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

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

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Why did big-brained Homo sapiens suddenly emerge some 150,000 years ago? In this provocative new book, Leonard Shlain, author the bestselling Art & Physics and The Alphabet Versus the Goddess argues that profound alterations in female sexuality hold the key to this mystery.

Long ago, due to the narrowness of her bipedal pelvis and the increasing size of her infants’ heads, the human female began to experience high childbirth death rates, precipitating a crisis for the species. Natural selection adapted her to this unique environmental stress by drastically reconfiguring her hormonal reproductive cycle. Her estrus disappeared and menses mysteriously entrained with the periodicity of the moon. Women formulated the concept of a month, which in turn allowed them to make the connection between sex and pregnancy. Upon learning the majestic secret of time these ancestral females then gained the power to refuse sex when they were ovulating. Men were forced to confront women who possessed a mind of their own.

Women taught men about time and the men used this knowledge to become the planet’s most fearsome predator. Unfortunately, they also discovered that they were mortal. Men, then invented religions to soften the certainty of death. Subsequently, they belatedly grasped the function of sex. The possibility of achieving a kind of immortality through heirs drove men to construct patriarchal cultures whose purpose was to control women’s reproductive choices.

Leonard Shlain explores how these archaic insights about sex, time and power dramatically altered all subsequent human cultures, from the nature of courtship to the institution of marriage to the evolution of language. Along the way, the author also offers innovative and provocative theories concerning the human origins of menstrual harmony among closeknit women, homosexuality, superstition, masturbation, early menopause, circumcision, left-handedness, baldness, color blindness, sadism, and orgasms. His book also addresses the reasons why humans have the deepest capacity to love each other over the longest periods of time compared to any other animal. Sex, Time and Power is a compelling book that challenges accepted views of human sexuality and is sure to stimulate new thinking about old matters.

Review:

"Shlain makes brilliant use of his medical expertise in his highly original and intellectually stimulating inquiry into human sexuality and its role in the shaping of civilization." Booklist

Review:

"Shlain fuses ideas and facts from a wide array of disciplines to create a coherent, convincing and captivating narrative." San Francisco Chronicle Book Review

Review:

"Beautifully written and rich in ideas." Ann Druyan, coauthor with Carl Sagan of Cosmos, Contact, and Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors

Review:

"If Shlain sometimes goes too far in the right direction...he always stretches your mind so radically it will never return to its original shape." Sam Keen, author of Fire in the Belly

Review:

"Shlain's fanciful book is not exactly science, but it is intelligent, well written and well intentioned." Publishers Weekly

Synopsis:

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.

Synopsis:

As in the bestsellingand#160;The Alphabet Versus the Goddess, Leonard Shlainandrsquo;s provocative new book promises to change the way readers view themselves and where they came from.

Sex, Time, and Power offers a tantalizing answer to an age-old question: Why did big-brained Homo sapiens suddenly emerge some 150,000 years ago? The key, according to Shlain, is female sexuality. Drawing on an awesome breadth of research, he shows how, long ago, the narrowness of the newly bipedal human femaleandrsquo;s pelvis and the increasing size of infantsandrsquo; 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 sexandmdash;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, Shlainandrsquo;s brilliant and wide-ranging exploration stimulates new thinking about very old matters.

Synopsis:

As in the bestsellingand#160;The Alphabet Versus the Goddess, Leonard Shlainandrsquo;s provocative new book promises to change the way readers view themselves and where they came from.

Sex, Time, and Power offers a tantalizing answer to an age-old question: Why did big-brained Homo sapiens suddenly emerge some 150,000 years ago? The key, according to Shlain, is female sexuality. Drawing on an awesome breadth of research, he shows how, long ago, the narrowness of the newly bipedal human femaleandrsquo;s pelvis and the increasing size of infantsandrsquo; 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 sexandmdash;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, Shlainandrsquo;s brilliant and wide-ranging exploration stimulates new thinking about very old matters.

