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Sex at Dusk: Lifting the Shiny Wrapping from Sex at Dawn

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  178 ratings  ·  30 reviews
Sex - just what is it all about? Don't other species just get on with it? What are the conflicts and jealousy, pain and disappointments, really all about? The 2010 book Sex at Dawn tells us that this modern misery is due to our belief in a false evolutionary story about human pair-bonding and nuclear family units. Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jethá claim that their evidenc ...more
Paperback, 376 pages
Published July 14th 2012 by Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
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Frank Vaisey I believe that you will get more out of Sex at Dusk if you read Sex at Dawn first as Sex at Dusk primarily seems to rebut the assertions made in Sex…moreI believe that you will get more out of Sex at Dusk if you read Sex at Dawn first as Sex at Dusk primarily seems to rebut the assertions made in Sex at Dawn. (less)

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3.79  · 
Rating details
 ·  178 ratings  ·  30 reviews

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Apr 22, 2014 rated it it was ok
Sex at Dawn is not without its problems. Any reader with a more-than-casual understanding of anthropology, evolutionary biology, and/or evolutionary psychology will readily acknowledge this. And some rebuttal/correction does seem to be in order. Unfortunately, Lynn Saxon's polemic seems to be an equally troublesome vehicle for doing so.

The first thing Saxon does in Sex at Dusk--as in, literally, the first thing--is to attack Chris Ryan and Cacilda Jetha's professional credentials. Yet, absolutel
Scribble Orca
Nov 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Several years ago (I suppose you could say it's a life-time away, really), I used to be on intimate (but not that intimate) terms with a group of people who individually I loved dearly (in the platonic sense) and who collectively were terribly destructive towards each other. I was introduced to them while they were in monogamous relationships, before they decided that rather than embark on illicit (and potentially damaging) affairs, they would instead engage in partner-swapping. It commenced wit ...more
Jan 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book is interesting but very frustrating. It's a response to Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha's Sex at Dawn (henceforth Dawn), and in fact is rather more a 330-page negative book review than a book.

First, a word about the author. The work is self-published (Lynn Saxon actually appears as the bottom of the outer binding as if that's the publisher's name rather than the author). Christopher Ryan asserts that the name is "apparently" a pseudonym. She herself has a blog right here on Goodread
Jan 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned-books
Considering that many arguments against Sex at Dawn The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jethá or likewise against its rebuttal Sex at Dusk Lifting the Shiny Wrapping from Sex at Dawn by Lynn Saxon are ad hominem and the supporters seem to either fall into those approving of consensual non-monogamy or those oppose to it, I will give
a bit of background information about myself. I believe that consensual non-monogamy is as valid a relationship choice as every
May 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I think if anyone has ever read or is thinking about reading Sex at Dawn, then this book is a must-read as well.

Sex at Dawn attempts to make the claim that our species originated using a multimale/multifemale mating style. They make this claim using examples of modern-day hunter-gatherer tribes, our closest species (chimpanzees, gorillas, and bonobos), and our biology. They make some pretty interesting claims and all would be well, if they had presented the full story instead of only a part of i
Apr 06, 2013 rated it liked it
The key question that is posed by the "Sex at Dawn"-"Sex at Dusk" quarrel is which book gives a more accurate account of the scientific literature. The people who are best qualified to answer this question are the members of the relevant scholarly communities, but on the basis of my brief online search, those communities have not said much about these books publicly. That leaves the rest of us with limited means of assessing the validity of the arguments posed by the two works. Lacking a clear s ...more
Adam Leonas
Aug 24, 2016 rated it liked it
I was reluctant to read Sex at Dusk. I thought it would be a biased, traditionalist dismissal of Sex at Dawn, full of "happily ever after" love rhetoric, and idealization of marriage. I was pleasantly surprised to find out this was not the case.

