SEX AT DAWN BY CHRISTOPHER RYAN, PhD | ANIMATED MOVIE

SEX AT DAWN BY CHRISTOPHER RYAN, PhD | ANIMATED MOVIE

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00:00
you
00:07
insects Adan my wife and co-author
00:10
Kissel de Jetta and I look at four major
00:13
areas of data to try to triangulate what
00:17
our species sexual nature really is and
00:19
and what our sexual evolution was all
00:22
about we look at primates particularly
00:24
the chimps and bonobos who are as
00:26
closely related to humans or or more
00:29
closely related to humans than the
00:31
Indian elephant is to the African
00:33
elephant for example extremely close we
00:36
had a last common ancestor about 5 or 6
00:39
million years ago which is the blink of
00:41
an eye in evolutionary terms we also
00:44
look at anthropology particularly
00:45
hunter-gatherer societies that live in
00:48
ways that replicate the way our
00:51
ancestors lived before agriculture we
00:53
look at human anatomy and physiology so
00:56
the body why are the testicles outside
00:58
of the body why do women have pendulous
01:00
breasts what’s going on with the acidity
01:03
of the female reproductive tract during
01:06
orgasm all these sorts of issues what’s
01:08
the chemistry of different spurts of
01:11
ejaculate in men and finally we look at
01:14
contemporary psychosexual research so
01:17
things like what sorts of sexual issues
01:21
do couples often present with that
01:24
therapists office what sorts of sexual
01:27
obsessions do people have what sorts of
01:30
pornography turn people on or or not so
01:34
when you look at the question of human
01:36
sexual evolution in human sexual nature
01:38
from those four different perspectives
01:39
you see a species that has evolved to be
01:42
extremely sexual where sexual behavior
01:45
has been co-opted over the course of our
01:47
evolutionary history for social
01:49
functions it’s not even primarily about
01:53
reproduction anymore for human beings
01:55
sex is primarily about establishing and
01:58
maintaining complex social networks that
02:01
are based upon trust and intimacy that’s
02:04
what sex is really mainly about for our
02:07
species you can just look at the numbers
02:09
the way the numbers break down are that
02:12
you know for most mammals they only have
02:14
sex when the females ovulating which
02:16
makes sense why would you have sex if
02:18
there’s no chance of pregnancy happening
02:20
right for most mammals sex is risky
02:24
there are predators around you’re making
02:25
noise you’re not being vigilant you’re
02:27
preoccupied with something else you’re
02:29
very distracted you could fall out of a
02:31
tree you could get bit by a snake you
02:33
could have ants crawl up your butt all
02:35
sorts of terrible things could happen so
02:37
you’re not going to engage in sexual
02:38
activity unless there’s something to be
02:40
gained something that’s worth taking
02:42
that risk and using that energy but for
02:45
human beings we have sex when the female
02:47
is not ovulating we have same sex
02:49
encounters we have sex when the female
02:51
is already pregnant we have sex when
02:53
she’s postmenopausal when she’s
02:54
lactating and therefore not ovulating we
02:57
have all sorts of sexual configurations
03:00
and activities that can’t possibly
03:01
result in pregnancy that’s pretty
03:04
unusual for most mammals if you look at
03:07
gorillas for example which are the next
03:09
closest primate relative after chimps
03:11
and bonobos gorillas have sex roughly 12
03:14
to 15 times per birth that’s a pretty
03:17
typical ratio of sex acts to birth for
03:20
or to conception for mammals for humans
03:23
it’s somewhere around eight hundred to a
03:25
thousand times per birth we’re way off
03:28
the charts people who say we describe
03:31
humans in ways that make us seem like
03:33
animals are getting it backwards animals
03:35
rarely have sex for non-reproductive
03:37
purposes the only exceptions to this are
03:40
chimps bonobos humans very closely
03:43
related and dolphins which is very
03:46
interesting all of those are highly
03:48
social highly intelligent animals for
03:50
whom the social network is crucial to
03:53
their survival just among primates there
03:56
are over 300 species of primate many
03:58
many species of primate live in complex
04:00
social groups which means more than one
04:02
adult male living in that group of those
04:05
primates living in complex social groups
04:08
precisely none are sexually monogamous
04:10
unless you believe that humans are the
04:13
sole exception to that insects Adan we
04:15
argue against what we call the standard
04:18
narrative of human sexual evolution
04:20
which claims that humans evolved as
04:23
monogamous couples where the woman was
04:26
trading her fidelity to the male
04:29
in exchange for meat protection shelter
04:32
status and so on this argument which
04:36
goes back to Darwin and Beyond some ways
04:38
really is insulting to everybody it
04:41
basically is an economic argument that
04:45
reduces women to whores and men to
04:47
John’s paying for sex with stuff we
04:51
argue that this is a result of what we
04:54
call Flintstone ization which is the
04:56
habit we all have of looking at the
