Christopher Ryan: Sex, Sex Culture & Sex at Dawn

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Welcome to our first ever VIDEO and audio podcast (you get to see the inside of my biohacking laboratory!), where I am celebrating by exploring everyone’s favorite topic – sex!

This episode, with co-author of New York Times best seller, Sex at Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What it Means for Modern Relationships, Christopher Ryan, gives you a peak into the evolutionary view of human sexual behavior. Sex at Dawn shatters myths surrounding the societal history behind how men and women interact in sexual relationships. Christopher made for a great interview, as he continues to rustle feathers around the ideas of traditional relationships.

Christopher RyanChristopher has been on wild ride since he received a BA in English and American literature in 1984, and an MA, and Ph.D. in Psychology twenty years later. He has traveled the world and worked at decidedly odd jobs including: gutting salmon in Alaska, teaching English to prostitutes in Bangkok and self-defense to land-reform activists in Mexico, managing commercial real-estate in New York’s Diamond District, helping Spanish physicians publish their research). In his mid-30s, Christopher decided to pursue doctoral studies in Psychology.

Christopher has guest-lectures and contributes to publications ranging from Behavioral and Brain Sciences (Cambridge University Press) to a textbook used in medical schools and teaching hospitals throughout Spain and Latin America.

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What We Cover

  •   1:30 – Christopher Ryan’s Story
  •   5:30 – The lead up to Sex at Dawn
  •   7:20 – “What is human” vs “What is cultural”
  •   9:00 – The Secret Life of Plants
  • 11:00 – Dr. Andrew Weil – Plants, Consciousness, and Alternative Medicine
  • 15:00 – Let’s Get Dr. Andrew Wile on Joe Rogan!
  •  16:15 – 3 minute summary of Sex at Dawn
  • 18:00 – “Battle of the sexes” is wrong
  • 19:35 – The 4 sources of sex in our ancestors
  • 21:00 – Does initial technology come from sexual desire?
  • 22:15 – Who was frustrated most by Sex at Dawn?
  • 23:00 – The hunter-gatherer principle
  • 24:45 – Do you own time or space?
  • 25:30 – Where does sharing come into play?
  • 27:00 – Flinstone-ization
  • 28:10 – What common things hurt sexual performance?
  • 31:45 – How to short-circuit shame in the bedroom
  • 33:50 – Raise alpha waves? Think about sex!
  • 35:00 – Animal anatomy and sex
  • 37:20 – How economic inequality relates to stress
  • 40:30 – Christopher’s Next Book: Civilized to Death
  • 42:45 – You’re rich…now what?
  • 43:35 – Not getting “some” & misogyny
  • 46:00 – Christopher’s take on Dave’s orgasm experiment
  • 47:30 – Testosterone and a novel partner
  • 49:30 – Flesh lights
  • 50:30 – More about Christopher Ryan

Links From the Show


Sex At Dawn

Christopher’s Website

Christopher’s Podcast

Twitter – @ChrisRyanPhD


The Secret Life of Plants

The Erotic Engine

Dave’s Orgasm Experiment

Andrew Weil

Questions for the podcast?

Leave your questions and responses in the comments section below so I can answer them in the next podcast.

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By Dave Asprey

  • joecbloom

    Chris Ryan AND Dave Asprey in the same podcast?? Couldn’t ask for more! Thanks to you both for making this happen. Firing this baby up NOW!

  • ajcarpy2005

    Can we get his 3 recommendations for kicking ass?

  • Justin

    I think of the main false assumptions Chris Ryan mention

    The second major false presumption, it seems to me, is inherent in his language and how he talks about marriages “failing,” as if they were a self-perpetuating entity, rather than a “machine” that has certain inputs and parts that need to be maintained; he ignores the volition and responsibility of those married in maintaining the thing. Look, for example, at the rate that people let their marriage fail at amongst those who practice natural family planning, it is something like 5% (shown in a study that’s a bit more complicated that that single factor, but I think is still largely relevant as an example: , which to me indicates that those married couples are maintaining the inputs and mechanisms of marriage with far more care, thus ensuring the “machine” works pretty much indefinitely.

  • jpirving

    Ryan is (apparently) wrong about many things in Sex at Dawn.

    Who knows, but I lean toward the Sperm Wars/Why Sex is Fun model of mainstream academia.

    • jpirving

      BTW this is a great interview, not trying to hate.

      • Chris Leffelman

        That article seemed more like a plug for the other book than a fair criticism of Sex at Dawn.

