Medicine and Sexuality

“The Unreasonable Indulgence of That Appetite”: Cancer as a Venereal Disease in the Nineteenth Century

Agnes Arnold-Forster In 1904 a rank and file clinician, A. T. Brand, narrated an incident in which, “a man presented himself…suffering from cancer of the…penis.” On further analysis, the tumour was “found to consist, not of penile tissue, but of uterine cervical elements.” It was then discovered, “the the man’s […]

Moral Panic and Syphilis in Jamaica

Jill Briggs In 1934 Jamaica was gripped by a moral panic. According to a well-publicized British naval report, the island was “rife” with venereal diseases, particularly syphilis. Some venereal disease experts speculated that infection rates topped eighty percent of the population and included children as young as eight. The root […]

“She was both Poxt and Clapt together”: Confessions of Sexual Secrets in Eighteenth-Century Venereal Cases

“She was both Poxt and Clapt together”: Confessions of Sexual Secrets in Eighteenth-Century Venereal Cases

Olivia Weisser Furtive trysts. Regretful dalliances. Fleeting affairs. Sexual secrets were nothing new in the 1700s, but confessing them to a doctor became surprisingly common in published medical cases of venereal disease. In one instance, a woman consulted a surgeon for a common reproductive ailment known as “the whites.” She […]

Sex, Disease, and Fertility in History

Boyd Brogan If you’re looking for evidence about bodies in history, it doesn’t get harder than skeletons. Opening this three-day conference at the University of Cambridge on the historical relationship between sexually-transmitted infections (STIs) and fertility, bioarchaeologist Charlotte Roberts argued that it is human remains, not documents, that constitute the primary record […]

Through the Eyes of the Establishment: Student Sexuality and the Dean of Women’s Office at Purdue University

Donna Drucker Purdue University in northern Indiana, like most American colleges and universities, experienced dramatic social and cultural changes in the 1960s and 1970s. The Dean of Women’s Office—which oversaw the affairs of female students until it merged with the Dean of Men’s Office to form the Dean of Students […]