Sex (book)

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Date: 1992

Region: North America

Subject: Nudity

Medium: Literature Photography


Artist: Madonna and Downers Grove Public Library

Confronting Bodies: Coalition of Taxpayers

Dates of Action: 1992

Location: Downer's Grove, IL

Description of Artwork: Sex is a coffee table book written by Madonna with photographs by Steven Meisel Studio and film frames taken from film shot by Fabien Baron. The book featured strong adult content and softcore pornographic photographs depicting simulations of sexual acts, which included sadomasochism and analingus. Madonna wrote the book as a character named Mistress Dita, inspired by 1930s film actress Dita Parlo.

The Incident(s): According to the American Library Association, Sex was the 19th-most challenged book or series in libraries in the 1990s.

  1. Approximately 17 written complaints were filed in the fall of 1992 against the book in Downer's Grove, Illinois. The matter went before the Board of Directors. Several emotionally charged hearings were held to decide whether the book would remain in the collection.


Results of Incident(s):

  1. A group called "Downers Grove Library Advocates" was formed to combat the censors, and they were successful in aiding the decision to retain the book on the shelves. The board president, despite his dedication to the freedom to read, lost his position on the board.

Source: Library Documents, Lise Bieritz and wikipedia