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The Joy of Sexus: Lust, Love, and Longing in the Ancient World Paperback – January 29, 2013


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The Joy of Sexus: Lust, Love, and Longing in the Ancient World + Working IX to V: Orgy Planners, Funeral Clowns, and Other Prized Professions of the Ancient World + How to Mellify A Corpse: And Other Human Stories of Ancient Science & Superstition
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Walker & Company; 1 edition (January 29, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080271997X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802719973
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 7 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #78,918 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A snappy ride into the stunning, sometimes barbaric, and always entertaining sexuality of the ancient world...This is a fun, enlightening trip into the ancient world not covered in high school textbooks."
Publishers Weekly (starred review)
 
"In concise entries divided into nine readable sections, León delivers a snappy ride into the stunning, sometimes barbaric, and always entertaining sexuality of the ancient world. From aphrodisiacs and diaphanous silks to abduction and the very upsetting practice of infibulation, she minces no words exposing the truth behind ancient sex practices."
Publishers Weekly, a "best new book of the week"
 
"Enjoyable, edifying, and humorous."
Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

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 www.vickileon.com.

More About the Author

My roots: convinced I was left on strangers' doorstep in the Pacific Northwest, I fled in my teens and began to fill the first of seven passports. Wanderlust is apparently hereditary; my progeny now busy filling their own passports.
My higher education: mostly self-inflicted
I collect: pyramids, ancient cemeteries, seashells, foreign languages, long stays in foreign lands.
Allergic to: gray skies, household routines, watches, gas-guzzlers.
Addicted to: laughter, Spanish aceitunas con anchoas, George Dalaras and other Greek music, foreign films, beach walks, getting a glimpse of animals and birds in the wild.
Am a magnet for: odd facts, weird stories, unusual connections (all of them fodder for my writing)
Am sustained by: a worldwide web of family, friends, publishing colleagues, and readers

My books: 35 titles (about half of them for readers 10 and up). Many, miraculously still in print.

My GOALS as a writer of nonfiction:
1. Dig deeper to find the whole human history, to illuminate the unsung men and women of long ago
2. Leaven my books with humor and humanity
3. Try to astonish the reader on every page. Astonish, from the Latin attonare, "to be struck by lightning." Thus to write in a way that leaves the reader thunderstruck.

My research: more fun than a whodunit. In fact, I go through a lot of shoe leather even when I'm time-traveling.That's why I call myself (partly tongue in cheek) Vicki Leon, historical detective

Customer Reviews

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The book was an interesting read.
Stacie D. Wyatt
I've been reading some of The Joy of Sexus, twenty-thirty-forty minutes at a time, most every night for a good while now, and oh, boy, this book is a HOOT!
Thomas L. Ogren
These are filled with utmost originality in content, presentation, details, facts and entertainment- and that's in Nonfiction- History books!!
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Judith Harris Ajello on January 30, 2013
Format: Paperback
No, this was not what was taught in Roman history high school courses. Keeping the ancient world alive, Vicki Leon is reliable, with bright writing, serious scholarship, and, always, finding the interesting element. Her newest, THE JOY OF SEXUS, is charmingly tasteless, wonderfully shocking and full of her characteristic vim and vigor. Porn on papyrus? Wow.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 30, 2013
Format: Paperback
I love Vicki Leon's books! These are filled with utmost originality in content, presentation, details, facts and entertainment- and that's in Nonfiction- History books!! It's true. If you've ever read any of her books you know exactly what I mean.

So, when I was offered THE JOY OF SEXUS for review- I lunged for it! I know, I know, some of you may be reluctant because of the title...Let me begin by saying, it's HISTORY! This wonderful little book contains all the beliefs, superstitions, spirituality, love and more that originated back then.

Ever wonder how all of the above ever came about? Where did the terminology come from? What is the root of those beliefs and practices? Well, THE JOY OF SEXUS, will clear that up and give you sometimes more information than you need...but in such good taste and humour that you will be chuckling the whole way through it. And historically speaking, this book will put you at the forefront of `the reasons why'- conversation starters and movers that can be used at cocktail parties or nerdy history conferences alike!

