‘The Institute of Sexology’ is a new exhibition which will be held at the Wellcome Collection, 183 Euston Road, London NW1 2BE, starting on November 20th
Their website states invitingly : Undress your mind and join us to investigate human sexuality at ‘The Institute.’
The Institute of Sexology is a candid exploration of the most publicly discussed of private acts. It will be the first UK exhibition to bring together the pioneers of the study of sex.
You may have read our earlier article on the tv programme Masters of Sex. This exhibition will tell the story of the study of sex through all of its pioneers, from Freud to NATSAL. It highlights the profound effect that the gathering and analysis of information can have in changing attitudes and lifting taboos.
In the 1930’s, Berlin was the world capital of sexual liberation, well-described in Christopher Isherwood’s novel: ‘Goodbye to Berlin.’ Isherwood lived in Berlin in an apartment owned by Magnus Hirschfeld’s Institute for Sexual Science. Hirschfeld was known as the ‘Einstein of Sex.’ He formulated dubious aphrodisiacs and anti-impotence medicines, and his Institute was decorated more like a wealthy private residence than a scientific establishment, with Persian carpets, a grand piano, and cabinets full of porcelain. It was also stuffed with sado-masochistic and fetishistic props, and mechanical masturbation devices, as well as clinics and a large library.
However, Hirschfeld suffered a fractured skull when he was accosted in the street and beaten up by the nazis. In 1933, after Hitler assumed power, the Institute of Sex Research was vandalised by storm troopers. Hirschfeld had fled to Paris, and was sitting in a cinema when he happened to see newsreel footage of nazis making a bonfire of his objects, including a plaster bust of himself.
You can follow the history of the pioneers of sexual research and look at various related objects and paintings at the exhibition. The website is:
There is also a very interesting article written in The Guardian newspaper, which gives a lot more fascinating details on the lives of the various pioneers of sex research.
Here is the link to the article: