Thursday, October 15, 2015

Human Evolution and Women’s Sexuality -- Part III: What Do Women Want?

By Kristy McCaffrey

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“What must I do to convince her to have sex with me?”

If you strip away every cultural accoutrement, every interplay between the sexes, it whittles down to this basic question of males. Women acquired the ability to refuse sex as an adaptation to the dangers of childbirth—if she would die, she would choose when, where and with whom she became intimate. So, the age-old dilemma of men was born, “What do women want?”

On a side note, the issue of rape must be addressed. Men frustrated and unwilling to cooperate with these new set of rules put forth by human women have, and still do, practice the overpowering of females. They practice rape. This is not a healthy mating strategy and society consistently shuts down this taboo, yet, as we know, the practice continues. This has created a bitterness that still poisons male-female relations today.

But having the choice of saying no has come at a cost to women. Every month they bleed and deplete their stores of iron.

 So, what do women want? They want iron.

A red blood cell’s main function is to pick up oxygen in the lungs, transport it through the blood vessels, and deliver it to every organ in the body. A healthy man has 15 percent more red blood cells than a woman. In order to function, a red blood cell requires a protein called hemoglobin. At the center of hemoglobin is the element iron.

Iron leads to well-being and vitality and ensures that a woman can birth healthy babies. Women lose iron not just through menses, a process that will deplete approximately forty quarts of blood during her lifetime. Blood loss also occurs during pregnancy, when a mother transfers her iron stores to her fetus. The average dietary intake for a woman is about one milligram of iron per day. During pregnancy, she must transfer 350 milligrams of iron to her unborn child, the equivalent of a year’s worth of the mineral.

A third cause of iron loss occurs during delivery. Vaginal births can release bleeding in the pelvic tissues. No other mammal experiences such difficult births as a human woman.

A fourth cause of blood loss also occurs during childbirth, concerning the placenta. Human women are the winners in the placenta arena. It can transfer more nutrients more quickly than any other primate. But when the placenta separates from the uterine wall, nearly a full pint of blood will be discharged from the female.

A fifth source of blood loss is a bit more circumspect, but nonetheless important. All other mammalian females have an urgent hunger to consume the placenta when expelled. Human women have lost their craving for this delicacy. The placenta is filled with iron, amino acids and essential fats; it has everything a mother needs to replenish herself following birth. It’s the equivalent of one or two blood transfusions, but most hospitals label the placenta as toxic waste.

The final, and sixth, source of iron loss for women occurs during breast feeding. Infants must get all their iron from their mothers to fuel their immense brain growth. Lactational iron loss occurs more slowly over a span of several years.

Iron must be eaten, and unfortunately for humans most plant-based iron is unavailable to us. The human digestive tract lacks common but critical enzymes that aid in the absorption of iron from plants. But we can digest iron from animal sources. A side effect of our ancestors gravitating to a more meat-based diet was the shortening of our guts. This freed up more oxygen for our brains, and hence our brains became larger, and intelligence flourished. In general, carnivores are smarter than herbivores. A coyote is slyer than a cow.

Man as hunter is born.

Painting by Emmanuel Benner (1836-1896)

Don’t miss Part IV: Why Do Women Bleed?

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