A rollicking, myth-busting history of sex that sets the record straight on subjects ranging from contraception and STIs to courtship and reproduction, pushing back against plenty of present-day taboos and urban legends along the way.

With curiosity and irreverent insight, science writer Rachel Feltman breaks down the long, weird, illustrious history of sex. She guides readers through the kaleidoscopic archives of centuries-old porn and erotica, as well as the bizarre history of treatments for erectile dysfunction, including radium suppositories and goat testicle transplants. Feltman provides the history of huge scientific questions—e.g., How are babies made?—and considers the ancient from a modern perspective: What was it like to have herpes several millennia ago?

Even from unlikely sources like Hildegard von Bingen's treatise on the female orgasm, there's a lot we can learn about our modern-day sexual proclivities and practices from the historical record. And these figures from the past, from gay cowboys to polyamorous Vikings, prove that when it comes to how we have sex and who we do it with, there’s no such thing as normal. 

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