Sex at Dawn

Sex at Dawn

The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality

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"A controversial, idea-driven book that challenges everything you know about sex, marriage, family, and society"--Provided by publisher.
Since Darwin's day, we've been told that sexual monogamy comes naturally to our species. But this narrative is collapsing. Here, renegade thinkers Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jethá, while debunking almost everything we "know" about sex, offer a bold alternative explanation. Ryan and Jethá's central contention is that human beings evolved in egalitarian groups that shared food, child care, and, often, sexual partners. Weaving together convergent, frequently overlooked evidence from anthropology, archaeology, primatology, anatomy, and psychosexuality, the authors show how far from human nature monogamy really is. With intelligence, humor, and wonder, Ryan and Jethá show how our promiscuous past haunts our struggles over monogamy, sexual orientation, and family dynamics. Human beings everywhere and in every era have confronted the same familiar, intimate situations in surprisingly different ways. The authors expose the ancient roots of human sexuality while pointing toward a more optimistic future illuminated by our innate capacities for love, cooperation, and generosity.--From publisher description.
Publisher: New York :, Harper
Copyright Date: ©2010
ISBN: 9780062207944
Characteristics: 1 online resource
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May 16, 2018

If you have every thought of adultery, have been in an adulterous relationship, or even if you condemn the idea, this book will help you. Societies view on the topic is well known; the motivations for why we seek other relationships is less well explored. There are issues of biology, ageing, loneliness, affirmation, comfort zones, novelty, and connection. A monogamous relationship can't meet all our emotional needs. No single relationship can.

Mar 23, 2017

By examining physical, cultural, and anthropological data in modern humans, ancient human ancestors, and our closest living primate kin, Ryan presents revolutionary evidence that our prehistoric sexual and relationship dynamic was one involving multiple partners.

One disquieting takeaway is in the chapters speculating upon naturally-occurring violence among primates: it turns out that this supposedly inborn tendency toward violence, observed by anthropologists Goodall and Chagnon, commenced only upon the introduction of food or resources via the researchers themselves! Although somewhat dryly presented at times -- surprising, given the potentially provocative subject matter! -- I have to admit that the argument against instinctive monogamy is fairly convincing. However, if it is true that monogamy is, for humans, entirely a culturally and religiously prescribed practice rather than an innate inclination, where does that leave us? It is one thing to understand or accept the science in one's brain, but what of one's heart? And how to reconcile it with the culture of today?

Jun 18, 2016

This book is not usually my preference for reading, but it was recommended by a friend. I found it used excessive number of examples that didn't contribute anything new to their argument. Many times I felt the book ran on. I could understand the point they were trying to make, but they had not stated it yet. Their writing style seemed facetious and it detracted from the content. It is an interesting point of view about polyamory and worth reading if that subject is of interest to you.

Oct 09, 2015

Such a disappointment. As another friend called it, "A popular science book for people who hate science." The tone is juvenile, the science distorted and cherry-picked, and the writing grating. For a more scientific look, read the rebuttal, "Sex at Dusk."

Jul 13, 2015

This book is filled with insights, ranging from obvious to astounding. A lot of the basic information will be familiar to people already interested in evolutionary biology and social anthropology. It makes good use of recent studies, however, and critiques old assumptions about human behavior to create a book that will make you rethink how you look at the world.

Jun 30, 2015

Though interesting, ultimately this book fails being an erudite look at human sexuality. The authors criticize many studies that conflict with their viewpoint but when similar studies ( in non random selection of participants which pretty much render the results statistically meaningless) that confirm their thesis they are happy to use them. Additionally the conclusions that all hunter gathers are happy is not really credible. There is no discussion on why Humanity gave up our wonderful travelling ways with nothing but great sex and infanticide for agriculture. An anecdote in this book and one of Jared Diamond's on traditional societies does cause some doubt if everyone is having a great time with no privacy in these societies.The text includes too many snide and sarcastic retorts to researchers who believe monogamy was how we evolved to take completely seriously.(I don't think monogamy was how evolved just to say my point of view) In addition there were too many declarative statements that were not annotated. As an aside the book claims that the etymology of testes and testify are the same. They are not. This is the 2nd time I have seen a Phd. in psychology make that claim. Must be in some text book. Perhaps this is indicative of the lack of research for other non annotated declarative statements. Worth reading but take with a grain of salt.

Mar 27, 2015

Well written, with good research sources, many things in it that make current human activity more comprehensible when cultural biases are stripped away.

Feb 19, 2015

Unsurprisingly, there's been plenty of fawning praise for this feel-good pop-evo-psych manifesto, but I strongly suggest that a bit of critical perspective is in order. The word "pseudoscience" gets tossed about a bit too casually, but this surely qualifies. Essentially, it serves well to lend a sort of science-y sounding ad hoc for the polyamory crowd—which is fine—but let's not confuse it for anything more than a 400-page Dan Savage article with endnotes. Seriously, if you can read at a high-school level, just go pick up something by E. O. Wilson or whomever, sleep around to your heart's content, but leave the snake-oil science out of it. This is the sort of cultural artifact people will be embarrassed to have on their shelves within five years. Anyhow, didn't Desmond Morris already write this, like, 50 years ago?

Feb 19, 2015

One of the most comprehensive and important books about social-sexual relationships. Fantastic life changing knowledge.

Jan 22, 2013

You should read this.

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Feb 08, 2011

Sexual Content: This title contains Sexual Content.

Feb 08, 2011

Coarse Language: This title contains Coarse Language.

Feb 08, 2011

Violence: This title contains Violence.

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