It seems fitting for the theory of this book that someone stole it from me at the airport (actually I KNOW it was the guy sitting next to me that I questioned for a half hour, if that matters). I have no doubt he thought it was erotica, with a name like Sex at Dawn, and he will be fairly disappointed to discover a semi-scientific study-based account advocating that monogamy is unnatural and human sexual behavior is a reflection of both evolved tendencies and social context.
I’m still a monogamy adherent, despite it being unnatural. The authors likely aren’t trying to push people into polyamorous or open relationships, but to give context to why married couples are so unhappy after time; as to why the loss of libido between couples, and why the rampant infidelity. The strategy was anecdotal: various tribes past and present practice non-monogamous sexual relations; women are not coy and subservient, but rather sexual and fluid creatures; humans are closest in lineage to bonobos, who practice poly love; it’s simply the “familiar fingers of culture [& religion] that reach deep into our minds” to choose monogamy over nature. The authors believe the possessive way humans treat sex & partners came about with the advent of agriculture: “Once people were farming the same land season after season, private property quickly replaced communal ownership as the modus operandi in most societies. For nomadic foragers, personal property – anything needing to be carried – is kept to a minimum, for obvious reasons. There is little thought given to who owns the land, or the fish…” OR the women! We went from communal à individual thought on every level.
It’s interesting to think about prehistoric people, our ties to bonobos, evolutionary psychology, and our desires apart from societal persuasion, BUT as far as changing the way we form relationships – this seems unrealistic. It feels similar to discussions on climate change: we know origins of problem, but it has spiraled out of control and one person using low-watt light bulbs won’t cure this beast (just like one person living non-monogamously because it’s human nature would just be ignoring society issues of STDs, emotions, logistics, babies, finances, and outcasted rather than emulated).