Why is Sex Fun? The Evolution of Human Sexuality

Basic Books, New York, 1997

At 165 pages, this is by far the shortest of my books.  As true of my other books, each foreign publisher releasing this book in translation designs its own cover, without input from me.  These covers offer interesting insights into national differences in public attitudes about sex.  The editions with the most schematic, least sexual covers are those for Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Slovakia, and Turkey.  The American covers have also been rather restrained.  More lively and explicit are the covers for Finland, Poland, and Sweden.  Most explicit are the covers for Brazil and Hungary.  The French, German, and Italian editions were each issued initially with a schematic cover, then re-issued later with a more vivid one.  The Spanish edition has appeared with three successive covers, all of them restrained.

My book’s title misled at least one American bookstore into placing this book for sale in the Erotica section, where it probably disappointed browsers of that section.  It is neither pornographic, nor a how-to-do-it manual, but a humorous and scientific account of why human sexuality is so bizarrely unusual by the standards of other animal species.  For an animal’s perspective on human sexuality, here is the dog’s view with which I began my first chapter:

I provide links to my book’s Table of Contents and part of its preface, to give readers a sense of both the public interest and the scientific interest of my book’s contents. 


“If your dog had your brain and could speak, and if you asked it what it thought of your sex life, you might be surprised by its response.  It would be something like:

Those disgusting humans have sex any day of the month!  Barbara proposes sex even when she knows perfectly well that she isn’t fertile – like just after her period.  John is eager for sex all the time, without caring whether his efforts could result in a baby or not.  But if you want to hear something really gross – Barbara and John kept on having sex while she was pregnant!  That’s as bad as all the times when John’s parents come for a visit, and I can hear them too having sex, although John’s mother went through this thing they call menopause years ago.  Now she can’t have babies anymore, but she still wants sex, and John’s father obliges her.  What a waste of effort!  Here’s the weirdest thing of all: Barbara and John, and John’s parents, close the bedroom door and have sex in private, instead of doing it in front of their friends like any self-respecting dog!”