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Pascal Picq, Philippe Brenot

Sex, Human and Evolution

If the mythical “good savage” were to observe Western societies and their customs, he would be greatly surprised by the display of an obsession with sex. It would seem that the men and women of today have finally discovered sexual fulfilment. Sexology has been enhanced by findings in various disciplines — biology, ethology, medicine, psychology and psychoanalysis. Biological and cultural anthropology and even palaeoanthropology have been called upon to help us understand more fully the complexity of our desires and behaviour.This book offers a methodical approach to human sexuality from its origins to present-day issues, enabling readers to browse freely by theme or question. Each subject is clearly treated with explanations of recent scientific findings and a debunking of received ideas and other false explanations based on dogma or on so-called “natural laws”.

Aspects of erotic life examined here include: sexual maturity, sexual orientation, attachment, feelings, love, fidelity, puberty, the learning process, fulfilled adult sexuality, new practices, perversions and pornography. A central issue guides the authors: What is uniquely human? What can we learn from animal behaviour?

Two authors, known for their originality, eminence and independence, bring together their complementary skills and reflections.They review current knowledge in science, medicine and the social sciences; when a new subject is introduced, an appraisal of existing knowledge and current controversies is provided.

An appendix of sexual statistics synthesises the results of anthropological, sociological, medical and biometric studies; it is accompanied by a critical analysis of the major studies on sexuality and sexual liberation of the past thirty years.

The author of the widely acclaimed Au commencement était l'homme (2003) and Lucy et l'obscurantisme (2007), Pascal Picq is a lecturer in the Chair of Palaeoanthropology and Prehistory at the Collège de France. His works include Les Tigres (2004) and Les Grands Singes (2005).

The author of Les Violences ordinaires (2008) and Inventer le couple (2001), Philippe Brenot is a psychiatrist, couple therapist, director of sexology courses at the University of Paris-V, and the president of the Observatoire International du Couple. His works include Le Sexe et l'Amour (2003) and Le Génie et la Folie (2007).