The Joy of Sexus by Vicki León
Lust, Love, and Longing in the Ancient World

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In her previous books, Vicki León put readers in the sandals of now obsolete laborers, ranging from funeral clowns to armpit pluckers, and untangled the twisted threads of superstition and science in antiquity. Now, in this book of astonishing true tales of love and sex in long-ago Greece, Rome, and other cultures around the Mediterranean, she opens the doors to shadowy rooms and parts the curtains of decorum.León goes far beyond what we think we know about sex in ancient times, taking readers on a randy tour of aphrodisiacs and anti-aphrodisiacs, contraception, nymphomania, bisexuality, cross-dressing, and gender-bending. She explains citizens' fear of hermaphrodites, investigates the stinging price paid for adultery despite the ease of divorce, introduces readers to a surprising array of saucy pornographers, and even describes the eco-friendly dildos used by libidinous ancients. Love also gets its due, with true tales of the lifelong bonds between military men, history's first cougar and her devoted relationship with Julius Caesar, and the deification of lovers.

About Vicki León

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Vicki León calls the central coast of California home but returns often to her Mediterranean sources. Having honed her research skills by unearthing nine hundred achievers for her Uppity Women series of books, she's delved deeply into the ancient world with Working IX to V, How to Mellify a Corpse, and, of course, The Joy of Sexus. Visit her website at
Published January 29, 2013 by Walker Books. 320 pages
Genres: Health, Fitness & Dieting, History, Romance, Parenting & Relationships, Self Help, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

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León’s descriptions are plentiful and detailed, and a vibrant, playful tone runs throughout—a Roman politician is introduced as a “[m]utinous army officer, political turncoat, gang leader, cross-dresser, pirate hostage, and zestful incest aficionado.” This is a fun, enlightening trip int...

Oct 22 2012 | Read Full Review of The Joy of Sexus: Lust, Love,...

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