History of Sex in Australia

The most private of interactions has always been governed by many public influences – legal, religious, social. The influences were both positive and negative reflecting changing values towards women, children, and same-sex identifiers. Over the eras of Australian history, those changes provoked confrontation for some, and for others liberation and fun. These perspectives express how Australians have regarded the rights and responsibilities of different groups in society and how we can and should interact.


  • Face-to-Face


  • Dimensions of sex in society
  • Marriage, adultery, divorce
  • Consent: rape, age
  • Prostitution, Homosexuality
  • Censorship and pornography
  • Over eras of Australian history
  • Convicts, Gold Rushes
  • Late Victorian, Early 20th century
  • Between the wars, World War II, Post war
  • Late 20th century, 21st century


By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Outline the key events and shifts in attitudes in the history of sex.
  2. Describe accepted behaviours at different times by heterosexual and homosexual, men and women, adults, teenagers, and children.
  3. Evaluate some of the causes of changes in behaviours, legislation, and media, over time.
  4. Recount some sex scandals in Australian history.

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