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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 entertaining―even, 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.
- ASIN : 0061707813
- Publisher : Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (July 5, 2011)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 402 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9780061707810
- Item Weight : 11.5 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.31 x 0.97 x 8 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #13,543 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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Monogamy ensures that everyone in society gets a partner; with open relationships and polyamory, that structure breaks down because women date across and up dominance hierarchies (like it or not, the science is clear), so in a society that has a lot of low-status men with low earning potential, open relationships and polyamory lead to de facto polygamy because women will flock to the small pool of high-status men. I already see this happening in places like San Francisco. This all runs the risk of devolving into polygamy, and studies show polygamous societies experience more violence, rape, theft, etc as men have existential crises when they can't reproduce and they act out. People, please do not get confused by the cultural milieu. This stuff is bad bad news for all of us.
Esther Perel has touched upon the gender differences while noting that statistically men and women are as likely to cheat. The authors reference her in some aspects but as with the rest of the book, it seems to cherry pick rather than be more thorough in presenting their findings.
While the authors added a note to address why they provided an anecdote of Phil only, it seemed lazy to do so by not looking for some anecdotes or analysis of women's sex drives and motivations, even if complicated, and breaking down such complexities to also note whether women are as biologically wired to be non-monogamous as well.
(Also, perhaps these super "enlightened" authors should consult the research that shows old sperm is as bad for healthy babies as old eggs. Certainly in a fully poly society old men could participate in sex with younger women without affecting anything negatively as the younger men's sperm would win the competition, but in modern scenarios old men "spreading their seed" are spreading poor quality sperm and harming the children that result. But hey, let's not let this science get in the way of reinforcing the same old story we all knew before we picked up this book. We did NOT need this book to tell us the old canard that men need variety and younger P*ssy. We've ALL heard this a thousand times. You know what story we needed? That WOMEN DO TOO. And you were doing quite well until this one chapter. Shame on you.)
As for "men need to sleep with younger women" this is debateable given all the younger men who chase older women. (You aren't a cougar if the rabbits chase you.) But it's also not a problem. If people want to have different aged lovers, whatever. It's just that this book was so groundbreaking, only to circle the wagons RIGHT BACK AROUND to the supposed things they are trying to break down.
They quoted the book "What Do Women Want" while ignoring all the research that suggests women actually lose sexual interest in their husbands far more quickly and irrevocably than men do in their wives. Yes, men do lose interest over time due to boredom and need for variety. But so do women. And women do so more quickly. Women's entire sex drive can completely dry up in these sorts of monogamous situations.
Additionally, in the book "What Do Women Want?", (and these studies were even referenced in Sex at Dawn), it is shown that women need MORE sexual variety than men. All the evidence we see is men cannot please more than one woman at a time, but women can please more than one man at a time. It seems fairly self evident that we lived in tribal situations in which women were basically getting gang banged by multiple men in one go, and the men were doing this with most of the women. So EVERYONE got variety.
Why ELSE would women fantasize about gang bangs AND men also watch porn involving the same exact activity (women getting gang banged.)? These ideas were hinted at but not fully explored. I mean if you can't go all the way with your theories, why bother and waste our time with it?
With regards to women's loss of sexual interest in their husbands, if it doesn't dry up completely, they are as likely to have affairs as men, or just to end the marriage. Women initiate 69% of divorces, and not all of these are because the man stepped out. In many cases it's because she can't stand to have sex with her husband anymore.
Marriage is a dead institution and a pointless institution. People should not enter into it and they should keep their lovers as lovers and not try to turn their lovers into "other job descriptions", nor should they try to get monogamy out of their partner or try to restrict them and who they can see or sleep with. Marriage is an institution designed to prop up monogamy, misogyny, and control of women's sexuality.
The authors seem to think it is just fine to continue to prop up this harmful institution, while also continuing to tell women to "look the other way". And then implying that marriages should be "opened" to "save the marriage". Uh, how about no. How about we follow the natural conclusions that have been drawn from all the research up to this point instead of reverting back into some 1950's BS.
I'm highly disappointed that these two authors spent the entire book explaining why BOTH men and women need sexual variety, and why we are BOTH poly-wired naturally and NEITHER sex is monogamous, only to devolve back to regressive nonsense because they can't take their theories all the way to their logical and correct conclusions.
By the way. The US is the highest user of Viagra in the western world, and it's mainly due to the harms of circumcision, something that any review on sexuality that delves into anatomy and proper functioning of that anatomy should have taken the time to consider.
Top reviews from other countries
I'm not saying this book gives you a universal truth, as there will never be one, but at least it gives you a different perspective and another option to the one and only given by the part of society that neglects and refuses that after all we're still an animal species.
Anyhow, I saw it recommended on a YouTube channel, so i thought I would give it a go.
When I finished there was over 3 hrs to go but these were all acknowledgements and references....
So, The whole content of this book could be condensed into a couple of chapters, just tell us what we need to know.
Its an alternative theory to human evolution and one I can buy into. It explains why we as couples cant stay together etc.
As mentioned, should be read in school, there would be far fewer divorces as there would be far fewer marriages, but probably far more kids....
Like Yuval Noah Harari, they believe in a pre-agricultural utopia that existed before mankind was enslaved by private ownership, leading to wars and everything else that ails modern civilisations.
They’re convinced that we’d be far better off as promiscuous foragers and they just don’t let up.
However, what they circle around but never land on, is that to return to our non monogamous foraging past, we would have to give up the relationships we have with our children, irrespective of our gender.
I like it!
Some say authors did very selective proof picking. My opinion is that the opposite side do the same. I was raised in traditional environment and education. Since 1st grade of school I was thinking that all that does not make sense and was seeking for deeper answers that would also clarify why traditional science (and church) have such opinion as it is and how that comes together. This book gave me the reason why, and the answers which I searched.
For someone just seeking excitement and sexy contents it will find this book boring. No such things inside. It is actually little contents dedicated to actual sex. But rather to understand how we came to this point. It gives answers to a lot of non-sex related issues of modern human. Everything in this book match my other sources of research. The most common match is to what old people of my society was telling - I live in place where some knowledge is still passed through story telling. Some tales we have in our culture are pointless from today's (modern) understanding, but after reading this book I slapped my forehead because suddenly it made all the sense.
So: If old people are saying it, who never read a sentence, old tales are saying it, which are here before we knew how to write, and my guts feeling says it, than this book confirms all that - that it must be something on it. :)