Sex, Time, and Power
How Women's Sexuality Shaped Human EvolutionBook - 2003
No clear and compelling explanation currently exists for the sudden emergence of big-brained Homo sapiens 150,000 years ago. Here, Leonard Shlain proposes an original thesis that argues that profound changes in female sexuality hold the key to this mystery. According to Shlain, bipedalism, narrow pelvises, and enormous fetal heads precipitated a crisis for our species. Mothers faced a grave death threat in childbirth. To compensate, women lost estrus and its urgency to copulate, but gained veto power over sex. Drastic reconfiguration of their reproductive cycle, particularly the new feature of heavy menses, allowed women to discover the dimension of time and with it the insight that sex caused pregnancy. Men used foresight to become the planet's most dangerous predator but they suffered terror when they learned they were doomed to die. Inventing religions and afterlives to ameliorate the knowledge of death, men then learned the part they played in impregnation. The concept of paternity drove men to create patriarchal cultures designed to control women's reproductive choice. But the insights, first discovered by women, also created the conditions for two people to love each other more deeply and longer than any other animal. Throughout Sex, Time, and Power, Shlain offers carefully reasoned and certain to be controversial discussions on subjects such as menses, orgasm, masturbation, menopause, circumcision, male aggression, the evolution of language, homosexuality, and the origin of marriage. Written in a lively and accessible style, Sex, Time, and Poweris certain to generate heated debate in the media and among readers interested in human evolution and the history of sexuality.
Publisher: New York : Viking Penguin, 2003
Branch Call Number: 306.7 Shl
Characteristics: xx, 420 p. : ill