The 'raging frenzy' of the sex drive has always defied control, yet thousands of years of civilization have tried to do so, wielding their most formidable weapon: the law. At any given point in time, some forms of sex were condoned while others were punished mercilessly. Jump forward or backward a century or two and the harmless fun of one time period becomes the gravest crime in another. Sex and Punishment tells the story of the struggle throughout millennia to regulate the most powerful engine of human behaviour: sex. Writer and lawyer Eric Berkowitz evokes the entire sweep of Western sex law, from the savage impalement of an Ancient Mesopotamian adulteress to the imprisonment of Oscar Wilde in 1895 for 'gross indecency'. The cast of Sex and Punishment is as varied as the forms taken by human desire itself: royal mistresses, gay charioteers, medieval transvestites, lonely goat-lovers, prostitutes of all stripes and London rent boys. Each of them had forbidden sex, and each was judged - and justice, as Berkowitz shows - rarely had anything to do with it.