A Natural History of Rape: Biological Bases of Sexual Coercion Paperback – 20 Jun 2001
- Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
- Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
- Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
- Dispatch to this address when you check out
Customers who bought this item also bought
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
In the past three decades the notion that rape is a crime of misogynistic violence rather than of misguided lust has gone from being a cutting-edge feminist theory to being an accepted criminological fact. So widespread and pervasive is this view of rape, accepted by politicians, judges and educators alike, to challenge it is to risk academic ostracism.
Now two American biologists, Randy Thornhill and Craig Palmer, have risked precisely that. Their carefully weighed thesis is that rape is not the culturally learned behaviour of conditioned woman-haters, rather it is a Darwinian adaptation, an instinctive behaviourism typical of males (of many species) seeking to mate and propagate with otherwise unavailable fertile young females. In other words, rape IS sexual.
Predictably, this theory has caused outrage. Feminist lawyers says it gives rapists a "genetic excuse"; feminist academics say it ignores male-on-male rape, and rape of non-fertile females. In response to such expected critiques Thornhill and Palmer have adduced a persuasive mass of evidence from fields as diverse as zoology, psychology and haute couture. And the facts are truly curious. Did you know that women dress more skimpily during ovulation?
This is not a flawless text. It is too reductive. The writing is thick with scientific jargon: you should know the meanings of 'morphological' and 'phenotype' before you start. And sometimes the book becomes a bit of a rant against the "closed minds" of its politically correct opponents. But maybe that is to quibble too much: this is still an exhilarating and exciting book; it is also a very courageous attempt to throw some scientific light on a treacherously murky subject. --Sean Thomas --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
-- Steven Pinker, Professor of Psychology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and author of "How the Mind Works" and "Words and Rules"
" This is a courageous, intelligent, and eye-opening book with a noble goal -- to understand and eliminate a loathsome crime. Armed with logic and copious data, Thornhill and Palmer will force many intellectuals to decide which they value more: established dogma and ideology, or the welfare of real women in the real world." -- Steven Pinker, Professor of Psychology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and author of "How the Mind Works" and "Words and Rules"
& quot; This is a courageous, intelligent, and eye-opening book with a noble goal -- to understand and eliminate a loathsome crime. Armed with logic and copious data, Thornhill and Palmer will force many intellectuals to decide which they value more: established dogma and ideology, or the welfare of real women in the real world.& quot; -- Steven Pinker, Professor of Psychology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and author of How the Mind Works and Words and Rules
"This is a courageous, intelligent, and eye-opening book with a noble goal--to understand and eliminate a loathsome crime. Armed with logic and copious data, Thornhill and Palmer will force many intellectuals to decide which they value more: established dogma and ideology, or the welfare of real women in the real world."--Steven Pinker, Professor of Psychology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and author of "How the Mind Works" and "Words and Rules"
Top customer reviews
Why bother to read a theory so universally rejected by the feminist 'experts' and assorted professional damned fools quoted in the media? Doing so would only financially benefit its loathsome authors and their equally loathsome publisher. Moreover, its thesis was so self-evidently misguided, as the 'experts' quoted in the popular press helpfully explained, that there was no need to read it for oneself.
Unfortunately, although its thesis as portrayed in the media may indeed have been self-evidently wrongheaded, this thesis bore surprisingly little resemblance to the book’s actual contents – perhaps because those not bothering to read the book for themselves evidently included most of those taking it upon themselves to write about it.
'Rape: A Natural History' thus became, much like Sociobiology: The New Synthesis and The Bell Curve before it, a book much read about – but rarely actually read.
However, whereas readers can be excused opting to skip both Wilson’s 'Sociobiology' or Herrnstein and Murray’s 'Bell Curve', since both were weighty tomes whose size alone would deter casual readers, the same is not true of 'Rape: A Natural History'.
Although decidedly not a work of 'popular science' as it was disparagingly dismissed by some critics, 'Rape: A Natural History' is concise and accessible. It also provides a good general introduction to evolutionary psychology in general and the study of mating behaviour in particular.
