- Paperback: 176 pages
- Publisher: Basic Books (25 Sept. 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0465031269
- ISBN-13: 978-0465031269
- Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 1 x 20.3 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 161,152 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- See Complete Table of Contents
Why Is Sex Fun?: The Evolution of Human Sexuality (Science Masters S.) Paperback – 25 Sep 1998
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A fascinating insight into how human sexuality came to be the way it is now - Jared Diamond explains why we are different from the animal kingdom. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
From the Inside Flap
Why are humans one of the few species to have sex in private? Why do humans have sex any day of the month or year, including when the female is pregnant, beyond her reproductive years, or between her fertile cycles? Why are human females one of the few mammals to go through menopause?
Human sexuality seems normal to us but it is bizarre by the standards of other animals. Jared Diamond argues that our strange sex lives were as crucial to our rise to human status as were our large brains. He also describes the battle of the sexes in the human and animal world over parental care, and why sex differences in the genetic value of parental care provide a biological basis for the all-too-familiar different attitudes of men and women towards extramarital sex. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Why does Professor Diamond repeatedly characterise the reader as a unimaginative dolt? Each question in the book is introduced like this:
1. The author makes an observation about human sexuality
2. He imagines the book's reader giving an simple-minded reply.
3. The Professor explains why the question is more complex than you, the reader, had thought.
4. Now, the answer.
After a while this device started to wear on me. Why does he assume that people who read his books are unable to think for themselves? Does he really believe that all (most?) of his readers will have the same knee-jerk reaction to the questions he poses? The worst example is the question of concealed ovulation; the text asks why this would evolve when it leads to inefficiently permanent receptivity. In answer to this question the author has the reader exclaim "Obviously because it's fun!" after which he takes a whole page to explain why "having fun" isn't a valid evolutionary explaination. Excuse me, Professor Diamond, I'm reading a book entitled "Why is sex fun?" and seventy pages in you don't credit me the intelligence of wanting an answer.Read more ›
I don't wish to detract from the very cogent arguments that are postulated, but the title remains unanswered, and for that reason i was left disappointed. Perhaps much like the unrequited orgasm, i was left wanting.
It's a pity, because Diamond is a very insightful writer - perhaps a bit doom and gloom if you read Collapse - but i really wanted an answer from him; i was begging from an answer, a succint answer that never came.
Otherwise a good read.
Diamond sets up his explanations with assumptions of what he believes the reader assumes or feels, none of which relate to my own thoughts and opinions and I found being told what I was thinking to be irritating. It also detracts from the interesting points he raises.
The discussion of some of the genetic reasons behind human sexual behaviour is thorough and fascinating. However, the question 'why is sex fun?' is not specifically about behaviour. There is no mention of the 'fun' involved; particularly surprising being the lack of discussion or even mention of orgasm. There are good reasons cited for the amount of sex people have, the reasons for people staying together and the reasons for wanting more than one partner, but absolutely nothing about how or why it is FUN.
I was left still asking the questions I hoped I'd find answers to in the book. Why do women orgasm? for example. There is plenty on females being receptive to sex but nothing on us enjoying it. How do our sexualities develop and define our pleasure? Do other animals have 'fun'? Is it unusual for the female to orgasm? How would our behaviour be different if it was merely a basic drive that wasn't as much 'fun' (like eating or hunting.)
Had the book been differently titled, I wouldn't have been disappointed. I'd have seen it as an excellent collection of theories and facts about human sexual behaviour and how we compare to other animals. But I kept waiting for the title essay to appear and it never did.
He takes his readers on a lucid trip through the evolutionary and cultural history of human sexuality. The "political correctness" mentioned by another reviewer seems to me to be sheer playfulness, rather than to be taken so seriously. (He does seem to be such a nice man!).
However, the real core of the book (for me) is when he draws on his own anthropological expertise to illustrate the range of sexual practices that exist around the world in different cultures and how these can shed light on our own sexual natures. Hugely entertaining and really makes you think.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fascinating read. A smart man explains complicated things in an approachable way. I found out about it because a colleague assigns it as reading in an evolutionary biology class... Read morePublished 5 months ago by JW
Plenty of anthropolitical analysis but it doesn't answer the qyuestion.Published 17 months ago by D Michael Sheath
Jared Diamond continues where Dawkins feared to tread. He has just dissected the reasons why human beings (the Third Chimpanzee) mates continuously, recklessly, pointlessly a lot... Read morePublished on 4 Nov. 2014 by movedbymortensen
I usually like Jared Diamond books, but this one just wasn't as informative or funny as I usually find him to be. Read morePublished on 8 Sept. 2012 by mcmeg12
Sexual reproduction is a key factor in the survival and development of life on Earth, a shuffling of the genetic pack that gives organisms a better chance to deal with evolutionary... Read morePublished on 12 April 2012 by Iain S. Palin
Sex is urgent, demanding, sometimes pleasurable, but fun? No, I would not call sex fun. By calling sex fun I think Professor Diamond skips over the very essence of sex which is... Read morePublished on 3 Jan. 2009 by Dennis Littrell
From it's purile title to its rambling, boring arguments and hopeless lack of any kind of conclusion this book is a real shocker. Read morePublished on 30 Aug. 2007 by M. Roberts
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