclub (or rather a ‘youth relaxation complex’, which I hope is a nightclub) blessed with the great man’s name. Read more.

James Barr on the endangered religions of the Middle East
In 2007 I took a short train ride from Baku to see one of the few remaining Zoroastrian fire temples, the Ateshgah. Inside a compound that shuts out industrial suburbs on one side and nodding donkeys in the semi-desert on the other, a stone pavilion sheltered a bobbing sacred flame. My impression of an ancient faith assailed by modernity grew stronger later when, in a room on the perimeter of the precinct, I came across a gas meter. Read more.

Rupert Christiansen on two studies of Schubert’s lieder
A few years back when reviewing for this magazine Ian Bostridge’s A Singer’s Notebook - a collection of his occasional essays and passing reflections – I expressed the hope that such an intellectually distinguished classical tenor would attempt something more coherent and ambitious. Well, here it is, and it’s an impressive success: a long-gestated, intensely enjoyable study of Schubert’s Winterreise (‘Winter Journey’), the series of twenty-four linked songs composed to texts by Wilhelm Müller in 1827, months before Schubert’s early death from syphilis.Read more.

Jonathan Meades reconsiders Nairn’s London 
Ian Nairn famously made his name with an edition of the Architectural Reviewentitled ‘Outrage’, a noisy jeremiad against the uniformity, insipidity and imaginative bereavement of the suburbs he encountered on a long, dispiriting drive from Southampton to Carlisle. Read more.

Brian Dillon on a history of decapitations
Oliver Plunkett, Archbishop of Armagh, was the last Catholic martyr to die at Tyburn, in 1681. He was hanged, drawn and quartered, and stray bits of his corpse were distributed among waiting friends. Three centuries later a scrap of linen that had touched part of his body was said to have cured an elderly Italian of her deadly disease, so Plunkett was canonised in 1975. As a child in Ireland in that decade, I knew all about Plunkett and his obscene end: my mother had hung a portrait of him in my bedroom, and I’d torment myself by turning it over to read an account of the execution – ‘his bowels taken out and burned before his eyes’. Consequent nightmares were all the more lurid because at St Peter’s Church in Drogheda – on a primary-school excursion, no less – I had looked in those very eyes, or at least their sockets, and imagined a July morning in London when the saint’s guts lay on the ground. Read more.


Tim Martin on 10:04 by Ben Lerner
Writing this year about My Struggle, the vast autobiographical novel by the Norwegian Karl Ove Knausgaard, Ben Lerner suggested that its central question might be ‘the problem of form rising from formlessness, of how to bring order to the undifferentiated mass of experience, and the relation of that problem to death’. Reading 10:04, Lerner’s second novel, you can see why the idea appealed to him so much. This restive, rambling, neurotic piece of work – occasionally illuminating, very often trying – is not exactly a response to Knausgaard’s exhaustive act of ‘literary suicide’, but it proceeds from similar agonies and concerns. What is the novel for? How much rearrangement does it take to turn memoir into fiction? Isn’t it dishonest to reach for the conventional satisfactions of plot? And what is honesty anyway in a form this artificial? Read more.

Elspeth Barker on Honeydew by Edith Pearlman
Edith Pearlman’s astonishing stories have won numerous awards in America and prompted accolades here, comparing her to Chekhov, Munro and Updike. Such comparisons are not helpful, for her voice is unique; however, her literary status is indeed of the highest order, as this, her fifth collection, most joyfully demonstrates.Read more.

Press Release – December 16 – Featuring Sex-Positive Reverend Dr. Beverly Dale

Philadelphia’s Erotic Literary Salon, Featuring “Rev Bev” Connecting the Sacred & the Sexual, Along With Attendee Readers, Tuesday, Dec 16.


Monday, November 24, 2014


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – contact: Susana Mayer, Ph.D., Salonnière,

PCSalons@gmail.comreserve a time slot to read at Salon (5 min max) – guidelines for reading. – blog: events, Salon notices, erotica, and guidelines.


The Erotic Literary Salon will be held Tuesday, December 16. Reverend Dr. Beverly Dale is an ordained Christian clergy in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) who is currently a clergy-in-residence at United Christian Church of Levittown. A graduate of Chicago Theological Seminary, she has spent most of her thirty years of ministry helping people reconnect their spirits and their bodies and confronting sex-negativity in the church and culture. Affectionately know as “Rev Bev,” she will present poetry and music to inspire us to bring the sacred to any sexual exploration.


