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Dr. Tatiana's Sex Advice to All Creation: The Definitive Guide to the Evolutionary Biology of Sex Paperback – Unabridged, May 1, 2003
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You'll learn why one stick-insect copulation lasts for 10 weeks (to prevent other males from gaining access to the fertile female) and why the black-winged damselfly's penis has bristles (to scrape out his rival's sperm). You'll learn that male and female orangutans masturbate with sex toys fashioned from leaves and twigs, that slugs are hermaphrodites with penises on their heads, and that females in more than 80 species eat their lovers before, during, or after sex. You'll also ponder human sexuality when you learn that "monogamy is one of the most deviant behaviors in biology" (although jackdaws, chinstrap penguins, California mice, and some termites swear by it) and "natural selection, it seems, often smiles on strumpets."
Highly recommended--you'll read this through just for the fun of it and have plenty of odd facts with which to dazzle your dinner companions. --Joan Price --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
The author chose an advice column format with letters supposedly from crickets, stick bugs, stickleback fish and dozens of other creatures asking advice about their sexual situation. Needless to say most of it is fascinating and highly unnatural - for a human that is, but perfectly normal for them. Some of the situations she describes are so bizarre as to be beyond what one would expect from even the best science-fiction writers.
Olivia Judson is to be applauded for writing an educational book that is so thoroughly entertaining that it does not seem like you are actually being taught in the process. But you will learn and you will walk away with a completely different view of nature and reproduction. I was so thoroughly fascinated with the book that all I can say at this point is "Encore, encore".
Or consider the well known fate of the male praying mantis, whose head keeps his sexual urges in check until this organ is devoured by the amorous female: the the male's sexual inhibitory mechanisms (residing in the head) are removed, and he becomes a veritable sexual athlete while in the throes of death. Adds Dr. Judson: "Something analogous even happens in humans: Throttle a man and like as not he'll get an erection, not from erotic pleasure in dying, but because 'Down, boy' signals from the brain stop coming."
The variety of sexual behavior among the critters that populate planet earth is so extraordinary that after reading this book it will be unlikely that the extremely narrow band of sexual "deviance" among humans will have much of an impact on the reader. Sexual bondage? Pschaw! Consider the sagebrush cricket(Cyphoderis strepitans), who carries a gin trap with open jaws on his back. Those teeth clamp on the female's belly when she approaches the male (the female preference is to be on top) and immobilizes her so that the male can have his way, whether she wants to or not. Incest, cannibalism, rape, masturbation, homosexuality, they all flower in incredible variety among the users of this planet.
The book is written with scientific seriousness and literary humor.Read more ›
Judson's humor is not quite as sparkling as she takes it to be. But that's all right, because she doesn't lay it on too thick, being too eager to get down to what she really likes to talk about: the dazzling variety of behaviors, strategems, perils and contortions to be found in the universal mating game. And let's not kid ourselves, that's what her readers also really want to get down to.
From the Asian stick insect who stretches one copulation out for months at a time, to the fruit fly only five percent as long as one of his own sperm, to the slime mold with its 500 sexes, 13 of which have to get together to make a little baby slime mold, Dr. Tatiana covers the beat and covers the bases. There's a fresh astonishment on every page. They're delivered in bite-sized two or three paged morsels, which explains why Nature magazine's generally favorable review suggests this as the perfect book for your family sittin-and-thinkin room.
The fun, like the devil, is in the details, and there's a cornucopia of details, ranging across a hundred species or more. But the good Doctor manages along the way to touch on plenty of possible generalizations, evolutionary conundrums and controversies and imponderables. For example, she thoroughly debunks the one dogma about animal sexuality that I was brought up on: Bateman's principle that sex is more costly to females, making males more promiscuous. It turns out that, for most species, the reverse is true.Read more ›
Although this book makes for a terrific vacation or conference-trip read whilst in transit, it also has much of seriousness to offer the student of comparative psychology, sociology, anthropology, zoology or medicine. For those wishing to cut to the chase with the primary literature concerning particular issues, over 20 pages of extensively referenced notes are provided.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It is this kind of book that makes you happy to be part of the natural world! A must read.Published 6 months ago by Tierza Askren
Learning is always easier when it's fun, and learning from this book was fun.Published 6 months ago by josh ellison
This books is hilarious AND educational. I actually changed what I was going to study to animal behavior because of this book. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Ashley McIntosh
very entertaining, read it all the first day as i found it quite interestingPublished 11 months ago by Tristan
Well-written and completely changed my conceptualization of reproduction as an evolutionary toolPublished 11 months ago by Dana
Such a clever way of conveying research findings to a general readership. I'm constantly recommending it to friends and frequently (though with trepidation) lending them my copy. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Jak
I've had a hard time getting interested in this book. I understand, intellectually, the approach to the information being shared and the information being shared. Read morePublished 13 months ago by J. Stratton