The Lazy Historian
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Review: A Curious History of Sex
January 6, 2021

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.


Jillianne Hamilton is a history enthusiast, a hoarder of books, and the author of The Spirited Mrs. Pringle (historical fiction) and The Lazy Historian’s Guide to the Wives of Henry VIII (non-fiction). Jill launched The Lazy Historian in 2015. She lives in Charlottetown on Canada’s beautiful east coast. Learn more.

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Hi, I'm Jillianne.

I'm a lover of history, a hoarder of books, and the author of The Spirited Mrs. Pringle and The Lazy Historian's Guide to the Wives of Henry VIII.

The Lazy Historian is a history blog featuring stories from the past with sass. With a focus on Western European and women's history, I delve into anything fascinating. Learn more.

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