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Sex at Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What It Means for Modern Relationships Paperback – July 5, 2011
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“Sex At Dawn is the single most important book about human sexuality since Alfred Kinsey unleashed Sexual Behavior in the Human Male on the American public in 1948.” (Dan Savage)
“Funny, witty, and light ... Sex at Dawn is a scandal in the best sense, one that will have you reading the best parts aloud and reassessing your ideas about humanity’s basic urges well after the book is done.” (Newsweek)
“Sex At Dawn challenges conventional wisdom about sex in a big way... This is a provocative, entertaining, and pioneering book. I learned a lot from it and recommend it highly.” (Andrew Weil, M.D., author of Healthy Aging)
“Sex At Dawn is a provocative and engaging synthesis... that has the added benefit of being a joy to read.... A book sure to generate discussion, and one likely to produce more than a few difficult conversations with family marriage counselors.” (Eric Michael Johnson, Seed Magazine)
“You clearly have an exciting book on your hands, whether people agree with it or not: these are issues that will need debating over and over before we will arrive at a resolution.” (Frans de Waal, author of The Age of Empathy)
“A wonderfully provocative and well-written book which completely re-evaluates human sexual behaviour and gets to the root of many of our social and psychological ills.” (Steve Taylor, author of The Fall and Waking From Sleep)
“One of the most original books I’ve read in years, Sex at Dawn manages to be both enormously erudite and wildly entertainingeven, frequently, hilarious. . . . A must-read for anyone interested in where our sexual impulses come from.” (Tony Perrottet, author of Napoleon's Privates)
“This paradigm-shifting book is a thoroughly original discussion of the origins and nature of human sexuality... These authors have a gift for making complex material reader-friendly, filling each chapter with humor and passion as well as dozens of revolutionary insights.” (Stanley Krippner, Ph.D.)
“Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha have written the essential corrective to the evolutionary psychology literature...” (Stanton Peele, Ph.D.)
From the Back Cover
In this controversial, thought-provoking, and brilliant book, renegade thinkers Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jethá debunk almost everything we “know” about sex, weaving together convergent, frequently overlooked evidence from anthropology, archaeology, primatology, anatomy, and psychosexuality to show how far from human nature monogamy really is. In Sex at Dawn, 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.
More About the Author
Chris has been a featured speaker all over the world, from TED in Long Beach, CA to Ciudad de las Ideas in Mexico, to the Festival of Dangerous Ideas at the Sydney Opera House. He's consulted at various hospitals, provided expert testimony in a Canadian constitutional case, and contributed to publications both scholarly and popular.
Even before co-authoring the New York Times best-seller, Sex at Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What it Means for Modern Relationships, with partner-in-crime, Cacilda Jethá, MD, he was on a wild ride. After receiving a BA in English and American literature in 1984 he spent several decades traveling around the world, pausing in unexpected places to work at decidedly odd jobs (e.g., gutting salmon in Alaska, teaching English to prostitutes in Bangkok and self-defense to land-reform activists in Mexico, managing commercial real-estate in New York's Diamond District, helping Spanish physicians publish their research). In his mid-30s, Chris decided to pursue doctoral studies in Psychology.
Drawing upon his multi-cultural experience, Chris' research focused on distinguishing the human from the cultural, first by focusing on shamanism and ethnobotony--studying how various societies interact with novel states of consciousness and sacred plants--and later, by looking at similarly diverse cultural perspectives on sexuality. His doctoral dissertation analyzed the prehistoric roots of human sexuality, and was guided by the world-renowned psychologist, Stanley Krippner, at Saybrook Graduate School, in San Francisco, CA.
More at ChrisRyanPhD.com
Cacilda Jethá has an Indian face, a European education, and an African soul. She was born in Mozambique to a family that had immigrated two generations earlier from Goa, India. As a child, she fled civil war to Portugal, where she received most of her education and medical training before returning to Mozambique in the late 1980s. A young physician determined to help heal her country, Cacilda spent seven years as the only physician serving some 50,000 people in a vast rural district in the north of the country. While there, Cacilda also conducted research (funded by the World Health Organization) on the sexual behavior of rural Mozambicans in order to help design more effective AIDS prevention efforts.
