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Dr Tatiana's Sex Advice To All Creation: Definitive Guide to the Evolutionary Biology of Sex

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  3,154 ratings  ·  323 reviews
If you have ever wondered why women always bite your head off or why one guy gets all the girls, if you have ever pondered why some men bring you balloons while others leave you their genitals, then Dr Tatiana's Sex Advice to All Creation is the book for you. It explains all this and much more. It discloses the best time to have a sex change, how to have a virgin birth, ...more
Kindle Edition, 320 pages
Published November 30th 2013 by Vintage Digital (first published 2002)
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 ·  3,154 ratings  ·  323 reviews

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Nov 09, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Richard by: Down to a Science Science Café
He comes home, just a little late, to a quiet house. As he opens the door, he can smell the Chinese takeout she had mentioned in her text message.

Dropping his bag, he turns into the dining room and stops short. Spread across the table, mixed in with the takeout cartons, are dozens of academic journals, along with notepads full of scrawled handwriting and hastily drawn figures. But what his eyes linger over are other things, like the empty caulking gun, the bathing cap, several rubber spatulas.
Sep 26, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This exuberantly brilliant book never fails to remind me of one of the more obvious puzzles surrounding those who subscribe to strict creationism. You know, the people who actually believe that the Lord created the universe according to the seven-day timetable laid out in Genesis. Quite apart from the convoluted mental processes needed to accommodate such inconvenient evidence as the entire fossil record, (remember, these people would have us believe that humans and dinosaurs coexisted, ...more
May 01, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
2.5 stars.
Sigh. This is the kind of book that I really want to like. It is jam-packed full of information about reproduction, biology, life cycles, etc. throughout all kinds of life forms (with an emphasis on insects, it seems). What's more: the references are extensive; every "column" has its own section in back where she cites each claim's source. I was impressed with the documentation and with the wealth of knowledge.

So why only 2.5 stars? There are a couple of reasons:
1. The format concept.
Jan 11, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who prefer facts to opinions
Shelves: epistolary, science
Judson's stylistic conceit -- various species writing to an advice column about their sex lives -- is clever and well-done, although it does get tired upon repetition. Her prose is lively and entertaining, remarkably so for what often boils down to biological studies of insects. What I really found invaluable about this book was her insistence that people look at real science rather than a few pseudo-scientific ideas that support various social standpoints. I wish I'd had this back when I lived ...more
Batgrl (Book Data Kept Elsewhere)
If I tell you that this is a book about science, zoology, and aspects of evolution - some of you may immediately tune out and rush to click on to another page. Well then, it's a book about the sex lives of various creatures - oh let me just make it easier and give you some quotes, so you can see what sorts of questions Dr. Tatiana receives, and some of her answers. This will give you a better idea how the book is both humorous and completely weird. Not to mention hard to categorize.

Pg. 176, from
This Is Not The Michael You're Looking For
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
Jun 12, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, science
Non-Fiction. Dr. Tatiana is the Dr. Ruth of the animal kingdom, that much is fictional, but the advice she gives is all fact, or, at the very least, theory.

This is evolutionary biology framed like a relationship column. Dr. Tatiana takes letters from the birds, the bees, and the stick insects and advises them on their difficult love lives. It's a great way to get information across and the book is structured well, one topic easily leading to another. Judson never gets too technical and covers a
Nov 30, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I believe everyone has something in their sex life that others would think is a little kinky. Some of us worry about that. But I know the perfect solution to reduce that worry. Read Dr. Tatiana's Sex Advice for All Creation. You will quickly discover that, based on the wide variety of sex practiced in the animal kingdom, you are not really all that kinky. Well, at least you don't bite off the head of your lover....I hope.

