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Blank, Hanne 1969-

Blank, Hanne 1969-


Born February 25, 1969, in Northampton, MA. Education: Studied music.


Home—Baltimore, MD. Agent—Christopher Schelling, 303 W. 18th St., New York, NY 10011. E-mail—[email protected]


Historian, musician, and author. Has been an instructor at university-level institutions, including Brandeis University, Tufts University, and Whitworth College; has been a speaker at several universities, national and regional conferences of various types, and centers for adult learning; Scholar of the Institute, Institute for Teaching and Research on Women at Towson State University, Baltimore, MD, 2004-05.


Tanglewood Institute fellowship; George Whitfield Chadwick Medal, 1991, for music.


Big Big Love: A Sourcebook on Sex for People of Size and Those Who Love Them, Greenery Press (Oakland, CA), 2000.

Unruly Appetites: Erotic Stories, Seal Press (New York, NY), 2003.

Virgin: The Untouched History (nonfiction), Bloomsbury USA (New York, NY), 2007.


Zaftig: Well Rounded Erotica, Cleis Press (San Francisco, CA), 2001.

Shameless: Women's Intimate Erotica, Seal Press (New York, NY), 2002.

(With Raven Kaldera) Best Transgender Erotica, Circlet Press (Cambridge, MA), 2002.

Contributor to periodicals, including Penthouse, Southwest Art, Lilith, Bitch: Feminist Response to Pop Culture, Baltimore CityPaper, Boston Phoenix, Peko Peko, PRIDE Magazine, and Santa Fean Magazine. Former sex columnist for the Boston Phoenix and for Good Vibes Magazine. Former coeditor, Scarlet and; former associate editor, Sojourner: The Women's Forum.


Hanne Blank is a classically trained musician who has also been formally educated as a historian. Since 2000 she has worked as a full-time writer. The focus of the vast majority of her writing is human sexuality. She has penned and edited several collections of erotica, as well as written books on the history of virginity and sex for plus-sized individuals.

Blank's Virgin: The Untouched History explores virginity in Western civilization through the ages. "From the ancient Greeks to the Middle Ages, through Victorian England and Puritan America to Beverly Hills, 90210 and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Blank looks at the myriad ways female virginity has been defined, policed, purchased, sold, lost, and defended," noted an interviewer about the book on the Web site Hijabman. The book is broken down into two sections: "Virginol- ogy" and "Virgin Culture." "In these sections, Blank does an impressive job of touching on a wealth of information that she has collected over the course of a four-year odyssey into the annals of virgin history," observed Kelly Mayhew in the San Diego Union-Tribune. "Virginology" "is a treasure trove of virginity's perceived physical manifestations and cultural meanings throughout history," as described by Mayhew, while "Virgin Culture" looks at what virginity has represented throughout history. Mayhew believed that in this section Blank is "sensitive throughout to class and racial issues…. She is careful never to generalize that the experiences of the rich stand in for the experiences of all, emphasizing that poorer women often paid a dearer price when they lost their virginity." A Publishers Weekly critic praised Blank's book as "thoroughly researched, carefully argued and written with a sly sense of humor." In addition to the book, Blank created a Web site,, which serves as an extension of Virgin. On the site, Blank takes on current issues, events, and stories related to virginity.

Despite the fact that Blank explains in the introduction of the book why she deliberately limited her discussions of virginity to the Western world, one of the primary criticisms leveled against Virgin is the absence of any discussion of virginity in Muslim countries. When asked about this in an interview for Hijabman, she responded: "I would say to critics who take me to task for not addressing Islam, or the Muslim world: sorry, guys, but I had plenty of virginity-related problems to deal with right here in my own home culture. You want a book on the history of virginity in some other part of the world? Great! Me too! I'll be eager to read it, just as soon as you write it."



Booklist, February 15, 2007, Annie Tully, review of Virgin: The Untouched History, p. 28.

Chronicle of Higher Education, June 1, 2007, Peter Monaghan, "Impotence and Virginity through the Ages."

Entertainment Weekly, March 23, 2007, Lisa Schwarzbaum, review of Virgin, p. 66.

Lambda Book Report, September 1, 2001, review of Zaftig: Well Rounded Erotica, p. 31.

Library Journal, June 1, 2001, Heather McCormack, review of Zaftig, p. 158; April 15, 2007, Ellen D. Gilbert, review of Virgin, p. 107.

New York Times, March 25, 2007, Alex Kuczynski, review of Virgin.

Publishers Weekly, May 13, 2002, review of Shameless: Women's Intimate Erotica, p. 53; January 15, 2007, review of Virgin, p. 42.

San Diego Union-Tribune, March 18, 2007, Kelly Mayhew, review of Virgin.

San Francisco Chronicle, March 11, 2007, Bob Blaisdell, review of Virgin, p. M1.

Washington Post Book World, April 15, 2007, Marina Warner, review of Virgin, p. 8.


Hanne Blank Home Page, (August 17, 2007).

Hijabman, (June 25, 2007), "An Interview with Hanne Blank, Part I."

Scarleteen, (August 17, 2007), "20 Questions about Virginity: Scarleteen Interviews Hanne Blank."

Virgin: The Untouched History, (August 17, 2007).

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