ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes


Home  ChickenBones Store (Books, DVDs, Music, and more)  


Women taught men about time, and 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.



Sex, Time, and Power

How Women's Sexuality Shaped Evolution

By Leonard Shlain


Why did the big-brained Homo sapiens suddenly emerge some 150,000 years ago? In this provocative new book, Leonard Shlain, author of 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. Women, facing the grave threat of dying during childbirth, needed to grasp the link between sex and painful labor nine months later. But, first, they had to learn how to to maneuver in the dimensions of the future.


Natural selection adapted her to this unique environmental stress by drastically reconfiguring her hormonal cycles. Her estrus (heat) disappeared and women acquired a menses (accompanied by heavy bleeding and painful cramps, and began to experience orgasms), 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 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 culture, from the nature of courtship to the origin of marriage to the evolution of language, creating the conditions for two people to love each other more deeply and longer than 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.

--Publisher, Viking (2003)


Another compelling, scholarly, and thought-provoking contribution by someone who thinks outside the box. Leonard Shlain's Sex, Time, and Power brings a stimulating new perspective to the question of what it means to be human.

--Donald Johnson, author of Lucy: The Beginning of Mankind

Beautifully written and rich in ideas, this boldly speculative work has considerable explanatory power regarding the sweet mysteries of love and life.

--Ann Druyan, coauthor with Carl Sagan of Cosmos, Contact, and Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors

Sex, Time, and Power is a fascinating account that ranges over the entire history of evolution in an effort to explain the mystery of human sexuality. If Shlain sometimes goes too far in the right direction--toward sociobiology--he always stretches your mind so radically it will never return to its original shape.

--Sam Keen, author of Fire in the Belly

Sometimes incendiary, often hilarious, always, profound, Shlain offers a masterpiece of ideas, and with it, a unique contribution to our understanding of gender and history, sexuality, and evolution.

--Jean Houston, Ph.D., author of Jump Time and A Passion for the Possible

Here is another masterful work by Leonard Shlain. the book is filled with marvelous lore extending back to the origin of our species, and with astute observations on intimate behavior.

--Richard Selzer, author of Mortal Lessons

Sex, Time, and Power

How Women's Sexuality Shaped Evolution

By Leonard Shlain



   Preface: Iron/ Sex




   Part I  Iron, Sex, and Women
 1 Unknown Mother/African Eve


 2 Big Brain/Narrow Pelvis


 3 RedBlood/White Milk


 4 Plant Iron/Meat Iron


 5 Gyna Sapiens/Gyna All-the-Others


 6 Periods/Pelvis


 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








   Illustration Credits




Source: The Alphabet Versus The Goddess: The Conflict Between Word and Image (1998) by Leonard Shlain

*   *   *   *   *'s 25 Best Selling Books



#1 - Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark
#2 - Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree
#3 - Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane
#4 - Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper
#5 - Stackin' Paper 2 Genesis' Payback by Joy King
#6 - Thug Lovin' (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark
#7 - When I Get Where I'm Going by Cheryl Robinson
#8 - Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby
#9 - The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

#10 - Covenant: A Thriller  by Brandon Massey

#11 - Diary Of A Street Diva  by Ashley and JaQuavis

#12 - Don't Ever Tell  by Brandon Massey

#13 - For colored girls who have considered suicide  by Ntozake Shange

#14 - For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree

#15 - Homemade Loves  by J. California Cooper

#16 - The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

#17 - Player Haters by Carl Weber

#18 - Purple Panties: An Anthology by Sidney Molare

#19 - Stackin' Paper by Joy King

#20 - Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey

#21 - The Upper Room by Mary Monroe

#22 – Thug Matrimony  by Wahida Clark

#23 - Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

#24 - Married Men by Carl Weber

#25 - I Dreamt I Was in Heaven - The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter


#1 - Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable
#2 - Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans
#3 - Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane
#4 - Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper
#5 - Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You're Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant
#6 - Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey
#7 - The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight
#8 - The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing
#9 - The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 - John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 - Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 -The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 - The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 - The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 - Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can't Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 - Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 - Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 - A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 - John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 - Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 - Age Ain't Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 - 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino
#23 - Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul by Tom Lagana
#24 - 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 - Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

*   *   *   *   *


Leonard Shlain -- Surgeon, Author, Educator, Inventor, Speaker -- has received many distinctions and awards both as a surgeon and educator.  He began his writing career in the late 1970's contributing articles to magazines and newspapers including the Los Angeles Times.

