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Why Is Sex Fun?: The Evolution Of Human Sexuality (Science Masters) Paperback – September 25, 1998


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Why Is Sex Fun?: The Evolution Of Human Sexuality (Science Masters) + The Third Chimpanzee: The Evolution and Future of the Human Animal (P.S.) + The World Until Yesterday: What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies?
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Product Details

  • Series: Science Masters
  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books (September 25, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465031269
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465031269
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.4 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #55,238 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Many of us pursue fitness because we want to remain attractive to partners and potential partners, and we stay healthy so we can continue to have sex with those partners. But why do people care so much about sex? This book, written by an evolutionary biologist, explains how all the weird quirks of human sexuality came to be: sex with no intention of procreation, invisible fertility, sex acts pursued in private--all common to us, but very different from most other species. Why Is Sex Fun? asks us to look at ourselves in a brand-new way, and richly rewards us for doing so. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

This book speculates on the evolutionary forces that shaped the unique aspects of human sexuality: female menopause, males' role in society, having sex in private, and?most unusual of all?having sex for fun instead of for procreation. Through comparative evolution, biologist and science author Diamond (Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fate of Human Societies, LJ 2/15/97), poses credible and thought-provoking yet entertaining factors: the lengthy period of dependency of human infants, sex for pleasure as the tie that helps bind a mother and a father together, and menopause as an evolutionary advantage that, by ending the childbearing years, allows females to pass wisdom and knowledge on to society and succeeding generations. Recommended for most libraries.?Gloria Maxwell, Kansas City P.L., Kan.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Jared Diamond is a professor of geography at the University of California, Los Angeles. He began his scientific career in physiology and expanded into evolutionary biology and biogeography. He has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. Among Dr. Diamond's many awards are the National Medal of Science, the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, Japan's Cosmos Prize, a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, and the Lewis Thomas Prize honoring the Scientist as Poet, presented by Rockefeller University. He has published more than six hundred articles and several books including the New York Times bestseller "Guns, Germs, and Steel," which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize.

Additional information about Dr. Diamond may be found at his personal website, www.jareddiamond.org.

Amazon Author Rankbeta 

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#29 in Books > History
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Customer Reviews

This book was definitely very informative and a good read.
Nicole
As we read about the differences and similarities between human and animal sexual behaviour we learn more abour ourselves and the members of the opposite sex.
Itir Erhart
Each one of them could be true but at the same time is possible to point out to certain facts which could prove that the premise is wrong.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

158 of 172 people found the following review helpful By Albert Swanson on January 12, 2003
Format: Paperback
There is a minor truth-in-advertising issue regarding Why Is Sex Fun?: The Evolution of Human Sexuality, by physiologist Jared Diamond: The title question is never really addressed. The true theme seems to be How Sex Came to be Sex as We Know It. Not that this isn't interesting in its own right, of course. It's just that the original question is worthy of discussion too.
Why is Sex Fun? reads like a lecture series rather than a book. Apparently intended to provide the reader with an overview of the latest thinking on the evolutionary aspects of the subject, this short work includes sections on different sexual (and mate) selection strategies employed by males and females (presumably based on unequal "investments" in the methods of getting one's genes into the next generation); lactation (why milk is produced by females, but not, as a rule, males); how and why humans, almost uniquely, came to engage in engage in recreational sex; the unequal domestic roles played by males and females, particularly in child rearing; female menopause (which is, again, nearly unique to humans); and sexual signaling (Diamond considers penis length in human males to be a prime example, but not necessarily a signal directed at females).
As fascinating as these subjects are, there is much more that is left out. Any full discussion of human sexuality, especially with the high-order concept of "fun" in its presumed abstract, needs to deal with that odd species' whole gamut of non-procreational expression: homosexuality, old-age love, and sex-as-power, for non-inclusive example. But Why is Sex Fun? treats the very large subject of recreational sex only from the "selfish gene" point of view.
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82 of 88 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 1, 1999
Format: Paperback
I really liked that booked, but then I also bought "The Third Chimpanzee" from Jared and I found that "Why sex is fun" to be just an excerpt of the spicy parts of "The Third Chimpanzee".
So, if you want to see the spicy sections only, this is your book, but if you buy "The Third Chimpanzee" you get a fuller picture and all the hot topics as well.
Philipp Schaumann Singapore
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Schtinky VINE VOICE on February 4, 2005
Format: Paperback
Actual content of this short work (only 146 pages) I would rate only 3 1/2 stars, mostly due to the lack of a bibliography, but Diamond makes up for everything with his reader friendly style, earning him 4 stars. He does present extensive additional reading materials and a complete index, so even with a lack of reference he does not leave you in the dark should you decide further study is in order.

`Why Sex Is Fun' is really just an anthropological muse, Diamond giving you the feeling that you are sitting in a café with him, kicking back, drinking some wine, and mulling over an interesting subject with well schooled friend.

He thoroughly examines the separation of man from ape in our breeding signals and patterns, but leaves out significant sociological factors that held the hand of the human boxes as we evolved up and away from lower-brained species, leaving behind many instinctual behaviors in favor of the intellectual.

However, from a strictly anthropological view, this book is interesting, well written, well formatted, and a welcome addition to Diamond's previous `Guns, Germs, and Steel' and `The Third Chimpanzee'.

You will find yourself pondering questions such as, Why do human females hide ovulation? Why do human females shut down fertility (menopause)? What is the benefit of the human female being receptive to $ex even when she is not ovulating? What makes human males `stick around' rather than spread their genes as far and wide as possible? Why don't men lactate? (*shudder*) And the favorite chapter for the ladies, What are men good for? Which studies the evolutionary role of the human male.

`Why Is Sex Fun?' is an informative read with a dash of fun, challenging enough for anthropology students and yet written for laymen to enjoy also. Have fun!
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159 of 200 people found the following review helpful By Stephen A. Haines HALL OF FAME on December 3, 2000
Format: Paperback
Giving stars to rate this book is misleading. The book deserves five for style, but no more than three for content. Diamond is a convincing writer with an excellent prose style. He delves fully into his topics, presenting them lucidly, demonstrating an ability to think deeply before presenting his ideas to the reader. His GUNS, GERMS AND STEEL deserved every accolade it received. THE THIRD CHIMPANZEE was a fine example of innovative thinking, presented with clarity. He deserves full marks for challenging readers to consider their opinions and reflect on options previously unconsidered. You don't need to be a scientist to read him, you only need an open mind.
Diamond's theme is that human sexuality is not just different from that of the other animals, but almost drastically so. Reproductive strategies range from 'r' [sow 'em and forget 'em] through 'K' [no sacrifice is too great] with humans almost the ultimate K practitioners. Evolutionary pressures on a creature that wasn't a good predator but fine prey led us down a path resulting in a massive investment in raising offspring.
What are the implications of our version of sexual techniques? Human beings have evolved in a way that natural sexual signals have been buried out of sight. It's called concealed ovulation and methods of pinpointing when a woman was likely to conceive weren't developed until this century. Fish, birds, and other mammals [particularly baboons] exhibit colours, engage in ceremonial displays or have other visible indications that the time is right! But humans keep it a big secret. Is there a valid reason?
And when a sexual coupling has generated a foetus, we put more time, energy and resources to its birthing and upbringing than nearly any other animal.
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