I’ve been reading a great deal of buzz about the new book Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jethá. Mostly people just saying that the book is important, or that reading it has been opening their eyes, making them feel less ashamed of their poly lifestyle. After all, having science back up what has, for some of us, been an often uncomfortable truth, is very gratifying. It confirms what we’ve been saying for years, that some of us just aren’t “wired for monogamy.” It even, apparently, goes so far as to say that most of us aren’t wired for monogamy, or at least, that wiring is usually temporary. I, for one, am very keen to read it, but books are expensive here in Australia and I’m waiting until my upcoming trip to the US to pick up a copy.
Polyamory in the News has written one of the more thorough reviews I’ve read, but more notable is that they go on to explain why this book is so important for the public’s understanding and acceptance of polyamory:
For most of the polyamory movement’s 30-year history, advocates who have sought to give poly a theoretical foundation have generally turned to New Age or spiritual philosophies, involving things like the limitless nature of love, the spiritual heart of the universe, and other concepts that I find fairy-taley and unproductive. By unproductive I mean that theories built on them never seem to lead anywhere predictive or useful, as a good theory must.
Ryan and Jethá have now given us a theoretical underpinning that is concrete, scientific, and evidence-based. They show that polyamory matches what human nature actually evolved to be. Seen in this light, the modern, ethical, egalitarian version of poly offers a path to a saner future — in which humans are not so perpetually conflicted with themselves, and are less driven by the insatiable needs and neuroses that in many ways are causing us to ruin the world.
Powerful stuff. I really can’t wait to read this book.