The Naturalistic Fallacy
The most preposterous misconception regarding 'Rape: A Natural History' is that the book sought to, or has the effect of, justifying rape. This claim is widely repeated. Thus, Emily Martin asserts, “their account actually amounts to an incitement to rape” (Evolution, Gender, and Rape: p378).
In the opening sentence of their Preface, Thornhill and Palmer declare their desire “to see rape eradicated from human life” (xi). They also devote a chapter to discussing the trauma of rape and three further chapters to discussing means of reducing rape.
The assumption that an evolutionary theory of rape amounts to a justification of rape represents a version of the 'naturalistic fallacy', whereby it is assumed that, if something is 'natural', this makes it good.
Yet diseases are also natural, in that they are caused by biological organisms (bacteria, viruses) seeking themselves to maximise their reproductive success by replicating and spreading among hosts.
Yet nobody concludes that dying early from preventable diseases is desirable, even though this was the 'natural' outcome before the introduction of such 'unnatural' interventions as penicillin and chemotherapy.
Likewise, no one accuses biomedical researchers of “justifying disease” by seeking to understand its causes. We understand that only by understanding the causes of disease can we produce cures and treatments. The same then is surely true of efforts to understand rape.
Thornhill and Palmer conclude, “the naturalistic fallacy has been described and discredited so many times that [academics] who continue to evince it… should be dismissed on the basis of lack of scholarship” (p122).
Is Rape an Adaptation?
An even more widespread misrepresentation of Thornhill and Palmer’s work is that they argue that rape is an evolutionary adaptation in humans.
In fact, the authors conclude there are two plausible evolutionary explanations for rape:
1) The behaviour is an adaptation; or
2) The behaviour is a by-product of psychological mechanisms that are themselves adaptive but evolved for purposes other than rape.
Randy Thornhill, together with his ex-wife Nancy, is the leading champion of the theory that rape is an adaptation. However, co-author, Craig Palmer, is the leading opponent of this theory within evolutionary psychology.
These are the ONLY two plausible explanations for rape.
The main alternative, namely what Thornhill and Palmer term “the social science explanation of rape” (or “feminist psychosocial explanation”) is itself a version of the by-product theory – because the social learning mechanism on which it relies must itself have evolved through natural selection and itself therefore represents an adaptation of which rape is a by-product.
The real question then is whether rape is itself an adaptation or a non-adaptive by-product of other adaptations – and, if so, which adaptations?
The authors approve George C Williams’s principle that “complex traits should be considered adaptations only if they cannot be accounted for as by-products” (p61), a conclusion derived from the general scientific principle of parsimony or 'Occam’s Razor' (see Adaptation and Natural Selection).
Since the authors agree that there is not as yet any evidence for rape adaptation in humans, we must provisionally conclude that rape is not an adaptation because all aspects of the behaviour currently known can be explained adequately as a by-product of more general-purpose adaptations.
Rape as By-Product?
Rape may be a by-product of many different adaptations. For example, rape is obviously a by-product of the capacity to have sex, which is itself obviously adaptive. Similarly, body-size dimorphism facilitates male-on-female rape, yet evolved for other reasons.
Perhaps the most important adaptation of which rape is a by-product is the greater male desire for commitment-free promiscuous sex with multiple partners (p62).
Basic Evolutionary Psychology 101 asserts that males benefit reproductively by mating with multiple fertile females, but a female, burdened by gestation plus lactation, can only usually bear one offspring at a time, and therefore is more selective over prospective partners (Trivers 1972; Clark & Hatfield 1989).
On this view, rape reflects the conflict of interest between the sexes when males want to mate with females who don’t want to mate with them.
To prove that rape in humans is an adaptation requires, Thornhill and Palmer contend, evidence of a phenotypic feature in the human male that facilitates rape but serves no other adaptive function (p63).
For Thornhill and Palmer, the scorpion fly’s 'notal organ' represents the quintessential exemplar of such an adaptation. This seems to be because Randy Thornhill himself published the research establishing that the notal organ was indeed rape-specific – i.e. that males without the organ cannot rape, but can still have consensual sex (see Thornhill 1980).
However, this is by no means the only known rape-specific adaptation in nature. Some of the most remarkable are found in a more familiar family of species, namely ducks ('Anatidae'), among whom so-called 'forced copulations' are endemic.
Indeed, among ducks, the penis itself may represent a rape-specific adaptation.
Other bird species lack penises. Thus, mating usually requires mutual cooperation by both parties. Ducks may have re-evolved penises specifically for enabling or facilitating rape.
Some drakes possess elaborate penises (e.g. with spines, ridges, corkscrews) whose shape is thought to facilitate successful mating with a recalcitrant partner. Penis-size and elaboration in different species of ducks correlates with the frequency of forced copulations observed in that species (Brennan et al 2007).
The Argentine Lake duck even boasts a penis that, when fully uncoiled and erect, is said to be about as long as the duck himself. The full function of this peculiar appendage remains unknown, but one (implausible) suggestion is that it is used to lasso recalcitrant potential mates.
Meanwhile, female ducks evolved counter-adaptations to reduce the risk, if not of rape, then of resulting conception – e.g. a corkscrew vagina twisting in the opposite direction to that of the male penis, and false passages ('dead ends') in the female oviduct (i.e. an internal maze to prevent a male from successfully fertilizing a female without her cooperation) (Brennan et al 2009). As a result, comparatively few rapes result in conception (Brennan et al 2007).
This process of genital elaboration has been termed a 'genital arms race'.
Human Rape Adaptations?
The authors agree that there is, as yet, no evidence of rape-specific adaptations in humans (p61). However, they discuss several plausible candidates for future research.
Unlike the genital adaptations of ducks or notal organs of scorpion flies, they conclude that any rape adaptation in humans is likely to be psychological, not physiological. The closest the authors come to proposing a physiological adaptation is their suggestion that rapists may increase the size of ejaculates during rape compared to during consensual mating due to the greater probability of sperm competition (p74).
Rape Motives – Sex or Power?
The issue of the evolutionary function of rape is sometimes confused with that of the motivations for rape.
However, sociobiological theories of rape entail no necessary conclusions regarding the motivations of rapists. This is to confuse the ultimate and proximate levels of causation. Rapes, howsoever motivated, can still still function to spread the genes of the rapist.
Indeed, Shields and Shields, two of the earliest researchers to apply sociobiological theory to human rape, actually concurred with the feminists that “proximately rape appears to be motivated by male hostility” and “is a violent rather than a sexual act”, but still concluded that rape was biologically adaptive (Shields and Shields 1983).
Indeed, from a Darwinian perspective, the motivation of the individual is irrelevant since it has no fitness consequences (save for the caloric costs of maintaining the psychological state). All that matters, in fitness terms, is the actual behaviour the psychological state motivates.
Indeed, for non-human species, motives are a 'black box', since non-humans are incapable of explaining their motivations in questionnaires/interviews.
Thus, whether ducks rape out of lust or to purposely perpetuate 'Duck Patriarchy' remains ultimately unknowable.
In reality, however, the case for a partially sexual motivation in the vast majority of rapes seems overwhelming.
To talk of rape as either a sexual or a violent act is to confuse the motive for a behaviour with the means of achieving this motive.
Rapes typically involve both sex and violence. Violence is the means; sex is the end.
Thus, the authors conclude, “if the same 'logic'… were to be applied to prostitution, people would be asserting that going to a prostitute is an 'act of altruism, not sex'”, since it involves paying money (p132).
Some rapists may indeed be motivated partly by a desire to dominate in addition to sexual desire. Indeed, the desire to dominate may itself represent a form of sexual desire, as in the 'domination fetish' in BDSM. However, lust almost always has a role in rape. Otherwise the offender would choose a non-sexual form of assault.
Ultimately, the involvement of an erect penis, a prerequisite for most forms of rape, surely represents prima facie evidence for sexual motivation.
'The Madness of Feminists'
The most famous exponent of the feminist thesis that rape is about anger rather than sex is Susan Brownmiller, who claims rape "is nothing more or less than a conscious process of intimidation by which all men keep all women in a state of fear" (Against Our Will: p15).
