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Sperm Wars: Infidelity, Sexual Conflict, and Other Bedroom Battles Paperback – Special Edition, 13 Dec 2005

4.2 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; Revised edition (13 Dec. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1560258489
  • ISBN-13: 978-1560258483
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 12.7 x 19 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 89,627 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Robin Baker is a bestselling author in the field of sexual biology. From 1980-96 he was Reader in Zoology in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Manchester, and he has over a hundred scientific papers and magazine articles to his name. His work and ideas on the evolution of human behavior have been featured in many television and radio programs around the world.


Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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'Sperm Wars' is the type of book to give sociobiology a bad name. Of course, to many social scientists, rightly or wrongly, sociobiology already has a bad name. This is why the term is now rarely used and euphemisms such as behavioural ecology and evolutionary psychology were invented.

[I use the term sociobiology rather than the more fashionable terms evolutionary psychology and human behavioural ecology advisedly, because many of Baker's claims actually deal with physiology rather than psychology or behaviour and therefore, strictly speaking, fall outside the remit of behavioural ecology and psychology.]

Among the most familiar of the many charges levelled against evolutionary psychology are the claims, firstly, that evolutionary psychologists spin speculative untested (or even inherently untestable) 'just-so' stories, and, secondly, that evolutionary psychologists are so-called 'ultra-Darwinians' or 'Darwinian fundamentalists' who claim that every human trait is necessarily an adaptation. In general, these charges have little merit.

However, Sperm Wars, is the exception that proves the rule. For once, both these familiar charges have some merit.

In respect of virtually all of Baker's claims, an alternative non-adaptive explanation in which the characteristic in question is viewed as a by-product of more general purpose adaptations rather than itself adaptive is available and in some cases at least as plausible as Baker's own account.
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2 Comments 26 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
This is an absolutely excellent piece of work. Written in a detached and scientific style (a necessity given the emotive nature of the content) - this book captures the reader and retains them through it's novel structure and massively thought provoking content.
Sperm Wars leads us through a series of fictional sexual scenarios - and goes on to comment on them from a biological and evolutionary viewpoint - and their impact on the people involved. The scenarios are close to home - and the conclusions are hard hitting, uncomfortable and scientific - all at the same time.
This book gives the reader a unique and unromanticised view into the world of sex, and sexual selection - both in the human animal, and the rest of the animal kingdom in general. For all those who enjoyed the "Battle of the Sexes" chapter in Dawkin's Selfish Gene - this is the book for you. In fact, this is the book for anyone who is remotely interested in male and female sexual behaviour - but can probably only be fully appreciated in the light of Dawkin's book.
All in all, brilliant.
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Format: Paperback
Sperm Wars is essentially an evolutionary biology book which tries to explain various strategies men and women's bodies employ subconsciously to win an ongoing sexual arms race.

The book is written in a style where Baker describes a fictional scene (borrowing from newspaper articles, anecdotal evidence from friends, and other sources) which covers a specific sexual situation such as infidelity, homosexuality, rape, masturbation and so on, which is then analysed and interpreted from an evolutionary biology perspective.

The book suggests that an individual's body will employ a dynamic sexual reproductive strategy which is determined by its existing genetic characteristics, environment, opportunity and circumstance, with the ultimate aim of acquiring the best possible set of genes from a mate to pass on to future generations. The strategies discussed often involve subterfuge.

I personally found the book incredibly fascinating and extremely insightful in places, and definitely worth the read. Baker tackles a lot of issues in the book which are not typical reading for most people, most notably gang rape and paedophilia, which are quite graphic, but every issue is approached logically and analysed appropriately. No judgements are cast on any of the scenarios.

I assume most people will have stumbled on the book from one of two avenues, either by being interested initially by the sex chapter in Dawking's Selfish Gene, and probably having read the Red Queen by Matt Ridley, or Sex is Fun by Jared Diamond, with the second group of people being those who are working their way through the reading list of Neil Strauss from The Game. I would have thought people in the first category will get the most out of this book.
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By A Customer on 29 Dec. 2001
Format: Paperback
A thought provoking book .... it makes the issue with which it deals accessible and fun to read by describing different scenarios of people's sexuality. It is not bias and does not only discuss the stereotypes of men and women created by today's society, but is open and great for anyone interested in the sexual behaviour of men and women.
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Format: Paperback
Controversial? Yes. Uncomfortable reading? For some, yes. Though provoking? No question about it..
Sperm Wars is the natural extension to Dawkins' The Selfish Gene and Morris' The Naked Ape and is a must read for anyone interested in the field of socio-biology.
Enjoy.
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