Alicia Mitsch's Reviews > Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality

Sex at Dawn by Christopher  Ryan
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's review
Sep 27, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: non-fiction
Read from September 19 to 27, 2010

This book is fantastic! It truly fills in the gaps, and actually answers the questions that we have muddled through for ages. I have read Sex, Time, and Power: How Women's Sexuality Shaped Human Evolution, and I felt that in the end, it didn't quite solve the riddle of why male-dominated society has such a wealth of abuse and misogyny at its core. Pointing to the advent of agriculture 20,000 years ago, the authors argue that it was this single event that forced us as a species to work against the way we had evolved for 100,000 years up to that point. The authors examine the biology and sociology of our closest primate relatives, the bonobo and the chimp, in addition to studying forager societies that still exist today. What they have found insists that we evolved to exist in multi-partnered groups, where males and females could each have multiple partners without the stigmatism we find today. What did agriculture have to do with it? Read the book. You may not agree with the idea that we as species are meant to by polyamorous instead of monogamous, but I agree with the authors careful analysis of the evidence; we evolved sexually to be something other than the role we play out today. Monogamy may be the "best" choice for many people, but I think for many others it's as incomprehensible as a gay man having sex with a woman. I highly recommend this book, and I hope that it promotes further research into our evolutionary past.
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