Michael's blog about science, culture, and everything in between
three reasons not to eat your partner

I've just finished reading Jared Diamond's "Why sex is fun" -- for strictly professional reasons of course. I've always been a huge fan of his News & Views pieces in Nature (nobody else could get something into nature under the title: "Aaaaargh, nooooo !"), but this was the first time I read one of his books.

Lots of great stuff in there, but my favourite quote must be this:

"Most men have more than one lifetime opportunity to copulate; even well-nourished women usually give birth to only a single baby or at most twins; and a woman could not consume enough of a man's body at one sitting to improve significantly the nutritional basis for her pregnancy."

If you haven't guessed yet, this is Diamond's explanation of why sexual cannibalism makes perfect sense for some species of spiders and mantrises, but not for humans. Somehow, this conjures up the image of James Bond being devoured from the top while his nether regions are still doing their thing ... How lucky for him and all of us that it wouldn't make evolutionary sense.

2007-05-10 13:08:37 GMT

Prose and Passion