Synopses & Reviews
Eminent scientists Malcolm Potts and Roger Short view the broad panorama of human sexual and reproductive behaviour to reveal an inextricable mixture of nature and nurture - a combination of innate actions which have evolved over the millennia to adapt us to a nomadic, hunter-gatherer lifestyle, overlain by more recent cultural constraints imposed by civilization. For each of life's milestones - sexual intercourse, conception, pregnancy, birth, puberty, love, marriage, parenting, menopause and death - they describe the biology behind our actions and consider how pressures imposed by various historical and contemporary cultures have further influenced our behaviour. By looking back at the past they attempt to make sense of the present, to see how and why these cultural modifications arose, how they have contributed to the richness of human sexual behaviour, and what our biological and cultural inheritance can teach us about safeguarding the continuation of our species.
"...an attractive,readable, informative book that ranges broadly, both geographically and chronologically, over a variety of cultures and through a similar variety of books and artwork. This is one of those rare coffee-table books that exert tremendous intellectual appeal." Booklist"Fascinating and often brilliant..." The London Sunday Times"What distinguishes this book is that the authors actually have some relevant experience in the area of human reproduction. They bring to the book not only a professional awareness of reproductive health and fertility around the world, but also insights from evolution, anthropology, psychology, the history of medicine and, for that matter, art...peppered with arresting anecdotes, and illustrations..." Nature"The book is a moveable feast of material about humans as sexually driven animals. The text is made more readable and understandable by the use of marvelous graphics, paintings and other educational devices. The text itself flows seamlessly, interrupted at strategic points by blocks of relevant supplementary information." Pittsburgh, PA Tribune"This is a remarkably handsome, knowledgeable and thoughtful book. The authors (specialists in human and animal reproductive biology) write from an evolutionary biological perspective, but they range widely over human and animal behavior." KLIATT"Refreshing is also the word for their style, breezy yet serious, filled with small details that often simply delight. It is a beautifully produced book, on heavy, slick stock that holds the image crisply and richly, and the classical paintings and dramatic photographs that dot the book glow on the page." American Scientist"Lusciously illustrated. This is the kind of book that has already generated great discussions among my friends and associates. It will make a wonderful gift, even those with no more than a passing interest in biology and science. The authors are to be congratulated for having put together a book that is at once thought provoking, entertaining, and sumptuously attractive." Lancet"This is an extraordinary book about sex...a rare combination of sound science and clear and occasionally poetic writing, served up in a beautifully produced volume with numerous literary allusions and classical art reproductions. It is far superior to any college textbook even though it bears some superficial resemblance, and it certainly could be used in many biology and social science courses." Studies in Family Planning"This is then a book that ranges far and wide over the many aspects of the human condition and its past history. It is not a textbook, and should not be read as one. It is meant as a contribution to the popularisation of science. Its command of diverse literatures is as impressive as it is flawless. Read it and be informed." Times Higher Educational Supplement"...a tour de forece." The Quarterly Review of Biology
A lively and entertaining account of the broad panorama of human sexual behaviour and its origins.
This volume offers a lively and entertaining account of the broad panorama of human sexual behaviour and its origins.
Table of Contents
Preface; Introduction; 1. Beginnings; 2. The polygynous primate; 3. Sex and gender; 4. Love and marriage; 5. Sex and pregnancy; 6. Birth and breastfeeding; 7. Growing up; 8. The civilisation of sex; 9. Sex and power; 10. Dying for love; 11. Sex and mortality; 12. Too many people; 13. The animal within us; Index.