This reference to “all men” and “all women” suggests that a man benefits from (and would presumably welcome) the rape of his wife, sister or daughter by a stranger. This claim is wildly implausible, not only from the perspective of anyone with a modicum of sanity or common-sense (i.e. anyone other than a feminist, a sociologist or the inmate of a lunatic asylum), but also from a Darwinian perspective, given the concomitant diminution of his own inclusive fitness that would result from the rape of a close relative.
Steven Pinker dismisses the wider “rape-is-not-about-sex doctrine” as likely to “go down in history as an example of extraordinary popular delusions and the madness of crowds” (The Blank Slate: p262).
Personally, I suspect it is less a case of “popular delusions” and “the madness of crowds” than of “academic delusions” and “the madness of feminists” – since it is a delusion, I suspect, largely restricted this class (along with those among the semi-educated public who seek to affect an air of intellectualism by aping the latter’s affections).
I doubt the proverbial 'average man on the street' harbours any illusions regarding the motives of rapists. Indeed, I suspect the 'average man on the street' (with an emphasis on 'man') is, for all his genuine abhorrence of rape, all too able to comprehend the motives of rapists. On this view, it is no surprise that the theory that rape is not motivated by sexual desire was formulated by women not men.
Resistance as a Mate-Selection Mechanism
One particularly controversial theory holds that female resistance to rape itself functions as a mate-selection mechanism.
On this view, “a female, in sheerly Darwinian terms, is better off mating with a good rapist, a big strong sexually aggressive male; her male offspring will then be more likely to be big strong and sexually aggressive… and therefore prolific… so female resistance should be favored by natural selection as a way to avoid having a son who is an inept rapist” (The Moral Animal: p52).
Thus, Robin Baker proposes, “the only way a woman’s body can select out the most successful of rapists is to do everything possible to avoid being raped” and “a woman who follows this overall strategy is unlikely to fall victim to any but the most cunning, determined and competent of rapists” (Sperm Wars:p318).
On this view, rape resistance represents itself an (unconscious) form of female choice.
Some evidence supports this conclusion. First, women seem to be more likely to conceive from rape than from consensual sex (Gottschall & Gottschall 2003).
Second, victims of 'completed' date-rape are paradoxically more likely to remain in a sexual relationship with their aggressor than those who resisted their partner’s advances (Wilson & Durrenberger 1982; Ellis et al 2009).
However, Thornhill and Palmer question whether rape resistance would be an effective mate-selection mechanism. First, greater male upper-body strength means that overcoming female resistance may not be an especially discriminating method of mate-selection.
Thus, given the injury risk, they conclude, “there are many easier and less costly ways for females to gain phenotypic and genetic information about males from males’ non-coercive signals and from the outcomes of male-male antagonistic interactions” (p83-4).
On this view, since it bypasses both female choice ('intersexual selection') and male-male competition ('intrasexual selection'), rape can be conceptualized as a third hitherto unrecognised form of sexual selection (p54).
'Playing Hard to Get'
However, Thornhill and Palmer endorse the notion that “the female strategy might… include displaying to physically attractive males an unwillingness to mate” which “function[s] as a signal to the male that the female is discriminating about mates, which may increase the man’s perception of her value in terms of paternity reliability, and thus may result in her getting more material benefits from the male” (p70).
This may explain why, contrary to feminist dogma, women do indeed sometimes say 'no' when they mean 'yes' (Muehlenhard & Hollabaugh 1988). It might also explain the paradoxical prevalence of rape fantasies among women (Bivona & Critelli 2009).
If rape is an adaption, then so might be women’s responses to rape. Indeed, even if rape is not an adaptation, women may still have evolved counter-adaptations to rape – so long as, adaptation or by-product, rape occurred frequently enough to exert selective pressures on females.
Just as female ducks evolved genital adaptations to counter rape, women may have evolved to minimise the risk of rape, because rape potentially denies them choice over the paternity of their offspring, over the timing of reproduction, and the opportunity to demand material benefits in exchange for sex/reproduction (p86).
