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Why is Sex Fun?

The Evolution of Human Sexuality

By Jared Diamond
13-minute read
Audio available
Why is Sex Fun?: The Evolution of Human Sexuality by Jared Diamond

Everybody thinks about sex. However, we seldom consider the extent to which human sexuality differs from the reproductive habits of other species. In Why is Sex Fun? (1998), Jared Diamond presents an exploration of humans’ sexual history, and explains how our unusual sexual behavior might be the reason we ascended to the top of the food chain.

This is a Blinkist staff pick

“This curious look into human sexual behaviors is a great read for anyone wanting to gain a deeper understanding of, for example, why we can flip from hot under the collar to “not tonight, honey,” in a flash.”

– Julian, Customer Support

  • Anyone wondering about the differences between animal and human sexuality
  • Anyone curious about our sexual evolution

Jared Diamond is a professor of geography at the University of California, Los Angeles. A Pulitzer Prize winner for his bestselling novel Guns, Germs, and Steel, Diamond has also been awarded the National Medal of Science and a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship.

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Why is Sex Fun?

The Evolution of Human Sexuality

By Jared Diamond
  • Read in 13 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 8 key ideas
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Why is Sex Fun?: The Evolution of Human Sexuality by Jared Diamond
Synopsis

Everybody thinks about sex. However, we seldom consider the extent to which human sexuality differs from the reproductive habits of other species. In Why is Sex Fun? (1998), Jared Diamond presents an exploration of humans’ sexual history, and explains how our unusual sexual behavior might be the reason we ascended to the top of the food chain.

This is a Blinkist staff pick

“This curious look into human sexual behaviors is a great read for anyone wanting to gain a deeper understanding of, for example, why we can flip from hot under the collar to “not tonight, honey,” in a flash.”

– Julian, Customer Support

Key idea 1 of 8

Human beings have the weirdest sex lives of all animals.

If your dog could tell you what it thought about your sex life, it would probably say it was shocking and downright bizarre.

For starters, it would be horrified that you have sex on any given day of the month, even just after a female partner has had her period. It would also express utter confusion as to why humans bother having sex when the female is already pregnant.

Furthermore, it would ask why on earth you choose to have sex behind closed doors instead of doing it in front of other humans like any normal, healthy dog would!

It turns out that human standards for sex are not shared by any other animal.

Really, if you think your pet’s sexual behavior is odd, think again – it’s our sex lives that are weird. Just consider the thirty million other animal species that don’t do it the way we do!

Even when we narrow the scope to the 4,300 other mammal species on the planet, our habits seem rather strange. For instance, mammals such as lions, wolves and chimpanzees normally copulate publicly. They don’t pair off, nor do they live like a nuclear family. Instead, both the adult males and females are solitary beings and only meet up with one another in order to copulate.

Just as with posture and brain size, human sexuality also differs from that of our closest relatives, the great apes – primarily Africa's chimpanzees and bonobos.

Whereas posture and brain size aided us evolutionarily speaking, and contributed to our dominating other animal species, what about our strange sexuality? How does it make evolutionary sense? As we’ll see later on, our sexual habits, like monogamy, actually contribute to the survival of our species.

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