Listen free for 30 days

Listen with a free trial

One credit a month, good for any title to download and keep.
Unlimited listening to the Plus Catalogue - thousands of select Audible Originals, podcasts and audiobooks.
Exclusive member-only deals.
No commitment - cancel anytime.
Buy Now for £16.09

Buy Now for £16.09

Pay using card ending in
By completing your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and authorise Audible to charge your designated card or any other card on file. Please see our Privacy Notice, Cookies Notice and Interest-based Ads Notice.

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

What listeners say about A Curious History of Sex

Average customer ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    80
  • 4 Stars
    12
  • 3 Stars
    5
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    1
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    71
  • 4 Stars
    12
  • 3 Stars
    4
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    1
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    68
  • 4 Stars
    11
  • 3 Stars
    5
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    1

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

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

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fascinating history

As a history student I could not recommend this book more. So insightful to various cultures and practices and a Kerry message about sex education

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Very enjoyable!

Absolutely loved this. Author was funny and there was so much information. Would happily read again.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Informative and entertaining

I enjoyed this book. Narrator is the author and the style is engaging. The information is sometimes familiar, but often a little surprising.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

If you're look for something a bit different

A truly fantastic book about the history of snow x, sexual practices and attitudes towards sex. At first glance you would think that this would be a seedy book but it's quite the opposite, very insightful and interesting. Definitely will be recommending to everyone!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Exquisitely written, rompous ride!

loved it, thoroughly engaging, informative, fascinating and hilarious, give it a go, theres something in it for everyone!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Loved it

Great narration and a fun but informative book. Only thing is date/era wise it does jump around a bit so I think a slightly more coherent timeline would’ve been helpful. Still great though!

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Repetitive

Blah blah cishet this, blah blah cishet that.
Nowhere as interesting as it should be.
Narration is poor, author should have got a professional to do it.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Stephen
  • Stephen
  • 23-03-21

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

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Santosh Nair
  • Santosh Nair
  • 14-11-21

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.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for D
  • D
  • 04-10-21

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!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for RachelJ
  • RachelJ
  • 03-08-21

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.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for SunShyne P.
  • SunShyne P.
  • 27-07-21

Highly recommend

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

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Chris
  • Chris
  • 13-07-21

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.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 12-03-21

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