The American-German sex researcher and feminist Shere Hite died in London at the age of 77. She gained worldwide fame in the 1970s with her study The Hite Report, on female sexuality.
The book became a bestseller; more than 50 million copies have been sold since 1976. Among other things, Hite wrote that women often do not get excited by penetration. She stated that it is much easier for women to reach orgasm through masturbation than through penetration.
The work is seen as groundbreaking, because previously the role of the man was often central: “Shere Hite put female pleasure first for the first time,” says British feminist Julie Bindel to The Guardian. According to The New York Times, The Hite Report “revolutionised the bedroom”.
There was also criticism of Hites work. For her research, she sent out 100,000 surveys on women, of which 4500 were returned to her. On that basis, Hite stated, among other things, that 95% of women felt emotionally and physically abused by their husbands. According to critics, the sample was unrepresentative because it was probably mainly very unfortunate women who filled in the survey.
Many Conservative Americans also saw her as a danger to family life. Hite received death threats and then moved to Germany, where she married a German. She also assumed German nationality; she found Germany more open and tolerant than her homeland, the US.
In recent years Hite lived in London with her second husband. She had suffered from Alzheimers and Parkinsons for a few years.