Indiana University

Skip to:

  1. Search
  2. Breadcrumb Navigation
  3. Content
  4. Browse by Topic
  5. Services & Resources
  6. Additional Resources
  7. Multimedia News

Media Contacts

Ryan Piurek
IU Media Relations

Last modified: Tuesday, November 4, 2003

Conference to present new perspectives on the diversity of women's sexualities

When Alfred Kinsey published the landmark Sexual Behavior in the Human Female 50 years ago, the public's view of women's sexuality changed forever.

To mark the 50th anniversary of Kinsey's "female volume," a number of distinguished national and international scholars will offer new insights into the diversity of women's sexualities and evaluate the legacy of Kinsey's work at a conference on "Women's Sexualities: Historical, Interdisciplinary and International Perspectives," to be held at Indiana University Bloomington on Nov. 13-15. The conference is sponsored by the Social Science Research Council, the IU Office of the Vice President for Research, the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction, the IU Department of Gender Studies and the IU Department of History.

The academic sessions of the conference are for registered participants and will be held at the Indiana Memorial Union on Nov. 14-15 from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

The conference will conclude a series of 50th anniversary events and provide a forum for recent historical, theoretical, international, cross-cultural and interdisciplinary scholarship related to women's sexualities. Particular focus will be on Kinsey's research, including its scientific, intellectual and clinical antecedents and legacies as well as its implications for understanding women's erotic behaviors and identities since the mid-20th century.

Scheduled participants include leading sexuality scholars who have addressed controversial and problematic issues related to women's sexualities over the past quarter century. Estelle Freedman, a history professor at Stanford University, will deliver the keynote address, "Towards Sexual Self-Determination: Female Sexuality in Historical Perspective," on Nov. 14 at 4 p.m. Other participants will include Thomas Laqueur (University of California at Berkeley), Anne Fausto-Sterling (Brown University), Carole Vance (Columbia University), Elizabeth A. Grosz (Rutgers University) and Leonore Tiefer (New York University).

Research and scholarly work to be presented includes contributions from psychology, history, biology, sociology, literature, art, cultural studies, philosophy, history and philosophy of science, gender studies, sex research, medicine and public health. Panel topics will range from prostitution, Viagra and masturbation to the hormonal manipulation of erotic life and the perceived perils of concepts such as sexual self-determination for women. These topics will be discussed in the context of several larger issues, including:

  • The development of research on sexuality across the 20th century
  • Adolescent girls' sexual knowledge and experiences
  • The medicalization of female sexuality
  • Differences in women's sexuality based on class, race, ethnicity, gender, religion and age
  • New understandings of sexual abuse
  • Portrayals and performances of women's sexualities
  • Assessments of the Kinsey legacy

For registration, schedule, lodging and travel information, visit the conference Web page at or e-mail Donna Drucker, conference coordinator, at