The Institute of Sexology


Written by Don't Panic
21 Friday 21st November 2014

Let's face it, if there's one thing we as human beings put a lot of thought and energy into it's sex. And it's a good thing too - we wouldn't be here today without the primitive act of love making. Across the world and across time people have been having sex and making love - just take a moment to think about how much sex has gone on before you started doing it? A lot.

So it's no wonder we are all completely fascinated by it. In today's society we are surrounded by images of sex every day, it's the most publicly talked about private act. But has this taken the excitement out of our sex lives? Or opened up new realms to explore?

Poster for Institute for Sex Research - Participants Needed - The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction

‘The Institute of Sexology’ (20 November 2014 to 20 September 2015) is the first UK exhibition to bring together the pioneers of the study of sex. From Alfred Kinsey’s complex coded questionnaires to Samoan jewellery and sex machines, the show investigates how the diverse research, methods and collections of sexologists have shaped our ever-evolving attitudes towards sexual behaviour and identity.

William Dellenback, Alfred Kinsey interviewing a woman - The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction

Featuring over 200 objects spanning art, rare archival material, erotica, film, photography, medical artefacts and ethnography, the exhibition moves between pathologies of perversion and contested ideas of normality as sex is observed, analysed and questioned.

During the course of the programme, ‘The Institute of Sexology’ will include new commissions, live events, discussions and performances within the gallery space.

Dan and Jan Siechert, The Monkey Rocker - Photography by Timothy Archibald

The exhibition follows key sexologists and traces the experiments and studies that lifted taboos in the pursuit of truths about sex and tells the remarkable personal stories, celebrating and joining visitors with the hundreds of thousands of anonymous participants whose personal accounts underpin the study of sex.

Collection of sexual aids, with instructions, in wooden box - Science Museum / Science and Society Picture Library

‘The Institute of Sexology’ runs from 20 November 2014 to 20 September 2015 at Wellcome Collection, 183 London Road, NW1 2BE. It is part of a wider Sexology Season, which includes an illustrated publication, digital commissions and events within the exhibition and at partner venues and festivals across the country.

To accompany the exhibition, Wellcome Collection has also published a lavishly illustrated book all about - you guessed it - sex. With over 200 works of art, erotica, film and photography.

So, be prepared to blush a little and go and check out the exhibition, it's definitely top of our to do list.

For more information, check out the exhibition website.

Don't Panic attempt to credit photographers and content owners wherever possible, however due to the sheer size and nature of the internet this is sometimes impractical or impossible. If you see any images on our site which you believe belong to yourself or another and we have incorrectly used it please let us know at and we will respond asap.