Do you believe that the government should stay out of your private sex life? Let me guess… What I love about How Sex Became a Civil Liberty, by Leigh Ann Wheeler, is how she forces us to reexamine our assumptions.

Wheeler, a historian at Binghamton University and the co-editor of the Journal of Women’s History, sets out to unearth the history of a phenomenon most of us probably see as natural—that we possess, in Wheeler’s apt phrase, “sexual civil liberties.”