A Curious History of Sex written by Kate Listner is an amazingly well researched book with both humor and horror. Listner approaches the topic of sex as not just the act but the social and cultural influences around it. The book also delves into the historical evolution on the perspectives of not just sex but sexuality and pleasure. In fact, “The history of how cultures have interpreted, punished, and rewarded sex, sexuality and pleasure” may have been a more apt title, if not a bit long winded. As Listner rattles off different facts and theories you really realize how strong of a fear of sex, in all its facets, there is. The need to control this perfectly natural human/animal function. She brings across the plains of the need to be young and virile, to those that made it a point of taking away any pleasure a woman might have. the book goes in a direction that does not hide these horrors. At times the book brings the reader to a place of pity. Pity for those that have suffered because of the need to control people. It has always been plain to see that cis-women have suffered and have been regulated due to the fear that they can control cis-men by sex. That they are sirens and if they are not controlled they will have all the power and society will crumble. Here you also see how cis-men and LGBTQI+ have suffered. She also debunks some fairly well established myths.
This is an important book that covers not just the topic of “sex” but to see how much sex has shaped cultures through the ages and even into today. That such a pleasure should be such a burden is a conundrum of human cognition. You won’t regret reading or listening, read by Listner herself, to this book. I can’t recommend it highly enough.
Listner has had a social media presence under “Whores of Yore” and “More Whores of Yore” for quite some time. I highly recommend following her on Twitter, Instagram, and/or TikTok.