Thursday, April 16, 2020

A Curious History of Sex: a review


A Curious History of Sex by Whores of Yore owner, Dr. Kate Lister is a book I'd recommend to anyone interested in learning more about people and sex.

Publisher, Unbound.
April 2020.

A few years ago, I followed @WhoresofYore on Twitter. If you aren't following that account, you should be. I also follow her: @k8_lister.

πŸ’‹#HistoricalHotties is not to be missed.πŸ’‹

The images inside of A Curious History of Sex are beautiful! My favorite of all is on pg. 249 (in the chapter about pubic hair). It's plucky and glorious to behold and if you are able to splurge a little during this crazy quarantine, I'd consider purchasing the hardcover.

Right out of the gate, the Introduction to this book had me laughing. I started A Curious History of Sex on April 5th and finished it on April 14th. I've never in one place seen so many words for genitals! Let's go, #TeamCunt!

"...is the oldest word for either the vulva or the vagina in the English language...".

I read this book chapters at a time and laughed so much. A couple of times, I also cringed. People having sex didn't have an easy go of it. From following (or not following) religious decrees and social morals about sex to being medically ignorant, our world's sexual history is fascinating. It's beautiful and bumbling, and scary to bear witness to the men, women, and children who were fucked over because of sex. But the book's focus is to enlighten so that we can be better. It's 2020, and we still don't have things quite right.

In the second-to-last chapter, SEX AND REPRODUCTION, the 'Bringing Down the Flowers' (abortion) section was the most difficult for me to read because some of the details cracked my heart wide open. This section features a full-page, close up image of various 'tokens' (pg. 288) left by the mothers of abandoned babies.

"Of the 16,282 babies brought to the [London Foundling] hospital between 1741 and 1760, only 152 were reclaimed."

Those figures slammed me in the gut pretty hard. But this book's focus isn't only on travesty. Dr. Kate uses upbeat and cheeky language throughout and she's appropriately compassionate while being frank about some of the more grim facts and details.

There are a lot of topics in this book, and cunts and euphemisms too, lol! A Curious History of Sex gave me an appreciation for the people who've come before me. It felt good to read this book, even though really terrible shit happened to so many people. I was sad when the book was done but was left feeling hopeful. Appreciative, in fact. You should absolutely give this book a read. Yes, FGM is discussed, but there's also penises, food, machines, hygiene, reproduction, and money. From cunts to clits, bicycles to oysters, condoms to disease, medieval virginity tests to testicular implants... I think you'll want to read this book more than once. You don't have to slog through paragraphs of over-analysis, either. I found it to be a terrifically paced book, certainly beautiful to look at, and quite an entertaining read. Seriously, I laughed out loud multiple times.


Dr. Kate Lister:

And, because education is a good thing...

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🐝 THE BEES!

This year, I've got two bee colonies in my backyard apiary. I'm learning more and more about the science of beekeeping and will hopefully pass my Journey-level exams this August.

Just as I was getting ready to suit up to perform my hive's first inspections, my doorbell rang. It was the postman. My red umbrella pin had arrived! This was a gift I'd received for supporting the publication of A Curious History of Sex

Anyways, I pinned that pin to my bee suit and I'll never take it off.

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