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HomeIn Memoriam

...those in the sexual science field who we have lost.

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Professor Bente Træen

October 15th, 1958 - April 17, 2023
LGBT+ Sexual Health Expert and Advocate

Ms Træen was a Norwegian dentistsexual habits researcher and author. She held the position of professor of health psychology at the University of Oslo and held a similar position at the University of Tromsø.  Influenced by sociological and social psychology thinking, Bente's social constructivist perspective was the foundation of her research, which focused on the complex interplay between gender and cultural factors that shape our sexual experiences. She considered an observational study on sex, alcohol, and condom use among urban Norwegians, which she conducted at bars and nightclubs in Oslo, as one of her most significant contributions to the field. The study resulted in the article "Games People Play". Ms. Træen was renowned for her diverse use of research methods and qualitative research skills, allowing her to delve deeply into complex issues, such as her interview-based study on women with sexual desire problems. Bente advocated for the importance of surveying the sexual behavior, attitudes and habits of the Norwegian population, and despite limited funding, she conducted several national studies. 

Ms. Træen has left behind a rich legacy of contributions to the field of sex research. Her ability to communicate complex ideas in an understandable manner, as well as her enormous productivity, earned her widespread recognition and respect on an international scale. Bente's European project on sexual health among the elderly, which was established with funding she received from the Research Council of Norway in 2015, was a great success and played an important role in promoting sexual rights for older adults. Her passing has been described by the international research community as a significant loss to the field of sexology.

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Accordion Widget

Urvashi Vaid

October 8, 1958-May 14, 2022

LGBT Rights Activist, Lawyer & Writer

Urvashi Vaid was a writer, attorney, community organizer and leader in LGBT and social justice movements. She was the Director of the Engaging Tradition Project at the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law. Ms. Vaid was an author of numerous essays and analyses, and was a former columnist for The Advocate. She founded LPAC, the first lesbian political action committee, in July of 2012. She served on the board of the Gill Foundation, an organization advocating for equal opportunity for all, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity. 

Robert Embree

1928-February 9, 2022

Emeritus Professor of Psychology at Westmar College

Dr. Embree was instrumental in developing a popular program in psychology that included a flagship course on understanding the self. He was very active professionally, publishing numerous scholarly papers, reviewing journal articles, and serving in leadership roles in numerous professional organizations including the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality, for which he served for a time as the president of the midwestern region.

Ellen Laan

April 3, 1962-January 22, 2022

Professor of Sexual Health at University of Amsterdam, Founder and Chair of Seksueel Welzijn Nederland

Ms. Laan worked for the Department of Sexology and Psychosomatic Gynecology at Amsterdam UMC and conducted research into sexual health at the University of Amsterdam. She also founded Sexual Welfare Netherlands. The aim of that organization was to close the so-called orgasm gap: the phenomenon that women ejaculate less often than men. Ms. Laan was honored as a Knight in the Order of the Netherlands Lion and honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the European Society for Sexual Medicine.

David Stuart

Passed away January 12, 2022

LGBT+ Sexual Health Expert and Advocate

David Stuart is a pioneering advocate, activist, and support worker who created the phrase "chemsex" and has dedicated his life to assisting the LGBT+ community with substance abuse. Stuart worked as the lead at London's specialized LGBT+ sexual health clinic 56 Dean Street, specializing in chemsex, for the previous eight years. Stuart worked as a support worker and therapist for thousands queer men who struggled with chemsex, developed the world’s first chemsex support services and worked around the world to help governments and institutions to develop policies around chemsex and HIV prevention. He also loved writing, which he described as a “hobby”, yet still published two books; a novel, and a collection of essays and poetry.

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Shirley Zussman

July 23, 1949-December 4, 2021

Zussman was a sex therapist based in New York City. She is a former two term President of the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT), and co-director of the Human Sexuality Center of Zucker Hillside Hospital. She is also past Director of the Association for Male Sexual Dysfunction. Continuing to practice as a sex therapist at 100 years old as of August 2014, Zussman was supervised through her graduate dissertation by Margaret Mead, and in the 1960s studied sex therapy under Masters and Johnson, the inspiration for the Showtime series Masters of Sex.

