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February 10, 2016

Dr. Susan Block to Give 'Bonobo Way' Talk at UC Berkeley

LOS ANGELES—Susan M. Block, Ph.D., a.k.a. “Dr. Suzy,” internationally renowned sexologist and best-selling author of The Bonobo Way: The Evolution of Peace through Pleasure (Gardner & Daughters Publishers), will give a talk on “The Bonobo Way: Consensual Nonmonogamy Among Non-Human Primates” at the Society for Applied and Academic Research (SAAR) 5th International Conference on the Future of Monogamy and Nonmonogamy in the International House Conference Center on-campus at the University of California, Berkeley. Block’s cable TV show, The Dr. Susan Block Show, produced by Frank Moore and Luver Radio, has run weekly on Berkeley Cable TV (BCM, aka BETV) for over 15 years (now collected on Internet Archive), and was one of the shows targeted for censorship by the Berkeley City Council in 2002, though ultimately Moore and Block prevailed. Inspired by the “Make Love Not War” bonobo chimpanzees (Pan paniscus), Block will present “The Bonobo Way” as an alternative great ape paradigm that can illuminate and enhance human relationships—whether nonmonogamous, monogamous or “monogamish." “Though one bonobo may 'fall in love' with another, bonobos—like all other great apes—do not naturally practice monogamy; that is, sticking with only one sex partner for life,” said Block. “Some experts call bonobos 'polyamorous,' and studies show that bonobos enjoy 'swinging' through the trees, as well as with each other. Hetero and homosexual relations both play vital parts in the harmony of ‘pansexual’ life for Pan paniscus. Most notably, bonobos have never been seen killing each other in the wild or captivity. They appear to utilize nonmonogamous sexual activity, along with female empowerment, sharing resources and deeply empathetic compassion-in-action, to diffuse violent tensions before they turn deadly. “For decades, the old ‘killer ape’ paradigm, based on killer common chimpanzees and baboons, has been use by academics and arms dealers to explain and excuse human murder, rape and war. However, bonobos are just as close to humans as are common chimps—over 98% genetically similar to us—and much closer to us than baboons. The Bonobo Way is a path of peace through pleasure… that starts with our love lives. It asks: What can we learn from our nonmonogamous kissing cousins, the bonobos, about the primal nature of love and lust, and how can this knowledge help improve both monogamous and nonmonogamous human relationships? “A vital aspect of The Bonobo Way involves raising human awareness regarding the highly endangered wild bonobos’ conservation and preventable extinction; if we lose the bonobos, then we lose a key to peace, understanding and improving human relationships that we can never find again.” Block’s talk, "The Bonobo Way: Consensual Nonmonogamy Among Non-Human Primates," is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. on February 13, 2016, in Session 2C of the 5th International Conference on the Future of Monogamy and Nonmonogamy (Coordinator: Dr. Dave Doleshal) at the International House Conference Center, University of California, Berkeley, 2299 Piedmont Avenue, Berkeley, CA., 94720. For information, call 310-568-0066.

 
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