Saintly Sluttiness?

by patio34 29 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • patio34

    I ran across this this morning at and thought it really had a different perspective than the usual Bible-based values in a lot of our world today (that aren't really adhered to anyway). What do you think? I highlighted the pertinent parts, imo. I put it in Bible Research because it contradicts the Bible and is based on evolutionary science. Food for thought, eh?

    The virtues of promiscuity Sally Lehrman Sunday, August 18, 2002
    2002 San Francisco Chronicle.


    "Slutty" behavior is good for the species. That's the conclusion of a new wave of research on the evolutionary drives behind sexuality and parenting.

    Women everywhere have been selflessly engaging in trysts outside of matrimony for a good long time and for excellent reasons. Anthropologists say female promiscuity binds communities closer together and improves the gene pool.

    More than 20 tribal societies accept the principle that a child could, and ideally ought to, have more than one father, according to Pennsylvania anthropologist Stephen Beckerman. "It begins to crop up in a lot of places," says Beckerman, who has reviewed dozens of reports on tribes from South America, New Guinea, Polynesia and India as co-editor of the newly released book, "Cultures of Multiple Fathers."

    Less than 50 years ago, Canela women, who live in Amazonian Brazil, enjoyed the delights of as many as 40 men one after another in festive rituals. When it was time to have a child, they'd select their favorite dozen or so lovers to help their husband with the all-important task. Even today, when the dalliances of married Bar ladies in Columbia and Venezuela result in a child, they proudly announce the long list of probable fathers. The much-touted evolutionary bargain of female fidelity for food -- trotted out by evolutionary psychologists with maddening regularity -- just doesn't hold up.

    "This model of the death-do-us-part, missionary-position couple is just a tiny part of human history," says anthropologist Kristen Hawkes, who has spent years studying the Ach, a Paraguayan people, and the North Tanzanian tribe Hadza. "The patterns of human sexuality are so much more variable."

    American college students still learn that human society is based on the age-old economic contract between the sexes: Men hunt and women raise children.

    Fathers provide meat for the family; in exchange, moms offer fidelity and the guarantee of paternity. Although men -- who produce millions of sperm -- are inveterate philanderers, gals, stuck with relatively few eggs that require a significant investment, tend to be choosy and coy.

    "This evidence is a real thumb in the eye for that view," says Beckerman. Anthropologists claim, good judgment aside, evolution has nudged women a bit toward promiscuity and sexual adventure. In all well-studied primates, females exhibit a polyandrous tendency when given the opportunity to stray. Some who cheat appear to be more fertile, and the offspring of most are more likely to survive. Fooling around appears to have helped our ancestral mothers equip their little ones for success -- the sexual equivalent of reading to them every night or enrolling in the after-school chess club.

    Hawkes says females likely hook up with multiple males for safety -- a mother's strong emotional bonds with more than one fellow provide an extra- protective hand in times of danger. An economic incentive promotes female infidelity in Bar society. All of the Bar children who had more than one father were more likely to survive into adulthood, fortified by small gifts of fish and game in times of scarcity.

    Even evolutionary psychologists, stout defenders of the meat-for-fidelity model, are beginning to acknowledge the benefits of women's "slutty" behavior. University of Texas psychologist David Buss gives most credit to "mate insurance," a backup replacement in case the male partner doesn't survive. Social approval of infidelity does not, however, imply a corresponding devaluation of marriage.

    "They're very, very faithful," says Beckerman's co-author Paul Valentine about the Curripaco, who live on the border between Columbia and Venezuela. The tribe believes that conception is a process that requires a lot of work, and the men are quick to take credit for their joint labors. "They say, 'Hey, this is really hard work having a baby,' " Valentine says. "And they really put on a smug look."

    Physiological data supports the theory that women have been sleeping around for centuries. For starters, men have evolved to compete in their partner's reproductive tract. Human males have large testicles that manufacture plenty of semen, especially when they reunite with their wives after separation. Their sperm includes coil-tailed versions that block instead of carry the ball.

