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

Sex at Dawn by Christopher  Ryan
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's review
Jul 10, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: gblt-friendly, tv-made-me-do-it
Recommended to Valerie by: Dan Savage

A long time ago, in a galaxy far away, I was an anthropology major at UCSC. Although I wanted to specialize in physical anthropology, I did quite a bit of classwork in cultural. One of the things that always fascinated me was fictitious kin. The idea of creating a network of ties to promote sharing among small groups. Church congregations and the scooby gang of Joss Whedon's Buffy are examples of this. I found the author's description of several of these types of kinship networks based on common sexual partners very interesting, as well as some of the research comparing primate anatomy and sexual response.

However, I had a very hard time getting past the smug, condescending tone of the book. I felt the author's "we know better than everyone who came before us." missed the point of iterative science. It also turned off any reader who might actually be reading from an academic perspective. I also felt that they presented some styles of fictitious kin that work well for small groups (less than 150) as the best for everyone. I think their work would have been stronger if they had gone for more of a tone, "of there are many different styles, and we should be more open minded".

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Reading Progress

July 10, 2010 – Shelved
September 2, 2010 – Started Reading
September 4, 2010 – Finished Reading
September 5, 2010 – Shelved as: gblt-friendly
September 5, 2010 – Shelved as: tv-made-me-do-it

Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by Diane (new)

Diane This smugness also turned me off. It read like an editorial, not an approachable piece of research.

Valerie Hi Diane,

It has actually kept me from lending the book out...since it read more as a tract and less like a science book.

Kenley Raye I too find it very smug and I am having a hard time finishing. Plus some of the research is quite skewed and it is not as research pact as Id like. I love that it is easy to read and fill of humor but why is it so smug ? It's quite a turn off alon with the skewed research I ind this book ridiculous in a sense.

message 4: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Horrocks Interesting. Have read this book cover to cover once in one go, and at least 2 more times, a chapter, few paragraphs or pages at a time...Never felt this smug or condescending tone in the book that you speak of.

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