If you're looking for a comfortable read, you're likely not going to find it here. The authors of this book pull no punches as they undertake a big task: undermining what they call the "standard narrative of human sexuality," which they see as potentially very harmful to humans given how we likely evolved and behaved for hundreds of thousands of years.
We are all familiar with the standard narrative, having been raised in a culture that saturates our existence with love songs, rom-coms, and countless other forms of propaganda that seem to insist that the fundamental condition of human sexuality is heartbreak. Under the standard narrative, we must always be on guard for the two-timing dude or the gold-digging lady, arguably a microcosm of a larger scarcity culture.
Indeed, the authors trace our issues back to what seems to be the root of many of our problems: the agricultural revolution. Before this time, humans didn't have a mechanism for building capital - they just followed game animals or gathered food as needed. In other words, after hundreds of thousands of years existing without substantial property, we found ourselves thrust into a brave new world subject to the laws of capital. Until then we had no reason to keep track of lineage and keep capital "in the family." In this way, marriage and monogamy seem to play a vital role in the dynamics of capitalism, and not necessarily human nature.
Through writing both witty and delightfully chatty, Ryan and Jetha root out fundaments of mainstream thought around human sexuality and open space for new conversation where it seems much needed.
Music by the Bad Math Band with their track "Chum Dumplins."
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Podcast produced by Phillip Griffin. Graphic by Cooper Malin.
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