Shere Hite, a pioneer in feminism and human sexuality, died on September 9, 2020. She was 77 years old. At the time of her death, she had been diagnosed with corticobasal degeneration, a rare neurological disorder. She leaves behind a husband, Paul Sullivan.
Hite was highly respected in the world of human sexuality and feminism. Her iconic "Hite Reports" debuted in 1976 and sold millions of copies. The book caused a stir with her unfiltered discussion about sexual pleasure, masturbation, etc. Hite's work inspired many modern feminist legends, including Gloria Steinem.
Before Hite became a feminist pioneer, she taught at Nihon University, Chongqing University, and Maimonides University. She graduated with a Master's Degree in History in 1967. She posed for Playboy while pursuing her doctorate at Columbia. She did not complete her Doctorate there, however, because of the conservative nature at Columbia.
Hite joined the feminist movement in the 1970s after appearing in an advertisement for an Olivetti typewriter. The advertisement was captioned: "So Smart She Doesn't Have to Be." Hite was disgusted by the blatant misogyny, and joined the National Organization for Women thereafter. The organization was already protesting the Olivetti advertisement. Shere Hite, and the National Organization for Women, joined forces on a project about feminist sexuality.
Nihon University in Tokyo awarded her a doctorate for her work on the project. The project inspired Hite to distribute surveys to women and later men about their sexual experiences and desires. The surveys were used to create "Hite Reports."
The first installment of "The Hite Report:A Nationwide Study of Female Sexuality" was published in 1976. The book was extremely controversial, as it discussed the idea that women do not need men to achieve sexual orgasm. Additionally, orgasm for many cannot be reached through traditional sexual intercourse, but via clitoral stimulation.
The book was innovative because it was the only one out at the time that proved: "Women can have orgasms very easily, but the kind of stimulation women need isn't being included in sex (quote from Dr. Hite's interview with USA Today)."
The sequel to the "Hite Report" consisted of surveys on male sexuality. The book reported that many men had very deep fears of intimacy, and rampant sexual inadequacy. The book was slammed by Playboy and dubbed "the Hate Report."
In 1987, Hite wrote "Women and Love: A Cultural Revolution in Progress." In those that were surveyed, many stated that they were unhappy in their relationships and many were being unfaithful. 95% of women surveyed stated that they felt emotionally harassed by their male partners.
Dr. Hite was so disgusted by her reception in America, she and her then-husband moved to Europe. In 1996, Shere Hite renounced her American citizenship and became a German citizen.
Hite penned more influencial books, including:
Shere Hite, you will be forever missed. Thank you for everything you've done for the feminist movement. RIP Dr. Hite!