Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Two Book Reviews of Note

In Newsweek, Kate Dailey reviewed a book that is getting a lot of buzz, Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality, by Christopher Ryan (a research psychologist), and Cacilda Jethá, a practicing psychiatrist.

Forget what you think you know about the origin of species. Sex at Dawn sets out to prove that our prehistoric ancestors were happy and healthy, thanks in no small part to lots of egalitarian, polyamorous, noisy group sex.

Sounds good.

The survival benefits were immense: since there was no way of telling who fathered which child, children were raised by the community of foragers rather than single monogamous pairs. Everyone had lots of orgasms (women most of all). Women weren’t used as property or bartering chips, which led to more equality between the genders.

This might explain why women seem to be the more vocal proponents of polyamory, at least in my experience.

The other book review is on Tabitha Suzuma’s Forbidden; I blogged about another review of this book here. Lanna Lovely is the reviewer this time. She starts off with…

[Important note: when I talk about incest in this review, I'm referring only to consensual incest between two people over the legal age of consent -- just felt I should clarify that.]

That is important.

I'm not sure if I'm glad I read this book or not, it's one of those ones that has gotten under my skin and it's going to stick with me for a really long time... which wouldn't be a bad thing, except it's so sad, thinking about the story hurts. It managed to really make me think about the whole issue of incest in a way that I never have before.

I mean, I've said before that I have this warped fascination with reading stories about it because it's like the ultimate forbidden romance, but this book really made me think about where I stand on the issue in real life.

It made me realise that my "love is love" motto that I apply to things like gay marriage should also apply to this as well. It's terrible that we live in a world where society can tell us who we should or shouldn't love -- or even throw us in jail for it.

Ladies and gentlemen, we’d have a winner… if it was left at that.

Not allowing them to have kids thing is completely justified because of the health risks to the children, but just stopping them from being together?

Again with the “but the kids!” thing. It is dangerous to take away reproductive rights.

They're not hurting anyone, it should not be a crime -- people don't have to like it or approve of it, but that doesn't mean they should have the right to control it either.

Yes, and that should extend to whether or not they choose to have children. Children have been born of such parents and have grown up to be just fine.

If you're grossed out by stories about incest, I still suggest you give this book a chance, maybe it'll change your perspective on the issue. Most people can't view the issue in an objective way, they can't get past the feelings they have for their own relatives to be open minded enough to accept the fact that some people can feel anything different towards a member of their family.

Very well said. We need more books that will get people to change their minds.
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