Oriented toward medicine and business, American society has responded to this ongoing crisis by developing a marital-industrial complex of couples therapy, pharmaceutical hard-ons, sex-advice columnists, creepy father-daughter purity cults, and an endless stream of in-box come-ons (“Unleash your Love Monster! Yes, a few candles here, some crotchless panties there, toss a handful of rose petals on the bed and it’ll be just like the very first time! You say you love your spouse of a dozen years but don’t feel sexually attracted the way you used to? Maybe you two should try doing it on the kitchen floor. Similarly, Rupert Murdoch, owner of the Fox News Network and the nation’s leading conservative newspaper, was pulling in more porn money through a satellite company than Playboy made with its magazine, cable, and Internet businesses combined.
AT&T, also a supporter of conservative values, sells hard-core porn to over a million hotel rooms throughout the country via its Hot Network.
Serial monogamy stretches before (and behind) many of us like an archipelago of failure: isolated islands of transitory happiness in a cold, dark sea of disappointment. Their gardens, settled villages, and so on make territorial defense necessary and fleeing conflict much more problematic than it was for our ancestors.
And how many of the couples who manage to stay together for the long haul have done so by resigning themselves to sacrificing their eroticism on the altar of three of life’s irreplaceable joys: family stability, companionship, and emotional, if not sexual, intimacy? They—unlike true immediate-return foragers—have a lot to lose by simply fleeing aggression. If you live a settled life in a stable village, have a labor-expensive shelter, cultivated fields, domesticated animals, and too many possessions to carry easily, you’re not a hunter-gatherer.
Religion, politics, and even science square off against biology and millions of years of evolved appetites. In the following pages, we reassess some of the most important science of our time.
We question the deepest assumptions brought to contemporary views of marriage, family structure, and sexuality—issues affecting each of us every day and every night.
The Spanish word There’s good reason marriage is often depicted and mourned as the beginning of the end of a man’s sexual life. Who wants to share her life with a man who feels trapped and diminished by his love for her, whose honor marks the limits of his freedom? Societies in Pinker’s chart:—The cultivate yams, peanuts, sweet manioc, maize, sweet potatoes, peanuts, tuber beans, pumpkins, plantains, tobacco, cotton, banana, sugarcane, taro, and yam.
The frantic sexual hypocrisy in America is inexplicable if we adhere to traditional models of human sexuality insisting that monogamy is natural, marriage is a human universal, and any family structure other than the nuclear is aberrant.
We need a new understanding of ourselves, based not on pulpit proclamations or feel-good Hollywood fantasies, but on a bold and unashamed assessment of the plentiful scientific data that illuminate the true origins and nature of human sexuality. We battle our hungers, expectations, and disappointments.
This is why Cacilda and I encourage people (even couples who write books about sex) to insist on our right to discretion. Jealousy: A Beginner’s Guide to Coveting Thy Neighbor’s Spouse– Zero-Sum Sex– How to Tell When a Man Loves a Woman 11. )– Poor, Pitiful Me– The Despair of Millionaires– Finding Contentment “at the Bottom of the Scale of Human Beings”12. )– Homo Economicus– The Tragedy of the Commons– Dreams of Perpetual Progress– Ancient Poverty or Assumed Affluence? The Never-Ending Battle over Prehistoric War (Brutish? If we’re “above” nature, it’s only in the sense that a shaky-legged surfer is “above” the ocean. Tierney (2000) outlines the case against Chagnon, though going far beyond the critiques we’ve outlined here.
If it’s highly personal, extremely complex, changing all the time, and really nobody’s business but yours, why answer the question at all? )– Professor Pinker, Red in Tooth and Claw– The Mysterious Disappearance of Margaret Power– The Spoils of War– The Napoleonic Invasion (The Yanomami Controversy)– The Desperate Search for Hippie Hypocrisy and Bonobo Brutality14. Even if we never slip (and we all do), our inner nature can pull us under at any moment. Boone Abstract Two types of models aim to account the origins of rank differentiation and social hierarchy in human societies. Ferguson (1995) offers an in-depth analysis of Chagnon’s calculations and conclusions.