After almost a decade in Mozambique, Cacilda returned to Portugal, where she completed her medical residency training in both psychiatry (at the prestigious Hospital de Julio de Matos in Lisbon) and occupational medicine.
She and Christopher Ryan currently divide their time between Portland, Oregon and Barcelona, Spain. She speaks Portuguese, French, Spanish, Catalán, English, and some rusty Swahili.
Top Customer Reviews
The biggest shortcoming of this book is its epistemological framework: it seeks to uncover our true "human nature," but "human nature" itself is a flawed concept, and early sociobiologists were long-ago admonished for using this term. Biologists know that phenotype (i.e.Read more ›
When we think of the first swinger parties most of us imagine 1970s counter-culture, we don't picture Top Gun fighter pilots in World War II. Yet, according to researchers Joan and Dwight Dixon, it was on military bases that "partner swapping" first originated in the United States. As the group with the highest casualty rate during the war, these elite pilots and their wives "shared each other as a kind of tribal bonding ritual" and had an unspoken agreement to care for one another if a woman's husband didn't make it back home. Like the sexy apes known as bonobos, this kind of open sexuality served a social function that provided a way to relieve stress and form long-lasting bonds.
For the husband and wife team Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jethá in their new book Sex At Dawn, this example is one of many that suggests the human species did not evolve in monogamous, nuclear families but rather in small, intimate groups where "most mature individuals would have had several ongoing sexual relationships at any given time." We are the descendants of these multimale-multifemale mating groups and, even though we've constructed a radically different society from our hunter-gatherer forebears, the behavioral and psychological traits our species evolved in the distant past still manifest themselves today. Ryan, a psychologist, and Jethá, a psychiatrist, argue that understanding human sexual evolution this way helps to explain our species' unique creativity inside (as well as outside) the marriage bed. It may also shed light on why fidelity has been such a persistent problem for both men and women throughout recorded history.Read more ›
Ryan and Jethá justify their position mostly by deploying anecdotal and unsystematic anthropological evidence, and the authors have no anthropological credentials. Their style of argumentation is highly informed and informative for novices (I am not an anthropologist, but I have read widely in the professional anthropological literature), but it is completely unsystematic, and hence untrustworthy. I call it "Google research" because the data appears to flow from Googling one or two terms, such as "sex anthropology" and "human sex primate sex" and then cherry-picking the millions of citations.
Despite their lack of systematic research, the authors' conclusions from the anthropological literature are usually not far from the truth. The notion that we can infer from our genetic predispositions how we should behave, however, is simply illogical. Humans form strong pair bonds and humans, like members of almost every other species that forms strong pair bonds (including, for instance, almost all nesting birds) often cheat on their partners. But this fact does not imply that this behavior should be morally sanctioned or social encouraged.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great book. The conclusions may not make you happy, but the truth always hurts...Buy it.Published 1 day ago by Gregg Healey
An excellent book that challenges what we have all been told to believe about the sexual history of humans, in particular, monogamy. Read morePublished 6 days ago by Adam
Keep an open mind and try to appreciate a different perspective on human sexuality; possible origins, influential factors, societal pressures, evolutionary responses, closest... Read morePublished 8 days ago by Amazon Customer
This book blows the door wide open on our current understanding of human sexuality as we perceive it today and may very well change (for the better)- how men and women choose to... Read morePublished 8 days ago by Margi Swellie
I loathed this book, for the same reason a lot of "pop science" books. The Author is well out if his depth, being that he is a psychologist and clearly has little knowledge... Read morePublished 14 days ago by Emily Subala
It is a collection of different stories and research papers. Still entertaining but I was expecting a more unique scientific research.Published 19 days ago by J. Ortiz
A great read. As someone who just dabbles in this subject matter as a hobby, this was a readable, yet reputable point of view. Fun and well researched.Published 22 days ago by BS Publishing