Sex at Dawn by Christopher Ryan & Cacilda Jetha
According to the authors, sexual monogamy is an unnatural and problematic way of life for human beings. Contradictory to the ‘standard narrative’ of human sexuality – stating that humans are naturally monogamous creatures and the nuclear family is the unit upon which society is build – sexual monogamy turns out to be the by-product of our species’ transition from a hunter/gatherer society (not unlike the Inuit – whom they mention) to one of agriculture.
With humans suddenly reliant on finite land for survival, they became protective of their ‘property’ – a phenomenon unknown to nomadic prehistoric tribes. Farmland, houses, livestock and women all became property of men, and the importance of a man’s paternal ‘investment’ became paramount in order to ensure his genetic continuity. This began an era of cultural, scientific and religious persecution aiming to control the sexuality of women.
Before agriculture, humans lived in tribes of about 150 people. It would have been evolutionarily advantageous to share everything (food, shelter, sex, parenting, etc.) in order to distribute and mitigate the risks inherent in prehistoric life. Despite what most people believe, life in those times wasn’t necessarily all that bad. As one scholar put it, “Agriculture is the greatest single tragedy to ever bestow mankind, and we still have not recovered.”
Human beings are the most hyper-sexual of all animals, and this book helps to understand ourselves; it consolidates our internal beliefs, those of society, and the natural desires of our human body. It offers an alternative view of how we value our lives and our relationships. It puts everything else into a new paradigm of understanding, and it’s an absolute must-read for anyone seeking to better understand the world we live in today!