Sex at Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What It Means for Modern Relationships

Sex at Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What It Means for Modern Relationships

by Christopher Ryan, Cacilda Jetha

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Overview

Sex at Dawn challenges conventional wisdom about sex in a big way. By examining the prehistoric origins of human sexual behavior the authors are able to expose the fallacies and weaknesses of standard theories proposed by most experts. This is a provocative, entertaining, and pioneering book. I learned a lot from it and recommend it highly.” — Andrew Weil, M.D.

 “Sex at Dawn irrefutably shows that what is obvious—that human beings, both male and female, are lustful—is true, and has always been so…. The more dubious its evidentiary basis and lack of connection with current reality, the more ardently the scientific inevitability of monogamy is maintained—even as it falls away around us.” — Stanton Peele, Ph.D.

A controversial, idea-driven book that challenges everything you (think you) know about sex, monogamy, marriage, and family. In the words of Steve Taylor (The Fall, Waking From Sleep), Sex at Dawn is “a wonderfully provocative and well-written book which completely re-evaluates human sexual behavior and gets to the root of many of our social and psychological ills.”

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061707810
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 07/05/2011
Series: P.S. Series
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 29,426
Product dimensions: 5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.97(d)

About the Author

Christopher Ryan, PhD, is a research psychologist. He lives in Barcelona, Spain.


Cacilda Jethá, MD, is a practicing psychiatrist. She lives in Barcelona, Spain.

Table of Contents

Preface: A Primate Meets His Match (A note from one of the authors) xi

Introduction: Another Well-intentioned Inquisition 1

A Few Million Years in a Few Pages 10

Part I On The Origin Of The Specious 17

1 Remember the Yucatán! 19

You Are What You Eat 20

2 What Darwin Didn't Know About Sex 25

The Flintstonization of Prehistory 31

What Is Evolutionary Psychology and Why Should You Care? 36

Lewis Henry Morgan 42

3 A Closer Look at the Standard Narrative of Human Sexual Evolution 46

How Darwin Insults Your Mother (The Dismal Science of Sexual Economics) 48

The Famously Flaccid Female Libido 51

Male Parental Investment (MPI) 52

"Mixed Strategies" in the War Between the Sexes 55

Extended Sexual Receptivity and Concealed Ovulation 58

4 The Ape in the Mirror 61

Primates and Human Nature 64

Doubting the Chimpanzee Model 67

In Search of Primate Continuity 69

Part II Lust in paradise (solitary?) 79

5 Who Lost What in Paradise? 81

On Getting Funky and Rockin Round the Clock 83

6 Who's Your Daddies? 90

The Joy of S.E.Ex. 93

The Promise of Promiscuity 98

Bonobo Beginnings 101

7 Mommies Dearest 105

Nuclear Meltdown 109

8 Making a Mess of Marriage, Mating, and Monogamy 113

Marriage: The "Fundamental Condition" of the Human Species? 115

On Matrimonial Whoredom 119

9 Paternity Certainty: The Crumbling Cornerstone of the Standard Narrative 124

Love, Lust, and Liberty at Lugu Lake 126

On the Inevitability of Patriarchy 131

The March of the Monogamous 134

10 Jealousy: A Beginner's Guide to Coveting Thy Neighbor's Spouse 138

Zero-Sum Sex 141

How to Tell When a Man Loves a Woman 146

Part III The Way We Weren't 151

11 "The Wealth of Nature" (Poor?) 153

Poor, Pitiful Me 158

The Despair of Millionaires 161

Finding Contentment "at the Bottom of the Scale of Human Beings" 163

12 The Selfish Meme (Nasty?) 166

Homo Economicus 166

The Tragedy of the Commons 169

Dreams of Perpetual Progress 172

Ancient Poverty or Assumed Affluence? 173

On Paleolithic Politics 176

13 The Never-Ending Battle over Prehistoric War (Brutish?) 182

Professor Pinker, Red in Tooth and Claw 183

The Mysterious Disappearance of Margaret Power 187

The Spoils of War 190

The Napoleonic Invasion (The Yanomami Controversy) 194

The Desperate Search for Hippie Hypocrisy and Bonobo Brutality 197

14 The Longevity Lie (Short?) 200

When Does Life Begin ? When Does It End? 202

Is 80 the New 30? 204

Stressed to Death 208

Who You Calling a Starry-Eyed Romantic, Pal? 210

Part IV Bodies In Motion 213

15 Little Big Man 215

All's Fair in Love and Sperm War 219

16 The Truest Measure of a Man 225

Hard Core in the Stone Age 231

17 Sometimes a Penis Is Just a Penis 233

18 The Prehistory of O 244

"What Horrid Extravagancies ofMinde!" 246

Beware the Devil's Teat 252

The Force Required to Suppress It 253

19 When Girls Go Wild 255

Female Cofulatory Vocalization 255

Sin Tetas, No Hay Paraíso 259

Come Again? 262

Part V Men are from Africa, Women are From Africa 269

20 On Mona Lisa's Mind 271

21 The Pervert's Lament 280

Just Say What? 285

Kelloggs Guide to Child Abuse 288

The Curse of Calvin Coolidge 293

The Perils of Monotomy (Monogamy+ Monotony) 293

22 Confronting the Sky Together 306

Everybody Out of the Closet 311

The Marriage of the Sun and the Moon 311

Author's Note 313

Acknowledgments 315

Notes 317

References and Suggested Further Reading 351

Index 383

What People are Saying About This

Eric Michael Johnson

“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.”

Steve Taylor

“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.”

Stanton Peele

“Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha have written the essential corrective to the evolutionary psychology literature...”

Stanley Krippner

“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.”

Frans de Waal

“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.”

Dan Savage

“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.”

Andrew Weil

“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.”

Tony Perrottet

“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.”

Customer Reviews