Anatomy of Love: A Natural History of Mating, Marriage, and Why We Stray

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Why do we marry? Why are some people adulterous? Why do human beings divorce? What is infatuation? When did human love and sex evolve, and what is the future of the family? In this brilliant book anthropologist Helen Fisher examines the innate aspects of sex and love and marriage, those traits and tendencies that we inherited from our past. She examines flirting behavior and the other courting postures and vocal tones we use naturally to court each other. She explains love-at-first-sight and why we fall in love ...
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Overview

Why do we marry? Why are some people adulterous? Why do human beings divorce? What is infatuation? When did human love and sex evolve, and what is the future of the family? In this brilliant book anthropologist Helen Fisher examines the innate aspects of sex and love and marriage, those traits and tendencies that we inherited from our past. She examines flirting behavior and the other courting postures and vocal tones we use naturally to court each other. She explains love-at-first-sight and why we fall in love with one person rather than another. She explores the brain chemistry of attraction and attachment. And she looks at divorce in 62 societies and adultery in 42 cultures to illustrate her new theory, the "four-year itch." Fisher traces the evolution of human courtship, marriage, adultery, divorce, re-marriage, and the sexual emotions back to their origins on the grasslands of Africa four million years ago. Women, men, and power, the genesis of teenage, the origin of human conscience, gender differences in the brain, and many other aspects of human sexuality take on new meaning as she follows human kind from caves in Africa through the agricultural revolution and on into contemporary Western social life. In the last chapter, Fisher looks at several modern trends and concludes that many are not new. Instead, these family patterns came across the centuries, up from primitives who wandered out of Africa millennia ago.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this engrossing, entertaining book, Fisher, a research associate at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, draws on anthropology and biology to answer eternal questions about love and sex, men and women. Breezy but serious, she cites everything from chimpanzee polities to the !Kung people of the Kalahari Desert to provide details on courting styles, multiple orgasms and homosexuality. Fisher (The Sex Contract) allows that she's not politically correct, and some may be troubled by her assertions that adultery occurs in nearly every culture and that male attraction to beauty and female attraction to money are probably innate. She offers her own theory on challenges to marriage in traditional societies: the proverbial seven-year itch may be better seen as a four-year cycle allowing relationships to endure at least long enough to raise a child through infancy. Surveying reasons (such as the introduction of the plow) for the growth of the sexual double standard in Western society, Esher concludes that increased equality between men and women will restore older traditions of love and marriage. BOMC and QPB alternates; author tour. (Nov.)
Deborah Tannen
“Will give everyone who reads it a lot to talk about.”
New York Times Book Review
“Delightful to read . . . fascinating.”
Edward O. Wilson
“Fisher weaves a persuasive and consistently surprising new explanation of the roots of human marriage, sex, and love.”
Philadelphia Inquirer
“Answers all those puzzling questions that caused your mother (or priest or guidance counselor or gym teacher) to blame God and/or hormones.”
San Francisco Chronicle
“Enlightening and controversial.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780788158216
  • Publisher: DIANE Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 11/1/1998
  • Pages: 431

Meet the Author

Helen Fisher 's books include Why We Love and Why Him?
Why Her? A member of the Center for Human Evolutionary
Studies at Rutgers University and chief scientific adviser for
Match.com, she lives in New York.
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Table of Contents

To the Reader: A "Way of Seeing " 11
Acknowledgments 15
1 Courting: Games People Play 19
2 Infatuation: Why Him? Why Her? 37
3 Of Human Bonding: Is Monogamy Natural? 59
4 Why Adultery?: The Nature of Philandering 75
5 Blueprint for Divorce: The Four-Year Itch 98
6 "When Wild in Woods the Noble Savage Ran": Life among Our Ancestors in the Trees 118
7 Out of Eden: A Theory on the Origin of Monogamy and Desertion 139
8 Eros: Emergence of the Sexual Emotions 162
9 The Siren's Web: Evolution of Human Sexual Anatomy 175
10 Why Can't a Man Be More Like a Woman?: Development of the Human Sexual Brain 189
11 Women, Men, and Power: The Nature of Sexual Politics 209
12 Almost Human: Genesis of Kinship and the Teenager 227
13 The First Affluent Society: A Flowering of Conscience 239
14 Fickle Passion: Romance in Yesteryears 259
15 "Till Death Us Do Part": Birth of Western Double Standards 275
16 Future Sex: Forward to the Past 292
Notes 313
Appendix 357
Bibliography 363
Index 409
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