Monday, November 14, 2011

Sex and Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality, Christopher Ryan, PhD and Cacilda Jetha, MD

Title:  Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality
Author:  Christopher Ryan, PhD and Cacilda Jetha, MD
Pages:  432
Genre:  Nonfiction
Source:  My Kindle
Why I picked it up:  I saw a post and/or tweet from Rebecca at "The Book Lady's Blog".
What you'll love:  Informative, Interesting.
What will bug you:  I think there's more to marriage than sex.

I don't typically read nonfiction.  I usually prefer to get lost in a good story - one that makes me think and allows me to go somewhere else for awhile.  Lots of nonfiction I've encountered reads like a textbook.  Perhaps this is why I usually stay away?  Every once in awhile I choose one that has information galore plus a little bit of sass.  Oh, and an interesting subject - and let's face it, sex is pretty damn interesting.  

The description for Sex and Dawn is: How we mate, why we stray, and what it means for modern relationships.  That pretty much sums it up.  The premise is that human beings are actually not evolutionarily predisposed to be monogamous.  An interesting thought.  Much of the evidence presented in Sex and Dawn makes sense.  I agree that in prehistoric times humans were most likely not paired off, but rather "family units" consisted of groups of people who traveled together.  I also agree that historically women are portrayed as being the more docile and less desire driven gender - although I do not agree that this is an actuality.

I enjoyed this book at first, and then it got pretty focused on monkeys - and I lost interest a little.  (Luckily the monkey-talk became less dense as the book progressed...) I was expecting to read about ancient sexual rituals.  How fun!  Instead there was a lot of evolutionary information - which turned out to be interesting, but not what I expected, which made me a little bummed at first.  The authors certainly have lots of information that confirm what they are saying, and I agree with most of it.  

Here's my qualm.  I like sex as much as the next gal.  However, great sex does not a lifelong partnership make.  I married my husband for many reasons.  Okay, the sex is good - but there's a lot more that figured into my decision.  The physical stuff is fleeting.  I am married to a man who I really enjoy being around.  He makes me laugh.  He understands me.  Do I think many people base their decision on a lifelong partner on lust?  Yes.  Did I?  No.  Will we still be attracted to other people?  Yes, and we will continue to cross those bridges as we come to them.  I think that the "why we stray" portion of the description has to do partly with evolutionary predispositions, but partly with the slightly dysfunctional attitude of not wanting or not willing to be able to work through tough times.  ...and there will be tough times.  Anyone who does not think there will be is in for an unpleasant surprise.  Every couple has shit to work through, no matter how in love they are.  

I enjoyed this book.  I'm glad I read it.  It definitely gave me much to think about.  

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