Hijra, The Third Gender of India

Hijra are the third gender recognized predominantly in India, as well as some areas in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nepal. It is an encompassing term that includes eunuchs, intersex, and transgender people. Hijra, once seen as valued religious and spiritual healers, are now socially “untouchable” and marginalized people. Today they live in rundown areas called Gharanas.1 This group faces social, emotional, and…

Evolutionary Reasons for Incest Taboos

Why do Incest Taboos Exist? Incest is defined as sexual relations occurring between people so closely related that they are forbidden by law to marry each other.1 Throughout history, human societies have demonstrated an aversion towards incest. Even those living in societies without explicit legal systems exhibit a negative reaction to the idea of incest. The…

The Third Gender in Native American Tribes

History of the Third Gender in Native American Culture Before Christianization mangled their culture, numerous Native American tribes accepted a third gender. The third gender (also known as “two spirits” or “llamana”) were biological males that were culturally identified as belonging to a gender that is separate from male and female.² The population of a…

How to Orgasm: The Mangaian People’s Sexual Education

Introduction The orgasm is widely viewed as the ultimate goal of recreational sex, so why is it be so hard to achieve for so many people? The road of discovery toward the orgasm can be a complicated and frustrating journey but filled with sexual self-discovery. If the orgasm is the ultimate goal for recreational sex…

Tantric Sexuality

Tantric traditions, which emerged around the 5th century CE, were born from Buddhist, Hindu, and Jain religious frameworks. Tantra encompasses a wide variety of practices which are united by their common sacred texts, the Tantras. Although it is difficult to pinpoint one comprehensive Tantric theme, Tantrism is often understood as a spiritual quest for salvation…

The Kama Sutra

The Kama Sutra is a classical Hindu text relating to the art of human sexual behavior and pleasure. The dense text was originally written in traditional Sanskrit by Vatsyayana, an Indian philosopher and sage who is believed to have lived between the first and sixth century of the Common Era.1 It has since been translated…

Overview of Virginity Pledges

Virginity pledges are typically taken by teenagers and young adults who promise to remain abstinent from sexual activity until marriage. Programs promoting virginity pledges began within fundamentalist Christian circles in the United States, but the idea has gained traction in the mainstream, and a number of nonreligious sources (including some public school sex education programs)…

Sexual Abuse in Irish Industrial Schools

Overview New studies from the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (ISPCC), the Irish government, and personal accounts from survivors have brought to light new allegations against Irish industrial schools. Over a course of one hundred years, Catholic-run industrial schools were extremely common. These schools became a source of rampant sexual and…

Risks of HIV/AIDS and Gender Inequality in Sub-Saharan Africa

Overview Since the onset of the AIDS virus, Sub-Saharan Africa has been amongst the highest percentage of HIV-positive inhabitants in the entire world. Seventy percent of people living with HIV are believed to be in Sub-Saharan Africa1. One can assume that the sexual practices of those living within Southern Africa have had to adapt to avoid this…