Prior to Readings – Adult Sex-Ed: The Joys of Sex

Topic – Reverend Dr. Beverly Dale will give a quick run through of the key biblical words and passages that will shake up your ideas and open the door to sex positive views. “We’ll look past biblical misogyny with its procreative bias and instead discover sexual freedom, pleasure and diversity!”


Approximately twenty attendees will also entertain with their 5-minute erotica, sex memoirs, rants, short stories and poetry.


PHILADELPHIA: The Erotic Literary Salon, unique in the English-speaking world has launched a growing movement mainstreaming erotica. Salons attract a supportive audience of 65 or more individuals. Approximately 20 participate as writers, readers, storytellers, spoken word performers of original works/words of others, the rest just come to listen, enjoy and applaud. Frances, our resident nonagenarian (97 years young) occasionally recites her original erotica.


Salons gather the 3rd Tuesday of every month at TIME (The Bohemian Absinthe Lounge), 1315 Sansom Street, Center City, Philadelphia. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. (limited seating), for cocktails, food and conversation. Adult Sex-Ed: The Joys of Sex between 7:00-7:30, readings begin at 8:00. Admission is $10, discounted for students and seniors to $8. Salon attendees must be 21.


Creator of this event, Dr. Susana, is Philadelphia’s best-known sexologist. She lends her voice to the Salon by offering relevant information to support the discussions that arise in the Salon and blog.


…surprisingly comfortable….Salon devotees praise her for the space she has created….”

“I think Susana is doing a very brave thing.”

Philadelphia Inquirer, February 10, 2010


“There are laughter and tears along with the hot rush of blood – to the face.

Daily News, March 15, 2010


“I never knew such a life of honesty could exist. I finally found a home I can be comfortable in…this event changed my life.

First-time attendee and reader 2013



Institute of Sexology – Art Collection, Jackson Daughtry Literary Honor-Writer’s Competition

‘Berlin is a bugger’s daydream,” the 21-year-old WH Auden wrote to Christopher Isherwood, with news of the city’s 170 police‑controlled male brothels. By 1929, when his school friend joined him there, the metropolis was the world capital of sexual liberation with a decade-long reputation as “Babylon on the Spree”. In his 1939 novel, Goodbye to Berlin, Isherwood brilliantly captured the Weimar Republic’s decadent atmosphere of sexual experimentation, which was heightened by a sense of looming crisis. The city had been hit particularly hard by the worldwide recession; there was mass unemployment, malnutrition, economic panic and simmering political violence. “One suddenly realised the whole foundations of life were shaking,” Auden concluded.

L0076563 Porcelain fruit, hinged, contains male an

The Guardian

In Berlin, Isherwood lived in an apartment owned by Magnus Hirschfeld’s Institute for Sexual Science, which occupied the grand mansion of the former French ambassador. The institute was decorated more like a wealthy private residence than a scientific establishment, with Persian carpets, a grand piano and glass cabinets full of porcelain. Free sex advice was dispensed in lectures and private consulting rooms and there were medical clinics for the treatment of venereal diseases and other sexual problems, as well as a library containing the largest collection of literature on sex in the world. There was also a research laboratory where the portly, walrus-moustached Hirschfeld – known as the “Einstein of Sex” – formulated dubious aphrodisiacs and anti-impotence medicines, and supervised the world’s first sex reassignment surgery.

Alfred Kinsey interview


 Alfred Kinsey interview. Photograph by William Dellenback. Wellcome Images

The Institute also boasted a museum of sexual pathology that held up a mirror to the risque desires of Berlin’s inhabitants and became something of an unlikely tourist attraction. It was stuffed, Isherwood noted when he visited, with sado-masochistic and fetishistic props. He and Auden giggled as they went around displays of whips and chains, high-heeled boots, half-trousers sported by flashers under their coats, mechanical masturbation devices and transvestite accessories, including oversized lacy underwear worn by a Prussian officer beneath his uniform. Isherwood later admitted to having felt “a kinship with these freakish fellow tribesmen and their freakish customs”. He described the institute admiringly as a “sanctuary … where sex was being treated with seriousness”.