About the Author

Leonard Shlain's earlier books were both national bestsellers. Translated into many languages, they are used as source books in universities and art schools around the world. Dr. Shlain is Chief of Laparoscopic Surgery at California Pacific Medical Center.

Table of Contents

Preface: Iron/Sex

Acknowledgments

Part I: Iron, Sex, and Women

1. Unknown Mother/African Eve

2. Big Brain/Narrow Pelvis

3. Red Blood/White Milk

4. Plant Iron/Meat Iron

5. Gyna Sapiens/Gyna All-the-Others

6. Periods/Perils

7. Her Climax/His Climax

8. Grandmothers/Circumcision

Part II: Iron, Sex, and Men

9. Prey/Predator

10. Carnivory/Vegetarianism

11. Menarche/Mustaches

12. Premenstrual Tension/Masturbatory Tension

Part III: Sex and Time

13. Moon/Menses

14. Woo/I Do

15. Anima/Animus

16. Gay/Lesbian

17. Same Sex/Hermaphrodite

Part IV: Death and Paternity

18. Mortality/Angst

19. Superstition/Laughter

20. Father/Mother

21. Incest/Dowries

22. Wife/Husband

Part V: Men and Women

23. Misogyny/Patriarchy

24. Unknown Mother/African Eve/Modern Woman

Epilogue

Notes

Bibliography

Illustration Credits

Index

           

Preface: Iron/Sex

Acknowledgments

Part I: Iron, Sex, and Women

1. Unknown Mother/African Eve

2. Big Brain/Narrow Pelvis

3. Red Blood/White Milk

4. Plant Iron/Meat Iron

5. Gyna Sapiens/Gyna All-the-Others

6. Periods/Perils

7. Her Climax/His Climax

8. Grandmothers/Circumcision

Part II: Iron, Sex, and Men

9. Prey/Predator

10. Carnivory/Vegetarianism

11. Menarche/Mustaches

12. Premenstrual Tension/Masturbatory Tension

Part III: Sex and Time

13. Moon/Menses

14. Woo/I Do

15. Anima/Animus

16. Gay/Lesbian

17. Same Sex/Hermaphrodite

Part IV: Death and Paternity

18. Mortality/Angst

19. Superstition/Laughter

20. Father/Mother

21. Incest/Dowries

22. Wife/Husband

Part V: Men and Women

23. Misogyny/Patriarchy

24. Unknown Mother/African Eve/Modern Woman

Epilogue

Notes

Bibliography

Illustration Credits

Index

     

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 Power is certain to generate heated debate in the media and among readers interested in human evolution and the history of sexuality.

           
Preface: Iron/Sex

Acknowledgments

Part I: Iron, Sex, and Women

1. Unknown Mother/African Eve

2. Big Brain/Narrow Pelvis

3. Red Blood/White Milk

4. Plant Iron/Meat Iron

5. Gyna Sapiens/Gyna All-the-Others

6. Periods/Perils

7. Her Climax/His Climax

8. Grandmothers/Circumcision

Part II: Iron, Sex, and Men

9. Prey/Predator

10. Carnivory/Vegetarianism

11. Menarche/Mustaches

12. Premenstrual Tension/Masturbatory Tension

Part III: Sex and Time

13. Moon/Menses

14. Woo/I Do

15. Anima/Animus

16. Gay/Lesbian

17. Same Sex/Hermaphrodite

Part IV: Death and Paternity

18. Mortality/Angst

19. Superstition/Laughter

20. Father/Mother

21. Incest/Dowries

22. Wife/Husband

Part V: Men and Women

23. Misogyny/Patriarchy

24. Unknown Mother/African Eve/Modern Woman

Epilogue

Notes

Bibliography

Illustration Credits

Index

     

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 Power is certain to generate heated debate in the media and among readers interested in human evolution and the history of sexuality.

