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

Sex at Dawn by Christopher  Ryan
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's review
May 31, 2012

liked it
Read from April 29 to May 11, 2012

Pomo Feminists and queer theorists beware! You might not like this. This book makes a strong and rather compelling case that there is a biological functionalism to our sexuality: namely sex for bonding and social harmony first and procreation second. The vast majority of the book is outlining the "essence" of male and female sexuality, making this a dissonance-causing book for anyone advocating criticism of gender essentialism and nonmonogamy simultaneously. Also it is about as snarky as Vice Magazine, too snarky even for me sometimes. There is a substantial bibliography but too few citations (even if I'm too lazy to flip to them anyway). But, that said, I really enjoyed the book, I couldn't really argue with the many-layered and thorough points the authors were making. They cover everything from jealousy to Female Copulatory Vocalizations (female sex moaning) to hidden ovulation to paternity certainty/uncertainty to the enormous penises that humans have compared to all other primates (who knew?), to infanticide. The central message is this: monogamy is against our nature.
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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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message 1: by Don (new)

Don Have you joined me in the essentialist camp?

Jason Is that a trick question?

message 3: by Don (new)

Don No!

Jason i like the middle road in the nature vs. nurture argument. but yes i see a lot of essential predispositions for behaviour in the sexes. Of course culture plays a pretty big part too. Ill be watching my back now.

message 5: by Don (new)

Don Fear not, comrade! I am a gender essentialist, to some degree, as well. I know it's an unpopular position in the circles we travel in.

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