Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Sperm Wars: Infidelity, Sexual Conflict, and Other Bedroom Battles” as Want to Read:
Sperm Wars: Infidelity, Sexual Conflict, and Other Bedroom Battles
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Sperm Wars: Infidelity, Sexual Conflict, and Other Bedroom Battles

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  2,142 Ratings  ·  142 Reviews
Published to acclaim and controversy a decade ago, "Sperm Wars" is a revolutionary thesis about sex that turned centuries-old biological assumptions on their head.
Evolution has programmed men to conquer and monopolize women while women, without ever knowing they are doing it, seek the best genetic input on offer from potential sexual partners.
In this book, best-selling a
...more
ebook, 335 pages
Published January 3rd 2006 by Basic Books (AZ) (first published 1964)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Sperm Wars, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Sperm Wars

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
|
Filter
Manny
'Hello Tom.'

'Oh, hello Mrs. Harding. I'm sorry, my parents aren't at home...'

'Laura. I told you last time to please call me Laura. We worked out that I was only eight years older than you, remember?'

'I'm sorry... Laura. They've gone to...'

'Yes, of course. They've gone to the premiere of the play that I have been looking forward to all week, except that my bloody husband had to cancel and go to a terribly important meeting when the bloody taxi was already standing outside. Sometimes I wonder why
...more
Brad
Dec 15, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

Ok, I have nothing against softcore porn. I hate unsubstantiated psuedoscience. This book crams the two together. I want my science porn free. I want my science to cite sources. I want my science to be free of cultural agenda and bias. Alas, Baker failed me thrice. Much of what he describes is substantiated scientific theory that has been presented properly in other works. Some is rampant speculation. The porn that begins each chapter adds NOTHING to the topic at hand; not even detailed case stu
...more
Jonatron
Nov 13, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jonatron by: the "Human Evolution" Myspace group
I had been asking sex questions on a human evolution group, and was told more than once to read Sperm Wars. "It explains everything." The book focuses heavily on infidelity and explains the biological basis of sexual behavior. I was a little worried about "knowing too much"; that this knowledge would depress me and ruin my sex life. I bought a copy and lost it before reading it.

Recently, it came up in conversation again, and, feeling more along the lines of "not knowing enough" about the biology
...more
Callum
Jan 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well this book was always going to split the field, what with it's open, frank and polemical discussions of rape and prostitution. This is a fascinating text that is well worth reading with an OPEN MIND.

There are conjectures made that seem to disgust some reviewers on this website. What they seem to consistently miss, however, is that our views on social conduct and our sense of right from wrong is a remarkably recent cognitive development when viewed on an evolutionary timescale. So these conje
...more
Nick
Apr 12, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Oh my gosh this is cuckold porn disguised as a biologists view of the social realities of reproduction.

Even in his preface he admits there are many biologists who will view this book as a complete work of fiction, but the first time I read that did not have the same impact it had as when I was done.

The entire book is comprised of "examples" he gives about sexuality, and he then explains his point of view on what "transpired" in his imagination, he explains they are not "real" situations, but are
...more
Claire
Dec 28, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Sperm Wars made me realize how evolutionary biology got such a bad rap. Through this book, Robin Baker alternates sexual scenes with explanations of how the physical battle to procreate that happens internally can lead to seemingly irrational, immoral, or simply puzzling behavior, ranging from infidelity, to why the desire of when and how the female has an orgasm changes, to why group rape occurs.

Baker provides information on how sperm ratio differs in different sexual contexts, what role the c
...more
Alex Harmon
May 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the most fascinating books I've read in the last few years.

In retrospect I am really amused at some of the reviews for this book on this site and elsewhere from women who are, for lack of a more adequate term, butthurt over the contents of the book. Sure, if taken from a certain misandrous point of view the stories written by the author can be seen to be very damning towards women. The trick is that these women (and some self-hating men) seem to be stuck in a (probably religious)
...more
Alyssa
Mar 09, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is the worst pseudo-scientific book I have read since The Naked Ape. It's hard to believe it can be called non-fiction. The copy I was given seems to be a vanity publication. The research seems opinion based and is not scientifically documented at all in the book. There are no references or citations and the fictionalized case studies are nothing more than soft porn. I wasn't surprised to find out that Dr. Baker has been completely discredited by his colleagues in evolutionary biology. I wo ...more
Katy Stauber
Nov 04, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It would have been interesting except some basic research indicates that most of the premises upon which this book was written are total crap. Very much of the 'women are evil cows after our vital essence' ideology with some penis envy overtones presented as scientific fact. Totally ridiculous book to have been written in this century.
Sean Goh
If one reads this book with an uncritical mind, you will be apt to find it very interesting, with many conclusions that make sense.

