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

4.0 out of 5 stars 64 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Robin Baker is a bestselling author in the field of sexual biology. 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.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; Revised edition (January 3, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1560258489
  • ISBN-13: 978-1560258483
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #100,127 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: Paperback
"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)

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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. Some of it seemed to make sense, but as I read the book and began to believe the plausible explanations for the womens' behavior, something just didn't feel right. His data collection and analysis seemed to be too shallow and simplistic for me to take it seriously. He kept alleging his "sperm wars" hypothesis and it just seemed that the truth was different and much more complicated. But, I reasoned, it must be true.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book contains many very interesting ideas. Regardless of whether one agrees with them or not, they are a lot to think about. I give this book five stars primarily due to both the novel ideas it contains and the degree to which the well-crafted arguments challenge my world view.
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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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Among animals, humans seem unusually obsessed with sex and thus a bit separated from the rest of the animal biology, which seems to feature a preponderance of 10-second sex acts. Robin Baker uses a lifetime of university study to try to explain human behavior objectively through case studies and discussions at at rate of one per chapter. It is a mixture of illumination, rationalization and sadly some repetition as the explanations seem to cycle through in the ~33 chapters. Most of the time, he hits his points, but sometimes he seems to miss obvious ones; for instance in the "rough sex" chapter, the woman's reproductive advantage in marrying a mate is discussed but the male perspective in such mate exploration is not. Mate selection by physical endowment is essentially entirely neglected, yet in human societies it is the norm that most people have multiple partners over a lifetime. In fact, in this book sperm wars really alludes to instances in which multiple matings occur in a short enough time span that sperm of different mates are selected in the woman's reproductive tract--a topic of a number of chapters. Practically every sexual combination is presented and explained, even when it is a bit stretched, as for instance the explanation as to why homo- or bisexuality, lesbian or gay behavior may contribute to reproductive success. In his role, the author is largely amoral--an observing biologist trying to explain a role for behavior in reproductive success rather than judging its societal context--though sometimes outcome of the occasional case study seem to bear moral shadings. For those who want to learn about the biology underlying human sexual behavior, this book has some interesting ideas.Read more ›
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