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Since Darwin's day, we've been told that sexual monogamy comes naturally to our species. Mainstream science—as well as religious and cultural institutions—has maintained that men and women evolved in families in which a man's possessions and protection were exchanged for a woman's fertility and fidelity. But this narrative is collapsing. Fewer and fewer couples are getting married, and divorce rates keep climbing as adultery and flagging libido drag down even seemingly solid marriages.
How can reality be reconciled with the accepted narrative? It can't be, according to renegade thinkers Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jethå. While debunking almost everything we "know" about sex, they offer a bold alternative explanation in this provocative and brilliant book.
Ryan and Jethå'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. 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.
With intelligence, humor, and wonder, Ryan and Jethå show how our promiscuous past haunts our struggles over monogamy, sexual orientation, and family dynamics. They explore why long-term fidelity can be so difficult for so many; why sexual passion tends to fade even as love deepens; why many middle-aged men risk everything for transient affairs with younger women; why homosexuality persists in the face of standard evolutionary logic; and what the human body reveals about the prehistoric origins of modern sexuality.
In the tradition of the best historical and scientific writing, Sex at Dawn unapologetically upends unwarranted assumptions and unfounded conclusions while offering a revolutionary understanding of why we live and love as we do.
This book is very well written and with humor.
Hmmmm... But perhaps the most damning evidence against the authors' thesis is that the book's presented evidence does NOT actually support the thesis!
The authors look at human sexuality from an athropological. biological and evolutionary psychological research.
The authors of this book go around and around in cycles that actually lead nowhere. In order to have a greater understanding of our mating practices, one must study the economic... Read morePublished 9 days ago by Gregory Short
This is a good review of what we know about human sexuality before we started writing about it. The answer is: Not much. Read morePublished 9 days ago by J. G. Schulze
A bit of a polemic challenging the standard narative of women as sexually reticent and men as promiscuous. Read morePublished 9 days ago by smc
A great read. Helps me personally and professionally. As a physician it has helped me give relevant counsel.Published 10 days ago by MP
This is a very interesting book, well written, easy to read and well researched and supported.Published 11 days ago by Prsnl
I like the premise of the book---that as a species humans lived for 190 thousand years as hunter/gatherers in egalitarian communities where all resources, including sexuality, were... Read morePublished 13 days ago by Steve Holbrook
Great book if you're willing to leave your pre-conceived ideas of sex and religious dogma outside the door.Published 20 days ago by A. Alonso