The Sex Taboo Represents Infantile Magical Thinking
If we take away the either/or aspect to relationships when it comes to sex, I think we’ll end up with much more stable relationships and happier people, probably.
Christopher Ryan is the author Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality, which he coauthored with Cacilda Jethá. Dan Savage called Sex at Dawn “the single most important book about human sexuality since Alfred Kinsey unleashed Sexual Behavior in the Human Male on the American public in 1948.” This book examines the origins of human sexuality and their influence over our sexual behavior. Ryan will offer insight on why monogamy is tough for so many couples (historically people lived in “communal” groups which shared child raising and often sexual partners). Other topics include why sexual passion fades, why sexual frustration can actually make us sick, and much more.received a BA in English and American literature in 1984 and an MA and Ph.D. in psychology from Saybrook University, in San Francisco, CA twenty years later. His doctoral dissertation analyzes the prehistoric roots of human sexuality.
Based in Barcelona since the mid-1990s, Christopher has lectured at the University of Barcelona Medical School and consulted at various local hospitals. He speaks about human sexuality to audiences around the world (in both English and Spanish). His work has appeared in major newspapers and magazines in many languages, scholarly journals, and a text book used in medical schools and teaching hospitals throughout Spain and Latin America.
I would encourage young people, if they want to have kids, if they want to have a family, if they want to go down that road, to understand that it’s like choosing a career. It’s a long term decision that you don’t make just because you had some great teacher in high school who taught you Spanish and now you’re going to become a Spanish Literature Scholar because of that one experience. I would encourage them to be much more circumspect and much more practical about that decision.
I think the problem is that people say, "You know, I can only have sex with one person for the rest of my life, so I’m going to choose the one I really love having sex with." But that’s going to fade in a few years and then you’re left with this person you might not have anything else in common with.
If a relationship is based on more practical, realistic, real life issues, and sex was something separate from that - it was a negotiable point - then it would take the pressure off. Then they wouldn’t have to say, “Oh, I don’t have to marry this person that I love having sex with right now because I could actually marry this other person, who I really respect and admire and I’m gonna love just as much when he or she is old."
I think in western society because we’ve got these huge taboos about sexuality, we have infantile magical thinking related to sex. You know, all these penis enlargement things that we all get in our inbox. What’s that all about? That’s because men actually think that women choose who they want to be with based on the size of the penis? Really? I don’t know women who really think that way. Very few.
But men are taking their way of thinking about sexuality, transposing it into women’s minds, and then reflecting it back. That’s not the way it really works. We think that if someone has sex with someone else, they’ll leave their family and drop everything. But the only reason they do is because it’s an either/or proposition all the time. If we take away that either/or aspect to it, I think we’ll end up with much more stable relationships and happier people, probably.
In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.
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