         
Preface: Iron/Sex

Acknowledgments

Part I: Iron, Sex, and Women

1. Unknown Mother/African Eve

2. Big Brain/Narrow Pelvis

3. Red Blood/White Milk

4. Plant Iron/Meat Iron

5. Gyna Sapiens/Gyna All-the-Others

6. Periods/Perils

7. Her Climax/His Climax

8. Grandmothers/Circumcision

Part II: Iron, Sex, and Men

9. Prey/Predator

10. Carnivory/Vegetarianism

11. Menarche/Mustaches

12. Premenstrual Tension/Masturbatory Tension

Part III: Sex and Time

13. Moon/Menses

14. Woo/I Do

15. Anima/Animus

16. Gay/Lesbian

17. Same Sex/Hermaphrodite

Part IV: Death and Paternity

18. Mortality/Angst

19. Superstition/Laughter

20. Father/Mother

21. Incest/Dowries

22. Wife/Husband

Part V: Men and Women

23. Misogyny/Patriarchy

24. Unknown Mother/African Eve/Modern Woman

Epilogue

Notes

Bibliography

Illustration Credits

Index

     

Product Details

ISBN:
9780670032334
Author:
Shlain, Leonard
Publisher:
Viking Adult
Location:
New York
Subject:
General
Subject:
Evolution
Subject:
Human Sexuality
Subject:
Sex
Subject:
Human evolution
Subject:
Evolution (Biology)
Subject:
Mate selection
Subject:
Social evolution
Subject:
Sexual attraction
Subject:
Life Sciences - Evolution - Human
Subject:
Women's Studies - General
Subject:
Anthropology - General
Edition Description:
Hardback
Series Volume:
2001]
Publication Date:
20030818
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Illustrations:
b/w illustrations and art throughout
Pages:
448
Dimensions:
8.48 x 5.6 x 1 in 89 lb
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Gender Studies » General
History and Social Science » Gender Studies » Womens Studies
Science and Mathematics » Biology » Evolution

Sex, Time, and Power: How Women's Sexuality Shaped Human Evolution Used Hardcover
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$12.50 In Stock
Product details 448 pages Viking Books - English 9780670032334 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Shlain makes brilliant use of his medical expertise in his highly original and intellectually stimulating inquiry into human sexuality and its role in the shaping of civilization."
"Review" by , "Shlain fuses ideas and facts from a wide array of disciplines to create a coherent, convincing and captivating narrative."
"Review" by , "Beautifully written and rich in ideas."
"Review" by , "If Shlain sometimes goes too far in the right direction...he always stretches your mind so radically it will never return to its original shape."
"Review" by , "Shlain's fanciful book is not exactly science, but it is intelligent, well written and well intentioned."
"Synopsis" by , 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.
"Synopsis" by ,

As in the bestsellingand#160;The Alphabet Versus the Goddess, Leonard Shlainandrsquo;s provocative new book promises to change the way readers view themselves and where they came from.

Sex, Time, and Power offers a tantalizing answer to an age-old question: Why did big-brained Homo sapiens suddenly emerge some 150,000 years ago? The key, according to Shlain, is female sexuality. Drawing on an awesome breadth of research, he shows how, long ago, the narrowness of the newly bipedal human femaleandrsquo;s pelvis and the increasing size of infantsandrsquo; 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 sexandmdash;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, Shlainandrsquo;s brilliant and wide-ranging exploration stimulates new thinking about very old matters.

"Synopsis" by ,

As in the bestsellingand#160;The Alphabet Versus the Goddess, Leonard Shlainandrsquo;s provocative new book promises to change the way readers view themselves and where they came from.

Sex, Time, and Power offers a tantalizing answer to an age-old question: Why did big-brained Homo sapiens suddenly emerge some 150,000 years ago? The key, according to Shlain, is female sexuality. Drawing on an awesome breadth of research, he shows how, long ago, the narrowness of the newly bipedal human femaleandrsquo;s pelvis and the increasing size of infantsandrsquo; 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 sexandmdash;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, Shlainandrsquo;s brilliant and wide-ranging exploration stimulates new thinking about very old matters.

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