Broodingferret's Reviews > Sperm Wars: Infidelity, Sexual Conflict, and Other Bedroom Battles

Sperm Wars by Robin Baker
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's review
Dec 21, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: biology, sex-studies, psychology
Read from November 23 to December 21, 2010

This was an interesting read, albeit a bit arduous at times. Baker's thesis is that all human sexual behavior can be explained from a biological stand point, an ambitious view that he doesn't fully succeed in demonstrating. While many of the phenomena he discusses, such as the widely varied orgasmic patterns observed among females compared to the highly predixtible patterns seen among males, can be convincingly attributed to biological causes, others, such as the various cross-cultural taboos against masturbation, take a bit of rhetorical stretching before a biological view can be even half-way convincingly applied to them. The layout of the book was also a bit odd. Originally, Baker, working with another scientist, published all of the same information in another book called Human Sperm Competition, which was a highly acedemic and dry read. Wanting to make the info more accessible to the layman, Baker wrote Sperm Wars and decided to avoide citations, stats and graphs, choosing instead to discuss the info more conversationally, directing interested readers to his other work should they want the actual numbers and research techniques. He also decided to organize the book unconventionally. Each section starts with a fictional acount of a sexual behavior of some sort, followed by a discussion of the whys and wherefores of what occured in the scene. While this approach is engaging, it becomes somewhat difficult to manage, as Baker has a habit of referring to other sections of the book to help make his points, including sections that reader hasn't gotten to yet. This gives the book a continuity that the ostensible "chapters" do little the break-up, making Sperm Wars more like a 350 page essay rather than a book. Overall, however, it was quite informative and generally well-written, and the academic version costs well over $100, making Sperm Wars the more reasonable reading choice for those interested in the subject.

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