This Is Not The Michael You're Looking For's Reviews > Dr. Tatiana's Sex Advice to All Creation

Dr. Tatiana's Sex Advice to All Creation by Olivia Judson
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's review
Aug 27, 2008

it was amazing
bookshelves: nonfiction, science, biology, evolution, humor
Read in August, 2008

This is an excellent book about the the sexual habits of life (not just humans, but all life), examined from an evolutionary perspective. The material is whimsically presented as a collection of sex advice columns from Dr. Tatiana: think Dr. Ruth giving advice to insects and fish, reptiles and mammals. An example of a “letter” from one of her readers, early in the book:

“Dear Dr. Tatiana,
My boyfriend is the handsomest golden potto I ever saw. He's got beautiful golden fur on his back, creamy white fur on his belly, he smells delicious, and he has ever such dainty hands and feet. There's just one thing. Please Dr. Tatiana, why is his penis covered with enormous spines?”

Most of the book is focused on animal sexual behavior, but plants and even bacteria are both also touched on. In a remarkable way, the book deanthropomorphizes sex by first anthropomorphizing it, a tricky task to be sure. The writing is humorous, ribald, and highly intelligent. A wide range of topics and behaviors are covered, including such wide ranging mysteries as complex genitalia, promiscuity in both males and females, sperm competition, asexuality, cannibalism of mates, the strange and rare situation of monogamy, hermaphroditism, homosexuality, and incest. And while most of the book is focused on non-human sexual behavior, humans are not left out, with many of the chapters applying some of the factors to human sex and reproduction.

Having heard the author (Olivia Judson, a science writer/journalist with a PhD in evolutionary biology from Stanford) speak about the book a few months ago, I must admit that I also "read" the book in her British accent, something which may have added an extra touch of atmosphere. There is definitely a British sense of humor underlying much of the book.

Highly recommended!
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rivka *bumps higher on to-read list*

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