Sex at Dawn posits that sex was a common in prehistoric human societies, and that this was largely due to the "voracious" female sex drive. It is an important book for popularizing the notion that sex was, more or less, free during the evolutionary period
May 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Ryan and Jetha in their book Sex at Dawn want us to believe that our fore-mothers were Sluts.
Comes Lynn Saxon in Sex at Dusk and makes a much better case for the assertion that early females weren’t sluts; they were Whores.

Aside from this very significant takeaway, I learned a much more relevant and valuable lesson. You can come in the name of science, spew and skew the data and the studies, and sell to the uninitiated and the laymen the most dubious and species positions as doctrine.
Plaxico Johnson
Apr 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Sex at Dusk was a comprehensive rebuttal of everything Sex at Dawn supposed to offer, and I would more than recommend it to any reader of Sex at Dawn. Furthermore, Sex at Dusk was mostly well written, engaging, and informative in it's own right. I came into Sex at Dawn/Sex at Dusk with very limited experience and knowledge regarding human sexual evolution or evolutionary biology generally, and came away with much greater understanding - and interest!
Apr 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science
excellent rebuttal to sex at dawn. Clear arguments, plenty of sources. Made me doubt whenever I read a good controversial book, better check some sources next time...
Isabella Chen
Sep 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
An interesting book, and a detailed introduction into sexual selection, especially with respect to our closest cousins, the great apes, and the ancestor we share. It is also a tour of some of the most important anthropological studies of modern hunter-gatherer and agricultural/pre-industrial societies and their socio-sexual arrangements. The science seems solid (unlike Sex at Dawn), and the author writes with no other agenda apart from clearing up the misconceptions in Sex at Dawn.

The book, and
Bastian Greshake Tzovaras
Sep 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I read the here criticised Sex at Dawn back in April and now came around to read this point-by-point critique.

My Sex at Dawn review stated that I liked how the book tears apart the classical claims that Evolutionary Psychology makes though I didn't feel confident enough to say whether the alternative story proposed by Ryan & Jetha is any better or if they also only cherry-picked 'evidence'. My doubts on their story grew after reading Mead's Coming of Age in Samoa, so Sex at Dusk was kind of
Aaron Dietz
Oct 17, 2015 rated it liked it
Fabulous information and worth the read, despite the prose's lack of engagement. This book's purpose is an information download for those who read Sex at Dawn and wanted to know more. Ultimately while there are parts of Sex at Dawn that are fun to think about, the book is filled with incomplete research, misunderstood research, and other snafus to the extent that much of what it is trying to hold up scientifically is just not supported by the evidence. This book provides you a better summary of ...more
Feb 16, 2014 rated it it was ok
Did it refute the conclusions in Sex at Dawn? Absolutely. Did it go about this in the driest, most excruciating way possible? Basically.

You can argue against the science of Sex at Dawn all day long but at least it was a fascinating read.
Jul 26, 2013 rated it liked it
4 stars for content, 2-3 for writing. A friend of mine recently picked up "Sex at Dawn," which I'd read a few years ago when it was released and hyped. While I was more than ready to agree with its premise and was looking forward to some good old-fashioned scientific evidence, I was incredibly disappointed not only by the condescendingly smug tone, but the pseudo scientific, poorly-defended arguments from cherry-picked (often intentionally misrepresented)sources. I was further put off by Christo ...more
Xavier Shay
Jun 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Early on reading "Sex at Dawn" I started hearing alarm bells. Something didn't feel right, but I wasn't familiar enough with the material to articulate it particularly well.

Enter this book, written in response and directly addressing the scientific claims made in "Sex at Dawn". Its primary criticisms, supported by large bodies of evidence, are:

* That's not how natural selection works.
* Bonobos aren't really like that.
* Those hunter-gatherer tribes aren't really like that.

