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Evolution of Desire Paperback – December 27, 2016
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A “drop-dead shocker” (Washington Post Book World) that uses evolutionary psychology to explain human mating and the mysteries of love
If we all want love, why is there so much conflict in our most cherished relationships? To answer this question, we must look into our evolutionary past, argues prominent psychologist David M. Buss. Based one of the largest studies of human mating ever undertaken, encompassing more than 10,000 people of all ages from thirty-seven cultures worldwide, The Evolution of Desire is the first work to present a unified theory of human mating behavior. Drawing on a wide range of examples of mating behavior — from lovebugs to elephant seals, from the Yanomamö tribe of Venezuela to online dating apps — Buss reveals what women want, what men want, and why their desires radically differ. Love has a central place in human sexual psychology, but conflict, competition, and manipulation also pervade human mating — something we must confront in order to control our own mating destiny.
Updated to reflect the very latest scientific research on human mating, this definitive edition of this classic work of evolutionary psychology explains the powerful forces that shape our most intimate desires.
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"A drop-dead shocker."―Washington Post Book World
"Clear, coherent, and convincing…[What] makes it intriguing are the insights it offers into our behavior and the behavior of our partners, lovers and friends."―Philadelphia Inquirer
“Ambitious.…Buss is refreshingly evenhanded.”―Elle
About the Author
- Publisher : Basic Books; 4th edition (December 27, 2016)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 448 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0465097766
- ISBN-13 : 978-0465097760
- Item Weight : 14.1 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 1.12 x 8.25 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #35,687 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
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I believe this subject is still debated among scientists, but its safe for me to accept the religious/Disney/Hollywood portrayal of romance, sex, and marriage is... a lie. You have to wonder why the divorce rate is 50%+, most marriages are miserable, marriages kill libido, many cheat, and so forth. Your dreams might be crushed reading this book so avoid it if you want to stay in Wonderland.
The author provides many observations and comparisons of human behavior (among many cultures) to the animal kingdom. There are interesting mating patterns that can be found (even in insects!). The most interesting topic I remember is the Coolidge Effect where males tire and withdraw from having sex with the same female partner. The Coolidge Effect has been tested many times on mammals and the same pattern can be observed (very predictable). However, when a new partner is introduced the male will have sex like its the Olympics.
A great book for both men and women to explore human nature.
I want to let the publisher know that e-book version has many disconnected pages, making it hard to read.
Top reviews from other countries
I was motivated to read this book because of the way feminists either deny human nature, or demand that we jettison our instincts. The book explains, en passant, why women sometimes ignore feminist diktats. In places the book is also sexually partisan: men are judged and found wanting; whereas women are just following their instincts, bless 'em. For this reason the book lost traction for me in the middle, but it had redeemed itself by the end.
1. Courtship (p.242). Women impose courtship costs on a man, namely, extended time, energy and money. This allows women to evaluate how committed a man is. Men just seeking sex will go elsewhere. This is a sensible strategy. But it is risky for men to persist nowadays. Later (p.248) the author says that when a man is repeatedly turned down for a date, then this amounts to sexual harassment. You can't have it both ways! This is one of the ways in which feminism works against women's interests.
2. Intimate Partner Violence (p.243). In the discussion of psychological abuse, it is disappointing to find Buss, an ostensibly serious scientist, using the word 'mansplaining' - this is a b.s. word taken straight from the feminist male-bashing lexicon. (He does have the good sense though to put it in quotes). Apparently it's just men who resort to psychological abuse! Really? Hasn't he heard of relational aggression? The book then proceeds to physical violence, which, if we are to believe Buss, is perpetrated only by men. This shrine of feminist mendacity caused me to doubt the depth of the author's research, or his impartiality. If you lift the lid that feminists keep on this subject, you can quickly find that women initiate domestic violence to a considerable degree. Properly researched texts are 'Domestic Violence' by Donald Dutton, 'When Women Sexually Abuse Men', Philip Cook and Tammy Hodo, and 'Abused Men', Philip Cook.
3. Infidelity (p.277) and infertility (p.279). Women's infidelity and infertility are more responsible for divorce than men's infidelity or infertility. Both of these discrepancies are, apparently, a 'double standard', since, as Buss tells us, 'women are blamed more than men'. Buss is not, however, remotely censorious or judgemental whenever double standards work against men, of which there is certainly no shortage. For example, it is entirely in accordance with evolutionary psychology than men will prefer a certain female waist-to-hip ratio, this being a key indicator of fertility; but nowadays this preference is 'sexist'. It is not sexist, however, for women to consider a man's height. Give me a break.
4. 'The Evolutionary Origins of Patriarchy' (p.333). This title raised my hackles, but the chapter redeems the book to a large degree. (The label 'feminist evolutionist' says all you need to know about a scientist's unpolitical stance. It is also specious - feminist engineering, anyone?) This chapter is yet another reminder, if any were needed, that if men control status and resources, then this is because, duh, women select men who have status and resources. Moreover, men strive to control resources mainly at the expense of other men, not at the expense of women. As the author says, 'Women and men are both victims of the sexual strategies of their own gender and so can hardly be said to be united with their own gender for some common goal'. 'Simple-minded views of a same-sex conspiracy have no foundation in reality'. I hope David M. Buss has his c.v. typed up, the feminist-industrial complex will be coming for him. We can't have him going around telling the truth, it's sexist.