gender, language, sex, vulva, womb

Vulvagate: why the words we use for our bodies matter

Is it OK to use 'vagina' to cover all the internal and external female sexual organs? 'Vulvagate' reminds us of a lost world of passages, gates and doors.

Bad History, Galen, Hippocrates, hysteria, sex, womb

Hysteria from Hippocrates

(updated 20 September 2019 - and, thanks to Minji Lee of Rice University, a previous edit is available in Korean here) Please can we just get something out of the way once and for all? The disease of 'hysteria' was neither described nor named by Hippocrates. I know The Sun says it was, but it's… Continue reading Hysteria from Hippocrates

Bad History, doctors, drugs, love, sex

Cleopatra and the vibrator powered by bees

One of the most far-fetched myths about ancient sexuality, repeated online but also in print, is that Cleopatra invented the vibrator. Some sites date this event to ‘circa 54 BC’ while others go for 45 BC: there’s nothing like a date to make a story look more convincing. Now, there’s obviously one little problem here:… Continue reading Cleopatra and the vibrator powered by bees