That's my advice for today. What did you expect? Masters and Johnson?
Dec 13, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"The pleasure is momentary, the position ridiculous, and the expense damnable." — Lord Chesterfield describing sex to his son.
Sep 03, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: readable-science
This book is a really fun way to read about different reproductive strategies and behaviors in the animal world. Dr. Judson gives some strikingly funny examples in a "Dr. Ruth" framework, then rationally explains how the behaviors and strategies might have evolved. Unlike some other scientists writings for popular audiences, she is very good at pointing out how little we know about why or even how some of the processes work.
Most of all, though, I appreciate the way she has referenced the whole
May 03, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well... I enjoyed this book very much and I probably would have given it five stars had I bought it myself. But the book was given to me by the author's father *unsigned* with the promise that she would autograph it the next time she visited. But it's not like I kept the book at his house and now she's living on another continent and seriously, it's not like I need to reread sex advice for bugs, so, Lady, you need to come sign this thing so that I can regift it to my virgin god daughters. ...more
May 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I LOVE this book. Written in the style of an advice-columnist for all organisms big and small, Olivia Judson-- a Stanford- and Oxford-educated PhD-- makes learning biology fun and easy. This is all about evolutionary biology as it applies to sex, and this is fascinating. The variety of ways different species interact, have sex, reproduce, eat their spouses, kill their children. . . it's fabulous. It actually made me appreciate things like sea worms and mites. Mites!!
Aug 21, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Good bathroom reading. Works well in small snippets.

Amusing and educational; would have preferred the omission of the lectures. Just because something is normal for bugs or snails doesn't make it so for humans. And I prefer not to have thinly-disguised anti-religious screeds tacked onto otherwise enjoyable books.
T. K. Elliott (Tiffany)
This is the only biology non-fiction book I have found so fascinating that I read it while walking (nearly fell down the stairs) on the loo (no comment) and in the bath (my Kobo heroically risking death by drowning).

The conceit of various creatures writing to the wise Dr Tatiana for advice on their bizarre sex lives gives the book a certain verve and amusement value that, for example, my university texts did not have. The facts and theories, however, are just as good.

Judson (or Dr Tatiana) has
Aug 02, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As I started to read this book, I was at first disappointed. I am a big fan of Olivia Judson's New York Times' columns and was looking forward to finally getting around to this. And it was written with her usual efficiency and humor so that was good. But...really...I didn't care about the sex lives of "all creation" and found myself really bored. Bummer.

But I pushed on, and as I should have expected, I was quite rewarded. The book is a fascinating compendium of creatures large and small and how
May 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a science doctoral student, I received this book from a professor teaching a class on epigenetics and other non-Mendelian hereditary patterns. Generally, despite what others seem to think because of my current career path, I do not enjoy reading science-related books in my spare time-- that's what fiction is for! However, I gave this book a go and was so pleasantly surprised to realise that I not only enjoyed it, but actually really liked it. It explores many of the evolutionary aspects of ...more
J.P. Drury
May 11, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
While Judson lays out some fantastic natural history, she ultimately spreads herself too thin and falls short of the synthesis she hopes to deliver. Her engagement with sexual selection theory is passe; nothing new, nothing critical.

Perhaps her biggest offense is using the word "rape" to describe forced copulation, a mistake that has been argued against for several decades by feminist biologists. This most grave mistake is felt most deeply when she suggests that rape is an adaptive behavior,
Carrie Borchardt
Jan 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Judson's quirky how-to guide to evolutionary biology which reads as a raunchy magazine advice column is a must read for anyone interested in natural selection through mating. Judson unapologetically parades the anomalous and jarring ways nature has selected to replicate itself while anthropomorphizing the specific dilemmas each species face in its brutal struggle to survive and reproduce. Thoroughly researched, wittily written and charmingly provocative, you'll find yourself empathizing with a ...more
Nov 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, science
Pop-science books are quite hard to write, because the author is often too close to their subject and tends to make assumptions about the reader.

Olivia Judson side-steps this issue nicely by adopting an alternate persona of a sort of tv confessional show host as her authorial voice, and maintaining this conceit throughout the book, which is a glorious romp through the insane reproductive methods employed throughout the living world, from assexual to multisexual and all points in-between.

Aug 06, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
We read this for my book group. Olivia Judson is an evolutionary biologist who makes her living studying the mating behaviors of various species. She writes for both The Economist and the New York Times.
For this book, she takes on the persona of Dr. Tatiana, a Dear Abbey-like sex therapist, who fields letters from all sorts of animals having troubles in the bedroom. Here's one example:

Dear Dr. Tatiana,

I'm a European praying mantis, and I've noticed I enjoy sex more if I bite my lovers' heads off
Alan Marchant
Olivia Judson's tell-all book would rate at least 4 stars if she had stuck to her knitting. She provides plenty of fascinating details illustrating the diversity of sex in the natural world.