Thus, some studies suggest, during the most fertile period of their ovulatory cycles, women avoid potentially risky activities (e.g. travelling alone), and this tendency is especially prevalent among young fertile women/girls (p100-3) – despite the fact that women are, in other respects, more sexually active, and receptive to sexual advances, during this period.
Thornhill and Palmer focus especially on one particular postulated female counter-adaption to rape – namely the psychological pain rape inflicts.
The authors conceptualize “psychological pain” as “an adaptation that defends against the circumstances that reduced the reproductive success of individuals in human evolutionary history” (p95).
I have a problem with this analysis.
Only fear and avoidance of rape is likely to be selected for directly, not the distress that accompanies or follows rape. Indeed, the latter could be dismissed as, from a Darwinian perspective, 'Too Little, Too Late' and an indication that avoidance mechanisms have failed.
Distress is only to the evolutionary advantage of the victim if either the anticipation of such distress, or the memory of such distress during previous episodes of rape, motivates a woman to avoid rape in the future.
Yet the extent of one’s fear regarding a possible future occurrence does not perfectly correlate with the extent of distress that actually either accompanies or follows the event itself.
Moreover, the long-term trauma that supposedly follows rape is surely biologically maladaptive if it interferes with the victim’s ability to continue her ordinary day-to-day reproductive activities (e.g. raising children and forming sexual relationships with other males).
Thus, if evolutionary considerations predict that rape should be traumatic, they also suggest that any trauma should be either short-term, or not so intense as to prevent future successful reproductive outcomes.
Trauma from Different Categories of Rape
Thornhill and Palmer make various predictions regarding the levels of distress suffered by different classes of rape victims.
1) Age of Victims
First, they propose that reproductive-age victims will experience greater distress than pre-pubertal or post-menopausal victims (p89-90) and are also more likely to strenuously resist rape (p93).
This claim is contrary to the conventional assumption that child sexual abuse is the most traumatic form of rape. However, the horror with which child sexual abuse is viewed probably has more to do with the revulsion such acts evoke in most adults than with the trauma experienced by victims themselves. This also accords with the findings of the infamous Rind et al meta-analysis, which found that the trauma experienced by victims of child sexual abuse was neither intense nor pervasive (Rind et al 1998).
2) Vaginal vs Non-Vaginal Rape
Second, they propose that victims, or at least reproductive-age victims, will experience greater distress from vaginal intercourse, than from anal or oral penetration (p93-94).
However, this begs the question: If women evolved to feel greater distress at vaginal rape because of its potential reproductive consequences, then why have rapists not evolved to rape in this manner exclusively for precisely the same reasons? Indeed, why do people ever engage in non-reproductive forms of sex?
The answer is that non-vaginal sex mimics the sensations of vaginal sex and therefore provides a substitute that is capable of providing similar pleasure to the real thing. In short, we are fooling our evolved psychologies, just as when we use contraception.
However, if female rape victims have evolved to feel greater distress at potentially reproductive sex than at non-reproductive forms of sex, then this suggests that their evolved psychology is not fooled. But if the victims’ evolved psychology is not fooled into thinking that oral/anal sex is real sex, then why is that of the rapist (or the consensual sex partner)?
If victims feel greater distress from vaginal rape, does this mean rapists (or consensual sex partners) receive greater pleasure from vaginal sex?
Hinting at this conclusion, Thornhill and Palmer present data showing that reproductive-age victims are more likely to be victims of vaginal rape than victims of other ages (p93). They also show that reproductive age victims are vastly overrepresented among the victims of rape generally (p71-3).
3) Relationship Status
Thirdly, they propose that victims currently in long-term relationships will experience more distress than those who are single – because rape threatens their relationship, by potentially burdening their long-term partner with 'cuckoos in the nest' and raising doubts as to her faithfulness (p90-1).
However, an evolutionist might equally plausibly hypothesize that woman currently in a relationship would suffer less distress from rape – because she has a long-term partner to assist in raising any resulting offspring, especially if she can persuade the latter that he is the biological father, perhaps by covering up the rape.
