• A Curious History of Sex

  • By: Kate Lister
  • Narrated by: Kate Lister
  • Length: 8 hrs and 18 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (120 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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 stigmatize 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 humor and wit, A Curious History of Sex draws upon Dr. Kate Lister's extensive knowledge of sex history. From medieval impotence tests to 20th-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.

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

Contains mature themes.

©2020 Kate Lister (P)2020 Tantor

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What listeners say about A Curious History of Sex

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Too much emphasis on the authors own feelings

I felt that author spent far too much time discussing her own personal feeling towards sexual additudes and practices over the centuries, and not nearly enough time talking about how society in general felt and the time. I also felt that she spent far too much time discussing the origins and evolution of the words that describe sexual activity and organs etc., rather than an actual history of sexual practices and feeling.

1 person found this helpful

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Great read!

Fun, informative, incredibly well researched, and written in an enthrallingly joyous fashion. Strong recommendation for anyone who wants a better insight into this universally relevant history.

1 person found this helpful

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Addressed to women

In
Y opinion this could have been a very interesting topic, the story is slow , data is boring at ti es and
Missing “spicy “ details. What bothered me the most ia the author addressing the “ female” auditorium at times, it made me loose interest.in this circumstance an objective perspective was welcome.
Good topic and good narration

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Grievance book

This is a grievance book so if you're not looking for heavy 3rd wave neoliberal grievance don't waste your time. Should be labeled specifically for females.

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Not about sex but perceived sexism

This book should have been entitle a feminist whines about how women have been given the shaft over the years.

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Good Storytelling.

Excellent story telling. I applaud Kate for the work she has undertaken and the in-depth study into various literature to come up with this book.
The references cited by her made me wonder in awe.

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  • D
  • 10-04-21

Excellent!

Witty, fun and insightful. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and cause myself smiling and sometimes laughing through most of it. Bonus that I now have some new vocab to use!

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Informational and entertaining

This book did not disappoint. It is informative and entertaining and the narrator/author is amazing. I will recommend it to friends and family and I will have my kids, who are in high school, listen to it as well.

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Highly recommend

For those who appreciate history and humor. AND SEX. It's eye opening, sometimes even shocking, as well as entertaining.

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Good education book for most people

I personally enjoyed and learned a lot from A Curious History of Sex. The author actually did a good job reading it which isn’t always true with nonfiction. It covers a wide range of topics which are interesting but, especially the later chapters, feel to lack some of the depth of the earlier chapters. The author acknowledges this in the conclusion.

This book will be a good education for most people; however, might miss the more prude folks when it comes to various histories of sex. Also the primary cultures it focuses on is European and most of this in England and US culture. She does mentions some other cultures too but, once again admitted in the conclusion and throughout the book, most of those accounts are written through another cultures eyes and does not tell the everyday persons experience.

Will say the first few chapters are important but can feel some what depressing. Especially knowing the mistreatment of women when it comes to sexual history is horrible or barbaric in the above focused cultures.

Overall it is a good book and I think people could learn a lot of they listen with an open mind and curiosity.

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  • E Richmond
  • 04-03-22

Woke nonsense!

Preview sounded fun. Bought, started listening and it turned into a woke rant that nobody would ever care about. Next!

1 person found this helpful

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  • K. J. Kelly
  • 08-27-21

Entertaining and full of historical interest

Entertainingly witty, full of social history and contemporary detail that will fascinate if this is your 'thing'.

'Tis not complete by any means, but does certainly fill in some holes (pun most definitely intended) in one's knowledge of the act we can all blame our existence on.

This is such a fascinating subject, and the author not only mines it for interesting tidbits, facts and discussion topics, but does so with a wit that made me nod appreciatively and even laugh aloud.

With words a big focus of this book, the author debunks myths, taking us on an alternative history of words we would never use in polite (or otherwise) company and leaves you floundering in a sea of your own exploded misconceptions. Yep, that means me.

I could have listened to this for twice as long, covering far more ground. Hygiene, food, machines, the author (who narrates) covers all sorts of interesting areas (these puns just write themselves, don't they?). Narrator/author Lister is easy to listen to, her voice doesn't detract from her own material, and unless I've missed some diagrams and photos, I think the audio version is an excellent way to read this book.

I'll be listening to it again at some point, and some of the facts here have stayed with me.

Excellent audio choice, for those interested in sex and social history.

With thanks to Nudge Books for providing a sample Audible copy.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-16-21

funny but troubling at times

interesting and humorous, but rather shallow investigations throughout. also the author seems to consider prostitution as necessary, legitimate work and does little to examine the negative implications for the women and men involved

1 person found this helpful

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  • Diana Jimenez
  • 03-30-21

Simply brilliant!

Kate’s work is fantastic. The book is rich, thought-provoking and funny at parts. A must read!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-02-21

Nice listen

Its a nice listen i enjoyed the mix between this is real but it is also funny that this sort of thing was true

The last part shoud of been a chapter in the book and not as a side not very disappointed in that

1 person found this helpful

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  • Dee
  • 07-21-22

Funny, Witty and Semi-Educational!

Great book, strongly recommended! Fun, playful and informative. It will make you laugh. Enjoy

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  • Frostedbook
  • 05-14-22

full of facts

I would say if your a fan of shows like QI or no such thing as a fish this would be right up your back alley. Full of tidbits about sex throughout history it is also a real look at how we see sex today and the pressures facing people in all manner of our lives. Well read in a factual but tounge in cheek style Kate Lister has done a great job sharing a small part of the history of sex and it's well worth a listen.

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  • Sinead
  • 04-20-22

What a great find!

Kate Lister’s approach to the topic is both engaging and informative. As a social historian I always find that these types of histories fall through the cracks in favour of wars or royalty. The chapters are concise and full of fascinating information and excellent little stories. It does not shy away from anything and puts sex front and centre in the lives of people as it should be! It is part of society since time began and this is a brilliant, accessible tour of the naughty things that happens behind closed doors.

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  • Violet203
  • 03-10-22

Great book, great performance

I really enjoyed that the author was reading the book, she was very engaging ❤️

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Emily
  • 02-28-22

A book everyone should listen to!

Wow, this book was funny, educational and generally wonderful. Hopefully there will be many more volumes to come,

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  • Douglas Cook
  • 06-05-22

Insightful and entertaining

A history of the rarely discussed, and an insightful discussion of varying attitudes over time. Somewhat focused on Western civilisations, I await volume 2 looking into other cultures and their points of view in a bit more depth.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-17-21

pretty damn good

Really interesting etemology about a lot of words we take for granted. Worth your time if you have an interest in sex or history or both

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-18-21

Bloody-hilariously-brilliant

Not a single dull moment in this book. The author is equally informative and cheeky with her recounts of different sexual histories.

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  • Thomas N Wyndham
  • 01-10-21

Interesting, Educational, Entertaining

Throughly enjoyed this book. I particularly liked chapter two, learning the history of the word ‘cunt’. Understanding how it was used historically, and how it became to be used today, really takes away its shocking power. I came for a banging time about banging, and instead had my thoughts and ideas about sex challenged and changed. Really recommend this book.