Yet it must be noted that this book lacks references, and anecdotal conjectures (for the evidence, read my other science-heavy publication!) aren't quite the same as scientific hypotheses backed by evidence.

A simple search disproves one of the more interesting claims (sperm specialisation) http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/197/1/..., so there.

Baker's main thread seems t
...more
Dеnnis
I was "cautiously" enjoying the first quarter of the book when I peeped in reviews here. The one about the lack of proper references stung me. I wrote several academic peer-reviewed papers and I absolutely cherish this tradition. Thus upon reading the review I couldn't continue just flowing with the author.

Here and there I started noticing passages and claims for which I'd rather see some sources and quotes of some serious studies behind these, now appearing spurious, claims. Since he kept on sh
...more
Jon Finkel
Nov 15, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in love, sex, or science
Absolutely fascinating. I learned so much I don't know where to begin. Did you know that 99% of sperm's primary function is to do battle with other mens' sperm inside the woman, and that only 1% is capable of fertilization? The woman's orgasm is her way of helping the sperm of the man she prefers. 10% of children's real dad isn't the man who thinks he's the father. Just an amazing scientific work, well written, funny, and informative.
Mark
Mar 14, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Here's an explanation of the hangover after the free lovin' 60's, and where you got that red hair!


So far it seems a bit gratuitous, just partly credible & somewhat unfair to women. Would be a weak echo of the selfish gene, except that SW anticipates that book by decades. On the plus side, huge points for boldly, (if somewhat clumsily) exploring a new genre space, including titillating and episodes which behavior he then ties into the sperm wars.

----------------------------------------------
...more
Ilana Bram
Feb 02, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cannon, behavior
Baker did his best to show various "reproductive strategies" without moralizing sex. Evolution of "whatever works," human behavior as strategies leaning towards better reproductive success. I love this kind of thinking.

This is a great introductory book to evolutionary psychology. Just be careful not to get too attached to the conclusions. Baker takes some observable facts (vagina's PH is hostile to sperm, and vaginal mucus is a sponge barrier blocking the sperm from the egg) and explains his f
...more
Andrew Calderon
May 27, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book has NO REFERENCES. None. It has controversial theories and sexual vignettes (albeit some interesting ones) that root our sexual instincts and relationship behaviors in purely biological terms. That isn't a novel approach: what is novel is the purported contrivances the female body has evolved to collect sperm; his perspective on homosexuality; and his contention that female bodies are constantly trying to foment sperm wars within themselves. It's all highly cerebral and not very scient ...more
David
Jan 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't usually enjoy books in the field of science, but this one was an exception, even though at times it was could be rather provocative and distasteful. But wow, a lot is going on 'down there,' and it has a greater impact on our behavior than we would like to think. It also provides reasonable explanations for seemingly strange behaviors (sexual and otherwise). The book is presented in a series of 'scenes' which serve to build upon one another in order to introduce more complicated concepts. ...more
Marybeth
Mar 28, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not really sure what the big deal is. There isn't anything here that isn't in any standard textbook on human sexuality (or at least nothing substantiated). I have trouble thinking of this as a 'science book'; not one footnote, no bibliography, only a back cover allusion to the author's many publications during a 16 year career as a university lecturer.
Sara Berinhout
Feb 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found some of the theories to be a little far-fetched (and there are moments when he presents far-reaching conclusions based on seemingly very little evidence) but overall it is extremely entertaining and easy to read-- while still conveying a wealth of scientific information and knowledge that will undoubtedly alter your perspective on human sexual behavior.
Mauri
Jul 20, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, own, read2012
Very Interesting. My only complaint that it gets hard to read the case studies as the book goes on, since they refer to previous cases by number only, and you have to remember that Case 34 was the one with the orgy (and so forth)
Asia Maiden
awesome book! Revolutionary thoughts. It will change your life and your marriage!

