The co-author of "Sex at Dawn," Christopher Ryan explores the prehistoric roots of human sexuality.

Why you should listen

In the fascinating book Sex at Dawn, Christopher Ryan and co-author Cacilda Jethá, MD, explore how humans' prehistoric promiscuity (perhaps similar to the bonobos') may have influenced our current attitudes toward pair-bonding, monogamy and long-lasting passion. Their thesis draws on evidence from anthropology, archeology, primatology, anatomy and psychosexuality.

As a psychologist, Ryan’s research focuses on trying to distinguish the human from the cultural. His book, he hopes, is "pointing toward a more optimistic future illuminated by our innate capacities for love, cooperation and generosity."

What others say

“[Sex at Dawn] helps put the ‘human’ back in ‘human sexuality.’” — AASECT (American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists)

Christopher Ryan’s TED talk

More news and ideas from Christopher Ryan


5 studies that offer fascinating conclusions about human sexuality

February 20, 2014

The standard narrative of human sexual evolution says: men provide women with goods and services in exchange for women’s sexual fidelity. But is that really true or relevant today? Christopher Ryan, the co-author of Sex at Dawn with Cacilda Jethá, takes a deeper look and has quite a few bones to pick with this idea. Ryan […]

Continue reading

Indelicate Conversation: Speakers in Session 9 at TED2013

February 28, 2013

This session, delicately titled “Indelicate conversation,” took a look at some topics not meant for the dinner table with talks by speakers not afraid to ask: What’s really on your mind? The speakers who appeared in this session. Click on their name to read a recap of their talk: Rose George “talks shit” to raise awareness […]

Continue reading