Lascivious Bodies: A Sexual History of the Eighteenth Century

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The eighteenth century saw a revolution in ordinary British people's sex lives. In a time of social flux, the sheer array of sexual experimentation during this period led to the birth of sexuality as we know it today. From Florentine lesbian nuns to French cattle buggers Lascivious Bodies examines all sorts of sex, in all sorts of places, with all sorts of people. Drawing upon vivid firsthand material and private letters, Julie Peakman depicts the libertine men and flighty courtesans of the era, including such personalities as James Boswell, Casanova, Peg Plunkett, Harriette Wilson and Julia Johnstone. She also explores heterosexual behaviour in courtship, marriage, adultery, divorce and prostitution; more curious or abnormal activities, such as footfetishism, flagellation, and necrophilia; as well as male and female homosexuality and cross-dressing. Lascivious Bodies looks set to become the standard account of a period of multifarious sexual pleasures, and the extraordinary attitudes they engendered – a time that has shaped how we think about sex today.