Review: The Joy of Sexus by Vicki León


4 out of 5 stars | Goodreads

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.

Sex sells. Simple. The media is full of it: scandals, the porn industry, sex tips – but rarely is an actual discussion of sex positive. Often it is shown in a negative light, something that, despite being the most natural of human acts, is ruining and corrupting lives and generations. So it’s nice to finally see a discussion that is positive.

What’s interesting is that despite the leaps and bounds we’ve made over the past two or three thousand years, sex is still the same. At least, essentially. Some people are completely accepting of all facets of it, others have issues with things like same-sex relationships, some see sex for pleasure rather than procreation as a total sin. And whilst so many things have changed since the times of Homer, Pericles, Nero and various other important ancient figures, the varying views on sex have not.

The Joy of Sexus is a fascinating look at various areas of sex and sexuality, told through short stories and anecdotes and organised by ‘topic’, for example adultery, masturbation, same-sex relationships, aphrodiasics etc. Although at times it felt a bit haphazardly organised, I found each story very interesting – and revealing.

My main complaints are that some of the stories felt a little too short, like information was lacking. However, what is there has obviously been very well researched and Leon has a wide variety of anecdotes. Occasionally, some facts were repeated several times throughout the same chapter, but as I read an ARC I hope this has been corrected in the final version.
Sex is always going to be an interesting topic, and this book doesn’t let that down. A fascinating collection of tales, anecdotes and facts about sex in the ancient world, categorised by topic, this is an easy read that reveals just how little things have changed in at least one aspect of human life through the ages.

What makes me sad after reading this book is that some people in this modern age are much more narrow-minded when it comes to sex and sexuality than those thousands of years ago.