Audra
Oct 02, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who has sex
What DIDN'T I learn from this book?! If you want to find out why your body and your brain are often at odds, read read read this book.
Kirsten
Aug 22, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
High handed, biased, out of date; I forgot what the 90s were like until I read the line, "Most readers of this book will be exclusively heterosexual." p 282
Caroline
Aug 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Intéressant pour avoir des pistes de réflexions pour celles et ceux qui cherchent à avoir des enfants - ou au contraire ne pas en avoir ! (bien que ce ne soit pas l'objectif premier de ce livre hein)
Count-daniel Fogarty
One of the most disturbing and upsetting books I have ever read...

In saying this, it opened up my eyes and reinforced why eventually I would become a MGTOW!

So, ultimately it has taught me to embrace my destiny!
Kumar McMillan
The behavior of human sperm is fascinating: only a small percentage are actually fertile enough to inseminate an egg. The rest exhibit complex features that apparently exist to block or kill the sperm of other males inside the same woman's body.

Under what behaviors and reproductive strategies did humans evolve to developer sperm like this? If you're interested in finding scientific answers to that question then this book will disappoint you. It is a collection of made up erotic stories accompani
...more
Taka
Interesting but often too roundabout and redundant--


Robin Baker does offer an interesting interpretation of human sexuality, but some points he makes seem to be blatantly assumed than based on solid scientific evidence, such as specifically how men gain information about their mates from oral sex (Scene 10), what mechanism men use to adjust the number of sperm in their ejaculates (Scene 4), and how women's bodies could be said to "manipulate" their emotions to reduce the chances of conception (S
...more
Broodingferret
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 ag ...more
Anthony Kozlowski
One thing that really interests me is understanding the evolutionary reasons for why we are the way we are. What behaviors that drove us to survive and reproduce still exist today? Though we'd like to forget it, human beings are nothing more than animals -- smart animals, but animals all the same.

Robin Baker's analysis of human mating behavior is over twenty years old, and to some extent it shows it's age. But like he explains in the forward, the behaviors he describes are thousands of years old
...more
Leonidas Kaplan
Took me almost 2 months to finish this book. Each chapter is independent of the others, and starts off with a very vivid story of sex, infidelity, orgies, masturbation, and everything and anything else to do with sex.

The stories are well written, and captivating, practically wanting to be shared with friends because they are so sexually interesting. A++ for the stories.

But then the second part of each chapter goes into detail of the relevance with sperm and the reproductive cycle in both males a
...more
Jeremy Silver
This is the most difficult book to rate I've ever read. On one hand, I found it very interesting. There are a lot of cool ideas and information here. The problem is (as a lot of other people's reviews have pointed out) there is absolutely zero references to show how they are coming to these conclusions. Granted, the author does preface the book by saying there is another book previously written that contains all the scientific data, but to me this is just a cop out. You can't expect someone to g ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Evolution Of Desire: Strategies of Human Mating
  • The Mating Mind: How Sexual Choice Shaped the Evolution of Human Nature
  • Why Women Have Sex: Understanding Sexual Motivations from Adventure to Revenge (and Everything in Between)
  • Anatomy of Love: A Natural History of Mating, Marriage, and Why We Stray
  • Sex on the Brain: The Biological Differences Between Men and Women
  • The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature
  • Mind-Lines: Lines for Changing Minds
  • Harmful to Minors: The Perils of Protecting Children from Sex
  • How Sex Works: Why We Look, Smell, Taste, Feel and Act the Way We Do
  • Monogamy
  • Sex, Time, and Power: How Women's Sexuality Shaped Human Evolution
  • The Case of the Female Orgasm: Bias in the Science of Evolution
  • Why Is Sex Fun? The Evolution of Human Sexuality (Science Masters)
  • The Myth of Monogamy: Fidelity and Infidelity in Animals and People
  • Everything You Know About Sex is Wrong: The Disinformation Guide to the Extremes of Human Sexuality (and Everything in Between)
  • The Prehistory of Sex: Four Million Years of Human Sexual Culture
  • Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America
  • The Future of Love
Also published as R. Robin Baker
More about Robin Baker...
“Everything is compromise, and time is limited. If a person settles too readily for a poor compromise, they may miss the chance of a much better compromise later. However, spending too long in search of the best compromise can be equally disadvantageous. He or she may then pay the price of having to settle for a worse compromise, or even of failing to attract anybody at all. The best prizes go to the people who judge correctly when to continue their search and when to settle for what they can get - if only for the time being.” 1 likes
More quotes…