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‘A Curious History of Sex’ Covers Aphrodisiacs, Bicycles, Graham Crackers and More

Historians in the News
tags: gender, sexuality



Though it has passages about AIDS and syphilis, Kate Lister’s first book, “A Curious History of Sex,” is not about libido in times of plague and anxiety. But it’s impossible not to read it now through that lens.

If, like me, you remain winter-stunned, feeling like a deflated basketball left too long in the basement, sex (or reading about it) can reassure you we’re not living in a prolonged hallucination. I’ve heard reports that pornography is widely available online, but have been unable to confirm these rumors for myself.

Lister, an Englishwoman, is a strong writer, and her book comes with a story attached. She operates the website (and excellent Twitter feed) Whores of Yore, about historical attitudes toward sex work and desire in general. Her book, like all books issued by the British publishing house Unbound, was crowd-funded, an idea whose time has surely come.

Read entire article at New York Times

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