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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.
I got this as a gift for a friend who is really into sex psychology/sociology and she LOVED it. All of our friends have asked to borrow it now. Read morePublished 3 days ago by Elizabeth
I liked the examples and anecdotes. It is neat to read about other cultures and their relevance to modern anthropology. Read morePublished 5 days ago by Viola
This book was so much more than what I expected. It is all about animals, humans being only one kind. Parallels are drawn between human beings and closely related critters. Read morePublished 6 days ago by Roger Carlsen
This is a great book. My students loved it when I taught it in my course on Ecosexuality at the University of Connecticut. Read morePublished 10 days ago by Serena Anderlini
The book started off well enough, but lost its way in the middle. The author seemed to be arguing with imaginary critics instead of weaving a beautiful story of sex throughout... Read morePublished 11 days ago by marie
Easy to follow with concise descriptions and backup explanation.
It lends itself well to the life of this 70+woman looking
back into the wildness of her youth and the... Read more
This book explains the source of many of modern days problems relating to sex and relationships including infidelity, suffering of homosexuals, high divorce rates, and diminishing... Read morePublished 12 days ago by Dclyon15
This was both entertaining and fascinating. I was stupefied by the historical information which explains the continuing oppression of female sexuality and the challenges men and... Read morePublished 13 days ago by Mademoiselle
This new bio-psycho-evo-social perspective critiques and corrects what these authors call the standard narrative, an essentially moral constraint upon our true affects and... Read morePublished 22 days ago by M. D. Gurk