But the presentation is diluted by her tiresome sex therapist schtick. Then there is the repetitive reliance on the empty Darwinian tautology to explain gee-whiz sexual phenomena. In many cases, she provides the necessary detail (protection for the young, eliminating competing gametes, improved energy
Jun 26, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, science
If you're looking for a fun-filled factoid tour of the war of the sexes, this is a good one to zip through. It's written like an advice column in a newspaper, and each section starts out with a letter from a certain specie to Dr. Tatiana (the first one begins with Twiggy, the stick insect..."Dear Dr. Tatiana. My name's Twiggy and I'm a stick insect. It's with great embarrassment that I write to you while copulating, but my mate and I have been copulating for ten weeks already. I'm bored out of ...more
May 13, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2-nonfiction
Judson whirls through evolutionary biology, highlighting some of its most interesting and magical stories. Judson's conceit-- sex advice columnist for the animal (well, organism) kingdom is delightful at first but grows a little tedious as the book progresses. Her anthropomorphism is sometimes confusing-- the reader isn't clear if she's attributing desires and preferences to organisms for stylistic effect, or because they possess these things. This is most problematic in her section on rape. Her ...more
Jenny Schmenny
Aug 13, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biology
Okay, the idea is that "Dr. Tatiana" has a lonelyhearts column, in which she answers questions from the animal kingdom, like, "Dear Dr. Tatiana, I'm a female newt mite, and every time my seventeen boyfriends mate with me, sixteen die. What's up with that?" And the good doctor will couch an answer in a theory of evolutionary biology, along with many other juicy reproductive tidbits from the animal kingdom. What's not to love? I liked the facts, but got bored with the voice and gimmick. Also, I'm ...more
May 05, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Debs by: Julie
Shelves: nonfiction, borrowed, 2010
Although it was entertaining, it was a bit watered down for my taste - it's primary goal seemed to be to entertain ("teehee, I'm reading about sex") rather than make a serious study of it. I found that she sometimes jumped to conclusions that didn't have much to do with what she was saying or just randomly switched subjects.

If entertainment what you're looking for, you'll like it. If you want a little more depth and want to think seriously, try "Bonk". It was fun, but I tend to get more out of
David Albert
The conceit of the book (advice columnist responding to letters from insects and microbes) is a bit silly and occasionally tiresome, but it doesn't get in the way too much. The style of the final 30 pages, written as an episode of a Mauri Povich style talk show, is more annoying and space consuming than the rest of the book, but the information that is slowly doled out over those 30 is none the less interesting.
Overall, this book has lots of discrete, fascinating stories about sex, gender, and
Dec 30, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
A look at the sex lives of many of lifes oddities as viewed through the eyes of agony aunt Dr Tatiana. I thought some chapters carried this off better than others, but overall it was a fun way to introduce the subject of sex without any preconceptions. If you actually had any preconceptions, this book is designed to blow them away.

I found the sections on a) Hyenas and b) monogamy to be two of the most interesting. They both had something to say that I did not already know and the hyenas
Sep 10, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was filled with intriguing facts about the odd mating and sex habits of insects and other animals. I liked the conceit of Dr. Tatiana receiving letters from confused critters, however I thought her answers were often too long-winded and cited too many examples. By the end of each answer, I had often forgotten what the original question was and my mind would be swimming with so many different types of creatures and behavior. It is a good primer in how evolutionary biology gets expressed ...more
Feb 01, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comfort-food, humor
I can only read the advice-column format in small doses, but I *love* this book. It puts to rest the notion that we should look to nature to define what's "natchrel" as far as sexuality is concerned. Animals do some kinky shit. For maximal enjoyment, find a biology geek buddy & take turns reading the sections aloud to each other.
Overall the format of this was cute for a bit but ultimately became tiresome. It did contain good information, too much per question though since the author loved tangents. I think this book would have worked better had there been more topics aside from sexual relations.
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Olivia Judson (born 1970) is an evolutionary biologist at Imperial College London. Judson, who is the daughter of science historian Horace Freeland Judson, was a pupil of W.D. Hamilton. She graduated from Stanford University, gained a doctorate from Oxford, and worked for some time as a journalist before becoming a research fellow at Imperial College London.

She has written one book, Dr Tatiana's