The Story of Sex

A Graphic History Through the Ages


By Philippe Brenot

Illustrated by Laetitia Coryn

Translated by Will McMorran

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$36.49 CAD



  1. Hardcover $27.99 $36.49 CAD
  2. ebook $3.99 $4.99 CAD

This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around September 19, 2017. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

The first graphic history of sex chronicles sexuality and human intimacy through the ages, from our primate pasts to our robotic futures.

Humans have had sex on the brain since pre-civilization either for pleasure, power, revenge, a desire for children, or simply because it isn’t allowed. Today, sex is all around us but it’s rarely explained and almost never taught. In The Story of Sex, sexologist Phillipe Brenot combines anthropology, sociology, psychology and history with witty comics by Latetita Coryn for an in-depth explanation of this essential aspect of humanity.

Organized chronologically into sections like Babylon: Free Love, The Middle Ages: Heaven and Hell, and The 20th Century: Sexual Liberation, Brenot explores what eroticism really is, how our ancestors behaved sexually, when the first couple was established, how superstition and morality laws shaped sexuality, the use of pornography in the digital age, and how some ancient civilizations were far ahead of their time when it came to gender equality.

Full of fascinating details like Cleopatra’s invention of the vibrator and a Dutch shopkeeper’s accidental discovery of the existence of sperm–all accompanied by hilarious comics and dialogue — The Story of Sex is informative, unique, and entertaining book.



The Story of Sex lifts the lid on closely guarded secrets and old wives’ tales to reveal what has long been hidden from us: the story of sex and love.

How did our sexual organs change when we evolved from animal to human? When did the first couple show up? Where does our sense of modesty come from? Or eroticism? Or love, that most momentous of human concerns? What about our earliest customs?

Is prostitution really the “oldest profession in the world”? Was homosexuality really accepted in antiquity? What were the earliest rituals for warding off impotence? Which ancient civilization championed equality between men and women? How did Ramesses contribute to the fertility of Egypt? And why was masturbation prohibited? No history textbook will ever tell you all this because it delves too far into the sexual realm – still a taboo in our society, however free its customs may be.

Do scholarly books tell us about Cleopatra’s “fellatory” compulsion with her guards? About Priapus’s ways with the women of Lampsacus? About the phallic festivals of antiquity – of Dionysia and Bacchanalia? About chastity belts or the droit du seigneur? No respectable historian would venture down the slippery slope of everyday exploits of sex and intimacy. Though these stories are genuine they are generally consigned to the margins by official history. However, this little chronicle of sexual habits can offer us a clearer understanding of the extraordinary evolution in customs which has led us from an existence ordered by family and society, and reinforced by religion, to the freedoms we know today in the West.

History books gloss over the idiosyncrasies of famous figures, but their sex lives help us to understand them better. Does anyone today talk about Casanova, the Marquis de Sade, the Chevalier d’Éon, or the libertines of the Directory during the French Revolution? Have you heard about the hypersexuality of Henry IV or Louis XV? Or Queen Victoria’s sex life?

Or Prince Albert’s genital piercing? As well-known as the homosexuality of Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci or Montaigne may be, it still has no place in their “official” biographies. The Story of Sex sets the record straight.

There are still many misconceptions that circulate in private, shying away from awkward questions: the difference between homosexuality and pederasty, between male need and female desire, between vaginal and clitoral women… Still more shadowy realms where The Story of Sex can shine a light.

At the start of this third millennium, sexuality seems to be all around us – within easy reach, shown on our screens, talked about in the media – but, paradoxically, it’s rarely explained and almost never taught. In our schools there is no real sex education. At the very most, some information about contraception and STDs. But nothing that helps to understand the nature of intimate relationships, or the difficulties of developing these, or the vital link between respect and equality between partners, or questions about sexual orientation… And in this educational void, the Internet and porn offer themselves as models.

The Story of Sex reveals this essential aspect of human intimacy.



  • "The book France won't stop talking about...undoubtedly a lovely Christmas gift for anyone with a keen interest in when and how the first vibrator was invented."
  • "A witty account that embraces everything from the earliest humans to the age of cybersex."
    The Guardian
  • "Warm, humane, inclusive, open-minded..."—The Times of London

On Sale
Sep 19, 2017
Page Count
208 pages

Philippe Brenot

About the Author

Philippe Brenot is the Director of Sexology at Paris Descartes University, a psychiatrist, and an anthropologist. He has written the widely-acclaimed books in France Inventing the Couple, Men, Sex, Love, and Women, Sex, and Love and founded the blog Liberte, Egalite, and Sexualite for Le Monde. He lives in Paris.

Laetitia Coryn is a graphic artist and illustrator based in France.

Learn more about this author

Laetitia Coryn

About the Illustrator

Laetitia Coryn is a graphic artist and illustrator based in France.

Learn more about this illustrator