45 Transgender Individuals

as of November 2021

Most of them Black or Latinx—had been murdered as of early November 2021. According to the Human Rights Campaign, this is a record-number, more than in all of 2020.

James Hormel

January 1, 1933–August 13, 2021

He came out publicly as gay at age 45; he subsequently became First openly-gay U.S. ambassador.

He co-founded the Human Rights Campaign and helped fund the National AIDS Memorial Grove and the American Foundation for AIDS Research.

Tatiana Nikonova

Feb 4, 1978–May 12, 2021

Russian feminist, LGBT activist, journalist, blogger, and sex educator; Promoted the need of sex education for teenagers.

Margaret Jean “Margo” St. James

September 12, 1937–January 11, 2021

She founded COYOTE (Call Off Your Old Tired Ethics), advocating decriminalization of prostitution. 

She co-founded the St. James Infirmary Clinic, serving sex workers in the Tenderloin.

Accordion Widget

Mahinder Watsa

February 11, 1924–December 28, 2020

Indian sexologist known for his sex columns in newspapers and magazines. In 2005, aged 80, Watsa began writing a column called “Ask the Sexpert” for the newspaper Mumbai Mirror, which was threatened with lawsuits and accusations of obscenity. His contributions to sex education in India earned him the 2014 Dr. Ved Vyas Puri Award.

Lev Shcheglov

August 28, 1946–December 11, 2020

Considered the leading authority on sexological matters in Russia. He published 230 scientific works, among them 20 monographs and textbooks. 

Jan Morris

October 2, 1926–November 20, 2020

British writer and pioneer of the transgender movement. In 1953, Morris—writing as James Morris—accompanied Sir Edmund Hilary and Tenzing Norgay on their expedition to Mount Everest. Morris began transitioning in 1972; she described her experience in her memoir, Conundrum, published in 1974.

Gale Holtz Golden Hartstein

passed away Nov 16, 2020

Proud member of SSSS

Betty Dodson

August 24, 1929-October 31, 2020

Feminist sexologist and evangelist of self-pleasure. She was a second-wave feminist who taught consciousness raising with a twist, and her workshops on masturbation, buoyed by the internet, have inspired millions.

David Schnarch

September 18, 1946-October 8, 2020

Professor of urology at the Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge and led the Marriage & Family Health Center in Evergreen, Colorado as Director. David Schnarch became known to the public through his research in the field of couple and sex therapy and related publications. Schnarch studied the widespread problem of people losing sexual desire in couple relationships, and suggested in the 1980s that the notion of self-differentiation introduced by Bowen was the real starting point for solving problems with intimacy and sexual desire.

Shere Hite

November 2, 1942–September 9, 2020

Startled the world in the 1970s with her groundbreaking reports on female sexuality and her conclusion that women did not need conventional sexual intercourse — or men, for that matter — to achieve sexual satisfaction

Christine Kaestle

January 28, 1972-July 16, 2020

Her career (and nearly every venue of her life) focused on human sexuality and human equity. She developed new knowledge and synthesized new perspectives and arguments to combat old stereotypes, to fight physical and mental disease, and to improve happy and healthy sexuality.

Kenneth Lewes

June 8, 1943-April 17, 2020

In an influential book, “The Psychoanalytic Theory of Male Homosexuality” (1988), he defied the idea that being gay, as he was, is an illness, and took on psychiatry’s “history of homophobia.”

Richard Friedman

January 20, 1941 – March 31, 2020

In an important book, Male Homosexuality (1988), he challenged the widely held Freudian notion that same-sex attraction was curable, finding it instead rooted in biology.

Joe Fay

passed away March 20, 2020

Joe Fay was a lifelong advocate for young people and a leader in the field of adolescent sexual and reproductive health. His career in sexual and reproductive health spanned nearly forty years.

Kelly Johnson-Eilola

July 22, 1965 – March 16, 2020

Kelly worked for decades as a hotline crisis counselor and sexual health educator at SUNY Potsdam.

Joseph LoPiccolo


An American psychologist and sex researcher who focuses on female sexual response

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