Sex, Time, and Power: How Women's Sexuality Shaped Human Evolution

Sex, Time, and Power: How Women's Sexuality Shaped Human Evolution
Language
Published by:
August 3rd 2004 by Penguin Books (first published 2003)
Author:
Category:
Number of pages:
464 pages
Rating:
4.04

Why did big-brained Homo sapiens suddenly emerge some 150,000 years ago? The key, according to Leonard Shlain, is female sexuality. Drawing on an awesome breadth of research, he shows how, long ago, the narrowness of the newly bipedal human female's pelvis and the increasing size of infants' heads precipitated a crisis for the species. Natural selection allowed for the adaptation of the human female to this environmental stress by reconfiguring her hormonal cycles, entraining them with the periodicity of the moon. The results, however, did much more than ensure our existence; they imbued women with the concept of time, and gave them control over sex--a power that males sought to reclaim. And the possibility of achieving immortality through heirs drove men to construct patriarchal cultures that went on to dominate so much of human history. From the nature of courtship to the evolution of language, Shlain's brilliant and wide-ranging exploration stimulates new ways of thinking about very old matters. "A masterpiece of ideas and a unique contribution to our understanding of gender and history, sexuality and evolution." -- Jean Houston [Note: includes Reader's Guide]

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