We've been told that sexual monogamy comes naturally to our species. But how does this square with the facts: fewer and fewer couples marry, divorce is increasing and marriages are haunted by the twin spectres of adultery and flagging libido. What if our past is actually one of egalitarian promiscuity? What if monogamy doesn't come naturally to us and never has? And, if having an affair would make your marriage last, would you?
Christopher Ryan is an American psychologist who contends that much of what we've been told about our species is in fact untrue, particularly when it comes to sexuality. The bottom line, he says, is monogamy is unnatural: we're just not designed to have sex with the same person over a lifetime. He cheekily suggests that had Darwin had a better sex life our theories of human sexual relations would be completely different.
This session was chaired by the ABC's Robyn Williams and was part of the 2011 Festival of Dangerous Ideas at the Sydney Opera House.
Christopher Ryan is a psychologist and co -author of New York Times best-seller, "Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality". Christopher contributes to Psychology Today and The Huffington Post.
Robyn Williams is a science journalist and broadcaster, and the host of ABC Radio National's The Science show. In 1987 he was named a National Living Treasure. In 1993, Robyn was the first journalist elected as a Fellow Member of the Australian Academy of Science. He was a Visiting Fellow at Balliol College Oxford in 1995-96. Robyn has written more than 10 books, the latest being a novel.
My favorite part and also the art that has the biggest implications for mankind --
Scientifically proven: "When women rule a society, the men get laid more. Everybody's happier. Not one murder, not one infanticide, not one rape, no warfare. It's a very successful society."
Can I get an 'amen'?