Interestingly, this analysis suggests that, in fitness terms, the loss suffered by the rape victim’s long-term partner may be as great as that of the rape victim herself.
If the rape results in conception, the rape victim loses only the ability to choose the paternity of her offspring, timing of reproduction etc. However, victim’s long-term partner may lose the ability to reproduce altogether for the duration of her pregnancy and lactation with another man’s child and may misdirect parental investment in the resulting stepchild.
This explains why the rape of a married woman was traditionally viewed as an offence, not against the woman, but against her husband. From a Darwinian perspective, such laws actually make a good deal of sense.
If the rape victim’s long-term partner suffers a potential fitness penalty as great as that of the rape victim herself, does he suffer comparable emotional distress? Who then is the real victim?
Finally, and most counterintuitively, they propose that women in current relationships will experience greater distress if less violence was employed in the assault, as this casts doubt on the victim’s claim that the episode was non-consensual.
In their opening sentence, Thornhill and Palmer declare their desire “to see rape eradicated from human life” (pxi).
However, they later acknowledge, “the ethnographic evidence indicates that some frequency of rape is typical of Homo Sapiens and… there is no evidence of a truly rape-free society” (p142). This suggests rape cannot be completely eradicated, at least in the absence of eugenically reengineering human nature itself.
However, rape can be reduced – and in the penultimate section of their book the authors propose various ways of doing so.
In general, their proposals are wholly impractical. They include education programmes informing women of the consequences of dressing in a certain way (p181-3) and claustration, seclusion and chaperones (p185-6).
More realistic are proposals to deter rape through the criminal justice system. If men have evolved to rape, then surely they have also evolved to respond to incentives, punishment included.
Applying sociobiological theory to the criminal justice system, Thornhill and Palmer conclude that the most effective forms of deterrent are those penalties that restrict or prevent future reproductive opportunities (p165-5).
Thus, incarceration in single-sex prisons is a good idea – but 'conjugal visits' aren’t.
Such forms of punishment may also have a positive eugenic effect, given the substantial heritability of criminal behaviours (Mason and Frick 1994).
On the other hand, prisoners aren’t wholly prevented from raping. In fact, rape is endemic in the American prison system. Its victims are, however, not women and girls, but overwhelmingly men and boys.
Of course, such rapes have little reproductive or sociobiological significance and the victims are male and mostly themselves criminals. However, is this any reason not to care about the victims?
The Case for Castration
The authors also discuss the use of chemical castration as a punishment (p165-7).
The usual objection to castration is that does not prevent reoffending, because incapacitated offenders merely rape with objects rather than penises. However, this seems to rest on the assumption that rape is not motivated by sexual desire, a doubtful assumption.
Thus, it is not that castration has an 'incapacitative' effect, preventing the offender from sustaining an erection, but that it has a 'rehabilitative' effect in reducing the offenders desire to rape in the first place.
Moreover, even if rape were motivated by dominance or aggression rather than sexual desire, castration may still reduce rape, because castration, chemical or surgical, reduces circulating androgens (e.g. testosterone), which have themselves been associated with aggressive and dominance behaviours as well as with sexual motivation. Indeed, the association between androgens and aggressive/dominance behaviours suggests that castration may also be effective in reducing recidivism for violent offenders as well as sex offenders.
Also, to the extent it precludes future reproduction, castration would have a eugenic effect, since criminal behaviours are known to be partly heritable (Mason & Frick 1994).
Finally, given its reproductive implications, castration would surely also have a major deterrent effect. Thus, Becktrom equates castration with “in sociobiological terms, personal reproductive death” (Darwinism Applied: Evolutionary Paths to Social Goals: p62).
Castration may even be psychologically beneficial to the offender himself, freeing him from a compulsive sexual desire that he unable to fully satisfy. This is especially so for offenders with deviant sexual desires (e.g. paedophiles), for whom castration may free the offender from a sexual compulsion that he can never satisfy without inflicting harm on innocent others, and probable punishment and imprisonment, not to mention public loathing, on himself.
