A Curious History of Sex

By Kate Lister

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A cornucopia of giggles, gaffs, titillation, temptations, and exceptional expertise in all things historically sexual from Dr Kate Lister aka @Whores of Yore.

Publication date: February 2020
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About the book

'Buckle your trousers, fasten your seatbelts, here comes Kate Lister. Her curious history of sex is a wild ride, made all the more enjoyable by a wonderfully irreverent approach . . . I’ve never had so much fun learning stuff' The Times

'Had Victoria Wood decided to write a scholarly book about sex, it would be like this. Lister has a saucy wit . . . I laughed out loud.' Daily Mail

'Lister romps her way through masturbation, menstruation and prostitution, the invention of condoms, the use of vibrators to cure hysteria and much more . . . Glorious' Evening Standard

This is not a comprehensive study of every sexual quirk, kink and ritual across all cultures throughout time, as that would entail writing an encyclopaedia. Rather, this is a drop in the ocean, a paddle in the shallow end of sex history, but I hope you will get pleasantly wet nonetheless.

The act of sex has not changed since people first worked out what went where, but the ways in which society dictates how sex is culturally understood and performed have varied significantly through the ages. Humans are the only creatures that stigmatise particular sexual practices, and sex remains a deeply divisive issue around the world. Attitudes will change and grow – hopefully for the better – but sex will never be free of stigma or shame unless we acknowledge where it has come from.

Based on the popular research project Whores of Yore, and written with her distinctive humour and wit, A Curious History of Sex draws upon Dr Kate Lister’s extensive knowledge of sex history. From medieval impotence tests to twentieth-century testicle thefts, from the erotic frescoes of Pompeii, to modern-day sex doll brothels, Kate unashamedly roots around in the pants of history, debunking myths, challenging stereotypes and generally getting her hands dirty.

This fascinating book is peppered with surprising and informative historical slang, and illustrated with eye-opening, toe-curling and meticulously sourced images from the past.

You will laugh, you will wince and you will wonder just how much has actually changed.

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