Shere Hite (1942-2020) published “The Hite Report” in 1976. It gathered candid feedback from women suggesting canonical sexual congress was not the be-all and end-all prescribed by male-centric orthodoxy. Two more best-selling studies followed in 1981 and 1987.
Hite’s work provoked a prolonged storm of blowback. Critics tagged her a man-hater. Social scientists faulted her conclusions as flawed and unreliable because her samples of women didn’t match census data. Critics referred to her as “Sheer Hype.” Playboy magazine called her book “The Hate Report.” Religious groups credited her with destroying traditional family values. She was stalked by paparazzi and received death threats.
Ultimately Hite found living in America untenable for continuing her work. In 1995, she became a German citizen and lived in Europe until her death this year. She published her last book, “The Hite Report on Hite: A Sexual and Political Autobiography,” in 2000.
The article referenced here cites her affecting description of discovering her sexuality “on her own”:
“Not hearing about it first through pornography or seeing naked bodies displayed for profit on every newsstand, but just alone in my room, in my own bed, finding my own sensual self.”
(Jazmine Hughes, “Shere Hite Explained How Women Orgasm, and Was Hated for It,” The New York Times Magazine, “Remembering some of the artists, innovators and thinkers we lost in the past year.” Hite’s obit was published in the NYTimes on 9-11-20)
(c) 2020 JMN