    Females cooperate when they want to -- more often with their lovers than with their mates, according to one study. Women retain slightly more sperm after orgasm, and in the throes of excitement may even draw the virgin swimmers up through the cervix and into the uterus, according to British sexologist R. Robin Baker.

    Still, David Buss places most of the blame for all this wanderlust on the guys. Bottom line, sperm are cheap and eggs are expensive, he says. He cites his own 1993 studies of college undergraduates. Women said they'd like maybe up to five partners in a lifetime. Men in various surveys ranged from 18 up to 1,000.

    Sure, both sexes have one-night stands. Both also can mate for life. But men tend toward variety and women will most often stay true to the stable, dependable provider, Buss claims.

    Anthropologists are not so sure. Some say today's emphasis on female monogamy may have more to do with socioeconomic trends than evolutionary instincts. Extramarital trysts were a way of life for the Canela -- until the encroachment of outsiders.

    "Multiple lovers, that's just part of the life. It's recreation, just like races and running. It's all done in the spirit of joy and fun," says William Crocker of the Smithsonian Institution, who has studied the Brazilian tribe since 1957. When a woman got pregnant with her husband, she would go out to find as many as five more "fathers" for her fetus. Because every bit of semen was believed to contribute to the baby, a dedicated mom looked for a variety of desirable traits in her lovers: sexual skills, good looks, oratory talents, top-notch singing abilities -- and naturally, a good provider.

    Crocker says the Canela's sexual customs began to disappear after the arrival of traders, who brought in material goods such as machetes, axes, pots and pans, introducing the idea of exclusive ownership. The missionaries came next. The evangelists, who arrived in the early 1970s, translated the Bible into Canelan and did their part to discourage the tribe's sexual intimacy.

    Beckerman says, "I suppose it doesn't mean there's any less fooling around, it's just that the fathers don't take responsibility for it and the mothers don't admit it."

    Modern relationships are not all that different. High infidelity, remarriage and divorce rates may have less to do with modernity than with our collective sexual past.

    "It makes the variation we're seeing in modern society so much more understandable," Hawkes says. If the anthropologists are right, monogamy may well be counter-evolutionary or an adaptation to modern life. Or perhaps the nuclear family has always been more of an ideal than a reality.

    Sally Lehrman writes frequently on health issues. This article first appeared on

    2002 San Francisco Chronicle. Page D - 1

  • gsx1138

    Interesting study. While I do understand what is being said I think this world is more than populated enough. I'm kinda torn because I think the Judeo-Christian consepts of sin and marriage are complete BS. I see the one mate thing now more as practicality than anything. Of course this is coming from a swinger. It does make me wonder the size of the grant they got to do this study.

  • patio34

    Hi gsx1138,

    I agree that the Judeo-Christian concept of sexual mores is hopelessly inapplicable. Especially if the above article has any merit to it. But those aren't the only two possibilities.

    The answer to over-population and population in the least-able places, it seems to me, is birth control. That's the whole meaning of "sexual freedom," sex without pregnancy. That way, if evolution has pushed many to promiscuous behavior, at least there aren't a rash of unwanted pregnancies.

    The whole Bible paradigm is like trying to force a square peg into a round hole (totally inappropriate metaphor!). It doesn't and has never worked. If anything, it's caused more problems than it's solved.


  • lauralisa

    Hi Patio

    I always enjoy your thought-provoking posts, and ate this one up. The following article appeared in this morning's paper, and it is only loosely related to your topic, but I thought you might enjoy reading it nonetheless.

    I highlighted the blue sentance because of the orgasm reference; (I endured celibacy and faithfully adhered the no-self-touch doctrine for years while a dub) I often wondered if there was a physiological disadvantage to living orgasmlessly. I wondered if the sexual malnourishment (if not outright starvation) of most active borg-devotees whether married or not was imposed by old, bitter men in New York rather than true "direction from the creator" I know now that there are many physical, emotional, and spiritual advantages to the art of sexuality and orgasming on a regular basis, and I recommend it most emphatically (safe, sane, consensually of course).

    Happy Sunday, lauralisa

    Stress research turns to hormone linked to bonding behavior

    Judy Foreman

    Published Aug 18, 2002

    Do men and women handle stress differently? Or, to put it more provocatively, do women have a built-in hormonal advantage when it comes to dealing with chronic stress?

