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

Average Rating 4.5
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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2003

    Why Baby Why?

    ASK DR. BAUGHAN November 20, 2003 WHY BABY WHY? I vividly remember a day in my second year of medical school when I asked a question of my imposing pathology professor, only to be rebuked, ¿Now, Baughan, you know better than that.¿ After reconstituting myself from a puddle of humiliation, several classmates confided they had wanted to ask the same question. Recently, I felt an immediate soul connection with Leonard Schlain, M.D., when he described a similar experience in his medical school years in the introduction to his most recent book, Sex, Time and Power: How Women¿s Sexuality Shaped Human Evolution. Some people go to medical school because they want to ¿be doctors¿ and practice the profession. For others, they are curious to know how human beings work and how they got to be the way they are. For many, the practical application of contemporary medical care can dull the curiosity that drove the career choice in the first place. Fortunately, that has not occurred to Dr. Schlain. His book is an exciting roller-coaster of ideas and theories about why we are the way we are, with an astonishing amount of information from a cornucopia of disciplines to support his proposals. I cannot recall a book (except perhaps his previous one, The Alphabet versus the Goddess, that made me repeatedly stop and think, ¿Now where in the world did he learn that? How is there enough time in the world to read and synthesize so much?¿ His simple question in medical school was, ¿Why is the normal hemoglobin level of women less than men?¿ The dismissive answer was, ¿Women bleed and men don¿t.¿ In a wonderful example of where a simple question can lead if curiosity is not quashed, Dr. Schlain for several decades continued to explore questions like the following that wove themselves into the fabric of his book: Why do women menstruate? Few mammals do, none to the degree that humans do. What possible evolutionary value could it have? If women lose blood (and the iron in it), how would that change their nutritional needs compared to other primates? They would be healthier if they ate meat. Would they be the ones likely to hunt for meat? No, men were more adapted to that. How would that influence the relationships between men and women? When homo sapiens appeared on the scene 150,000 years ago, the evolutionary advantage of their larger brains carried some distinct disadvantages for women. By standing upright, with the consequent pelvic changes, and then trying to deliver babies with bigger heads, maternal and infant mortality increased dramatically more than any other primate. How could this possibly be beneficial to the species without some major adaptations? What adaptations must have occurred for the human species to thrive as it has? Might it have something to do with why we have males who in their sexual prime seem programmed to want sex anytime with any willing female and women who do not give off obvious sexual signals like every other primate in heat and learn to say ¿no¿ when they are ovulating, unlike every other female mammal? The explorations continue with the observation that defies explanation of how women¿s menstrual cycles so closely match the phases of the moon, again, unlike any other species. With all women of small hunter-gatherer bands menstruating at the same time, and the bright night-time orb looking the same, was that the trigger for the discovery of Time? If women discovered Time, and taught it to men, how might that affect their relationships? Shortly after the first calendars appeared 40,000 years ago, burial ceremonies began. Was the discovery of Time quickly followed by the realization of the inevitability of Death? How did this affect the psyche¿s of male and female differently? How did these issues play into the establishment and expression of spiritual and religious beliefs and institutions? Sex, Time and Power is a grand adventure that begins with a simple question about hemoglo

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2013


    It shows her boobs and vinus finally

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2012

    Sex slave

    "Oh thank you master." She comes again and moans sucking her ti.t and letting it burst into her milk burst into her mouth.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2012


    *he sucks her other ti.t thrusting harder* is the best i've ever tasted.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2012

    Must Read

    This book is one of the most FASCINATING books I have ever read. What a triumph of the intellect to make the kind of evolutionary and social anthropological connections. I have reread this book and never cease to be honestly amazed. Mr. Schlain is a delighful thinker and a positively stunning author. He had written several more books and they are all just as terrific.

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  • Posted June 19, 2011

    Sex. Time and Power

    Very readable prose loaded with dubious claims about females, such as his claim that females often get a terrific orgasm as they give birth. The baby's head coming down the birth canal triggers "the G spot." Huh?

    Even so, he raises many interesting issues of how the needs of females were the driving force behind evolution, pointing out that the first "tool" was probably a sling used to hold babies. Since hominins didn't have a furry coat for a neonate to grab onto, a mother had to hold it in her arms. Making a sling out of animal skins freed up her hands for gathering berries and other foods.

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  • Posted August 29, 2010

    Good book for human instincts on mate selection

    This book is chock full of interesting views on why human beings do what they do. Mate selection. Power. Time. Things I've intuitively believed about the church and how they gained power. I think this book is great.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2005

    Great for book groups!

    Our book group recently finished this book. It prompted much discussion. He raised so many ideas and questions that we hadn't thought about previously. He also did so at a level we could understand, and incorporated a sense of humor throughout. His research is phenomenal. Well worth your time.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2004

    Excellent research

    The author has shown deep mental digestion of presently known facts with startling conclusions that may seem suspect to some at first glance. On further consideration the validity of reflexive loading on behavior(action, reaction and further [now educated] action)becomes clearer. This, after all, is how evolution happens with the extent governed by the power of the stimulant, sex and the natural economics of competition being examples. This text explores the development of large brained homo sapiens and the further repercussions of said large brain now extant upon its bearer in the light of sex, time and power. An excellent read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2003

    makes you think in a way few books do!

    i thought this book was amazing. i picked it up on a trip to the bay area, and it connected me to the whole stream of evolution. i think we are so divorced from our nature as animals, as biological things as connected with other biological things - this book really helped me to feel more connected to myself, to others, in a way few books i have ever read have done so. i have read so much philosophy, theology - its refreshing to read something that challenges you to think about your biological being, its drives and what shaped them, and to consider stimulating reasons why they were shaped that way, what the point is evolutionarily. he just kees coming at you with provocative ideas that you want to play with, add to, discuss with other people... i couldn't put the book down, i wanted to read more, about what his conclusions were... bravo to shlain for having the guts to think and write creatively! he even made me feel connected to fellow creatures such as reviewers who think writing in academe, where no one will ever read what you have to say, or in a 'peer reviewed journal', is somehow the mark of anything near 'the truth'. those people are happy to hog their little conclusions to themselves and never let any normal people (whom they underestimate intellectually) learn from their efforts. plus they are jealous that someone wrote such an interesting book in their field! good job, leonard shlain, for bringing us in the loop of so many fascinating ideas, and your insightful conclusions

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