Anatomy of Love: The Natural History of Monogamy, Adultery, and Divorce

Helen E. Fisher, Author
Helen E. Fisher, Author W. W. Norton & Company $22.95 (431p) ISBN 978-0-393-03423-3
Reviewed on: 11/02/1992
Release date: 11/01/1992
Paperback - 431 pages - 978-0-7881-5821-6
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In this engrossing, entertaining book, Fisher, a research associate at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, draws on anthropology and biology to answer eternal questions about love and sex, men and women. Breezy but serious, she cites everything from chimpanzee polities to the !Kung people of the Kalahari Desert to provide details on courting styles, multiple orgasms and homosexuality. Fisher (The Sex Contract) allows that she's not politically correct, and some may be troubled by her assertions that adultery occurs in nearly every culture and that male attraction to beauty and female attraction to money are probably innate. She offers her own theory on challenges to marriage in traditional societies: the proverbial seven-year itch may be better seen as a four-year cycle allowing relationships to endure at least long enough to raise a child through infancy. Surveying reasons (such as the introduction of the plow) for the growth of the sexual double standard in Western society, Esher concludes that increased equality between men and women will restore older traditions of love and marriage. BOMC and QPB alternates; author tour. (Nov.)
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