    That's the (highly loaded) question at the heart of a body of research.

    The case for this feminist theory of stress management is circumstantial -- built largely on inferences from animal studies and, at some points, frank leaps of faith. Still, the hypothesis has intuitive appeal, at least to women.

    For decades, scientists who study the body's physiological response to stress have focused on the "fight or flight" model. This view says that when an animal perceives danger, a number of hormones kick into action to rev up heart rate and blood pressure, get sugar to the muscles and generally speed things up to fight predators or get out of harm's way, fast.

    There is absolutely no question that both males and females have -- and need -- this system.

    But this view of stress is both male-biased and incomplete, say a number of researchers, most notably Shelley E. Taylor, a professor of psychology at UCLA.

    Taylor's theory, based on more than 200 studies by other people, mostly biologists and psychologists, is that women fight stress with a powerful system based in part on a hormone called oxytocin.

    Granted, there's no clear evidence that women on average actually have more oxytocin in their bloodstreams than men. But they do have more estrogen, which boosts the effectiveness of oxytocin.

    The cuddle response

    Oxytocin, which some dub the "cuddling" or social-attachment hormone, is best known as the hormone produced in women during childbirth and lactation and during orgasm in both sexes. It has been shown to stimulate bonding in animals, notably prairie voles and sheep.

    Even more intriguing, there's evidence that oxytocin may act as an anti-stress hormone.

    For instance, researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm reported in 1998 that daily oxytocin injections in male and female rats decreased blood pressure and the stress hormone cortisol. The group also has shown that injections of oxytocin in rats enhanced sedation and relaxation and reduced fearfulness.

    To Taylor and her colleagues, the thrust of this evidence suggests that women may be programmed to deal with stress, not just in the "male" way, by fighting aggressors or running away, but also by "tending and befriending," that is, turning to each other for moral support and for nurturing the young.

    In other words, "there appears to be a counter-regulatory system that may operate more strongly in females than males, that leads to engagement of oxytocin and social contact," which in turn may reduce stress, says Taylor, author of "The Tending Instinct" (Henry Holt, 320 pages, $25).

    Oxytocin is made in a part of the brain called the hypothalamus. It works closely with a related hormone, vasopressin, which is so similar to oxytocin that the two chemicals fit into each other's receptors in the brain, says Sue Carter, a behavioral neuroendocrinologist at the University of Illinois in Chicago.

    However, oxytocin, which acts in tandem with estrogen, often has calming effects, while vasopressin, which acts in tandem with the male hormone, testosterone, can enhance stress response by, among other things, raising blood pressure.

    The most intriguing feature of oxytocin is that it seems to act as both a cause of bonding and a result of it.

    In prairie voles, Carter's studies show, injections of oxytocin lead to increased bonding. When stressed, Carter has found, both male and female voles choose to bond -- with females.

    "Many things stimulate production of oxytocin, including breast stimulation, orgasm or even contact with a friendly companion," Carter says. "All these are known to release oxytocin, which may help damp down the body's reactions to stressful experiences, in men as well as women.'

    Gender and stress

    Beyond oxytocin, there are other chemical clues to differences in the ways in which women and men may handle stress.

    At Ohio State University, Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, professor of psychiatry and her husband, Ronald Glaser, an immunologist, have studied hormonal and immunological responses to stress and found some striking gender differences.

    In one experiment, the Ohio team asked 90 young, happy, newly-wed couples to spend 24 hours, including a night's sleep, in the hospital lab. The researchers placed a catheter in each subject's arm so that blood could be drawn every hour to test for hormone levels and various aspects of immune function.

    Early in the stay, each couple was asked to spend 30 minutes discussing an area of disagreement. This conflict was recorded on videotapes that were later scored by trained observers, male and female, for evidence of negative behavior such as hostility, sarcasm, put-downs, etc.

    The results were stunning: Marital strife was much tougher on women than men. The women showed a faster and more enduring response to hostility, says Kiecolt-Glaser, noting that women's stress hormones rose more sharply and stayed up longer than men's. Women also showed a lowering of certain aspects of immune function.

