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Sunday, 17 July 2011

Interdisciplinary Studies in Sexuality



I love Dan Savage. Dan is an American sex advice columnist and formidable podcast host (Savage Love, put it on your iPod and go for a walk around the city, I oblige you!). I have learned more listening to his show than I did in the entirety of my fine Concordia education in "Interdisciplinary Studies in Sexuality" and that's saying something—that program introduced me to Michel Foucault. If Dan recommends something, I'll seek it out. That's how I came to read Sex At Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What It Means for Modern Relationships (originally better subtitled "The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality").



In Sex At Dawn, Christopher Ryan, PhD, and Cacilda Jetha, MD,
seek to dispel the standard evolutionary psychology model of human sexuality which holds that monogamy is a natural form of mating as it most benefits both male and female partners (him because it ensures his paternity, her because she needs him around as provider/protector). They go about this by presenting alternative historical and cultural models of kinship and sexuality and by going into all sorts of fascinating current scientific research on human sexuality. I acquired the hardcover edition back in December and have since lent it out across my friend group. Now that it's out in paperback, I'm recommending everyone buy their own copy of this book. Smart, insightful, funny, Sex At Dawn will provide you with the best bar chat material. (Don't just trust me, Sex At Dawn is a New York Times bestseller, one of NPR's Favorite Books of 2010 and was chosen as a Best Book of 2010 by Audible.com.)



Dan Savage has also recently published his own book, co-edited with his partner Terry Miller. It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying, and Creating a Life Worth Living is the book version of Savage's hugely successful YouTube project. Outraged by the number of suicides of LGBT youth who were the victims of harassment and discrimination, Savage created a YouTube video to inspire youngsters and to let them know that It Gets Better. Savage then invited others to record their own inspirational videos. Since its initiation in September 2010, the project has received over 10,000 submissions which have been collectively viewed over 35 million times. Notable contributors include President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Michael Cunningham, David Sedaris, Sarah Silverman, Tim Gunn, and Ellen DeGeneres. It's a beautiful project and a beautiful book.

I love you Dan!

At the top of the post: an early panel from Chester Brown's new, awesome memoir Paying For It. Chester reads Dan Savage in order to learn all about sex work etiquette!

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