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Since Darwin's day, we've been told that sexual monogamy comes naturally to our species. Mainstream science-as well as religious and cultural institutions-has maintained that men and women evolved in families in which a man's possessions and protection were exchanged for a woman's fertility and fidelity. But this narrative is collapsing. Fewer and fewer couples are getting married, and divorce rates keep climbing as adultery and flagging libido drag down even seemingly solid marriages. How can reality be reconciled with the accepted narrative? It can't be, according to renegade thinkers Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jethå. While debunking almost everything we "know" about sex, they offer a bold alternative explanation in this provocative and brilliant book. Ryan and Jethå's central contention is that human beings evolved in egalitarian groups that shared food, child care, and, often, sexual partners. Weaving together convergent, frequently overlooked evidence from anthropology, archaeology, primatology, anatomy, and psychosexuality, the authors show how far from human nature monogamy really is. Human beings everywhere and in every era have confronted the same familiar, intimate situations in surprisingly different ways. The authors expose the ancient roots of human sexuality while pointing toward a more optimistic future illuminated by our innate capacities for love, cooperation, and generosity. With intelligence, humor, and wonder, Ryan and Jethå show how our promiscuous past haunts our struggles over monogamy, sexual orientation, and family dynamics. They explore why long-term fidelity can be so difficult for so many; why sexual passion tends to fade even as love deepens; why many middle-aged men risk everything for transient affairs with younger women; why homosexuality persists in the face of standard evolutionary logic; and what the human body reveals about the prehistoric origins of modern sexuality. In the tradition of the best historical and scientific writing, Sex at Dawn unapologetically upends unwarranted assumptions and unfounded conclusions while offering a revolutionary understanding of why we live and love as we do.
Table of Contents
Preface: A Primate Meets his Match (A note from one of the authors)
Introduction: Another Well-Intentioned Inquisition
A Few Million Years in a Few Pages
On the Origin of the Specious
Remember the Yucatán!
You Are What You Eat
What Darwin Didn't Know About Sex
The Flintstonization of Prehistory
What Is Evolutionary Psychology and Why Should You Care?
Lewis Henry Morgan
A Closer Look at the Standard Narrative of Human Sexual Evolution
How Darwin Insults Your Mother (The Dismal Science of Sexual Economics)
The Famously Flaccid Female Libido
Male Parental Investment (MPI)
"Mixed Strategies" in the War Between the Sexes
Extended Sexual Receptivity and Concealed Ovulation
The Ape in the Mirror
Primates and Human Nature
Doubting the Chimpanzee Model
In Search of Primate Continuity
Lust in Paradise (Solitary)
Who Lost What in Paradise?
On Getting Funky and Rockin' Round the Clock
Who's Your Daddies?
The Joy of S.E. Ex.
The Promise of Promiscuity
Making a Mess of Marriage, Mating, and Monogamy
Marriage: The "Fundamental Condition" of the Human Species?
On Matrimonial Whoredom
Paternity Certainty: The Crumbling Cornerstone of the Standard Narrative
Love, Lust, and Liberty at Lugu Lake
On the Inevitability of Patriarchy
The March of the Monogamous
Jealousy: A Beginner's Guide to Coveting Thy Neighbor's Spouse
How to Tell When a Man Loves a Woman
The Way we Weren't
"The Wealth of Nature" (Poor?)
Poor, Pitiful Me
The Despair of Millionaires
Finding Contentment "at the Bottom of the Scale of Human Beings"
The Selfish Meme (Nasty?)
The Tragedy of the Commons
Dreams of Perpetual Progress
Ancient Poverty or Assumed Affluence?
On Paleolithic Politics
The Never-Ending Battle over Prehistoric War (Brutish?)
Professor Pinker, Red in Tooth and Claw
The Mysterious Disappearance of Margaret Power
The Spoils of War
The Napoleonic Invasion (The Yanomami Controversy)
The Desperate Search for Hippie Hypocrisy and Bonobo Brutality
The Longevity Lie (Short?)
When Does Life Begin? When Does It End?
Is 80 the New 30?
Stressed to Death
Who You Calling a Starry-Eyed Romantic, Pal?
Bodies in Motion
Little Big Man
All's Fair in Love and Sperm War
The Truest Measure of a Man
Hard Core in the Stone Age
Sometimes a Penis Is Just a Penis
The Prehistory of O
"What Horrid Extravagancies of Minde!"
Beware the Devil's Teat
The Force Required to Suppress It
When Girls Go Wild
Female Copulatory Vocalization
Sin Tetas, No Hay Paraíso
Men Are From Africa, Women are from Africa
On Mona Lisa's Mind
The Pervert's Lament
Just Say What?
Kellogg's Guide to Child Abuse
The Curse of Calvin Coolidge
The Perils of Monotomy (Monogamy + Monotony)
A Few More Reasons I Need Somebody New (Just Like You)
Confronting the Sky Together
Everybody Out of the Closet
The Marriage of the Sun and the Moon
References and Suggested Further Reading
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