    Kiecolt-Glaser said the studies suggest that women are more accurate judges of what's going on emotionally in a marriage. Indeed, the ratings of outside reviewers correlated with the women's.

    -- Judy Foreman's column appears every other week. Past column are available at

  • patio34

    Hi LauraLisa,

    Thanks for the article--it was fascinating. I couldn't help but think of the bonobo chimpanzees, which are our closest relatives genetically, as I understand it.

    In these groups, the females are dominant. And, get this, the way all conflict is settled is thru sexual contact. They cuddle and copulate or engage in sexual activity. They have very little conflict in their society. They DO have sex maybe a dozen times a day with many partners. Also, contrary to the WTS dogma that homosexuality doesn't occur in nature (what ignorance!), the bonobos have sex with either gender.

    This seems to go along with the oxytocin levels and the bonding. According the one source the reason the bonobos bond is because of the female dominance. It was speculated that historically, this and other groups split off. Some took to the trees and some stayed on the ground for their food. The chimps in the trees were separated a lot more and the males became dominant because of strength. The ground-dwellers had more time together and the females bonded and became dominant.

    It's interesting how it's all interwoven, eh?

  • Mindchild

    I've long been interested in the science of human sexuality and evolutionary sexuality. The article you posted was interesting and insightful. Typically, in American Culture, we see serial monogamy becoming more common and there seems to be a growing trend towards people remaining single longer, especially men as it is easier to get sex these days outside of committed relationships. Even in marriage, DNA testing statistics Ive read suggest that many of the children born in the relationship come from a different man than her spouse.

    It wouldnt surprise me at all to see this trend developing much more in the future. When improvements come along in birth control technology (like the Canadian invisible condom cream coming soon to the market and male birth control pills) it will likely encourage some more sexuality. New breakthroughs in true sexual aphrodisiacs and cures for sexual dysfunction (for example the new technology to make women more orgasmic) will push the envelope of sexual experimentation. Of course, if they develop an effective vaccine for HIV and Herpes, then we might have another sexual revolution.

    You can also add to the fact that literally millions of people are using the Internet and personal ads to meet and find people for dating and sex and the social climate is such that people are seeking new alternatives for their personal lives, allowing for alternative sexuality to come of age.

    I seem to keep hearing more and more complaints of how traditional marriage ruins sex (not to say that this has to be the case as there are still many married couples who enjoy great sex) and makes it boring or non-existent.

    I would suspect then that change is well under way for a new tolerance for sexual promiscuity from both men and women.


  • patio34

    Hi Mindchild,

    Those are interesting observations you made. Another line of weakening for traditional sexual mores is more scientific reasons for our actions are becoming known and less stock put into the Bible and its adherents. It would seem that human sexuality would be more accepted for what it is in evolutionary terms. Of course, I'm referring to responsible sexuality.

    It doesn't seem sensible to me to apply millenia-old standards in a modern world where so much more about humans' development is known and there are precautions to allow for sexual freedom.


  • gsx1138

    Patio, I see a few million self rightous militant christians getting red in the face at your last statement. Don't you know that there is no such thing as context when it comes to the Bible? I had a hardcore literalist christian in my speech class that believed everything word for word in the Bible. Believe me logic does not apply to these people. I would almost wish that science could become a religion and more people would embrace it but that would require education and it is so much easier to sit on your ass and have someone to tell you what to believe.

  • patio34

    LOL, gsx1138! Youre so right, but I believe that eventually religion will be seen for what it is, imo: an anachronism from another age. And it will be relegated to only a superstitious mode that no one pays much attention to.

    And then decisions will be based on intelligence, not myths.

    Yeah, itll make a few million mad, but what choice do they have? Even as Jesus in the Bible said: you will know them by their fruits. Religion has done more harm than good for mankind, it doesnt fit anymore, and its time for it to go on its way soon. At least to be not taken seriously.


    Inflammatory Pat

  • Solace

    (Saintly slutt) That doesnt sound so bad.

    Seriously Patio, this is a really interesting thread.

    Laura, I also liked your post.

Share this