The Institute of Sexology, a new exhibition at the Wellcome Collection, celebrates the scientific study of sex that Hirschfeld, along with Richard von Krafft-Ebing and Havelock Ellis, helped to found. Last week, I found myself in the Wellcome’s storerooms, wearing purple plastic gloves as I previewed some of the artefacts that will be on display alongside the scientific charts and graphs that gave early sexology a legitimate, disinterested air. It was like Christmas: everything was parcelled in bubble wrap, which curator Kate Forde carefully peeled open to reveal the erotica inside. Most of these objects were collected by Henry Wellcome, who was interested in amassing evidence of “phallic worship” as the origin of religiosity: there was a porcelain persimmon, in which were secreted a copulating couple, a phallic amulet with copper wings (one broken), and a saw-toothed anti-masturbation device intended for a young man. The handling of an ancient box, full of intricately carved tortoiseshell sex aids (Hirschfeld apparently had an identical set in his collection), made me grateful to be wearing archival gloves.

There was also a turn-of-the-century vibrator, with the unfortunate name Veedee; a pun on the Latin phrase, “Veni, vidi, vici”. The packaging made ambitious claims for it as a panacea, able to cure everything from colds to neurosis with its “curative vibration”. The device resembles a bulky hairdryer and was once a serious medical tool, used by doctors to induce the orgasms thought to reposition the wandering womb believed to cause hysteria. Before he began using hypnosis, Sigmund Freud, who claimed a certain expertise when he distinguished the vaginal from the clitoral orgasm (he considered the later immature and inferior, to the annoyance of 1960s feminists), employed electrotherapy and massage at his own clinic – one historian wonders if he might have once also operated as a “gynaecological masseur”.

Institute of Sexology Ladywet


 L0076451 Carton of Ladywet condoms, Japan, 1970-Photo: Wellcome Library, London. Photograph: Wellcome Images/Wellcome Trust

The Wellcome exhibition makes clear that the pioneers of sexology, who followed Freud in putting sex at the centre of psychological life, were also political activists. Hirschfeld, who was homosexual, campaigned vigorously to have laws against both sodomy and abortion revoked, and argued for all consensual sex among adults to be considered outside the purview of the legal system. Communist psychoanalysts such as Wilhelm Reich, who moved to Berlin to join forces with Hirschfeld, believed that sexual liberation was the key to social revolution. Influenced by the Polish anthropologist Bronisław Malinowski, author of The Sexual Lives of the Savages (1929), Reich believed that the bonds of the family and marriage were bourgeois shackles, and that, following the example of the Trobriand Islanders of Papua New Guinea, children should be raised collectively and adolescents encouraged to pursue free sex. For Reich, the Trobrianders’ relaxed attitude to sexuality, and correspondingly peaceful culture, showed the possibility of primitive communism, of utopia on Earth.

However, the sexual revolution Hirschfeld and Reich envisaged remained elusive. As Jews, sexologists and communists, they were everything Hitler abhorred. Hirschfeld suffered a fractured skull when he was accosted in the street and beaten up by Nazis. In 1933, after Hitler assumed power, the Institute of Sex Research was vandalised by storm troopers – they poured ink over the photos, documents and archive files, smashed the exhibition cases, and played football with the erotic artefacts inside. A plaster bust of Hirschfeld, then in exile in Paris, was paraded on a wooden stake to the Opernplatz, where Brown Shirts tossed it on an enormous pyre of 100,000 “un-Germanic” books. Hirschfeld was sitting in a cinema when he happened to see newsreel footage of the fire, which he described as like witnessing his own funeral. Reich’s works – including The Function of the Orgasm (1927) – were among those burned and, similarly blacklisted, he was also forced to flee Berlin.

