Sex at Dawn

Sex at Dawn : the Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality

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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 Jetha. While debunking almost everything we "know" about sex, they offer a bold alternative explanation in this provocative and brilliant book.Ryan and Jetha'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 Jetha 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."show more

Product details

  • Microfilm | 400 pages
  • 157.48 x 233.68 x 25.4mm | 612.35g
  • HarperCollins Publishers Inc
  • HarperCollins Publishers
  • New York, NY, United States
  • English
  • w. drawings and photos
  • 0061707805
  • 9780061707803
  • 43,345

Review quote

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. --Steve Taylor, author of The Fall and Waking From Sleep"show more

Review Text

" Sex At Dawn has helped me understand myself and the world so much more clearly." Ilana Glazer, co-creator of Broad Cityshow more

Customer reviews

With eyes of scientific scrutiny, this book endeavors to re-investigate and re-evaluate the current claims made by anthropologists and evolutionary psychologists that the human race are, by instinct, monogamous. This exciting and sometimes surprising book, is a logical analysis of both the complexity and variety of sexual relationships that humans have and the assumptions made by many that have investigated this field of research. The authors start by detailing some of the assumptions and misinterpretations that researchers past and present have made about prehistoric humans. They argue that this has led to the creation of "scientific myths" where social, historical and cultural context are mixed up with what is instinctively human. These myths, which the authors term a "Flinstonization of Prehistory", are debunked with scientific elegance and humor, and a refreshing and scientifically rigorous approach to the origin of modern human sexuality begins to unravel. This central aspect of human nature is an important issue for us to understand rather than assume and it is relevant to virtually all aspects of our lives including power, status, wealth, war, crime and autonomy. I am delighted to see that Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha have sought to scientifically analyse and communicate the nature of human sexuality minus the more
by Lauren Kress