Why Is Sex Fun?: The Evolution Of Human Sexuality (SCIENCE MASTERS) Paperback – 16 Aug 2001
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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.
About the Author
Jared Diamond is Professor of Physiology at the Medical School of the University of California, Los Angeles. Trained in phsyiology, he later took up the study of ecology and has made fundamental contributions to both disciplines. He is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences and the author of The Rise and Fall of the Third Chimpanzee (which won the British Science Book Prize in 1992) and Guns, Germs and Steel: A Short History of Everybody for the last 13,000 Years, also a winner in 1998.
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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 ›
Diamond's theme is that human sexuality is not just different from that of the other animals, but almost drastically so. Reproductive strategies range from 'r' [sow 'em and forget 'em] through 'K' [no sacrifice is too great] with humans almost the ultimate K practitioners. Evolutionary pressures on a creature that wasn't a good predator but fine prey led us down a path resulting in a massive investment in raising offspring.
What are the implications of our version of sexual techniques? Human beings have evolved in a way that natural sexual signals have been buried out of sight. It's called concealed ovulation and methods of pinpointing when a woman was likely to conceive weren't developed until this century. Fish, birds, and other mammals [particularly baboons] exhibit colours, engage in ceremonial displays or have other visible indications that the time is right! But humans keep it a big secret. Is there a valid reason?
And when a sexual coupling has generated a foetus, we put more time, energy and resources to its birthing and upbringing than nearly any other animal.Read more ›
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.
There is still a question mark left in the last chapter though.... and for those of you looking for porny pictures.. there aren't any - just pleasant grown-up humour.
Not a page scorcher to keep... but for tucking beside Richard Dawkins... yes.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Plenty of anthropolitical analysis but it doesn't answer the qyuestion.Published 5 months ago by D Michael Sheath
Quite interesting but rather long winded and not really a very appropriate title.Published 13 months ago by Amazon Customer
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
In absence of the title, i found this book to be fascinating and insightful to a lay-person. The descriptions of the sexual practices of other animals and creatures in opposition... Read morePublished on 10 Jan. 2011 by J. McGLINCHEY
Why is sex fun? is interesting, but it lacks an answer to the question posed in the title. The evolution of regular sex during non fertile times, female 'receptivity' regardless... Read morePublished on 29 Mar. 2009 by Gingham Ribbon
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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