What Monkeys Can Teach Us About Sex | Think Tank

Abby Martin speaks with Christopher Ryan, psychologist and author of the best-selling book ‘Sex at Dawn’ about the human construct of monogamy, western taboos about promiscuity and other intricacies of modern sexuality.

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  • Craig Bickford

    I have read some reviews of this work, and it sounds like he took some liberties with some of his research for his book.

  • Rhoid Rager

    Naturalizing behaviour of any sort is a non-starter. We think we do good by turning to nature to justify this peaceful, sharing behaviour over previous narratives of violence and domination, but the results are the same–naturalizing behaviour misses the point that behaviours such as violence, monogamy or polygamy are personal choices. To trace back responsibility for personal behaviours to ancient ancestors or this culture or that is a part of this twisted scapegoating society we currently reside in. Contemporary problems we face are a result of our personal choices, and not those of nature. Nature is diversity–our personal choices are our own. Accept that and be at peace with your own choices.

    Regarding the issue of monogamy–it is a relation between two people (and not a dietary choice). It is based on how the _two_ people in the relationship think of it. Engaging in monogamy is a matter of respecting the opinion of your partner, rather than simply assuming it is economic in nature.

    • Calypso_1

      When you say “thinking about, respecting opinion, engaging in…”, I hear more ‘Ecology’ than ‘Economy’ – to converse with vs. follow a set of rules. I don’t think the problem is naturalization but systems of thought that repress the full development of mentalization.
      Personal choice – mind, these too are results of natural processes and at their optimum, when regulated with mutual aid and the pursuit of simultaneous understanding these yield the most negentropic of systems.
      That societal problems arise from the application of mental programs that produce benefit for some does not make them unnatural. They are parasitic at best & indicative of social disease just as would be the case at a biological level.

      • Rhoid Rager

        Sorry, I’ve been ill the past few days.

        I wrote ‘economic in nature’ to reflect what Ryan said about monogamy being derived from Western economic notions of private property. But, yes, I agree with you that relations with others are ecological in nature–we get what we give.

        From my perspective, personal choice – mind are the only kind of natural processes, in that they are the source of novelty in evolving negentropic systems. How we choose to interact with the world in which we reside originates inside of us–even if it is mediated through a mythological lens; our worldview. So, when I see a credentialed-person relying on grand scientific narratives, such as evolution, to support one behaviour set over another, I cringe. It gives added rhetorical weight to a particular mythological lens through which people view the world and make their decisions accordingly. Given that we all require a particular mythology through which to view the world, those mythologies that tend to taper off the possibility of social forms are antithetical to general human welfare, imo.

        Mutual aid happens regardless of any mythologies, as it seems, from what I understand from my own studies, to be the fundamental integrative force of the universe; but reducing the possibilities of forms that mutual aid can take inhibits ontological novelty. This is the most damaging behavioural trend of our species; however, due to its high thermodynamic costs (holding back a fundamental force like mutual aid takes a lot of energy) it is only temporary and likely to give way to new forms of novelty–as has happened in the past in an sputtering-engine-like pattern.

        • Calypso_1

          I didn’t construe your wording as a personal reflection but as you said the work of the author.
          I’ve been bemused for sometime over the use of the word “mythology”. The forging of mythos & logos, though I understand to have originated in the telling and relation of myth which was a plastic narrative, became a codified hierarchy much in line with the expression of patriarchal dominance, lineage control, wealth, etc. In other words, it became the narrative to back the system as opposed to a generative force. I find a preference for using mythopoiesis. Here you have more of the possibility of the constant refinement/awareness of entelechy. The mythopoeic lens becomes one of potentiality and of guidance from that which is inaccessible outside of the province of the most abstract and liminal of mind states. It is here, originating within us, that these potentials are most reflective. The tapering of social forms is a template to rectify any variance of potential energy. That is your engine of society, always a translation between forces of physis & nomus. In between at the actual element of world disclosure comes the individual who can draw life itself from constantly changing paradigm or give them selves to be drawn from as fuel for the governors.

          • Rhoid Rager

            elegantly stated.

  • Ted Heistman

    We can learn a lot about poop throwing from monkeys too!

    • Juan

      Gotta love those shit chucking primates:)

  • Juan

    I’d like to try a bit of monkey business with Abby.

  • http://www.macewan.org macewan

    So we’re good to go with monkey sex?