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Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of…

Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality (2010)

by Christopher Ryan, Cacilda Jetha

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Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
In my humble opinion if you are of a liberal mind this book is mostly common sense and offered little. There were some interesting points, especially near the end of the book. Worth a read. ( )
  AvitaCosno | Apr 19, 2014 |
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.
  MarkBeronte | Mar 4, 2014 |
A well-reasoned and thoroughly cited argument for a model of prehistoric hunter-gatherers as a sexually promiscuous people. What it isn't (and seems like it wants to be) is a justification for the dissolution of traditional marriages and the institution of universal polyamory.

The book is a bit repetitive, but it also jumps around from topic to topic a lot. Many of these topics are unnecessary asides. The tone also seesaws from dry academia to sarcastic criticism of contrary opinions. Additionally, I often found myself thinking, "That is a logically valid statement if the claims which precede it are true, but it contradicts things I've seen in real life."

Definitely a thought and conversation provoking book, but I think it would've benefited from an editor toning down the hyperbole and qualifying the author's absolute claims. ( )
  wishanem | Oct 16, 2013 |

"This... isn't very good. It's not a bad book by any means, and I find it a pleasant and easy enough read, but...it's just so boring sometimes. It falls into the same trap that a lot of academic writing falls into, where the author feels the need to repeat, reiterate, reinstate the same thing over and over again. They talk about Thomas Hobbes a lot, pulling out quotes that discredit his writing. And for me it's like, "yeah, you're right, this guy really was wrong, there's all this evidence to refute what he said, which was written in 1651 anyway so it makes perfect sense that we know more now." But then they keep bringing him up again...and again...and again. They love beating that dead horse. I'm about 10 chapters in and it feels like we're going in circles. There's also the fact that so far, I have seen very little original research on their part, which makes this the equivalent of a 400 page academic term paper. It's quotes after quotes after quotes. Sometimes there's a diagram. They're not very good diagrams." ( )
1 vote lampbane | Oct 2, 2013 |
This book was thought-provoking, interesting, and funny (which you don't often find with history/social sciences). I could not put it down and read the whole thing in two days. I definitely learned a lot from it and think a lot of people would be better off if they read it. ( )
1 vote selfcallednowhere | Apr 30, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Christopher Ryanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jetha, Cacildamain authorall editionsconfirmed
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First words
Forget what you've heard about human beings having descended from the apes.
Darwin says your mother's a whore. Simple as that.
Sexual monogamy itself may be shrinking men's balls.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0061707805, Hardcover)

Since Darwin's day, we've been told that sexual monogamy comes naturally to our species. Mainstream science--as well as religious and cultural institutions--has maintained that men and women evolved in families in which a man's possessions and protection were exchanged for a woman's fertility and fidelity. But this narrative is collapsing. Fewer and fewer couples are getting married, and divorce rates keep climbing as adultery and flagging libido drag down even seemingly solid marriages.
How can reality be reconciled with the accepted narrative? It can't be, according to renegade thinkers Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jethá. While debunking almost everything we "know" about sex, they offer a bold alternative explanation in this provocative and brilliant book.
Ryan and Jethá's central contention is that human beings evolved in egalitarian groups that shared food, child care, and, often, sexual partners. Weaving together convergent, frequently overlooked evidence from anthropology, archaeology, primatology, anatomy, and psychosexuality, the authors show how far from human nature monogamy really is. Human beings everywhere and in every era have confronted the same familiar, intimate situations in surprisingly different ways. 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.
With intelligence, humor, and wonder, Ryan and Jethá show how our promiscuous past haunts our struggles over monogamy, sexual orientation, and family dynamics. They explore why long-term fidelity can be so difficult for so many; why sexual passion tends to fade even as love deepens; why many middle-aged men risk everything for transient affairs with younger women; why homosexuality persists in the face of standard evolutionary logic; and what the human body reveals about the prehistoric origins of modern sexuality.
In the tradition of the best historical and scientific writing, Sex at Dawn unapologetically upends unwarranted assumptions and unfounded conclusions while offering a revolutionary understanding of why we live and love as we do.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:51:29 -0400)

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"A controversial, idea-driven book that challenges everything you know about sex, marriage, family, and society"--Provided by publisher.

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