I recently read one of the most important books of our time, “Sex At Dawn” by Christopher Ryan & Cacilda Jetha.
“Important”…is subjective I suppose. Will it solve global warming? Bring world peace? Cure diseases? Make Donald Trump disappear? Sadly, no. Not directly anyway. Although if it lead to a world where everyone was having lots of great sex, and children were raised by groups of loving adults who generously shared what they had…I can imagine a world without greed, without ‘broken’ families, without sexual frustration, etc. would be a world most of us would rather be in. In theory it could result in world peace, reduced stress-related illness, reduced negative environmental impact & get rid of the Donald Trumps of the world.
With loads of research the authors show that before agriculture, hunter-gatherers likely lived in non-monogamous communities where men & women both enjoyed as much sex with as many sexual partners as they desired. They had everything they needed, shared their food & cooperated in raising children.
A very different structure to the nuclear family where couples are expected to be monogamous but often are not resulting in jealousy, drama, broken families, etc.
Followers of my blog will likely know that I don’t practice monogamy in my personal life. Not because of my work but because I enjoy sexual novelty & variety. A relationship is not defined by sex. A relationship is about day-to-day & lifestyle compatibility, communication, support, affection/intimacy, trust, love, etc. Sex can just be about sex. A bit of fun. If there is honesty & trust, sex outside of the primary relationship can even enhance the sexual charge within it.
“Sex At Dawn” reinforced a lot of what I already knew from my own experience & through friends with healthy non-monogamous relationships, but there was also a tonne of new information. I found it fascinating how similar we are to our closest primate cousins, bonobos & chimps. Insights into how our hunter gatherer ancestors likely lived & how agriculture changed everything (or fucked everything up, really.)
Of special interest to my readers would be a hint of “FemDom” in bonobo culture (Chapter 4, The Ape In The Mirror, page 71):
(Paraphrased) For bonobos, female status is more important than male hierarchy. The term “influential” might be more fitting than “high-ranking”. Females are respected out of affection & older females generally have a higher status. Among bonobos female “dominance” doesn’t result in the same kind of submission in males as you see inverted with other primates in male dominated structures. Female bonobos use their power differently. There’s no stressful power struggles. They use sex for much more than reproduction, they engage in sex to ease tension, to reduce stress while traveling, etc. “Make Love, not war” seems to be the bonobos motto & males live a pretty stress-free life with the females in charge.
Also of special interest to my readers is a mention of fetishes (Chapter 21, The Pervert’s Lament, page 280):
(Direct quote) “While many women are freed by their erotic flexibility, men can find themselves trapped by the rigidity of their sexual response, like the male sheep and goats mentioned earlier. Once determined, male eroticism tends to retain its contours throughout life, like concrete that has set. Consequently, the theory of erotic plasticity predicts that the paraphilias (abnormal sexual desires and behaviors) should be far more prevalent in men than women who would presumably be more responsive to social pressure and find it easier to abandon previous turn-ons or ignore unseemly urges. Nearly every source of evidence supports this prediction. Most researchers and therapists agree that these unusual sexual hungers are almost exclusively seen in males, appear to be related to early imprinting, and are difficult, if not impossible, to alter once boyhood impressions have hardened into adult yearnings.”
I considered doing a whole blog post just on that last bit but what the heck. There is a lot more discussion in the book about females having more flexibility in their sexuality, thus more bisexual or at least bi-situational/bi-flexible women than men, women finding a wider range of situations/activities/people arousing, etc. This was part of the argument that women enjoy sex just as much as men, if not more (debunking the myth that women don’t enjoy sex as much as men). Women being able to have more orgasms, being able to have sex longer indicating that we’re designed to have sex with multiple male partners…in a row…and the biological reasons why we might be built that way. Like to have the sperm fight it out inside the vagina for the race to the egg…survival of the fittest, or the more complimentary DNA.
This blog post has become lengthy. I’ll end it abruptly & just recommend you read the damn book!
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