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Dr Tatiana's Sex Advice to All Creation
£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.
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.
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.