04:58
world around us assuming that that’s
05:00
pretty much always the way it’s been and
05:02
then projecting contemporary conditions
05:05
into prehistory and just rough up the
05:07
edges a little bit so you know the
05:09
Flintstones people have cars but you
05:10
have to make the car run with your feet
05:13
instead of an engine you know you’ve got
05:14
the doorbell but it’s a bird you pull
05:16
the tail and so on and we think that
05:18
similar things happen in a lot of the
05:20
discussion about human prehistory it
05:22
makes no sense to assume that humans
05:24
evolved in nuclear family units that’s
05:27
not how hunter-gatherers live today
05:28
that’s not how any hunter-gatherer
05:30
society that’s ever been studied blitz
05:32
with discrete nuclear family dwellings
05:35
where resources are only shared within
05:37
the family in fact what we find in under
05:40
gather societies is that resources are
05:42
shared widely children are raised
05:44
communally food is shared especially
05:47
meat is shared widely women have very
05:50
high status they bring home more of the
05:52
calories than the men do so there’s no
05:54
reason to believe that men were in a
05:55
position to coerce women and control
05:57
their sexuality this didn’t happen until
05:59
the advent of Agriculture if you look at
06:02
the Old Testament it says thou shalt not
06:03
covet thy neighbor’s wife read it in
06:06
context and you’ll see that’s not
06:07
talking about his marriage that’s
06:08
talking about his possessions thou shalt
06:11
not covet thy neighbor’s wife nor his
06:12
house nor his ox nor his slaves etc the
06:15
wife is just another one of his
06:17
possessions
06:17
that’s not how hunter-gatherers see
06:20
relationships that’s not how
06:21
hunter-gatherers see women or children
06:24
these people aren’t owned by other
06:25
people in fact there’s very little sense
06:27
of private property in hunter-gatherer
06:29
societies so what we’re arguing in sex
06:31
Adan is that sexual pleasure was part of
06:34
the larger social fabric in which pretty
06:36
much everything is shared widely this is
06:39
the way our species has dealt with
06:40
sexuality for the vast majority
06:43
of its time on this planet the sorts of
06:45
possessiveness and coercion that we see
06:48
today are relatively recent aberrations
06:51
in human social organization all this
06:54
naturally leads to the question well
06:56
what does this mean for me what does
06:58
this mean for marriage what does this
06:59
mean for my relationship honestly it
07:02
doesn’t really mean much in terms of how
07:04
you should behave what it tells us is
07:07
that it’s natural to feel certain things
07:09
it’s natural to have desires for other
07:11
people there’s no way to avoid that for
07:14
most human beings and we shouldn’t beat
07:16
ourselves up about that and we shouldn’t
07:17
take those desires as an indictment of
07:21
our relationship the fact that your
07:22
partner and you are both attracted to
07:24
other people doesn’t mean there’s
07:26
something wrong with your relationship
07:27
or there’s something wrong with your
07:28
partner or there’s something wrong with
07:30
you all it means is that you’re human
07:31
beings so let’s all relax a little bit
07:34
and accept that that’s the baseline
07:35
that’s the kind of animal we are now
07:37
what we choose to do with that
07:39
information is completely up to us this
07:42
information is no more an indictment of
07:44
monogamy than it’s an indictment of
07:47
vegetarianism to say that we’re
07:50
omnivores look at us we’re omnivores
07:52
look at the the chimps and the bonobos
07:54
and the other primates who are similar
07:56
to us genetically they’re also omnivores
07:58
their teeth are like ours they’re their
08:00
saliva chemistry is like ours their
08:02
digestive system is like ours so we look
08:04
at all that information we say well okay
08:06
we’ve also evolved to be omnivores that
08:08
doesn’t mean you can’t be a vegetarian
08:10
of course you can it doesn’t mean that
08:12
there’s anything wrong with being a
08:13
vegetarian that could be a superior way
08:15
for you to live it could be great for
08:17
your health it could be great for your
08:19
pocketbook it could be ethically
08:20
superior that’s completely up to you all
08:23
I’m saying is just because you’ve
08:25
decided to be a vegetarian doesn’t mean
08:27
that suddenly bacon stops smelling good
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it’s still going to smell good you’re
08:31
still going to be tempted because of the
08:33
animal that you are and you’re going to
08:35
be more successful in controlling your
08:38
behavior and designing your
08:39
relationships the way you want them to
08:41
be if you’re open and honest and you
08:44
acknowledge that this is the kind of
08:46
animal that we are this is the kind of
08:48
animal you’re forming your relationship
08:50
with start from that start from an
08:52
accurate expectation of what sort of
08:54
creature you are and
08:55
have much more success in trying to
08:57
control your behavior and shape your
08:59
relationship in ways that make sense for
09:01
you
09:28
you

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