Charles Darwin and Sexual Selection
by Donna Sheehan and Paul Reffell upends our old thinking about Darwin's theory of natural
selection. Turns out it's women who are the arbiters of sexual selection, based on sexual attraction.
Authors Sheehan and Reffell
have dredged up an important part of Charles Darwin's
work from "The Descent of Man" that's been suppressed for a long time. And
if you're wondering why Bohemian Buddhist BuReview likes
this non-Buddhist book so much, it's because the gender wars are one of the biggest sources of suffering
on the planet, which "Redefining Seduction, Women Initiating Courtship, Partnership and Peace" could go a long way
toward reducing. (Quote Sheehan, "There are only two problems on the planet -- men and women.")
"Does every male of the same species excite and attract the female equally? Or does she exert a choice,
and prefer certain males? This latter question can be answered in the affirmative by
much direct and indirect evidence," Darwin writes in his "Selection
in Relation to Sex."
with the charming and frankly-told story of their unusual 20-year long love affair are Sheehan's
and Reffell's insightful observations about the emerging roles of men and women
in post-feminist, post-modern society. It's not enough for women to bewail the
dearth of "good men." Women must step up to the bat and start choosing men for live-affirming rather
than life-destroying values. (And some well-chosen sex therapy probably wouldn't
Females of all species actually hold the key to evolution because
the traits they choose in their mates are the ones that get passed on to future
generations. "Donna's intuitive use of her biological power to select and seduce the
mate of her choice was completely natural . . . Women's ability to guide men
into true partnership is the foundation for forming stable, co-creative cultures
in which women and men use their separate, complementary skills in unison rather than in competition and with unrealistic
expectations." As a wise and experienced woman, Sheehan knows her
way around sexual seduction.
It's time the battle of the sexes evolved into mutual
admiration societies rather than the usual blame games. Men are very good at certain things, as are women, but in very different
domains. Our brains are wired differently, as is becoming common knowledge.
Recognizing our separate strengths and weaknesses would go a long way
to creating peace and happiness on the planet, one pair-bonded couple at a time. Honestly
recognizing our sexual needs if not sexual kinks would go even further.
As the saying goes, Evolve or Die.
If the human species doesn't evolve past patriarchy, it's pretty clear what the outcome
will be. The values that enabled homo sapiens to evolve in the past are not the ones that
will help us survive in the future. We need new guidelines and insights,
including some perhaps unfamiliar ones -- such as females' role in selecting
Beta rather than Alpha males as mates. Witness the slew of recent rom-coms where the not-so-A type guy
gets the gal. If this isn't the new form of sexual selection, what is it?
From an interview
the authors had with their local paper, the Point Reyes Light: ". . . Charles
Darwin's theory of sexual selection explains that males compete and display for female attention,
while females select the males with the traits most apt for the continuation
of the species. Sexual selection and natural selection go hand-in-hand
to create the divergence of traits necessary to survival of a species. Human patriarchal societies have distorted
sexual selection by taking the selection away from women through arranged marriages
and the general degradation of women's roles. Women are biologically
designed to select their mates and influence their behavior for the good of the species."
According to Tibetan Buddhism, any culture that
denigrates the wisdom of women is in trouble, materially as well as spiritually.
Women's brilliant wisdom needs to be given equal voice in the affairs
of men's brilliant methodology, otherwise we have a lop-sided system, as in fact is extant today all
over the world. Whiz-bang technology without intelligent oversight only creates more problems,
viz, the waste from our nuclear power plants. (I find it
hard to believe women would have dreamed up a power source that couldn't be
Sheehan and Reffell make a seductive
argument for "seduction
as an instrument of positive change in politics, business and
romance that men will accept, not
resist." And their book is a lot
than a sex therapist.
Paki S. Wright