It was a much more compl
Feb 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
If you thought that "Sex at Dawn" was honest scholarship then be prepared to learn otherwise. "Sex at Dusk" shows just how manipulative that book is. There is no religious - or other - agenda here, just lots more information, and largely from the same sources referenced in "Sex at Dawn", i.e., it is essential further information. "Sex at Dusk" also stands alone as a very informative science book. It is relatively sober but then, surely the average man and woman in the street deserves access to s ...more
Oct 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Saxon really brought to my attention all the things Ryan and Jetha got wrong in their book "Sex at Dawn". Really thankful for my sociology professor for using this book as one of our readings for the course.
Kristina Leonard
Nov 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Much better written and more engaging than earlier written Sex at Dawn.
Dawn Petersen
Mar 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
not quite as entertaining as sex at dawn, but very good counter arguments to that book.
Reading both books is an excellent exercise
Mar 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Required reading for any fans of Sex at Dawn. (At least, any fans who are actually interested in the truth.)
Jan 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: anthropology
Skip Sex at Dawn and go straight to Sex at Dusk.
John Valdez
Sep 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
I liked it!
Helps fill in what Sex at Dawn authors apparently left out.
Nov 03, 2017 rated it liked it
Reading this book left me totally convinced that the arguments in Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality were deeply flawed. This was after reading Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality a couple years ago and becoming totally convinced that those arguments were true. I've always known that I was an impressionable person, but this whole experience has left me reeling. I definitely need to read with more skepticism.

I encountered this blog post from a totally un
Billie Pritchett
Jul 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Sex at Dusk is a book that is written pseudonymously by someone who is knowledgable about evolutionary biology and its implications for human sexuality but who nonetheless seemed a bit embarrassed to attach his or her real name to it. The book is essentially an extended essay rebuttal to the popular book Sex at Dawn, which was apparently written with the intention to promote alternative sexual lifestyles. For the record, I have not read Sex at Dawn, even though I think to fairly assess this rebu ...more
Jorge DeFlon
Apr 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Este libro para refutar Sex at Dawn es tan fascinante como aquel, y presenta varios argumentos válidos contra su teoría del sexo libre e indiscriminado.

A final de cuentas, lo único cierto es que sabemos muy poco de nuestro pasado sexual y afectivo.
David Milligan
Mar 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Readers of Sex At Dawn
I started this book having read and loved and believing in Sex at Dawn. I was hoping that I could read this book and logic my way out of every argument against Sex at Dawn, but almost all of the points brought up in this book seemed valid.

I did get a sense that the author inferred some misogyny on the parts of Ryan and Jetha that I think may be unwarranted but the majority of this book is not to be dismissed as ad hominem attacks or just opinion but facts with actual references to the literature
Петър Стойков
Jun 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Настоящата книга е навременен отговор на тази:
Става дума за човешката еволюция и основно за еволюцията на сексуалното поведение.

Книгата дава по-реална, научно базирана идея за това как нашите предци са се развили от приматите, какво е било тяхното сексуално поведение и всъщност каква е човешката природа що се отнася до секса и отношенията между половете. Изводите може да не харесат на всички, но са съобразени с реалния свят.
Jun 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the best systematic takedowns of another book I've read. Of course, it's only interesting in the context of Sex at Dawn, and is not really an interesting book on its own.
John Martinez
rated it it was amazing
Apr 13, 2015
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“Ryan and Jethá tell us (p. 206) about a study of the Waorani of Ecuador which showed that they were free of most diseases and had no evidence of health problems such as hypertension, heart disease, or cancer (Larrick et al.1979).What they don’t add is that Larrick and his colleagues found that 42% of all population losses were actually caused by Waorani killing other Waorani.” 2 likes
“Simone de Beauvoir in The Second Sex lamented how “the woman is adapted to the needs of the egg rather than to her own requirements”. We did not then understand how males too are adapted to the needs of their gametes rather than their own requirements. Men can more easily feel rewarded for serving the needs of their sperm; rewarded time and time again for every successful ejaculation. The ‘natural’ downside for men and males in general is competition with other males, injury, possible exclusion from any mating opportunities, more illness than females, and shorter lifespans.” 2 likes
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