Monday March 30, 2020

How zealots drove a sexual revolution

The Origins of Sex by Faramerz Dabhoiwala. Allen Lane, €28. Reviewed by Dick O'Brien.

19th February, 2012
The third painting from William Hogarth's Rake's Progress shows Tom wasting his fortune at a brothel. Photo: Getty

The Origins of Sex by Faramerz Dabhoiwala


While Philip Larkin claimed that sexual intercourse began only in 1963, the thesis of this new work is that the real sexual revolution, in Britain at least, occurred much earlier, between 1600 and 1800. In many ways, the Swinging Sixties was the last paroxysm of change in attitudes that had been under way since the English Civil War.

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