MIND Reviews Sex Education

MIND Reviews Sex Education

No matter how old and experienced we get, sex and romance never fail to surprise and perplex us. Three new books explore the origins of human sexuality, whether we are capable of monogamy, and why we kiss.

Husband and wife Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jethá travel back in evolutionary time in Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality (HarperCollins, 2010) to reveal that modern humans evolved from hunter-gatherers who lived in intimate groups and shared everything—food, chores and even sexual partners. Thus, Ryan, a psychologist, and Jethá,
a psychiatrist, argue that we are hardwired to seek multiple partners and that these natural promiscuous urges may explain why half of marriages in the U.S. end in divorce.

Monogamy is not necessarily a natural state for humans, agrees clinical psychologist Marianne Brandon in Monogamy: The Untold Story (Praeger, 2010). Brandon thinks modern society creates unrealistic gender roles—for instance, an ideal man needs to be both sensitive and powerful—and these roles encourage both men and women to repress their sexual instincts. But the key to successful monogamy, Brandon argues, is to use those primal impulses to stoke the flames of desire with your committed partner

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