Even in a weighty book such as Dr. Kate Lister’s A Curious History of Sex, sex and sexuality is a massive topic to cover. However, Lister manages to fit a wealth of history succinctly, cleverly and hilariously into one fantastic and accessible read.
Also known as the curator of Whores of Yore, Dr. Lister covers a multitude of topics within A Curious History of Sex: vocabulary, biology, food, machines, hygiene, reproduction, and money, explaining how the history of sex has intertwined with all of these topics. Although a lot of the research cited comes from western world sources, the author obviously made a great effort to be as inclusive as possible, even with the limitations that available published research allowed.
I especially appreciated the inclusion of sexual innuendo from history sprinkled liberally throughout. Delightful.
It’s also worth noting that a hefty chunk of pre-order income from the book went to Basis Sex Work, a UK support and advocacy group for sex workers.
This chonky book was my constant companion over the holidays this year. Sure, I didn’t get to see my side of the family because of COVID-19 protocols but I did learn that Victorian pornography had a slight obsession with ladies and their sexy, sexy bicycles.