Welcome to the website of the Sex in Six Objects project! Watch our brand-new project video below to find out more about what we do:

You can also read more about our previous workshops below. To get in touch, please use the contact form. We look forward to hearing from you!



Previous workshop: “Freud, Homosexuality & Women”

23rd July @ 10:0013:00, Freud Museum London


You might have heard of ‘Freudian slips’, ‘penis envy’ and the ‘Oedipus complex’, but what did Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, really think about gender and sexuality? Did he believe that we are born with a specific gender identity or sexuality? What did he think about bisexuality, homosexuality and trans identity? How did he treat his patients and what did they make of him? Do his ideas still matter today?

This workshop will take place in the Freud Museum in London, the house in which Freud lived with his family. Participants will get to spend time in his office, see his desk and the famous couch, and have a chance to engage with the objects he collected.

This is a free event for young people aged 16-25 of all gender and sexual identities who are interested in exploring questions about gender and sexuality, especially from a historical perspective.

The workshop will be facilitated by a group of academics from the Universities of Cambridge and Exeter*, but the discussion will be guided by you. No background knowledge is required. The academic facilitators have extensive experience working with young people (including young people who identify as LGBTQ+) and will aim to create a safe and inclusive environment. The workshop will focus on group discussion, but you will not be required to participate in the discussion if you don’t want to do so.

People who’ve been part of these workshops before, tell us that they found the workshops “welcoming”, “lively” and “fun” and enjoyed the “free and open exploration of sex through time”.


*Dr Ina Linge and Dr Marie Kolkenbrock (Cambridge), and from the Rethinking Sexology project, Dr Jana Funke and Dr Jen Grove.

This workshop is part of Sex in Six Objects, in collaboration with the Rethinking Sexology project and the Sex and History project at the University of Exeter.


You can find out more about our past events through our blog. Just click on the grey square in the top right corner of this screen and take a look at our recent posts.

All workshops are facilitated by experts in the field, but the discussion is guided by our amazing workshop participants. Thanks to all who take part in the project, you are amazing!


Other workshops included:

  • Hannah Elizabeth (University of Manchester) on AIDS educational material for young people from the 1980s and 1990s. You can read about it here.
  • Dr Sarah Bull (University of Cambridge) on how the Victorians learned about sex. You can read about it here.
  • Professor David Spiegelhalter and Dr Ina Linge (both University of Cambridge) on sex surveys and diaries. You can read about the workshop and how it relates to Ina’s research here.
  • Professor Lucy Bland (Anglia Ruskin University)  on the 1958 documentary “People in Trouble” about mixed-race relationships.
  • Dr Jana Funke, Dr Jen Grove (both University of Exeter) and Imogen Gunn (Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology) on the Roman “penis pot” and other erotic objects from the past. This workshop caused quite a flurry of media activity. You can read about it in our media section.
  • Dr Jesse Olszynko-Gryn (University of Cambridge) on the surprising history of pregnancy tests, from living animals to plastic sticks. Our special guest for this event was Audrey Peattie, a former technician at an NHS pregnancy-testing lab, where in the 1950s she tested for pregnancies using toads (!!).


Penis pot MAA Cambridge


We welcome enquiries from interested participants, schools, and SRE professionals. Please use the contact form.


This project was funded by the AHRC Cultural Engagement Fund from February to May 2016.

Banner image: “Various sex aids, including dildos, artificial vulva, penis supports etc.” Colour woodcut, ca. 1830, Edo [Tokyo]. Wellcome Collection / V0047298.

Image on this page: Roman phallic pot found in England, from the collection of the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Cambridge. Photograph by Dr Jen Grove.