Reader Responses

Reader Responses


We’ve received hundreds of emails from readers since the book came out. It’s wonderful to know our book is touching so many people at such a personal level. A few examples (some edited for space and privacy concerns):


-- I’m a science writer, biologist trained in evolution and the sexual behavior in animals, and I also blog at Psychology Today. Sex at Dawn is one of the most important, well-documented, scholarly and research-backed books (and theses) I’ve ever read. I rank it right up there with the On the Origin of Species in terms of its potential to revolutionize the way we understand human beings. To me, anyone who comments on human relationships is lacking critical information if they have not read this book. Rachel

-- WOW! Thank you for such a well written, intelligent and humorous but sensitive discussion that does not use the evidence to prescribe a 'right' way of being. I assumed your book would be just another justification for why as a species we are promiscuous & that the answer was polyamoury. How wrong I was! It was so refreshing to read such a 'grown up' vision of human sexuality. For me, in truth, if I follow the logic to its natural conclusion it fundamentally and correctly challenges the whole basis on which society is organized. I prefer & appreciate honesty! Irrespective, thanks again for a great book! Lynn

-- You've found the missing link and it was standing in the middle of the room the whole time! Your book is pure genius - not since I read the Naked Ape at the age of 17 (1977) have I been so helped and enlightened by a book. My wife and I have read Diamond, Ridley, Perel but you just come right out and say it! Bravo! You've made the world a better place! I am recommending Sex at Dawn to all my friends! Warm regards and much thanks. Richard

-- I just finished reading "Sex at Dawn.” I am a 63 year old widow and I consider this one of the most important books I've ever read. I wish I could live my life over with this information.Sandra

-- I just finished reading your book. Thank you. I grew up watching two gay/bi parents be destroyed by societal norms. For some reason I developed without a jealous or possessive nature and believing that monogamy was a choice not mandatory. Though I believed that a man should have additional outlets and encouraged my spouse, I somehow ended up believing the part that women did not need it. Sadly – that belief had the standard ending that it has for most relationships. ...

I have suspected much of what you have written in your book from my own life experiences and other reading. From the changes in my body’s own physical response to sex, I also suspect that there is an element of evolutional change occurring in women directly related to the social norms that enforce monogamy and denial of the female sex drive. I think that many women are losing at least one basic part of their sexual functioning if not more. 

Until I read your book, I just thought I was odd. Odd, that I could so easily separate recreational sex from a bonded relationship. Odd, that jealousy and possessiveness are so limited in me – I thought I was wrong. There are still many things not covered in your book that I suspect may be true regarding human sexuality and societal norms effect on it, but from what you have presented I now realize that I am not the odd person. 

-- Reading your book, one of the most interesting I've ever read. I'm wondering if you are thinking about following up with the development of sexuality in people. For instance, I'm a stable well placed male with no issues. Kind of. Solid government job for the last 30 plus years, secure retirement, etc. But I remember with VIVID memory my first erotic dream when I was only six or seven years old. I had never been exposed to porn, never walked in on my parents, never been molested, and had no IDEA what sex was, but my first erotic dream was EXACTLY along the lines of what you described in your book. As I read it, I am wondering how in the heck did I know that, and why did I have the dream I did? Love the book, and it opens a dialogue, like it did in yours, as to my current relationship. I too, am unsure. Please accept this as gratitude for your publishing a great and overdue book. Robert

-- I don't even know where to start. I can't tell you how liberating it was to read. As a woman coming of age in the late 60's, I have long scoffed at religious and social conventions as being ways to organize, manipulate and control people; and at patriarchal societal controls as a way to limit women's power. But I had no idea how much I had internalized those hateful views and how much it had defined how I felt about my personal sexual behavior, until I read your book.

I feel as if a weight has been removed from my psyche. And all those years on the pill, picking wrong men, and the changes in my feelings between when I was on and off the pill - Enlightening! Validated! Thank you so much for the gift of this book. 

