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Sperm Wars: Infidelity, Sexual Conflict, and Other Bedroom Battles Paperback – Deluxe Edition, January 3, 2006

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Sperm Wars: Infidelity, Sexual Conflict, and Other Bedroom Battles + The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature + The Selfish Gene: 30th Anniversary Edition--with a new Introduction by the Author
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; Tenth Anniversary Edition edition (January 3, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1560258489
  • ISBN-13: 978-1560258483
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 5 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #96,149 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Robin Baker is a bestselling author in the field of sexual biology whose books include SPERM WARS (Basic, 1996), BABY WARS (Ecco, 1999), and SEX IN THE FUTURE (Arcade, 2000). From 1980-96 he was Reader in Zoology in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Manchester, and he has over a hundred scientific papers and magazine articles to his name. His work and ideas on the evolution of human behavior have been featured in many television and radio programs around the world.

More About the Author

For video interviews and a wider-ranging biography, to read both praise for and criticism of his books, and to see the controversies they have triggered, visit www.robin-baker.com.

Dr Robin Baker was born in Wiltshire, England in 1944, and grew up in the small village of Manningford Bruce in the Vale of Pewsey. The tiny 2-room school he attended had fewer than 30 pupils, with all the under 7s taught in one room and all the 7-11 year olds in the other. Between the ages of 11 and 18 he attended the nearby Marlborough Grammar School where coincidentally, 30 years earlier, the author William Golding had also been educated; all later pupils were expected to be very familiar with Golding's classic book LORD OF THE FLIES.

After obtaining a First Class Honours degree in Zoology, then a PhD, at the University of Bristol, Robin Baker lectured in Zoology at the Universities of first Newcastle-upon-Tyne and then Manchester where, in 1981, he became Reader in Zoology in the School of Biological Sciences. In 1996 he left academic life to concentrate on his career in writing and broadcasting.

He has published over one hundred scientific papers and many books. These include the international bestseller SPERM WARS which was based on his own lab's original research on human sexuality and which has so far been translated into 23 languages. His work and ideas on the evolution of human behaviour have been featured in many television programmes around the world.

His first novel PRIMAL - described by many as an adult LORD OF THE FLIES - was published in the UK and USA in 2009. In 2010-11 it will also be published in translation in Holland, Israel, France, Brazil and the Czech Republic.

Since 2002 he has lived in the foothills of the Spanish Sierras with his partner, the writer Elizabeth Oram, and their family. He has six children.

Customer Reviews

His theories are not supported by any credible experimental evidence.
It does, however, suggest that sperm competition has played a lesser role in human evolution than some of Baker's more outlandish theories seem to presuppose.
V. E. Lane
This book is well researched and alternates between enticing stories and scientific explanations.
Annick De Zutter

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

60 of 74 people found the following review helpful By booklover on September 8, 2011
Format: Paperback
Just a warning to readers of this book. The favorable ratings and reviews fooled me into thinking this was established science and well respected in academia. It is not. While the hypotheses and stories are intriguing and entertaining, the science behind it has not held up in the past decade. People have not been able to replicate many of Robin Baker's findings, and the whole notion of "sperm wars" in humans seems to be false. For instance, under the microscope, the "kamikaze" sperm and "egg-getters" don't seem to exist. Combining two men's sperm doesn't increase mortality of the sperm either, dispelling the notion of "killer" sperm that don't attempt to find the egg. The fact that Robin Baker has left academia and now labels himself an "author" not a biologist should be telling. More recent work has provided a far more nuanced and less hyped version of sperm competition.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Ryan Randolph on October 15, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Sperm wars dives into many fascinating aspects of our sexuality and how these inherent drives have evolved over time and still control us to a much greater extent than most of us believe.

The book describes concepts using realistic situations and stories, making the book educational as well as exciting to read.

He reveals:
-Why a woman often feels a strong drive for finding the best genes as well as the best provider, and how she will optimize her sexual strategy if she cannot find a man that satisfies both.
-Why gays and bisexuals are actually the result of specific evolutionary survival strategies.
-How rape plays out in humans and other species.
-How most of a man's sperm is actually created to battle other sperm.
-10% of children are have different fathers than they believe.
-A women is far more likely to conceive through an affair rather than with her boyfriend or husband.
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61 of 85 people found the following review helpful By AronH on February 10, 2012
Format: Paperback
May 4, 2012: I am re-posting this review after logging in and finding that my review of "Sperm Wars" had been deleted by the author (ROBIN BAKER). I guess he didn't like the fact that my negative review had been rated as helpful by 8/10 of the readers. YES, according to Amazon.com customer service, AUTHORS CAN DELETE REVIEWS OF THEIR BOOK!

Original Title: Why do women cheat? If you want to know, read my review--not Robin Baker's book!

"It is not surprising then that, so far, many of Baker's and Bellis' results have failed to stand up to scrutiny...The view of human sperm competition they have perpetuated is little more than sexual fantasy--phallus in wonderland--and I have exorcized it here in order to leave the way clear for a more veracious but no less astonishing account."
(Birkhead, Tim. "Promiscuity: An Evolutionary History of Sperm Competition." Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2000, pp. 29)

Oh my...where to start? This book was a very disturbing read, but my innate curiosity and interest in seeking the truth in all things compelled me to read the book with the understanding that sometimes reality isn't as we might have preferred it to have been.

The book is divided into a total of eleven (11) chapters, further subdivided into a total of 37 scenes, in which Baker begins by describing a speculated scene usually involving a woman's conscious or subconscious motives and behavior which might cause her to cheat on her long-term partner. Baker then analyzes the scene using his hypotheses and assertions alleging that females are built to have sex with multiple males and encourage "sperm wars" in order to get the "best" genes for their offspring.
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Format: Paperback
'Sperm Wars' is the type of book to give sociobiology a bad name. Of course, to many social scientists, rightly or wrongly, sociobiology already has a bad name. This is why the term is now rarely used and euphemisms such as behavioural ecology and evolutionary psychology were invented.

(I use the term sociobiology rather than the more fashionable terms evolutionary psychology and human behavioural ecology advisedly, because many of Baker's claims actually deal with physiology rather than psychology or behaviour and therefore, strictly speaking, fall outside the remit of behavioural ecology and psychology.)

Among the most familiar of the many charges levelled against evolutionary psychology are the claims, firstly, that evolutionary psychologists spin speculative untested (or even inherently untestable) `just-so' stories, and, secondly, that evolutionary psychologists are so-called `ultra-Darwinians' or `Darwinian fundamentalists' who claim that every human trait is necessarily an adaptation. In general, these charges have little merit.

However, Sperm Wars, is the exception that proves the rule. For once, both these familiar charges have some merit. In respect of virtually all of Baker's claims, an alternative non-adaptive explanation in which the characteristic in question is viewed as a by-product of more general purpose adaptations rather than itself adaptive is available and in some cases at least as plausible as Baker's own account. In accordance with the principle of parsimony (Occam's razor), the satisfaction of stringent criteria are usually required before the existence of an adaptation is recognised (see George C Williams's
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