Sex & History is an award-winning project that uses objects from the past to open up discussions with young people about urgent issues such as consent, body image, pornography and gender identity. For an introduction to the methodology as used in school PSHE watch here:

Film by Ross Gill at Fresh Ground Films

Access our free resources!

Our pioneering methodology harnesses the powerful effect of learning about what people from across time and place have thought about sex. Exploring different cultural attitudes takes us outside ourselves and our everyday concerns, brings fresh eyes to our own ideas but also shows us that sex is nothing new and it’s OK to talk about it.

Intriguing images from history provide an arresting focus for discussions, afford a safe distance from sensitive subjects and allow us to bring in as little or as much about our feelings and experiences as we feel comfortable with.

New perspectives: exploring ideas from outside of their place and time encourages participants to see their own attitudes and assumptions with fresh eyes.
Critical Thinking: a historical context helps to develop ways of thinking critically about models of relationships and sex today.
Distancing: Discussing sensitive issues via historical objects focuses the discussion initially around other cultures, allowing participants to talk more safely.
Confidence: recognising that people have been talking about, thinking about and depicting sex for millennia increases confidence in talking about it today.
Participation: people can interpret the material in different ways, encouraging deeper learning and longer impact.

Sex & History is an interdisciplinary initiative between the University of Exeter’s Classics and Ancient History department and Centre for Medical History.

Find out more about the project team

See the awards Sex & History has received. 

Read and listen to the media and online coverage of Sex & History.