In addition to being an author, Shlain is also Chief of Laparoscopic Surgery at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco and Associate Professor of Surgery at UCSF.  He was a pioneer in the field of video-assisted laparoscopic surgery and presently holds five patents for surgical devices. His Art & Physics is presently used as a textbook in many universities, high schools, and art academies.In a more recent book,  Sex, Time, and Power, Shlain offers carefully reasoned, and certain to be controversial discussions on such subjects as menstruation, orgasm, puberty, circumcision, male aggression, menopause, baldness, left-handedness, 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.

*   *   *   *   *


Blacks in Hispanic Literature: Critical Essays

Edited by Miriam DeCosta-Willis 

Blacks in Hispanic Literature is a collection of fourteen essays by scholars and creative writers from Africa and the Americas. Called one of two significant critical works on Afro-Hispanic literature to appear in the late 1970s, it includes the pioneering studies of Carter G. Woodson and Valaurez B. Spratlin, published in the 1930s, as well as the essays of scholars whose interpretations were shaped by the Black aesthetic. The early essays, primarily of the Black-as-subject in Spanish medieval and Golden Age literature, provide an historical context for understanding 20th-century creative works by African-descended, Hispanophone writers, such as Cuban Nicolás Guillén and Ecuadorean poet, novelist, and scholar Adalberto Ortiz, whose essay analyzes the significance of Negritude in Latin America. This collaborative text set the tone for later conferences in which writers and scholars worked together to promote, disseminate, and critique the literature of Spanish-speaking people of African descent. . . . Cited by a literary critic in 2004 as "the seminal study in the field of Afro-Hispanic Literature . . . on which most scholars in the field 'cut their teeth'."

*   *   *   *   *

Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington, and the Education of a President

By Ron Suskind

A new book offering an insider's account of the White House's response to the financial crisis says that U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner ignored an order from President Barack Obama calling for reconstruction of major banks. According to Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ron Suskind, the incident is just one of several in which Obama struggled with a divided group of advisers, some of whom he didn't initially consider for their high-profile roles. Suskind interviewed more than 200 people, including Obama, Geithner and other top officials . . . The book states Geithner and the Treasury Department ignored a March 2009 order to consider dissolving banking giant Citigroup while continuing stress tests on banks, which were burdened with toxic mortgage assets. . . .Suskind states that Obama accepts the blame for mismanagement in his administration while noting that restructuring the financial system was complicated and could have resulted in deeper financial harm. . . . In a February 2011 interview with Suskind, Obama acknowledges another ongoing criticism—that he is too focused on policy and not on telling a larger story, one the public could relate to. Obama is quoted as saying he was elected in part because "he had connected our current predicaments with the broader arc of American history," but that such a "narrative thread" had been lost.—Gopusa

*   *   *   *   *

The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

*   *   *   *   *

Ancient African Nations

*   *   *   *   *

If you like this page consider making a donation

online through PayPal

*   *   *   *   *

Negro Digest / Black World

Browse all issues

1950        1960        1965        1970        1975        1980        1985        1990        1995        2000 ____ 2005        


*   *   *   *   *

The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

*   *   *   *   *

The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

*   *   *   *   *

*   *   *   *   *

ChickenBones Store (Books, DVDs, Music, and more)






update 29 February 2012




Home  Jamie Walker Table   Love, Sex, and Erotica

Related files:  Sex Time and Power   Alphabet Versus Goddes Reviews   Alphabet Versus Goddess Preface   Alphabet vs Goddess Epilogue