We moderns tend to think of sexuality as the province of more-or-less monogamous couples, bound together by bonds of love, romantic possessiveness, and jealousy. But according to Sex at Dawn authors Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha, before 10,000 years ago the basic human sexual unit may not have been the couple at all, but rather the small nomadic hunter-gatherer group. Because nature provided for all their needs in abundance, these early humans would have had no modern concept of ownership or property. Everything would have been shared with the group, including sex. Sexual promiscuity would have been the rule rather than the exception.
At Duke University, a school that likes to tout its cutting-edge research, a sex toy study being conducted by a behavioral economist and student health workers has roused criticism. For much of October, researchers recruited female Duke students to take part in a "sexually explicit" study on Tupperware-style parties in which sex toys, not kitchenware, are the draw.
For some, even serial monogamy seems too restrictive. The 1970s introduced the concept of "open marriage" in which couples stayed married but were free to date other people.More recently, polyamory -- the practice of having romantic relationships with multiple people at the same time with the full knowledge and consent of all involved -- has been getting a lot of attention.