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Dr Tatiana's Sex Advice to All Creation

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  • Ian Pitchford
    All reviews are first published in New Scientist print edition, subscribe here Dr Tatiana s Sex Advice to All Creation Olivia Judson £16.99 Chatto & Windus
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 2 5:38 PM
      All reviews are first published in New Scientist print edition, subscribe

      Dr Tatiana's Sex Advice to All Creation
      Olivia Judson
      £16.99 Chatto & Windus

      John Bonner is a science writer

      ANTHROPOMORPHISM - ascribing human thoughts and motivations to the
      actions of other species - used to be the dirtiest word in the animal
      behaviourist's dictionary. Not any more. Dr Tatiana brings us a catalogue of
      vices that would bring a blush to the cheeks of even the most depraved Homo

      There is nothing in the kaleidoscope of human sexual behaviour that other
      creatures great and small haven't tried out before, she says. Across the animal
      kingdom there is widespread homosexuality, rampant nymphomania, troilism ,
      incest... and a male praying mantis's concept of the term "giving head" makes
      any other definition seem tame.

      Dr Tatiana is a fictional agony aunt dispensing advice on sexual
      etiquette to the love sick and baffled. Only her "readers" are, for example, a
      nervous female golden potto (a simple bushbaby-like primate) disturbed by the
      enormous spines on her boyfriend's member; or a sensitive male Australian
      seaweed fly dismayed at the aggressive wooing demanded by prospective mates.

      Full text

      Dr. Tatiana's Sex Advice to All Creation
      by Olivia Judson
      Hardcover: 272 pages ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.04 x 8.55 x 5.80
      Publisher: Metropolitan Books; ISBN: 0805063315; (August 15, 2002)
      AMAZON - US
      AMAZON - UK

      From Publishers Weekly

      Those looking for prurient prose may be better off browsing their local
      adult bookstore, but readers intrigued by the bizarre facts surrounding
      animal whoopee (and really, who isn't?) should pay a visit to Dr. Tatiana,
      the alter ego of evolutionary biologist and journalist Judson. While her
      wryly salacious tone makes animal mating habits and evolutionary biology
      pretty racy, the book still reads more like a textbook than the Kama Sutra.
      Judson uses a tongue-in-cheek advice column format through much of the book,
      forging letters from dung flies, iguanas, sagebrush crickets and rodents
      ("Like, what's the deal? I'm a sleek young California mouse and am so in
      heat.") to explore reproductive biology. The device can be grating, and
      purists appalled by anthropomorphism may find themselves cringing as Judson
      chastises a male splendid fairy wren for philandering, while pronouncing his
      paddle crab counterpart a "gentleman." Still, Judson gets high marks for her
      copiously researched data. Perhaps most compelling is her chapter entitled
      "Aphrodisiacs, Love Potions, and Other Recipes From Cupid's Kitchen," in
      which the roots of animal homosexuality are examined. The reader will
      undoubtedly come away with reams of fascinating factoids, such as the
      nauseating dining habits of tropical cockroaches during copulation, and the
      pregnancies of the male seahorse and his cousin, the pipefish.
      Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

      Book Description
      A sex guide for all living things and a hilarious natural history in the
      form of letters to and answers from the preeminent sexpert in all creation.
      Dr. Tatiana's Sex Advice to All Creation is a unique guidebook to sex. It
      reveals, for example, when necrophilia is acceptable and who should commit
      bestiality with whom. It discloses the best time to have a sex change, how
      to have a virgin birth, and when to eat your lover. It also advises on more
      mundane matters -- such as male pregnancy and the joys of a detachable

      Entertaining, funny, and marvelously illuminating, the book comprises
      letters from all creatures worried about their bizarre sex lives to the wise
      Dr. Tatiana, the only sex columnist in creation with a prodigious knowledge
      of evolutionary biology. Fusing natural history with advice to the lovelorn,
      blending wit and rigor, she is able to reassure her anxious correspondents
      that although the acts they describe might sound appalling and unnatural,
      they are all perfectly normal -- so long as you are not a human. In the
      process, she explains the science behind it all, from Darwin's theory of
      sexual selection to why sexual reproduction exists at all. Applying human
      standards to the natural world, in the end she reveals the wonders of both.
      20 b&w illustrations

      About the Author
      An alumna of Stanford and Oxford, Olivia Judson is an evolutionary biologist
      and award-winning journalist who is published in The Economist, Nature, and
      The Times Higher Education Science Supplement. She conducts her research at
      Imperial College in London. This is her first book.

      Excerpted from Dr. Tatiana's Sex Advice to All Creation by Olivia Judson.
      Copyright © 2002. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
      Dear Dr. Tatiana,

      My name's Twiggy; I'm a stick insect. I've been copulating with my mate for
      10 weeks now and I'm bored out of my skull, yet he shows no sign of giving
      up. He says he does it because he's madly in love with me, but I think he's
      just mad. Could he really mean it?

      Sick of Sex, Bombay

      Who'd have thought a stick insect would be one of the world's most tireless
      lovers? After 10 weeks, I can see why you've had enough. But think of it
      from this point of view: by turning himself into a living chastity belt he
      can guarantee that no one else has a chance to get near you. At least he's
      evolved to be merely half your length, so he's not too heavy to carry about.

      But Twiggy, I'm afraid your suspicions were half right. Your paramour is not
      mad with love, he's mad with jealousy. His long copulations are the ultimate
      form of mate guarding. Scoundrels who love and leave may annoy the female so
      much that she throws their genes away. With the cricket, for example, as
      soon as her lover vanishes, she reaches round and removes the sperm he
      deposited. Instead of using it to fertilize her eggs, she has it for lunch.
      To have any chance at siring children, the male has to linger for at least
      half an hour to mumble sweet nothings and stroke her with his antennae.
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