Charlotte McGann tells the story of human sexuality from the days of the hunter gatherers through to modern times. She explores the attitudes of the ancient Greeks and Romans to sex - and at the many ways in which their attitudes and mores mirrored our own. She takes us rapidly through history, from the Elizabethan age, and the attitudes to sex explored in plays like Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, to the buttoned-up Victorians and modern times, exploring the influence of key figures like Alfred Kinsey, who initiated the modern era of sex research in 1947, and his successors, Masters and Johnson, who created the first sex clinic in 1965.
Philip Larkin once famously observed:
Sexual intercourse began
In nineteen sixty three
(which was rather too late for me) -
Between the end of the Chatterley ban
And the Beatles's first LP.
What did he mean? And to what extent was he right? How much did sex and our attitudes to it really change from the mid sixties onwards? And what about sexual attraction? What causes it? How differently do men and women think about it? Why have attitudes to it, and to gender, become so fraught? And what of the dark side of sex?
In the course of this concise but comprehensive study, Charlotte McGann looks at all these questions - and many others - as she puts in context an issue of enduring fascination to us all.