Sex at Dawn by Christopher Ryan

Yes, please 🙂 Morning sex is the best kind… Still kind of sleepy, a day full of potential ahead of you and you get it started in the most invigorating way. Though not exactly what you’ll find in Dr Christopher Ryan’s book, it will open up headspace for more and better liaisons 😉

Sex at Dawn describes and investigates human sexual practices, habits and sexual culture since the dawn of man. Many people don’t even consider the carnal sides of our ancestors when they imagine prehistory, or the hunter-gatherer model; insodoing they never question their own assumptions about sex, what they & their fellow humans think/feel about sex and certainly not how it could have changed to become an altogether different animal today. This is partly due to the fact that people in ‘polite society’ aren’t supposed to talk about sex, and up until a scant few decades ago people weren’t supposed to enjoy it much either…

Chris Ryan &co doesn’t start challenging you from page 1, which is kind of chivalrous, I think. Like a gentleman courting a reluctant (cliché) bride-to-be, he gradually coaxes and convinces you that there is a different possible journey in a person’s sexual life. One of more consistent satisfaction, less social confusion and stigma, and even more important: one that would enable more love and understanding in a relationship rather than betrayal and manipulation. 

However, before he gets to the main event (as it were;) he engages in careful, attentive foreplay: he analyzes sexual beliefs and ‘truths’ as they now stand and where these came from. Who taught us that for the most part, women play hard to get and men are always looking to fall hard-on-first into the nearest available pair of open legs? (Those two beliefs are contradictory, no?) Well, Dr. Ryan and his team start from these narratives, pulls them apart and exposes their contradictions, short-comings and even absolute untruths, as well as the foundation they were built on – science and instinct have nothing to do with the sexual restraints we inflict on ourselves. He shows evolutionary evidence (both biological and psychological) for the abnormal nature of monogamy, and even has modern examples of peoples/communities who are much happier and more peaceful because of a radically different approach to sex and marriage. 

He doesn’t come right out and say “Open relationships are the new era”, but only just. At least he opens the door to discussions like this and focuses awareness on the fact that there are other alternatives to the “we’re not happy sexually, but we’re sticking together for the kids” or “you damn cheating bastard!” eventuality. 

I hope that these society-wide assumptions, along with other gender-defined sexual roles, are fading into a more liberated “whatever works for you” kind of attitude, but my optimism might just be artificially buoyed by the people I surround myself with. That said, I’m recommending every person who enjoys sex and is looking forward to love read this, and even if you can’t see yourself sharing (maybe not yet), you will understand yourself and your partner better. 

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