-- I really have to tell you. I cannot stop talking about your book. I Facebook it, I recommend it to everyone who will listen. I grew up with this myth of monogamy thrust upon me, and it really took me a long time to see past it. How different my life might have been had I read your book 20 years ago! If there's a follow-up, I'll be first in line. Ken

-- Just...thank you. Thank you so much. On a personal level, this book has helped me to feel so much better about myself and my desires. I'm giving it to my husband to read next. Joni

-- I have never written to an author before. It feels kind of strange because I don't really like the cliches of fan mail. I just wanted to tell you that reading Sex at Dawn has completely changed my life. Well, not completely...and it's a little early to tell if there's any actual change. But you know what I mean.

I have always been the kind of guy who questions society, rebels against authority (in an intellectual sense) and tries to think outside the box. The standard model of human sexuality never sat right with me. It just never seemed to make sense. I've been reading books on the topic (most of which were mentioned in 
Sex at Dawn) and the authors were always willing to say that monogamy was unnatural.

But nobody has ever been willing to say what IS natural. I realized about two years ago that I did not want to spend the rest of my life with one woman. But I could not figure out what I DID want for myself.

Casual dating, no real connections? No. Serial monogamy? Well, that's what I've been doing my whole life and I don't feel satisfied with it. Polygamy? Maybe? Polyamorous groups? Umm...maybe? 

Your book finally stepped up to the microphone and laid down the law...using science, which is pretty great. Books like "Against Love" and "I Don't" were great reads...but they couldn't convince me of much without pointing to scientific evidence. I like to listen to rhetoric I agree with, everyone does. It was just so good to read something that relied so heavily on evidence (and humor). There you have it, my fawning email. I just want to thank you for trying to set the record straight. 

-- The other night I was reading your book before going to sleep. That night I had a dream in which I adopted a beautiful little boy, just under two years old. He was brought to me by two young women. Shortly after they left, I realized I would be unable to care for him myself. I returned him to the young women with a heavy, heavy heart. When I got to their home, they told me that I wouldn't have to do it; that we would all raise him together. I would not be alone with this situation. An incredible peace descended into me and there has been a psychological shift that is very comforting and remains in my waking hours. Meredith

-- Just finished the book. I so wish you'd written it 35 years ago (for me at least - 500 years ago for the race). I was flooded with affirmations of so much I have always felt / suspected was true but had to smother to survive in this society we live in. I can breathe now. I can love and make love too. Andrew

-- This is the greatest book ever. I can't remember the last time a non-fiction tome was so gripping. That bit the about the gentleman's parts working as a... um.. suction device? Who knew? Not me, that's for sure. I'll have to look at boy parts in a whole new way now. On a related note, I was raving about the book to some friends lately, a married couple (he's 8.5 years her junior) and she went almost postal, "I could never not be monogamous...." He was just quiet, but with eyes shining. I'm all for supporting what people are into, but thanks for reminding everyone that we are primates. Smart primates, but still primates. Also, I've been saying for years the person who first said, "Hey guys, let's leave the trees and live it houses with wall-to-wall carpeting" should have been quietly stoned, but thank you for pointing out that our recent 10K years worth of experimentation with agriculture has not been too awesome for women, or therefore, anyone. Lydia

-- Your book brilliantly makes tangible my non-conventional thoughts around the subject matter.Vimal

-- I feel so lucky that I stumbled across this life-changing revolutionary book. Thank you so much for giving us as a species another chance at true happiness. And that all starts with acceptance of who we are! Chris

-- Every master's student should read this book for inspiration on how to present facts with style rather than the dry academic language that put me to sleep through most of grad school. And all conservative religious fundamentalists should read this book and learn to stop destroying humanity by sticking their noses in bedrooms where they don't belong. Katy

-- I've been a part of a very conservative religious group, and I've never been willing to really scandalize a lot of people on these subjects. Our models for marriage have always troubled me. I hadn't thought of it as prostitution so much as simple property exchange. It always seemed to be about control and power. It seemed fundamentally immoral.... 

When I read your book, it shot all of this to pieces. I don't think it's possible to recover the traditional model in lieu of your argument. I don't think it's possible to even support its morality. It was already strained and suspect. Now it's just gone; honestly, I've played by the traditional rules for some time, even though I've known there was something wrong with them. I won't anymore; they do harm to everyone involved. 

Reader videos


Darrel W. Ray, Ed.D., author of The God Virus

Jennifer Talley, Ph.D.

Don Francis

Mike Lang

Steve Sacks