Gender and identity


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Photo by Redux/eyevine

Essay/
Sex and sexuality
Kept women

Mistresses are big business in China, where no official is a real man without his own ernai. What’s in it for the girls?

James Palmer

Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty

Essay/
Gender and identity
Gender is not a spectrum

The idea that ‘gender is a spectrum’ is supposed to set us free. But it is both illogical and politically troubling

Rebecca Reilly-Cooper

Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of healthy spermatozoa emerging from a cavity in the rete testis of the testes. Photo by Innerspace Imaging/Science Photo Library

Essay/
Human reproduction
The macho sperm myth

The idea that millions of sperm are on an Olympian race to reach the egg is yet another male fantasy of human reproduction

Robert D Martin

At the Caspian Sea, Iran, in 2017. Photo by Newsha Tavakolian/Magnum Photos

Essay/
Family life
The marvel of the human dad

Among our close animal relatives, only humans have involved and empathic fathers. Why did evolution favour the devoted dad?

Anna Machin

Photo by Quim Llenas/Cover/Getty

Essay/
Human rights and justice
Why men rape

It’s not a profound mystery, or explained by deep psychosocial complexity. For rapists, rape is easy. And that must stop

Sandra Newman

Brigitte Bardot posing for a fashion shoot in a studio, Paris, 1958. Photo by Nicolas Tikhomiroff/Magnum

Essay/
Cognition and intelligence
Are you looking at me?

What goes on in our minds when we see someone naked? The more we see of a person’s body the stupider they seem

Matthew Hutson

After all these years. Photo by Chris Stowers/Panos Pictures

Essay/
Family life
Endless love

We no longer expect passion to last a lifetime, but some couples do stay in love to the end. What’s their secret?

Aaron Ben-Ze’ev

Melissa Stetten in Santa Barbara, California. Photo by James Gunn

Essay/
Design and fashion
Hot girl #2

Because I’m getting older, my days as a model are numbered – and I’m not sure what to do next

Melissa Stetten

What Freedom! 1903 by Ilya Repin. The Russian Museum, St Petersburg. Courtesy Wikimedia

Essay/
Gender and identity
Romantic regimes

Love in the West is consumerist – we choose a partner to give us what we think we need. But Russians do things differently

Polina Aronson

Photo by Luke MacGregor/Reuters

Essay/
Fairness and equality
Not born this way

Other liberation movements have rejected the idea that biology is destiny. So why should gay rights depend on it?

Shamus Khan

French actor Alain Delon and Italian actress Claudia Cardinale during a scene from The Centurions 1965. Photo by George Rodger/Magnum

Essay/
Evolution
Stone-age sex

When it comes to sex, will humans ever be liberated from the basic biological needs that drove our evolutionary past?

Neil McArthur

Photo by Timothy Shonnard/Getty

Essay/
Sex and sexuality
Afterglow

The intensity of orgasm is sublime, but the gentle love cocktail that follows is what helps relationships to endure

Tove K Danovich

Sexbot Roxxxy can take on preprogrammed personas, such as ‘Mature Martha’, ‘Young Yoko’ or ‘Frigid Farrah’. Photo courtesy truecompanion.com

Essay/
Computing and artificial intelligence
Sexbot slaves

Thanks to new technology, sex toys are becoming tools for connection – but will sexbots reverse that trend?

Leah Reich

Photo by Christian Charisius/Reuters

Essay/
Information and communication
Datagasm

Ever-faster feedback loops and micro-targeted digital porn are pushing human sexuality into some seriously weird places

Mark Hay

Chess queen, 1965 Photo by Anna Kaufman Moon/Hulton Archive/Getty

Essay/
Childhood and adolescence
Where’s Bobbi Fischer?

Little girls sign up to play chess in droves. So why are so few of the world’s top players women?

Hana Schank

New York, 2009. Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images

Essay/
Beauty and aesthetics
Rise of the ripped

With bodies sculpted to look like comic-book heroes, today’s muscle men create an impossible template for masculinity

Clarissa Sebag-Montefiore

Boudica, Queen of the Iceni, from R Havell’s The Costume of the Original Inhabitants of the British Isles (1815), London. Courtesy the British Library Board

Essay/
The ancient world
Boudica the warrior queen

How a widowed queen became a rebel warrior, defying Roman patriarchy, and leading her people to glory even in defeat

Caitlin C Gillespie

New Mexico. 1973. Zuni Pueblo. Photo by Hiroji Kubota/Magnum

Essay/
Gender
Man, weeping

History is full of sorrowful knights, sobbing monks and weeping lovers – what happened to the noble art of the manly cry?

Sandra Newman

Photo by Paul Paper/Gallery Stock

Essay/
Gender
Was I raped?

Brutal assaults by strangers are unambiguous. But what should a woman do when she is the victim of an ‘almost rape’?

Tove K Danovich

Hmmmmm… Photo by Getty

Essay/
Love and friendship
Why women stray

Evolutionary theory says men stray to increase offspring, but what motivates women? Enter the mate-switching hypothesis

David Buss

A woman working on the nose section of a B-17 aircraft, Douglas Aircraft Company, California, 1942Photo by Alfred T Palmer, courtesy Library of Congress

Essay/
Childhood and adolescence
I’m not a feminist but…

These American teens look up to their strong mothers and believe in equal rights. So why won’t they use the F-word?

Pamela Erens