Saturday, January 11, 2014

Sex At Dawn, by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha’, Haper Collins, 2010

Kate Dailey of Newsweek says of this book “it takes a swing at pretty much every big idea on human nature: that poverty is an inevitable consequence of life on earth, that mankind is by nature brutish and, most important, that humans evolved to be monogamous.”

Sex At Dawn is an important and thought provoking book that challenges many of the accepted assumptions of western culture. Here is a sampling of Ryan and Jetha’ ideas;

  • Humans are evolved to have multiple sexual partners either sequentially, simultaneously or both,
  • Political and religious systems support property ownership that includes women. These systems are purposefully designed to impede female sexuality,
  • Cultures with female leadership, shared parenting and maternal lineage are associated with robust female sexual activity, high female sexual desire, non-monogamous orientation, economic parity and lower male violence.
  • Given religious and political restraint, the human female is sexually insatiable whereas the human male requires prolonged periods of recovery.
  • Nearly all sexual assumptions of evolution, anthropology and psychology are false
  • The assertions that humans are naturally monogamous, most fulfilled in single life-long relationships, and best parents in pair-bonded relationships, are false,
  • Male promiscuity is hormonal and endocrine driven
  • Knowing “who your father is” only became important with concepts of capital ownership
The list goes on, and also at times the book is very funny!

The authors present their arguments about sexuality in the context of scientific evidence. Some of their assertions lack depth of evidence; however the scope of their data cannot simply be dismissed. This is an important read for those interested in human sexuality but also for those struggling with infidelity. Not surprisingly, the authors suggest some unorthodox solutions. It is a must read for marriage and family counselors. 1/6/14