Why Is Sex Fun? The Evolution of Human Sexuality (Science Masters) | Jared Diamond

Summary of: Why Is Sex Fun? The Evolution of Human Sexuality (Science Masters)
By: Jared Diamond

Introduction

Dive into the fascinating world of human sexuality as you explore the insightful book, ‘Why Is Sex Fun? The Evolution of Human Sexuality’ by Jared Diamond. Prepare to unravel the mysteries of our intimate behaviors as we compare them to our distant animal relatives, examine human mating patterns, and question the significance of monogamy. Discover how unique traits such as concealed ovulation, lactation abilities, and menopause differentiate us from the animal kingdom and contribute to the survival of our species. You’ll also learn about the intricate ways our biological signals and body structures can affect our partner selection and perception of attractiveness.

Your Dog & Your Sex Life

A thought-provoking book reveals how strange our sexual habits are when compared to other mammals. This book reveals the not-so-normal sexual rituals of animals on the Earth.

Have you ever wondered what your dog thinks of your sex life? According to a new book, your furry friend would probably consider it downright bizarre. For instance, dogs are renowned for having sex publicly, which makes them wonder why humans bother having sex behind closed doors.

In fact, human standards for sex are not shared by any other animal, which is further reinforced by the strange sexual habits of the thirty million different animal species on the planet. Even among 4,300 other mammals, our sexual behavior seems odd.

Unlike humans, lions, wolves, and chimpanzees copulate publicly and don’t pair off or form nuclear families. These mammals are solitary beings that meet up only to mate.

Despite the contrasts in sexual habits, the author argues that our sexual behavior serves an evolutionary function that contributes to the survival of our species. This book is not just an eye-opener but also a thought-provoking and intriguing read that reveals how strange our sexual habits are when compared to other mammals.

Parental Investment in Human Fertilization

In human fertilization, female commitment to the child is higher than male contribution due to the investment in the fertilized egg. While both mothers and fathers play a role in a child’s life, it is in the best interest of both parents to stay together and protect the child to ensure continuation of their genes, leading to monogamy.

Monogamy and Our Sexual Practices

Unlike most animals, humans have sex regardless of ovulation, which appears nonsensical, but has some benefits, i.e. promoting monogamy. Concealed ovulation maintains males with their partners and children, reducing their desire to seek new mates. Also, available sex, though inefficient and vulnerable to predators, does come in handy when a partner is absent. Instead of aiming for copious reproduction every time, as baboons do, humans opt for more deliberate reproduction, mitigating the effort and time required for sperm production and mating. Moreover, monogamous behavior ensures male care for offspring, reducing the risk of maternal and infant mortality.

The Evolution of Human Fatherhood

Male contribution towards caregiving is a unique phenomenon observed only in humans, driven by evolutionary factors.

Unlike most male mammals who abandon their offspring after copulation, human males actively engage in caregiving. Anthropologists consider this behavior as a crucial aspect of human evolution as human children are unable to feed themselves. In early human civilization, men provided meat by hunting, similar to other mammals such as wolves and African hunting dogs. Hunting was not merely about providing meat but also played a significant role in human societies regarding social standing and reproduction.

The Northern Ache Indians of Paraguay portray the complexity of male contribution to providing food through hunting. Though hunting large animals was a task for men, women consistently gathered fruit, pounded starch from palm trees, and harvested insect larvae. This difference in tasks amounts to the frequency of food provision and sex. Since having multiple sexual partners was common among the Ache Indians, women could not identify a definite father for their children. However, women tended to have sex with capable hunters, making successful hunting an evolutionary advantage for males to reproduce.

In conclusion, unlike other male mammals, human males engage in caregiving, which is unique and essential for the survival of the species. Their behavior towards providing food is driven by evolutionary factors and social standing. Evolutionary advantages favor males who contribute more towards food provision, but often, their contribution may mask ulterior motives driven by reproduction.

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