The Evolution of Human Sexuality


The Evolution of Human Sexuality is a 1979 book about human sexuality by the anthropologist Donald Symons, in which the author discusses topics such as human sexual anatomy, ovulation, orgasm, homosexuality, sexual promiscuity, and rape, attempting to show how evolutionary concepts can be applied to humans. Symons argues that the female orgasm is not an adaptive trait and that women have the capacity for it only because orgasm is adaptive for men, and that differences between the sexual behavior of male and female homosexuals help to show underlying differences between male and female sexuality. In his view, homosexual men tend to be sexually promiscuous because of the tendency of men in general to desire sex with a large number of partners, a tendency that in heterosexual men is usually restrained by women's typical lack of interest in promiscuous sex. Symons also argues that rape can be explained in evolutionary terms and feminist claims that it is not sexually motivated are incorrect. The book received several positive reviews, as well as some criticism: it was described as the most important work on human sociobiology to date, but also dismissed as an impoverished work. It has been seen as a classic work on human sexual evolution and used as a textbook, though critics have questioned Symons's explanation of the female orgasm and his suggestion that eliminating rape "might well entail a cure worse than the disease". The work influenced the biologist Randy Thornhill and the anthropologist Craig T. Palmer's A Natural History of Rape (2000). Symons's arguments about homosexuality have received both criticism and support from commentators, and he has been both accused of supporting genetic determinism and sexism, and defended against the charge.
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original title: The Evolution of Human Sexuality
language: English
date of publication: 1979
genre: psychology
main subject: human sexuality


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