Sex At Dawn Book Review
There are a lot of books written about sex, but most are either dull medical texts, or over-titillating trash.
Thankfully, Chirstopher Ryan and Cacilda Jethá broke the mold on their ground breaking book, Sex At Dawn, about the evolution of human sexuality.
Sex at Dawn is a perfect combination of witty understanding and LONG years of research, as it fashions a compelling argument about how human sexuality evolved as a share-the-wealth resource, and has since morphed into a monogamous (as-in-MINE) resource with the advent of property ownership.
Critical Points from Sex At Dawn:
- Ancient humans shared everything, including; their land, the animals and plants they ate, and their movable homes. Life was about sharing and sharing everything—even sex—benefited the entire tribe. The book includes vast evidence of the sharing that goes on in ancient and modern hunter/gatherer groups and how this is different from our modern “me” based society. It also provided some nice theories as to why sharing sex was so successful in hunter/gatherer societies (i.e. more fathers=more help).
- When humans shifted to an agricultural society, from their hunter/gatherer lifestyle, it changed the world to revolve around “ownership”. Sex was no exception to this societal shift toward personal property, as sex is both a human need and highly marketable (just like food). It was the shift to land ownership and cultivation (plus help from the church) that led humans to tie the monogamal knot, thereby insuring access to the resources to feed our kin, while maintaining regular—if somewhat monotonous—access to sex.
- The authors provide absurd amounts (even Mr. Science was amazed) of reproductive data from studies of humans and other primates that prove how the human reproductive system did NOT evolve for monogamy. It’s phucking fascinating, but you’ll have to read the book for the nitty-gritty bits…
- The authors (who are married…) do NOT argue that monogamy can’t work. They just provide information on how humans evolved sexually and why monogamy is so difficult for SOME people.