2 of 5 – EcoSex @ U Conn – Margulis and Sagans’ Mystery Dance – Student Responses: Alissa’s Take
The EcoSex course at U Conn is in process. It’s a great experience. We are reading amazing books. Thinking out of the box and across disciplines. Students are sending their responses in, with discussion questions. In class, we connect the dots: a holograph of what we’ve read together, the “required readings.” Multiple perspectives and good synergy. Here, we offer a glimpse. Lynn Margulis and Dorion Sagan’s Mystery Dancewas one of two theory-of-sciencebooks. We got four responses: from John, Alissa, Rhiann, Adam, and Michael.
When first reading the book I thought it was strange to focus on animals and the reproductive instincts and habits of animals. As the novel continued it became clearer how close humans and mammals like apes tend to be. I learned about natural selection in biology, but I could never distinguish why this applied to humans. Certain things I tend to think do not apply as much in today’s society, but I can see how it is important in some cultures, religions or societies. The author talked about how men sought women who were virgins because their sperm would have a better chance of fertilizing and it eliminated the risk of his wife or partner carrying another man’s offspring. Reading about the various signs that show whether a woman is fertile or not to give a man an advantage or disadvantage tied in with evolutionary aspects. When a woman is ovulating, how that is hidden from males and specific examples such as that made me wonder who has the advantage in natural selection. Women (humans) are more selective when mating because they have fewer eggs and have to carry around the fetus for 9 months before it is born. It makes logical sense that the women would be more careful when choosing a mate because they will be doing the nurturing and the majority of the raising the child. I understand that men can raise children too, but they cannot breast feed and children’s first “imprint” tends to be on their mother since that have that biological bond.
I thought that the author gave an interesting twist to the common evolutionary standpoint of natural selection not only with animals but with the human race. She focused on the interactions between men and women and how in certain societies things are done differently. She successfully spotlights women and where things may have strayed over the years. When thinking of the act of sex men are the ones who are thought of first. Society focuses on pleasing men and women fall to the wayside. The author finally gives women their spotlight spending at least a chapter on the female orgasm and what it insinuates. She goes as far to include how in some societies boys once they reach maturity must learn how to properly satisfy a woman before themselves. While reading that portion I thought in that culture that this “training” was excessive, but the importance remains on the women. This section made me realize that the female orgasm is seen as a more private and sensitive subject in society showing the gender bias that has occurred. This also relates to the concept how a man that sleeps with multiple women is a “stud” or a “player”, more positive terms as opposed to a woman who sleeps with multiple people; she is “whore” or “slut.” To me these terms should be reversed because when a man is sleeping with multiple women it can be seen through the survival of the fittest model. He is sleeping with an excessive amount of women to better his chances of fertilizing an egg and having his genes live on. I know that most men are not sleeping with multiple women in hopes that they impregnate all of them and have children to carry their genetic traits. Viewing sex from a biological and natural selection standpoint gives the reader and alternate perspective to see the way society works and has evolved.
I do not understand the imprinting process and how this leads to people liking men, women, being homosexual or heterosexual?
Why do you think that men could be disadvantaged more than women from the natural selection viewpoint?
Let “nature” be your teacher in the arts of love. Education is the heart of democracy, education to love. Come back for more wonders: Students Responses to appear every Tuesday. Book Reports to be scheduled soon, every other Thursday. Check out our summer offerings: Ecosexuality in Portland, OR, July 17-21. Info and Registration here!
Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio, PhD
Gilf Gaia Extraordinaire
Author of Gaia,Eros, and many other books about love Professor of Humanities