Dr Robert Vivian Storer, an early Australian sex educationist and venereologist, was born in Adelaide in 1900. In the mid-1930s he practiced in London before settling permanently in Melbourne in 1939.
Storer was active in sex-education and family planning circles in Australia in the late 1920s and early 1930s, and was a founding consultant of the Australian Family Planning Association when it was formed in 1928. He later left the Association following disagreements with them over the best means of educating people about sexuality and contraception.
He was openly bisexual throughout most of his life, which is reflected in the popular sex-education books he wrote throughout the 1930s. His basic premise of individual sexual freedom (as long as no-one else was harmed) was very much at odds with popular feeling on issues such as contraception, bisexuality and homosexuality in Australia in the 1930s.
Storer’s sexual adventures were often the subject of tabloid newspaper stories. In 1931, he was accused of holding all-male orgies on his yacht in the Hawkesbury River, with youths he had contacted through newspaper ads. Five years later, while living in London, Storer’s 16-year-old office boy was drowned in the Thames at a similar party. And, during the Second World War, Storer was the subject of a police investigation into his affair with an 18-year-old soldier – evidence was collected by spying through the keyhole of Storer’s flat!
He died in Melbourne in 1958.
Brought to you by the Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives