Episode 3.21. Dancing With Myself: The History and Science of Masturbation
Dirty Sexy History
by Jessica Cale
1M ago
Following on from Episode 3.19 on sex toys with Hallie Lieberman, this week we talk to clinical psychologist Dr Eric Sprankle about the history and science of masturbation. We talk about the not-so-sexy origins of graham crackers and Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, bizarre conspiracy theories about porn, semen retention myths, and the Founding Father who thought math would keep you from touching yourself. Does masturbating fight fascism? The answer might surprise you! Eric’s new book is DIY: The Wonderfully Weird History and Science of Masturbation ..read more
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Episode 3.20. “Fallen Women” in Victorian Poetry
Dirty Sexy History
by Jessica Cale
1M ago
Literary nerds rejoice! This week, we have another history/literature episode, looking at sex work in Victorian poetry with Emily Calleja. We’re talking about how sex workers were portrayed, what that can tell us about women’s real-life frustrations, and how it impacted the suffrage movement ..read more
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Episode 3.19. Adult Toys
Dirty Sexy History
by Jessica Cale
2M ago
Sex toys have existed for 28,000 years, so why is there still such a stigma around them? This week we’re talking about the history of sex toys from the ancient world to the present, the evolution and cultural significance of the vibrator in the 19th and 20th centuries, Masters and Johnson’s revolutionary research, the ups and downs of the adult entertainment industry, anti-obscenity laws, and censorship. Our guest is Dr Hallie Lieberman, author of Buzz: A Stimulating History of the Sex Toy ..read more
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Episode 3.18. Mythbusting Corsets
Dirty Sexy History
by Jessica Cale
2M ago
You’ve heard it all before—corsets are dangerous, uncomfortable, a tool of the patriarchy meant to oppress women! But are they? Were they ever? This week on DSH, we talk to biological anthropologist about corsets—how they really affect the body, why women wore them, and the surprising reason men wanted to do away with them at the turn of the 20th century. Rebecca’s new book is The Bad Corset, a translation and critique of Ludovic O’Followell’s influential 1905 anti-corset treatise, Le Corset ..read more
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Episode 3.17. Men’s Sexual Health in Early Modern England
Dirty Sexy History
by Jessica Cale
3M ago
In seventeenth-century England, seeing a doctor was a big deal. Before the NHS, people paid doctors, quacks, and even astrological medical practitioners out of pocket for cures that could be dangerous and downright unpleasant. Some people turned to household recipe books to treat themselves at home, but for many serious ailments, this just wasn’t possible. This week, we talk to Dr Jennifer Evans about men’s sexual health in the seventeenth-century—everything from kidney stones and infertility to syphilis and genital gangrene. Plus, just in time for Valentine’s Day, an introduction to early mod ..read more
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Episode 3.16. Renaissance Beauty: Cosmetics, Poison, and Plastic Surgery
Dirty Sexy History
by Jessica Cale
3M ago
For women in Renaissance Italy, beauty was everything: it could be a vocation, a way to get ahead, entertainment, or even a weapon. Women of all classes used cosmetics, and many were employed as beauticians, apothecaries, and beauty writers. This week, Jess talks to Professor Jill Burke about Renaissance beauty standards, cosmetics, hair dye, plastic surgery, and how hundreds of women escaped abusive marriages with Aqua Tofana ..read more
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Episode 3.15. The Oneida Community: Progressive Utopia or Polyamorous Cult?
Dirty Sexy History
by Jessica Cale
4M ago
Between 1848 and 1879, the Oneida Community tried to build heaven in Upstate New York through the principles of communism, free love, and contraception. Under the guidance of charismatic preacher John Humphrey Noyes, the community practiced “complex marriage,” meaning everyone was allowed to sleep with everyone else. But there was a dark side to this seemingly progressive paradise—Noyes was a narcissist who exercised extreme control over the lives of his followers, experimenting with eugenics in his quest for immortality. In this special double episode, Jess covers Noyes’s early life and theol ..read more
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Episode 3.14. Fairies, Entities, Ghosts, and Gods: Rebel Folklore with Icy Sedgwick
Dirty Sexy History
by Jessica Cale
5M ago
What can folklore teach us about history? More than you’d think! This week, Jess talks to Icy Sedgwick about fairies, ghosts, gods, psychopomps, tricksters, banshees, and more. Who was the real Lady Godiva? How did colonialism influence the folklore of the Americas? And why are people so obsessed with Robin Hood? We cover all this and more this week on DSH. Icy is the author of Rebel Folklore: Empowering Tales of Spirits, Witches, and Other Misfits from Anansi to Baba Yaga. For more on Jess’s birthday fundraiser to benefit ARFP, check out our Instagram @dirtysexyhistory or donate directly at a ..read more
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Episode 3.12. Big Cult-Leader Energy. The Legacy of Madame Blavatsky
Dirty Sexy History
by Jessica Cale
6M ago
Madame Blavatsky is no longer a household name, but her ideas changed the course of history. A central figure in Victorian Spiritualism, she is credited with starting the New Age movement. She influenced everyone from Aldous Huxley and H.P. Lovecraft to Aleister Crowley and David Bowie. Even Dungeons & Dragons borrows from Blavatsky. Although her “miracles” were debunked in her lifetime, her ideas were far from harmless—her theories about race heavily influenced the Nazis and may have led to the Holocaust. This week, Jess talks to author and horror expert Sian Ingham about the difficult le ..read more
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Episode 3.11. Fight Like Hell: Women and the American Labor Movement
Dirty Sexy History
by Jessica Cale
6M ago
Strikes have been in the news more and more lately, but what is a Labor Union and why should we care? Unions have gotten us many of the rights we take for granted today: the eight-hour workday, safer working conditions, better wages, and benefits. Women have played a huge part in this, from teenage girls in the first picket lines, to Mother Jones and Lucy Parsons, to the Uprising of the 20,000 and beyond. This week, we’re talking to journalist and organizer Kim Kelly about the American Labor Movement and what history can teach us about how to change the world today ..read more
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