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We now possess both the language and the cultural temerity to discuss sexuality as straightforwardly as we like, and with a frankness that would have shocked people a few decades ago. It now seems impossible to contemplate human happiness without some measure of sexual fulfilment, although that remains a notoriously elusive and negotiable ideal. Nor is it possible now to think about our identities or the identities of others without factoring in sexual tastes and orientation. The central message of this book is that we are unlikely to understand the promise or the limits of our contemporary sexualities unless we understand those of the past.