Talk:Sex at Dawn

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Yikes. I found a free chapter of this a while back. While the arguments of the self-appointed moral guardians (read: Anti-Sex League) are bluster and nonsense, the book seems to have quite a bit noble savage evolutionary/paleoanthropological morality tales for the masses in it. A couple of good posts here and here. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 23:29, 27 January 2012 (UTC)

Kinda. But the entire book acknowledges the difficulties of pre-historical life for humans and some of the "compromises" made when agriculture enabled civilization. Almost the entire book is devoted to the discussion of the bullshit that modern humans deal with in relationships in comparison to not just the pre-historical humans but current "primitive" human societies, many who don't have the same problems western civilizations have, mostly through the presentation of evidence. There is an underlying assertion, but it doesn't really become named until the end of the book...and it's more of a question than the presentation of an argument. -- Seth Peck (talk) 01:47, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
They seem to be pretty enthusiastic about pushing a narrative about the "true nature" of human sexuality. I would have to read the whole thing to get a better handle on the argument. It doesn't seem to be wrong so much as just overplaying their hand in certain areas. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 02:52, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
So NOW we can talk about this then? -- Seth Peck (talk)
Sure, I guess. If I had to write a review, it would probably end up looking close to Barbara King's, though. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 17:24, 21 March 2012 (UTC)


Thanks for including this section, does feel more balanced now. I am slightly concerned about the remark re: what we saw in primitive cultures vs. what is today. One of the points of the book is that forager (hunter-gatherer) tribes that practice what modern societies generally consider taboo still exist, and it's not just a "here's what humans used to do, and here's what no longer happens" assertion. I tried to make this clear in the summary,—maybe I didn't. Or something else? I certainly don't think it's irrelevant. -- Seth Peck (talk) 20:42, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

I think I should see if the library has the book. (I bet it's checked out, though. :D) I'm working off your summary and a "free" (ahem) preview of a couple of chapters that I found floating around on the internets, which are unfortunately not wholly pertaining to the main thrust of the book. I'm getting the idea that the argument is similar to Kuhn and Stiner's good advice: "Generalizations about recent hunter-gatherers are most helpful when they reveal points of discordance between what we expect from historical experience and what seems to have gone on during the Pleistocene." Am I on the right track there? Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 20:54, 22 February 2012 (UTC)
Probably close...I'm sure reading the whole book would definitely help. Ultimately the most important message from the book is probably in the last section that I wrote (mentioning the paradigm shift)...the concept of monogamy being a social construct that breeds discontent when other possibilities not only existed previously but exist today and work better (when you read the book completely, then watch a show like The Bachelor or Battle of the Exes, it makes you think just how inane those shows are, but on a separate level from their original reality-show inanity). I've only read it once, but I know a few others who have read it. I might see what they think, if just so I can have another perspective other than my own. -- Seth Peck (talk) 21:04, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

Sex at Dusk[edit]

Has anyone here read a book called "Sex at Dusk: Lifting the Shiny Wrapping from Sex at Dawn" by Lynn Saxon? It is a critic of the arguments presented on Sex at Dawn. I've seem both endorsment and criticism about this book, with some saying that the authors of Sex at Dawn misinterpreted a lot of data, while others says that Sex at Dusk don't fare any better. There were also attacks on the background of both of the authors. So, yeah, it is kind of a hot topic, even to this day, 7 years later. Verossimio Espagnado (talk) 20:12, 1 May 2017 (UTC)


Saxxon seems to have a political problem with the book, as does Barash. Both say that the conclusions of Sex at Dawn are not entirely wrong, but that humans "can choose the moral path" or something like that. This is not new, in fact as controversy can be traced back to the nineteenth century, more or less with Bachofen.

I think it is necessary to comment on the political context of this discussion. This sexual egalitarianism is known as "hetairism" and is an integral part of the concept of "primitive communism". The first mentions to this sexual egalitarianism are in "The Origin of the Family", by Engels. Bachofen's ideas are of great importance in this work. Later in time, this type of ideas of primitive sexual communism became popular in Marxist feminism, being supported by famous Marxist feminists such as Clara Zetkin, Alexandra Kollontai, Shulamit Firestone, Kate Millet, Gayle Rubin or Gisela Bleibtreu-Ehrenberg. .

Needless to say, these ideas have always scared and annoyed conservatives and various anti-communists. The work of Marshall Sahlins on the original affluent societies, Pierre Clastres on the origin of the State and the works of Claude Meillassoux on the origin of kinship as a function of domination have raised great controversies in conservative circles.

I think part of the controversy surrounding this book, especially criticism from people like Pinker, Barash or Saxxon, is an integral part of the older controversy about primitive communism, the sexual kind in this case. — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs

Daniel Quinn[edit]

It would be nice to see here some discussion of his books (Ishmael, Story of B, Beyond Civilization). It is probably akin and ties into this.

Altough he does not talk about the concept of sex and families, but he delves deep into the broad concept of tribal vs. civilized societies (cultures), what in the last 10 thousand years the Neolithic revolution has changed in our culture, in terms of owning the land, the concept of human exceptionalism, depleting resources, and overpopulation. Hoarding of resouces, then someone "guarding" it, the concept of working for money. Adam and Eve gets interpreded as the Neolitic revolution, "knowing of good and bad" as moral absolutism (knowing the "one right way" or their "one true god"). Overpopulation as a positive feedback cycle etc.

This is a very broad topic and sometimes hard to see through it, hard to interpret or easy to misinterpret. (talk) 12:07, 5 June 2020 (UTC)balazs