I particularly loved the stories on the `celebrities' of back then. Who knew that Caesar loved a certain Cougar to death? (...me who thought no one could top Cleo!) My all-time favourite couple was Pericles and Aspasia- such romance!

Vicki Leon engages her readers by peaking our interest from the very first page to the last. This is the kind of history that will be retained because of the immediate interest it evokes and the in-depth info it provides. All those juicy details that beg to be told don't just pop in here and there- the book is filled with them! I can honestly say that I learned something new and interesting on every page.

A quick read that fully satisfies and quenches that historical wonder...

A five-star read!!! I highly recommend this book!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Robin on March 2, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As with her Uppity Women of History series, the author combines stellar research with laugh-out-loud humor that is altogether irresistible.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Thomas L. Ogren on April 22, 2013
Format: Paperback
I've been reading some of The Joy of Sexus, twenty-thirty-forty minutes at a time, most every night for a good while now, and oh, boy, this book is a HOOT!
It blows my mind how real these erotic, cross-dressing, gay, bi, demon lover orgasmic expert historical people are to the author, Vicki Leon. At times it almost feels like she knows, or at least used to know them, as though she used to hang out with them, go to the same decadent parties. She is so comfortable with the huge cast of characters in The Joy of Sexus that the reader often forgets he/she is reading history.
I've read a good many of Leon's books, have followed her work for years now, and all of them have been excellent, you always learn plenty in her books, but I think Sexus might well be my favorite. It is just so, well, so spicy, so often so utterly outrageous. We (well I do anyhow) tend to think that in olden days people were old, they were conservative, prudes, and they didn't have much fun, but reading this book I was struck many times at how in comparison with so many of these Greek or Romans from thousands of years ago...at how conservative we are now.
For hundreds of years, thousands actually, as far as sex and pleasing themselves, men often did pretty much whatever they damn well pleased. Important men especially, often rulers, frequently had boy toy lovers, sometimes many of them, and no one seemed to find it especially unusual. Women (especially royalty) too had lovers aplenty, of both sexes, but for the most part women have been kept down over the years; the men in charge always seemed to come up with many laws to keep women from having as much fun as a man.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jack on February 24, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have enjoyed all of Vicki Leon's "Uppity Women" series and her history books that allow us to know "the other sides" of the history stories. Her prose is easy and entertaining, her subjects are very unique and her style is very familiar to any type of reader.
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Format: Paperback
Vicki León has been out collecting ancient trivia again and this time her subject is sex. In her latest collection of the obscure, she has assembled anecdotes about ancient aphrodisiacs, wandering wombs, practitioners of erotic mysteries and victims of doomed love.

By reading her book I learned about Callipygia worship - a fixation on a person's derriere and divine gender-bending that affected such ancient prophets as Teiresias the Seer. I think my favorite passage from the book, though, was a retelling of the story of Pherenike of Rhodes.

I have not studied ancient Greece as extensively as I have studied Republican Rome so, although I knew that the ancient Greek Olympics were conducted in the nude and that women were not allowed to attend, I had never read any background material to explain why. León provided me with all the information I could have hoped for in her passage about Pherenike of Rhodes.
It seems that Pherenike was a young woman born into a family of Olympic victors. Her father was a champion boxer at the Olympic Games in 464 BCE.

"Her big burly brothers continued the winning streak. In boxing and the ferocious boxing-wrestling event called the pancratium, Pherenike's brothers swept six different Olympic Games."

León goes on to surprise me by observing that Pherenike probably watched her athletic family compete in the games when she was a young girl and later before her marriage. Apparently, young virgins were allowed to watch the games - just not married matrons!

Then León continues saying Pherenike also married a famous athlete named Callianax and bore two sons who also trained for the Olympics.
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