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

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Penguin, Aug 3, 2004 - Social Science - 448 pages
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As in the bestselling The Alphabet Versus the Goddess, Leonard Shlain’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 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 thinking about very old matters.


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Sex, time, and power: how women's sexuality shaped human evolution

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In his best-selling The Alphabet Versus the Goddess, Shlain argued that the adoption of the alphabet and related left-brain thinking brought about misogyny and patriarchy, thereby reducing the status ... Read full review


Iron Sex and Women
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Death and Paternity
Chapter 18
Chapter 19
Chapter 20
Chapter 21

Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Iron Sex and Men
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Sex andTime
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 22
Men and Women
Chapter 23
Chapter 24
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About the author (2004)

Leonard Shlain is the author of Art & Physics: Parallel Visions in Space, Time & Light, and The Alphabet Versus the Goddess: The Conflict Between Word and Image. He is the chief of laparoscopic surgery at California Medical Center in San Francisco.

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