This is the book, "Sex at Dawn, The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality" by Christopher Ryan, Cacilda Jetha, that cause a bit of a stir among social science researchers 6 years ago.
From the publisher: "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'.”
As you know, at More Than Sex-Ed we are all about evidenced based information, and this book has been on my list to read for quite some time. And oh is it ever a compelling read, if you like to challenge your preconceptions (sex-ed pun there) and find the whole topic of human sexuality intriguing. What? you weren't aware of the sex-ed related kerfuffle?
The authors suggest that since the dawn of humanity, the purpose of human sexuality is social not reproductive. What? Well, most animals only have sex when females are ovulating. For most mammals the lifetime average of sexual encounters is 12! A dozen! As opposed to a human average of 1000. And just like the few other species with concealed ovulation (bonobos, chimps, dolphins) 99.99% of human sexual encounters do not result in reproduction.
And that's just the beginning.
The authors look at 4 sources of evidence in order to understand how sex shapes society and societies shape perceptions of sex: pre-agricultural anthropology, primates, human anatomy, and contemporary psycho-sexuality.
But this is not dry research. After reading it, I am struck by dozens of questions, including:
- Does monogamy really run counter to human nature? and what would that mean for individuals and societies?
- Can empowering women change the sexual dynamic in societies? Empowering women in which specific ways?
- Is the concept of possession at the root of oppressive gender roles?
- Could a more nuanced understanding of the nature of sexuality create a healthier society?
Please contact me here, if you are interested in a one time free book discussion, and are able to meet in Burbank!