Sex and Punishment: 4000 Years of Judging Desire is a book to read when you want more than your fair share of space on the morning commute.
But don’t let that put you off. Eric Berkowitz’s riveting investigation of sex law charts its progression from the beginning of written history in Mesopotamia through to Oscar Wilde’s incarceration for sodomy in 1895. Along the way, he addresses ideas that frequently amaze with their modern parallels. Laws addressing intimate acts become another means of the white male hegemony imposing its punitive will on traditional victims of repression: women, blacks, Jews and the poor.