        • jpirving

          You would have to read the book to see the arguments fleshed out. Should be enough to say that Ryan claims male envy is socially programmed, that doesn’t pass the smell test.

        • Chris Leffelman

          I have read Sex at Dawn and that isn’t an accurate representation of the claims he and his wife/co-author have made in their book.

        • MC

          A lot of their claims aren’t backed by actual science, and are sometimes their own interpretations of that science.
          It’s a personal view, on some of the science. Or a theory, that’s trying to pretend it’s more.

        • Chris Leffelman

          Do you know what a theory is? It is much more than a hypothesis. Being a biologist with a background in Anthropology, I thought that their book was well written and their viewpoints well argued. Could you please define what “actual science” is? Being a scientist myself… I am not sure what that means. I am not here to argue whether Ryan and Jetha are correct about this assertion or that assertion. The article that was linked above was clearly a plug for a book that was clearly trying to cash in on the popularity of Sex at Dawn. Controversy makes money.

        • MC

          I haven’t read the other book you’re talking about so I won’t comment on it.
          My point on Sex at Dawn is that they are giving their own interpretation, or view on the subject. But I wouldn’t say it’s all scientific fact. Sometimes they might cite a fact, but give their opinion on why they think that fact is the way it is.
          Just an example from the above podcast, is the 50% divorce rate mentioned. It might be a fact that we have a 50% divorce rate, but why we have that rate is up for debate.
          We haven’t always had that high of a rate. What has changed in the past 50 years? There’s less family bonding and community then there used to be. More distractions than ever before: television, games, music, ipads, porn, etc.
          There’s a multitude of reasons, and if someone were religious they might cite the breakdown of religion as a reason. They would give you their reason, their view, on the fact, but whether their view itself, is fact, is debatable. That’s all I meant, by what I said.
          I’ve read books that cite some of the same facts as Sex at Dawn, but have different interpretations of those facts that are just as convincing, if not, more so.

        • Erin

          There are many hypotheses we acept as fact. That doesn’t make them useless. Even if he’s wrong, he’s challenging modern thinking…. and there’s clearly something wrong with modern thinking on this topic. Anything that rocks the boat and brings new ideas is a good thing at this point. But what do I know? I have no psych degree, only several failed relationships.

  • Randy

    this was great man.., deathsquad!

  • MC

    I kind of knew because he was a psychologist, it would probably be mostly theory with his interpretations of some books. It was entertaining, but not factual enough times for me to notice.

  • bkirch
    • ilovebutter

      Dave, please explain how you could misinterpret such
      important news like this? I know there’s a lot of pro gates philanthropy
      propaganda garbage out there but I didn’t think you would be subscribed to any.
      How can we trust all your “hard data” if your sources are polluted
      with this type of mainstream media garbage? Accurate knowledge of all things
      Monsanto is crucial for anyone who cares about health!

  • Lucretia

    Christopher Ryan sounds like the same type of Rockefeller paid propagandist as Kinsey in which he used sick pedophiles and other sex perverts to file the false “The Kinsey Reports.” What Ryan is saying may be true but that he is even working with Andrew Weil and his parents were both academics, well that makes alarm bells go off in my head not to give any heed to his info. Sorry.

    One only has to know Andrew Weil’s connections and the BS he has promoted as health (recommending Canola oil to carbs in the morning and worst) to know he is the CIA’s “Media Darling” propagandist boy – read of some of his OBVIOUS SICK UNHEALTHY DISINFO advice at the end of this article:
    Then Chapter 5 of this book shows Weil’s connections to Leary and Alpert which Jan Irving of gnosticmedia has clearly shown were used by the CIA to destroy morality and to bring in a DeadHead hippie drug culture: Then read Jan Irving’s article: to realize how our culture is created by propagandist just like Christopher Ryan. Sorry he is disinfo to me.

  • Erin

    You know. Many people here are pointing out that this is his “interpretation” of science. Apparently, some don’t know just how rampant that trend is in overall science community.
    All we need to do is look at “fat is bad” and we can start questioning a lot of science. Apples and Oranges. I know.
    Now, I get that there is legit info out there. But c’mon. He’s right. If something is not working start asking WHY and stop blaming people for poor willpower. Have we learned nothing here?
    Even if he’s not right, in general, is he filling in gaping holes left by modern psychology? Is he answering questions that others can’t?
    The whole point of this community is to take the BEST OF THE BEST. So instead of throwing the baby out with the bath water, let’s take some of the things that ring true (and some things do, even without the research here) and see how we can fit that in with our lifestyles.

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