by Durba Mitra

About Durba Mitra

Durba Mitra (she/her) is Assistant Professor of Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality and the Carol K. Pforzheimer Assistant Professor at the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University. She is the author of Indian Sex Life: Sexuality and the Colonial Origins of Modern Social Thought.


Nothing seems more natural than the idea of “sexuality.” Sexuality is a term used to describe the state of being sexual and sexual activity and as an expression of sexual interest, especially when it is seen as excessive. In common parlance, the word sexuality can denote an individual expression of sexual desire or can mean one’s sexual preference or orientation. Yet critical scholarship has demonstrated that sexuality is far more complicated. Indeed, the idea that sexuality is a natural or purely biological trait is much more a product of history than one might imagine.