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Analysis and Comment (22)

Unlocking the secrets of the chastity belt. Science Museum / Science and Society Picture Library

Hunt to discover the ‘secret’ of sexuality is far from over

“Undress your mind” shouts the promotional material for the Wellcome Trust’s latest exhibition, The Institute of Sexology. It’s an apt tagline, encapsulating how sexology – or the science of sex – has…
Technology has done away with the need to insert swabs into the male urethra and speculums into the vagina. Instead, blood and urine are tested. In Tune/Shutterstock

Health Check: the STI check-up – warts and all

Sexuality is a means of pleasure, fulfilment and intimate connection with other humans. But it can also be a source of anguish. So it’s perhaps no surprise that of all the areas in health care, the “STI…
The extraordinary synod of bishops on family is meeting for two weeks at the Vatican. EPA/L'Osservatore Romano

Pope sets off a ‘gay earthquake’? No, the church has hardly moved

A report of debate from the first half of the extraordinary synod of Catholic bishops meeting in Rome has been described as a “pastoral earthquake” and a “seismic shift in Rome” for praising gay relationships…
Women’s Liberation was a worldwide mobilisation that paved the way for powerful critiques of conventional thinking about gender, sexuality and identity. Warren K. Leffler, 1970/Library of Congress

Four decades of thinking gender: the gains, struggles and debates

The past four decades have produced gains around the world for women and girls in literacy, formal education, life expectancy, workforce participation and access to some professions. We have also seen…
I LUV U BUT …, a local web comedy series, is on the program of the Queer Arab Film Festival currently screening in Sydney. Photo: Fatima Mawas

A right to exist: Australia’s first Queer Arab Film Festival launches

In a 2007 speech at Columbia University, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, then president of Iran, famously proclaimed that there were no homosexuals in Iran. Despite the controversy that his words sparked, many Arabs…
Ian Thorpe in 2012. In 2014, do sponsors still only back certain sporting stereotypes that support social norms? AAP/ Ben Macmahon

Sexuality and swimmers: why Thorpe’s story made a splash

Ian Thorpe is unpopular with some critics, despite a largely positive reaction when he came out last weekend. The issue is money. Stories are circulating that he was warned prior to the 2000 Olympic Games…
You don’t have to look too far to find homophobia, hostility and discrimination against LGBTI people. Network Ten/ AAP

Ian Thorpe came out, but not in Australia – a wise decision

Few who watched Ian Thorpe’s “coming out” interview with British interviewer Michael Parkinson on Sunday night could haved failed to be moved by his story. The anxiety and turmoil he felt in telling the…
Research shows that high-profile gay and lesbian people have made a real difference to the lives of others. AAP Image/Paul Miller

Do openly gay public figures like Ian Thorpe matter? They sure do

In his unassuming way, Ian Thorpe is probably quite accustomed to making history. His swag of Olympic medals and world records makes him Australia’s most successful swimmer. Last night, when he told interviewer…
Ian Thorpe spoke to Michael Parkinson about being gay. Network Ten

Homophobia is a health hazard, not just for Ian Thorpe

Ian Thorpe coming out as gay during an interview with Michael Parkinson last night was both the most ordinary of stories and the most extraordinary. It also showed how deeply homophobia is ingrained in…
It’s worth considering how seemingly open language can be exclusionary. Wagner Macedo

Girl crush anyone? The evolution of ‘lesbian chic’

At first blush, the increased visibility of sexual minorities in popular culture would appear to reflect a growing openness and acceptance of non-heterosexual forms of sexuality. Since the late 1990s…
Is this magazine cover too racy – or did other factors make newsagents decide not to stock Archer? Archer Magazine

Is Archer magazine really ‘inappropriate for sale’?

When a Google search can summon any image you like online, it seems anachronistic to hear of a print publication supposedly encountering distribution problems on the basis of its content. Yet that’s just…
Without data, we don’t know the actual size of sex and gender diverse populations. AAP Image/Daniel Munoz

Norrie’s gender win brings us closer to knowing who we are

The landmark ruling this week by the High Court – that the New South Wales Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages must recognise a third category of non-specific sex in addition to male and female – represents…
Masculinity must be learned and there are severe consequences for not upholding it. Vladimir Byazrov

Time for a step-change in how we view men on the dancefloor

On Sunday, So You Think You Can Dance Australia returned to Channel Ten, promising spectacular performances from male and female dancers around the country. And yet, in the non-TV world, it seems the men…
Code-breaking genius Alan Turing was driven to suicide by the criminalisation of homosexuality. Such convictions still haunt many Australians. AAP/Keir David

Saying sorry for governments intruding in your bedroom

It is time for all Australian governments to acknowledge a historic wrong. In doing so they will help to right an injustice and demonstrate a real commitment to respect for all Australians. Earlier this…
Some people need assistance and support to express their sexuality in satisfying ways. Image from shutterstock.com

Why the NDIS should cover the services of sex workers

Sexual expression is a fundamental part of being human, with most of us able to choose our sexual partners and, to varying degrees, meet our intimacy needs and desires. While not all people with disabilities…
Cheating on a partner is always a choice, not a biologically determined effect. flickr/dhammza

Monogamy: cheating on what nature intended, or a simple choice?

Biologists and psychologists like to tussle with human characteristics: what’s inherent? What’s learnt? What’s genetically coded? What’s malleable? Every so often an “expert” will reignite the nature vs…
Stars like Jiz Lee and Dallas Fivestar are redefining porn for feminists. violet.blue/flickr

Porn and feminism: not strange bedfellows after all

I was recently approached by a young journalist, who asked for my comments on the Feminist Porn Awards. In the course of the interview, she asked if I thought feminists should watch porn. I replied that…

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