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Sex At Dawn

Christopher Ryan and Gaeilda Jetha

The prehistoric origins of modern sexuality.

What should you do when you've been married 20 years, you don't fancy your spouse anymore, and they don't fancy you? Is it just 'suck it up' and live the rest of yr life passionless, and try to imagine someone else when yr having sex with yr wife on one of the three days a week you do have sex?

This book challenging the traditional 'approved' idea of nuclear family, with woman needing max resources because limited chances of passing on her genes, whereas the male imperative is to impregnate as many females as possible.

Today word 'promiscuous' has heavy moral overtones, but all it really means is 'mixing' 'freely'.

Jerry Seinfeld "The basic conflict between men and women sexually, is that men are like firemen. To men, sex is an emergency, and no matter what we're doing, we can be ready in two minutes. Women on the other hand, are like fire. They're very exciting, but the conditions have to be exactly right for it to occur."

Traditional idea of genetic sexual economics - if woman squandered her repro by getting pregnant to a guy who wasn't going to stick around long enough to help raise the kid, then the kid wd likely die before maturity, so the genes wdn't get passed on.

By far the most cited evo psych expt cited is one where Florida U students approached member of the opposite sex and suggested immediate casual sex. 75% of males agreed (most of rest asked for rain check) whereas 0% of females. All researchers ref this study because impt for sexual game theory that woman can't give away services too freely or the bottom will drop out of the market.

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But primitive tribes commonly have kids with multiple 'fathers' - the one who put the seed in, the one who stirred it up, the one who topped it up and the one who provided the essence. Then multiple men take a personal interest in child's upbringing. Especially impt in societies where up to 1/3 of men get murdered. Letting your partner have lovers is basically the only insurance you can obtain.

Many hunter-gatherer tribes see multiple lovers as compulsory, community bonding. In that light, homosexuality makes equal sense as a device which cements relationships.

Adultery has been documented in every ostensibly monogamous human society ever studied, even in societies which rigorously try to control female sexual activity. Man is the only primate living in large groups that claims to be monogamous. The only other (few) primate species which are monog are ones living in treetops where social troups are difficult.

The matrilineal Mosuo are worth pausing on, as a reminder of how complex family systems can be, and how rigid ours are - and also as an example of women's innate libidinousness, which is routinely squelched by patriarchal systems. For centuries, the Mosuo have lived in households that revolve around the women: the mothers preside over their children and grandchildren, and brothers take paternal responsibility for their sisters' offspring.

Sexual relations are kept separate from family. At night, a Mosuo woman invites her lover to visit her babahuago (flower room); the assignation is called sese (walking). If she'd prefer he not sleep over, he'll retire to an outer building (never home to his sisters). She can take another lover that night, or a different one the next, or sleep every single night with the same man for the rest of her life - there are no expectations or rules. As Cai Hua, a Chinese anthropologist, explains, these relationships, which are known as acia, are founded on each individual's autonomy, and last only as long as each person is in the other's company. Every goodbye is taken to be the end of the acia relationship, even if it resumes the following night. "There is no concept of acia that applies to the future," Hua says.

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