Sex and the Single Cro-Magnon

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I have long thought that when comes to sex humans were much more like bonobos than our other close evolutionary relative, regular chimps. Paleo-anthropological evidence for ancestral behaviors is largely in the realm of the highly speculative, but a news story about Bradford University archaeologist Timothy Taylor's research on prehistoric sexual practices is interesting (if not dispositive). To wit:

He may have come down from the trees, but prehistoric man did not stop swinging. New research into Stone Age humans has argued that, far from having intercourse simply to reproduce, they had sex for fun.

Practices ranging from bondage to group sex, transvestism and the use of sex toys were widespread in primitive societies as a way of building up cultural ties.

Transvestism? In bear skins? 

News story here.  

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  1. Evidence, please.

    It may well have been so, but it’s all speculation.

    Until they can produce some pornographic cave paintings, I’ll take this kind of “news” with a large block of salt.

  2. the use of sex toys were widespread

    So easy even a caveman can do it.

  3. I TOLD you the “Clan of the Cave Bear” books were scholarly work.

  4. joe,

    Or Quest for Fire.

  5. Pro Libertate-

    Your services are needed over at “Unqualified Offerings”, in a thread titled “If I were an evil overlord with WMD…”

    It involves fortresses. And bumbling henchmen. And sweet, sweet revenge. As well as maniacal laughter.

    I think you’d have fun in this thread.

    http://highclearing.com/index.php/archives/2007/04/29/6316

  6. thoreau,

    I’ll take a look!

  7. ….sex for fun…

    Pretty sure that’s a given. Might because it feels good. God wanted to make sure y’all keep goin’ forth, bein’ fruitful, and multiplying.

  8. I can just see it.. Fred Flintstone pleases Wilma with a vibrating bamboo tube. A gopher crawls out, gives a camera take with his paws outstretched and says “it’s a living’

  9. Experts believe research such as Taylor’s may help overturn false assumptions that sex for the purposes of reproduction is the form closest to nature.

    ‘Experts’ haven’t made that ‘assumption’ for many years, or at least not since Darwin: look up “cryptic ovulation” and “sperm competition,” for example.

    Petra Boynton, a relationship counselor and health lecturer at University College, London, found the study “refreshing.”

    A “relationship counselor” was ignorant. Wow.

  10. LOL.

    Only a bible thumper could think otherwise.

  11. Petra Boynton, a relationship counselor and health lecturer at University College, London, found the study “refreshing.”

    The full Boynton quote is interesting. “Crisp and clean, with just a hint of Limon, this study is just refreshing. Imagination is nothing. Thirst is everything. Obey your thirst – for paleosexual research.”

  12. So easy a caveman could do it.

  13. On request of joe and ProGLib, Rae Dawn Chong and Daryl Hannah will square off in a jello rasslin match – against joe and ProGLib.

    Bruce Campbell will perform the national anthem.

    Mr. Crane is guest referee.

    A Stevo “Threadkiller” Darkly Production. Featuring music by Ice 9 and Lisa Lisa.

    (p.s., en passant – hilarious!)

  14. No, no, it’s all true. Cavedudes also used to smoke dope, play air guitar, and consume vast quantities of oreos while watching reruns of “Gilligan’s Island.” They were a lot like us.

  15. Practices ranging from bondage to group sex, transvestism and the use of sex toys were widespread in primitive societies as a way of building up cultural ties.

    Wow. They had the internet back then. Who knew?

  16. So…how exactly do researchers know that prehistoric people were engaging in anything analogous to modern bondage play, as opposed to just raping bound captives?

  17. Eric the .5b,

    That sounds more like the cavemen that I know.

  18. I wanna live
    With a Cro-Magnon girl.
    I could be happy
    The rest of my life
    With a Cro-Magnon girl.

    A drawer of pictures,
    I run in the night.
    You see us together,
    chasing the moonlight,
    My Cro-Magnon girl.

    Ten silver axes,
    A mace and a bow.
    The caveman relaxes
    And waits with his bros
    For his Cro-Magnon girl.

    A drawer of pictures,
    I run in the night.
    You see us together,
    Chasing the moonlight,
    My Cro-Magnon girl.

    Pa send me honey now,
    I’m gonna make it somehow.
    I need another chance.
    You see your baby loves to dance.
    Yeah. . .yeah. . .yeah.

  19. I always thought Neil Young was a shaved caveman.

  20. And not that well shaved, either.

  21. So…how exactly do researchers know that prehistoric people were engaging in anything analogous to modern bondage play, as opposed to just raping bound captives?

    I’m guessing the padding on the Cro-Magnon handcuffs gave it away.

  22. Sex purely for reproduction describes the behavior of dogs pretty well. Male dogs may always be “ready”, but they need the scent of an ovulating female before they will act.

  23. Uncle Sam, you don’t actually own any male dogs, do you?

  24. the use of sex toys [was] widespread in primitive societies

    Um, so they’ve found some of these, have they? Or are they merely depicted in cave paintings?

    Brings new meaning to the phrase “stone tool.”

  25. Sex toys, spaceships, whatever. Apparently, anthropology is an observer-based system. Heck, I could swear I saw a cell phone on some Greek pottery.

  26. My impression is that Stone Age societies did draw crude depictions of ooga-ooga. There’s certainly stone sculptures a-plenty of voluptuous “goddesses” (which the article mentions).

    The article doesn’t cite the BDSM etc; for that you’d have to go for the Handbook of the Evolution of Human Sexuality, “published by Haworth Press”.

  27. Male dogs may always be “ready”, but they need the scent of an ovulating female before they will act.

    My leg must smell like ovulating bitch, then.

  28. WE’VE BEEN MEANING TO TALK TO YOU ABOUT THAT, R C.

  29. Even today, corporate mergers are sealed by an exchange of women.

  30. far from having intercourse simply to reproduce, they had sex for fun.

    Well, this presumes an intentionality among the Cro’s that I’m not sure is there. Obviously, from the POV of a walrus, it’s not thinking “I’d better mount Olga here so we can have a litter next spring”; it’s mating to satisfy an urge and to experience the attendant pleasure. That doesn’t mean that sex isn’t intended for reproduction in the grand scheme of things; the pleasure and urges are there to encourage walruses to do what’s necessary to continue the species.

    So, I have no doubt that Cro-Magnons had sex for fun. I don’t see how that contradicts the idea that sex is meant for reproduction in the big picture, though.

  31. sex is meant for reproduction in the big picture, though.

  32. Even today, corporate mergers are sealed by an exchange of women.

    Dang, Ron, I wanna work in your industry.

  33. SEX HELL YA!!! lol cavemen rule! if cavemen invented sex then they r really smart. CAVE SEX

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