sexual aids


 Collection of sexual aids, with instructions. Photograph: Wellcome Images

In 1939 Reich emigrated to the US, where he joined Malinowski at the New School of Social Research, then known as the University of Exile. There he built an Orgone Energy Accumulator, a box that he thought could channel the libidinous force of the universe. Gullible Beats and bohemians – including BurroughsGinsbergBellow and Mailer – sat inside patiently hoping for sexual enlightenment (visitors to the exhibition can try an orgasmatron for themselves). By the time Reich arrived in the States, Alfred Kinsey, a 44-year-old professor of zoology at Indiana University had just begun collecting interviews for his monumental study of American sexuality. Kinsey taught what was quaintly known as the “marriage course” at the university (nicknamed the “copulating class”). “In an uninhibited society” – Kinsey began the class with a reference to the Trobriand Islands – “a 12-year-old would know most of the biology which I will have to give you in formal lessons”. Disappointed by the dearth of scientific literature on sex – “mainly morals masquerading under the name of science” – he began interviewing people about their sexual histories in an ambitious attempt to fill the void.

Kinsey quite deliberately made no moral evaluations of his subjects and guaranteed them complete confidentiality: he avoided euphemism, and rattled off between 350 and 521 direct questions, maintaining eye contact all the while. Each interview took an average of one to three hours per case, depending on the subject’s experience (the longest took 17 hours). By using a unique secret code, he estimated he could boil his research down from what would have taken 20 to 25 pages to a one-page grid, information that was punched into Hollerith cards and tabulated using an IBM computer. Kinsey’s carefully coded files – which formed the basis of his landmark studies, Sexual Behavior in the Human Male(1948), and Sexual Behavior in the Human Female (1953) – were kept in a series of locked fireproof filing cabinets at The Institute for Sex Research. Kinsey boasted that the 18,000 case histories he collected – from paedophiles to politicians (sometimes both) – contained enough material “to blow up America”.

Kinsey’s Institute, which oversaw a renaissance in sex research, was modelled on Hirschfeld’s pioneering clinic in Berlin. An obsessive collector, Kinsey amassed a similarly diverse museum of sexual ephemera, some of which will be on display at the Wellcome. Though he publicly dismissed Hirschfeld, who had conducted his own sexual survey, as more of a special pleader than objective scientist, Kinsey was himself a lot more prescriptive than he liked to admit. Underneath his cool scientific detachment was a crusading humanitarianism that bubbled up between the lines of everything he wrote. Clara Kinsey claimed that her husband’s work represented “an unvoiced plea for [sexual] tolerance”. Building on Hirschfeld’s doctrine of “sexual indeterminancy”, Kinsey developed a sliding scale that was radical in that it made sexual orientation a matter of degree: while only 4% of men were exclusively homosexual, 37% had enjoyed a homosexual experience (“more than one male in three,” he emphasised).

Institute of Sexology woman riding man


 Woman riding man, coloured postcard (1840-1902). Photograph: Wellcome Images/Wellcome Trust

Kinsey used his statistics to ridicule the existing sex laws (sodomy, for example, was illegal in Indiana, as was oral sex): 90% of the nation’s men and 80% of its women, he was fond of saying, could theoretically be sent to prison for what they’d done sexually. Conservatives attacked him for undermining the institution of the family; McCarthyites accused him of spearheading a communist plot to weaken American morality; and J Edgar Hoover launched an investigation into Kinsey’s background in an attempt to undermine him. Nevertheless, in 1955, a year before Kinsey’s death, the American Law Institute drafted an influential Model Penal Code. This drew on Kinsey’s studies to reject the concept of “deviant sexual behaviour” and led to the reform of the sex laws.

Kinsey’s statistics helped to lay the foundations for the sexual revolution of the 1960s, when views of sexuality were transformed in ways he could not have imagined. William Masters and Virginia Johnson continued Kinsey’s work, focusing not only on personal histories, but the biology of sex. (Few knew that Kinsey had conducted similar research, filming his team of sex researchers having sex with various volunteers.) In their secret laboratory at Washington University, Masters and Johnson used specialist equipment, including a camera hidden in a transparent dildo, nicknamed Ulysses, to record the physiology of coitus. The Wellcome juxtaposes the resulting electrocardiograms, included in their book Human Sexual Response (1966), with original drawings from Alex Comfort’s bestseller, The Joy of Sex (1972). One of these features a Neanderthal-looking man lost in the equally bushy armpits of his female lover.

