The History of Sex Veronique Mottier

The History of Sex

Véronique Mottier

What is sexuality and how does it reflect power relations within society? Award-winning Cambridge sociologist Véronique Mottier provides a provocative cultural history.

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  • Veronique Mottier 1
    Véronique Mottier
    Professor of Sociology at the University of Lausanne, and fellow of Jesus College Cambridge.

About the Course


What is normal sex? Who decides? Why has power dominated pleasure in the history of sexuality? From the pederasty of the ancient Greeks to the political lesbians of the 20th century, sex has always been a reflection of the struggle for power in society. In this course, Professor Véronique Mottier unveils the truth of what goes on behind closed doors.


By the end of the course, you will have learned:

  • Why today’s taboos were commonplace in antiquity
  • How pleasure and sex became associated
  • Why the Greeks did not classify sexual relations by gender
  • Why sex was once considered the enemy of God
  • How the enlightenment freed sexuality from church dogma
  • The challenges to biological models of sex
  • The sexual contracts of marriage
  • How sex is moving beyond science


As part of the course there are in-video quiz questions to consolidate your learning, discussion boards to have your say and an end of course assessment set by Professor Mottier.

IAI Academy courses are designed to be challenging but accessible to the interested student. No specialist knowledge is required.


About the Instructor

  • Véronique Mottier

    Professor of Sociology at the University of Lausanne, and fellow of Jesus College Cambridge, Véronique Mottier is the author of Sexuality: A Very Short Introduction.

Course Syllabus

  • Part One: The Ancient World
    What did sex look like in ancient Greece, where the majority of the population had no rights?
  • Part Two: Christianity and Sexuality
    How did Christianity’s rise radically transform sexual norms, and what does this mean for us?
  • Part Three: Science and Sexuality
    How have scientists and activists engaged in a power struggle to classify modern sexuality?