Anthropology / Everything Human

When Did Sex Become Fun?


  • Origins

    sexual evolution - Earth is brimming with organisms that sexually reproduce—even stinkhorn fungi do it.

    When Did Sex Become Fun?

    Sexual reproduction has been around for 2 billion years. But when did sex for pleasure arise? And how much did penises have to do with it?

  • Culture Lab

    Between Male and Female

    Can television shows like Orange Is the New Black and Faking It push forensic anthropologists—and the rest of us—to rethink our categories of biological sex?

  • Origins

    Labor Pains and Helpless Infants: Eve or Evolution? (Part 2)

    In Part 1 of this post, we discussed two explanations for difficult childbirth and helpless babies: the Fall and the obstetrical dilemma (OD) hypothesis. Both have their weaknesses. Let’s consider another evolutionary-minded explanation, apart from the OD. For humans, the birth process begins at the same time that pregnancy reaches a critical metabolic threshold. This suggests there is a connection between the two. As a fetus develops and …

  • Origins

  • Curiosities

    Skeleton Sex Pots

    The Moche, one of the world’s great ancient civilizations, occupied the northern coast of Peru from roughly A.D. 100 to A.D. 800. They produced beautiful ceramic vessels; hundreds of thousands are in museums worldwide. A unique subset is composed of “erotic” pottery, or “sex pots.” Inelegantly—albeit appropriately—named, Moche sex pots depict human figures engaged in a wide range of sex acts involving mouths, hands, nipples, genitals, anuses, and …

  • Origins

    Not all frogs begin as tadpoles. However, Lazzaro Spallanzani was the first to show that all frogs, dogs, and humans begin growing only if a male contributes his essence to the process.

    Surprise! Semen Is Required

    Reproduction seems so obvious to us now. Even if we don’t know the details, we know about the birds and the bees. For humans and an overwhelming number of other species, both female and male contribute stuff that, together, transmogrifies into babies. These days we take our understanding of the baby-making process so much for granted that it’s amusing to look back at the intellectual struggles of early …