California State University, Northridge WordmarkOviatt Library WordmarkOviatt Library Catalog Wordmark
Author Berkowitz, Eric.
Title Sex and punishment : four thousand years of judging desire / Eric Berkowitz.
Published Berkeley, CA : Counterpoint : Distributed by Publishers Group West, c2012.
Book Cover

 Floor3  HQ12 .B47 2012    IN LIBRARY
Description 456 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references (p. 411-434) and index.
Contents Channeling the urge: the first sex laws -- Honor among (mostly) men: cases from ancient Greece -- Imperial bedrooms: sex and the state in ancient Rome -- The Middle Ages: a crowd condemned -- Groping toward modernity: the early modern period, 1500-1700 -- The new world of sexual opportunity -- The eighteenth century: revelation and revolution -- The nineteenth century: human nature on trial.
Summary "The 'raging' frenzy of the sex drive, to use Plato's phrase, has always defied control. However, that's not to sat that every civilization has not tried, using its most powerful weapon: the Law. At any given point in history some forms of sex were condoned while others were punished mercilessly. Jump back or forward a century or two or cross a border and the harmless fun of one society becomes the gravest crime in another. {Title} tells the story of the struggle to regulate the most powerful engine of human behavior. Writer and lawyer Eric Berkowitz has accomplished what no scholar has yet achieved: to use flesh and blood cases--much flesh, even more blood--to evoke the entire sweep of Western sex law, from the savage impalement of an ancient Mesopotamian adulteress to the imprisonment of Oscar Wilde in 1895 for 'gross indecency.' The cast of [title] includes royal mistresses, gay charioteers, medieval transvestites, misbehaving government officials, lonely goat-lovers, priests, prostitutes, and London rent boys. Each had forbidden sex, and each was judged--though justice as Berkowitz shows, rarely has much to do with it. With the light touch of a natural storyteller, Berkowitz spins these tales and more, going behind closed doors to reveal the essential history of human desire."--Publisher's website.
Subject Sex and law -- History.
Sex customs -- History.
Sex in popular culture -- History.
Social change -- History.
ISBN 1908906006 (pbk.)
9781908906007 (pbk.)
OCLC number 754723395