Following the birth of the contraceptive pill, which was licensed in 1960, feminists seized on the similarities Masters and Johnson detected between male and female sexual responses to insist on women’s right to orgasmic pleasure. The duo, who married in 1971, pioneered “sensate therapy” to treat sexual dysfunction, and controversially used sexual surrogates to that end. However, unlike Hirschfeld and Kinsey, they didn’t exhibit an unreservedly open response to sexual difference, claiming in a 1978 book to have “cured” several homosexuals. In the 1980s they also fuelled hysteria about Aids, claiming it to be a disease of biblical proportions that might be transmitted by mosquitoes and toilet seats. The Wellcome show ends with this era, which Hugh Hefner termed “the great repression” because the climate of fear it engendered put an end to the optimistic rhetoric of liberation that had recently surrounded sex.

Wellcome Images

 A man ejaculating while holding a net for birds. Photograph: Wellcome Images

One exhibit on display is a leaflet, posted through UK doors in 1989, titled “Aids: Don’t Die of Ignorance”. The crisis was the catalyst for the National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles, carried out in 1990 and the most ambitious sexual study since Kinsey (Further NATSAL surveys were collected in 2000 and 2013.) Margaret Thatcher, then prime minister, objected to the project, deeming the intimate questions an invasion of people’s privacy, and controversially vetoed government support. The Wellcome stepped in with the necessary money, and almost 19,000 people were interviewed (more than Kinsey managed in his lifetime), data that helped researchers predict the spread and transmission of the Aids epidemic.

If the Wellcome Trust comes across in the trajectory of the exhibition as heroic, it should be remembered that the money they invested in this research was minuscule compared to the huge amounts of money that Wellcome plc, part-owned by the Trust at the time, had made from AZT, an antiretroviral drug used to control HIV infection (a crucial ingredient of which is herring sperm). AZT had been on sale in the United States since 1987, and was one of the highest priced drugs ever marketed, making it prohibitively expensive to anyone without health insurance who had the disease. In January 1990 Act Up, the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, picketed the Wellcome plc shareholders’ meeting, accusing it of profiteering, and the organisation was in desperate need of some good PR.

• Christopher Turner’s Adventures in the Orgasmatron: The Invention of Sex is out in paperback from Fourth Estate. The Institute of Sexology starts at the Wellcome Collection, 183 Euston Road, London NW1, on 20 November.


 The Jackson Daughtry Literary Honor is an annual award for excellence in literature.  This is the first annual award.  It is so named in honor of someone whose years were short, but his inspiration was infinite.  Jackson Daughtry passed away from heart complications, after suffering from a debilitating syndrome, nearly ten years ago. He was only fifteen.  He inspired others to strive for, and reach, their dreams.  He lived life to the fullest sense of the word and never let anyone tell him that anything was out of his reach.  Jackson was not famous and his life won’t be found in the history books, but he was loved dearly.  Although nothing can replace his compelling presence, this award is a memorial to him, a legacy for those who strive to achieve their literary dreams.

​​     The Jackson Daughtry Literary Honor award was established to help make the ultimate goal of one exceptional writer come true: to become a published author.  You may be that person.  You’ve spent months, even years, pouring over every detail of your precious book.  It’s your creation; your baby.  Now it’s time to share your book with the world.  It’s time for your story to be read!  You’ve got to believe in yourself and your talent!  You’ve got to know that you have just as much of a chance of winning the whole competition as anybody else, because you are a teller of stories and it is time for your story to be heard!

The winner of the Jackson Daughtry Literary Honor receives a one thousand dollar ($1,000) cash prize and, best of all, a publication deal for your book, which includes professional editing, full distribution and marketing - all the components necessary to get your book published and the acclaim it deserves.  Not to mention the sole title of 2015 Jackson Daughtry Literary Honor Winner.

Here’s how it works.  To enter the competition you will submit the first twenty pages of your work, along with a three to five page synopsis of your story.  We are looking for a novel of Fiction or Creative Nonfiction in any genre, except Poetry and picture books.  Be sure to get it in before the Deadline, January 31, 2015​.  The panel of Judges will read all of the entries as they are submitted and, on March 1, 2015, they will narrow it down to five finalists.  Those five will then submit their novel in its entirety and, May 30, 2015, a GRAND PRIZE WINNER will be announced!  That person could be you.  If you don’t believe in yourself, who else will?