Brennan et al 2007 Coevolution of Male and Female Genital Morphology in Waterfowl PLoS ONE 2(5): e418.
Brennan et al 2009 Explosive eversion and functional morphology of the duck penis supports sexual conflict in waterfowl genitalia Proceedings of the Royal Society London B 277(1686): 1309-1314
Bivona & Critelli 2009 The nature of women's rape fantasies: an analysis of prevalence, frequency, and contents Journal of Sex Research 46(1):33-45
Clark & Hatfield 1989 Gender differences in receptivity to sexual offers Journal of Psychology and Human Sexuality 2(1):39-55
Ellis, Widmayer & Palmer (2008) Perpetrators of Sexual Assault Continuing to Have Sex With Their Victims Following the Initial Assault International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology 53(4):454-63
Gottschall & Gottschall (2003). "Are per-incident rape-pregnancy rates higher than per-incident consensual pregnancy rates?". Human Nature 14:1–2
Mason & Frick 1994 The heritability of antisocial behavior: A meta-analysis of twin and adoption studies Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment 16(4):301–323
Muehlenhard & Hollabaugh 1988 Do women sometimes say no when they mean yes? The prevalence and correlates of women's token resistance to sex. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 1988 54(5):872-9.
Rind et al (1998). "A Meta-Analytic Examination of Assumed Properties of Child Sexual Abuse Using College Samples. Psychological Bulletin. 124(1):22–53
Shields & Shields (1983). Forcible rape: An evolutionary perspective. Ethology and Sociobiology4:115–136.
Thornhill R 1980 Rape in Panorpa scorpionflies and a general rape hypothesis. Animal Behaviour 28(1): 52–9
Trivers, R.L. (1972). Parental investment and sexual selection. In B. Campbell (Ed.), Sexual selection and the descent of man 1871-1971 (pp136–179). Chicago, IL: Aldine
Wilson & Durrenberger (1982). Comparison of rape and attempted rape victims. Psychological Reports 50:198-9.
On the contrary, rape is a horrific crime --- and the authors explain why it is so horrific. But trying to prevent or reduce rape whilst we accept --- without rational argument --- the 'social sciences position', that rape is all about power and nothing to do with sex, is doomed to failure.
Any reasonable person can see that this book does not justify rape (Nothing can --- not even the Marquis de Sade). I would say that a man reading this book would if anything, be less likely to use any form of sexual coercion, and more ashamed of having done so. I suspect this book comes closer than any other to suggesting positive action that we could take to reduce the expression of part of our evolved biology in this most hideous form. Texts based on ideology, however, cannot help us: our genes came from natural, not political selection.
If you are looking for a sexual thrill, a justification for unacceptable behaviour, if you cannot stand to have your ideas challenged, or even if you are not interested in reading academic books --- leave this well alone. Otherwise read it.
This book exposes an important truth. It will be ignored and suppressed. Help prevent that happening by reading it.
The authors go in depth as to describing why evolutionary biology has been used as a approach to describe Rape and compare it other works on the subject (sometimes a bit too ostentatious though).
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Look for similar items by category
- Books > Health, Family & Lifestyle > Medical & Healthcare Practitioners
- Books > Health, Family & Lifestyle > Psychology & Psychiatry > Schools of Thought > Evolutionary Psychology
- Books > Health, Family & Lifestyle > Psychology & Psychiatry > Specific Topics > Sexual Behaviour
- Books > Health, Family & Lifestyle > Women's Health & Lifestyle > Violence against Women
- Books > Science & Nature > Biological Sciences > Evolution
- Books > Science & Nature > Popular Science > Human Biology
- Books > Scientific, Technical & Medical > Biology > Human Biology
- Books > Society, Politics & Philosophy > Psychology Textbooks
- Books > Society, Politics & Philosophy > Social Sciences > Anthropology > Physical
- Books > Society, Politics & Philosophy > Social Sciences > Gender Studies
- Books > Society, Politics & Philosophy > Social Sciences > Law & Disorder > Criminology