Contrary to what the poet Philip Larkin suggested, sexual intercourse did not begin in 1963 between the unbanning of DH Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover and the release of the first Beatles LP. It apparently started some time before that, at least according to two new provocative works, A Curious History of Sex by Kate Lister (Unbound) and Strange Antics: A History of Seduction by Clement Knox (William Collins).

However, there are not so much books on sex, but rather accounts of sexual oppression and exploitation. Lister, an academic and historian who runs the online WhoresOfYore.com project, declares that hers is “not a comprehensive study of every sexual quirk, kink and ritual across all cultures throughout time, as that would entail writing an encyclopedia. Rather, this is a drop in the ocean, a paddle in the shallow end of sex history, but I hope you will get pleasantly wet nonetheless.”

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