This article will explore the social, cultural and medical reasons behind the rigorous censorship of the work and life of sex reformer William James Chidley (c.1860–1916). Chidley critiqued heterosexual intercourse — or the ‘crowbar’ method as he called it. Instead he promoted new ways of performing sex and correspondingly a new form of gender relations. For speaking about sex and the reorganisation of gender relations, Chidley was condemned and incarcerated and his books were labelled obscene. This paper will suggest that it was his prioritising of female sexual power that made Chidley such a target, leading ultimately to his untimely death in a Sydney asylum.