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A powerful new cultural history of sex written by one of the UK's most prominent historians
Sex, for the entirety of human history, has never been about reproduction. Statistically speaking, only one out of every one thousand sexual acts between a man and a woman will result in a pregnancy. And, as we know, sex does not solely take place just between men and women.
So: what is sex for?
In this wide-ranging and powerful new history of sex, Dr Fern Riddell will uncover the sexual lives of our ancestors and show that, just like us, they were as preoccupied with sexual identities, masturbation, foreplay, sex and deviance; facing it with the same confusion, joy and accidental hilarity that we do today.
By looking at how history has dealt with different parts of our sexual experience, we're taken on an illuminating and entertaining journey about why we have sex - and what that means today.
Author: Fern Riddell
Hardback Published 8 June 2021 288 pages
"Sex: Lessons from History is a furious and unflinching manifesto that debunks the many myths and misconceptions surrounding sex and sexuality. It is packed full of fascinating and provocative historical insights on the place sex has in our lives." -- Kate Wiles, History Today
"Sex, in all its joyous, terrifying, disgusting, dangerous, criminalised, queer, constrained and kinky forms, is perhaps the constant major theme of human culture. Riddell's wonderful, erudite book simultaneously uses sex as a lens to understand modern English history, and modern English history to understand sex. The story is by turns horrifying, hilarious, enlightening and terrifying." -- Matt Lodder