The Sects That Rejected 19th-Century Sex

Why Three Religious Groups Traded Monogamy for Celibacy, Polygamy, and Complex Marriage

Disconsolate after his beloved’s marriage to another man in 1837, a young seminarian named John Humphrey Noyes declared in a bitter, anti-love poem to his ex:

I will not give you back your heart,
I’ve wooed and fairly won it,
And sooner with my life I’ll part,
You may depend upon it.

Not content with mere verse, Noyes would go on to turn his emotional anguish into a theological critique of the institution of monogamous marriage itself (or as he once called it, “Egotism for Two”). Condemning monogamy as “simple” and replacing …

What Women Athletes Won When Title IX Became Law | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

What Women Athletes Won When Title IX Became Law

This Landmark Legislation Has Evened the Playing Field for 49 Years—In Fits and Starts

Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 decreed, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits …

The Notorious, Mixed-Race New Orleans Madam Who Turned Her Identity Into a Brand

By Repackaging the Myths of the Tragic Octoroon and the Self-Made Woman, Lulu White Crafted a Persona That Haunts Beyoncé’s “Formation”

In 2016, music and pop-culture idol Beyoncé released the album Lemonade to rapturous reviews. As a historian of New Orleans, I was especially intrigued by the video for one of …

Can Colleges Teach America What Consensual Sex Looks Like?

“Yes Means Yes” Policies Work, But a Backlash Has Slowed Their Adoption

American college campuses, after considerable struggle, are succeeding in drawing a clearer line between consensual and non-consensual sex. But it’s far from clear when the rest of society will follow …

What the Gender Reveal Fad Says About Modern Pregnancy

A New Ritual Speaks to Anxieties Surrounding the Medicalization of Childbearing

My youngest daughter often asks me to tell her about the day when, pregnant with her, I was riding to work on the subway and wondering whether she would be …

Lessons From a Brief Stint In Porn

My Job Was Entering Tags and Names Into a Database. It Taught Me a Few Things About Regulating a Strange Business.

I got the job from a friend who couldn’t handle the sight of so many naked women. “I thought,” she said, “that my lady parts were unique and special.” She …