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Sex at Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What It Means for Modern Relationships Paperback – 5 Jun 2012


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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (5 Jun 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061707813
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061707810
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.5 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 21,107 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

“Sex At Dawn is the single most important book about human sexuality since Alfred Kinsey unleashed Sexual Behavior in the Human Male on the American public in 1948.” (Dan Savage)

“Funny, witty, and light ... Sex at Dawn is a scandal in the best sense, one that will have you reading the best parts aloud and reassessing your ideas about humanity’s basic urges well after the book is done.” (Newsweek)

“Sex At Dawn challenges conventional wisdom about sex in a big way... This is a provocative, entertaining, and pioneering book. I learned a lot from it and recommend it highly.” (Andrew Weil, M.D., author of Healthy Aging)

“Sex At Dawn is a provocative and engaging synthesis... that has the added benefit of being a joy to read.... A book sure to generate discussion, and one likely to produce more than a few difficult conversations with family marriage counselors.” (Eric Michael Johnson, Seed Magazine)

“You clearly have an exciting book on your hands, whether people agree with it or not: these are issues that will need debating over and over before we will arrive at a resolution.” (Frans de Waal, author of The Age of Empathy)

“A wonderfully provocative and well-written book which completely re-evaluates human sexual behaviour and gets to the root of many of our social and psychological ills.” (Steve Taylor, author of The Fall and Waking From Sleep)

“One of the most original books I’ve read in years, Sex at Dawn manages to be both enormously erudite and wildly entertaining—even, frequently, hilarious. . . . A must-read for anyone interested in where our sexual impulses come from.” (Tony Perrottet, author of Napoleon's Privates)

“This paradigm-shifting book is a thoroughly original discussion of the origins and nature of human sexuality... These authors have a gift for making complex material reader-friendly, filling each chapter with humor and passion as well as dozens of revolutionary insights.” (Stanley Krippner, Ph.D.)

“Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha have written the essential corrective to the evolutionary psychology literature...” (Stanton Peele, Ph.D.)

From the Back Cover

In this controversial, thought-provoking, and brilliant book, renegade thinkers Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jethá debunk almost everything we “know” about sex, weaving together convergent, frequently overlooked evidence from anthropology, archaeology, primatology, anatomy, and psychosexuality to show how far from human nature monogamy really is. In Sex at Dawn, 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.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Andrew Beck on 24 Mar 2011
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book to try and understand why personal relationships are in such a crisis in our society. Whilst it's clearly - and unashamedly - written with an agenda in mind, it is very well researched and fully embedded in academic anthropology, containing many references to other academic publications.

Don't let that comment make you think it's a dusty publication, though. Anything but; the writing is lively, eminently readable and witty throughout. I enjoyed it as a read as such, but beyond that it put forward the alternative view to what the authors call the "standard narrative" of how intimate relationships work, very successfully. I found many answers and insights that as well as satisfying my curiosity, enable me to understand my own feelings and behaviours better than I did before I read the book. I shall be recommending it to friends and may even buy a few more copies to send to a few people close to me.

Be clear, this book explores, sets out and justifies views on attitudes and societal 'givens' that will challenge many people who ascribe to conventional viewpoints about intimate relationships and sexual behaviors. If you don't want these views and values challenged - don't read this book. On the other hand, if you are beginning to wonder why things just don't fit into the "standard narrative" for you - order a copy NOW. Standard wisdom is not necessarily right.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Ayeka Ramba on 24 Feb 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
i thought this would help me understand sex and dating....instead it brought insight to my life!, the first few chapters are tough but its so incredibly interesting thought provoking and by the end its like your heads been turned round and suddenly your looking at everybody else who is left upside down.......ive bought several copies for friends and family, people need to read this, for there own piece of mind! really its like hearing something which suddenly makes sense of everything around you, and has given me such piece of mind and understanding. great advances have been made in anthropological study and of human society and when you hear it...its clear as day why people are so confused and oppressed by recent social constructs which serve only to make people unhappy. please read this book and recommend it to everyone you know too!
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By TL on 31 Aug 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Once in a while a book comes a long and hits you in the soft bits. "Sex at Dawn" is a non-fiction book, but as enrapturing as any page turner. Despite the humour aimed at sexual double standards, an erotic sheen emanates from its pages.

So what does this book try to establish? 1. Monogamy and marriage are not necessarily the same 2. That humans' DNA and physical traits do not predispose them to monogamy 3. That hunter gather communities were peaceful and not marred by the squabble over resources and women that we see amongst "civilised" peoples.

"Sex at Dawn" succeeds with one and two. Monogamy and marriage are not the same. How one defines fidelity is very much how one person and their spouse/mate see it to be. Sex has both a functional purpose as well as a romantic purpose and a lustful purpose. Balancing all of these can be hell. Especially when one takes in to consideration statement 2: That humans are not monogamous gibbons or swans (swans aren't really that noble). Humans are horny chimps and bonobos in suits.

Three however - hum. To claim the rather anachro-anarchistic view that private property/agriculture creates wars, often at the expense of hunter/gatherers is problematic, but not without some foundation. It's an argument in need a book of its own. I felt the authors were stretching things a little here. But the book is so funny, well written and addictive that I was quick to forgive. It's also a more sensible view that the ridiculous "killer ape gene" theory bandied about, with its smacks of reactionary genetic determinism.

I would recommend reading this book to any adult of the Western world. It has the potential to spark something off.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Ml Ciszewski on 16 Feb 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Authors Chris Ryan and Cacilda Jetha prove what we all suspect - humans are not monogamous. The book shows scientific facts (no assumptions) researched thoroughly. If it wasn't for my aging eyes (I'm 30 but I don't wear glasses even though I should) I would definitely read it in one go. A fantastic read and eyeopener! I suspect that after reading this book (even though you probably won't change much in your day to day life) you'll have more understanding of human behavior. Suddenly you'll know the basis for most failed relationships and marriages.You will also be blown away by information about sexual life of different cultures (quite a few very interesting examples, proving the point).
Great Kindle price on Amazon! Can't miss it!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Julian Sturrock on 24 Sep 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
In this world in the perpetual contest between questions and answers it is the 'questions' that have clearly taken the lead; but Christopher Ryan, in this highly enlightening (and perhaps worrying too in some ways) book, has stuck in a few goals for the 'underdog' and narrowed down the gap.

Sex at Dawn demolishes chapter by chapter our accepted notions about sex, marriage and fidelity. Female sexuality and common and popular male fantasies are also explained... brilliantly.

At another level this work also questions the wisdom of mankind giving up his hunter-gatherer life for that of farm and factory - more food for thought.

I'm not going to say anymore except: buy this book... you won't be disappointed!
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