Making Sense of Sex: How Genes and Gender Influence Our Relationships

Making Sense of Sex: How Genes and Gender Influence Our Relationships

by David P. Barash, Judith Eve Lipton, Judith E. Lipton
     
 

In Making Sense of Sex, the husband and wife team of David Barash, an evolutionary biologist, and Judith Lipton, a clinical psychiatrist, draw on their respective areas of expertise to explore and explain the central fact of our existence-that men and women are fundamentally, unalterably different. They present an eye-opening and wide-ranging consideration

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Overview

In Making Sense of Sex, the husband and wife team of David Barash, an evolutionary biologist, and Judith Lipton, a clinical psychiatrist, draw on their respective areas of expertise to explore and explain the central fact of our existence-that men and women are fundamentally, unalterably different. They present an eye-opening and wide-ranging consideration of what those differences are, how they came to be, why they are important, and what they mean in our everyday lives.

The authors integrate biological and anthropological findings with real-life stories of indviduals to address the conundrums that surround male-female behavior and relationships. Drawing on the latest research in evolutionary biology, they trace the multifaceted gender gap to the basic, defining difference between males and females: that one makes sperm, the other, eggs. They show how that distinction explains why women and men differ in essential ways, exploring such questions as: Why are men more attracted than women to pornography, group sex, and one-night stands? Why are women the "gatekeepers" of sex? Why do women have orgasms?

Making Sense of Sex is a highly informative and entertaining look at human relationships. The book will help readers not only to better understand themselves, but to better understand their children, their relatives, and their lovers with whom they share so much yet find so infuriatingly and fascinatingly different.

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
One is tempted to say this book tells you everything you wanted to know about sex but were afraid to ask—except that no one is afraid to ask these days, and we are all but surfeited by the amount of public telling.

Indeed, sex scandals aside, the transit from scholarly journal to newsprint is such that hardly any nuance of sexual behavior of beast or human goes unnoticed. So the review that this husband-wife team provides (he is an evolutionary biologist, she a psychiatrist) is less a report on what's new than it is their perspective on the state of sex science today. As such, they are emphatic in stating that just because a behavior is common (e.g., male philandering) does not mean that it is to be condoned: What "is" is not to be construed as inevitable or as what ought to be. Having said that, the authors provide a comprehensive summary of the biological, neurological, and developmental differences between males and females, with due regard for the effects of hormones, genes, and culture. Barash provides many examples of animal and anthropological studies relating to courtship, male-male aggression, male violence against another male's offspring, and so on. Lipton draws upon her practice with numerous case studies, such as women who are conflicted or depressed about handling careers and motherhood. Indeed, part of the rationale for the joint authorship was to contrast the styles of the (female) therapist communicating one-on-one with patients with the more distancing perspective of the (male) evolutionary biologist theorizing about bluebirds. Nor are they above using their own marriage to exemplify problems they discuss.

Overall, this complementary and not overly technical approach works to their advantage and, along with the temperate point of view, makes this a useful addition to the popular literature. It should be especially good for young people.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781559634526
Publisher:
Island Press
Publication date:
01/28/1997
Edition description:
1
Pages:
242
Product dimensions:
6.60(w) x 8.98(h) x 0.72(d)

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