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July 22, 2002


susan graham[...]
susan graham, there's something going on[...]
   , susan[...]
    , susan[...]
 , susan[...]
   , susan[...]
 , susan graham[...]
o, susan graham, you are made for me[...]
oh, susan graham, you are made for me[...]
ohh, susan graham, you are made for me[...]
    , susan graham , susan graham[...]
    , susan graham you would be nice to see [...]
    , susan graham[...]
, susan[...]
		she's always with me , susan[...]
    , susan graham[...]
    , susan graham[...]
    , susan graham[...]

              ooo oo oo  oo  ooo oo oo  oo  o ooo oo
               Mo M oM  M  M  Mo M oM  "ooM  M"  M  M
                Mo"o"   M  M   Mo"o"   M  M  M   M  M
                "  "     ""    "  "     "" """" """ ""


                ooo oo oo   ooo   oo  o oo
               Mo "  M  M  Mo "  "ooM  M  M
               o "M  M  M  o "M  M  M  M  M
               """    "" " """    "" """" ""
   ooo oo oo   ooo   oo  o oo       ooooo oo  oo   Moo    oo  o oo oo
  Mo "  M  M  Mo "  "ooM  M  M     M  M  M"  "ooM  M  M  "ooM  M  M  M
  o "M  M  M  o "M  M  M  M  M     "M"   M   M  M  M  M  M  M  M  M  M
  """    "" " """    "" """" ""    o"""o"""   "" """" ""  "" """" "" ""


       azure lowered the body into the grave prepared by us
  azure came among them and swept out the cobwebs and nightmares



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The Virtues of Promiscuity

Sally Lehrman, AlterNet
July 22, 2002

   Viewed on July 22, 2002


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

   Women everywhere have been selflessly engaging in trysts outside of
   matrimony. And they have been doing it 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. "As one looks, 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.

   In other words, 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 foraging habits of the Ach�,
   a Paraguayan people, and the North Tanzanaian tribe Hadza, who also
   celebrate a rich love life. "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, and in exchange,
   moms offer fidelity and the guarantee of paternity. While 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. Men therefore are biologically prone to
   spreading their seed far and wide, while women focus on finding the
   perfect pop.

   "This evidence is a real thumb in the eye for that view," says

   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 them in the after-school chess club.

   "Women tend to do things that are associated with the welfare of their
   kids," Hawkes says.

   In contrast to the sex-for-food model, multiple and various sexual
   pairings have little to do with adding to the larder in the groups
   Hawkes studies. The average Hadza hunter, who can only bring in a big
   game carcass once a month, has to share his kill with everyone. His
   wife and kids just have to get in line. Extra mates add a little
   genetic diversity. But Hawkes says females likely hook up with
   multiple males for safety more than any other benefit -- 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. Multiple dads also help ensure a child's health.
   Since a father is necessary to blow tobacco smoke over the little
   one's body if he or she falls ill, the more potential volunteers the

   Elderly Bar� ladies chuckle and nudge each other as they talk about a
   lifetime of lovers. But the pleasure wasn't only their own. The men
   benefited, too. It turns out Bar� males can't count on a very long
   life. The Venezuelan tribe suffers from bouts of malaria and
   tuberculosis and, until 1960, was repeatedly attacked by landowners,
   oil companies, and homesteaders in the region. Most of the victims
   have been reproductive-age males. "You know that if you die, there's
   some other man who has a residual obligation to care for at least one
   of your children," Beckerman explains. "So looking the other way or
   even giving your blessing when your wife takes a lover is the only
   insurance you can buy."

   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 the most credit to what he terms "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. "Women typically have high standards in either
   case; men are willing to go down to the tenth percentile (for
   short-term partners), as long as she can mumble," he says.

   Anthropologists are not so sure. Some say today's emphasis on female
   monogamy may have more to do with socio-economic 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. Since 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

   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.

   The pattern is repeating itself with the Bar� as missionaries import
   rural Catholic values. 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.

    Reproduction of material from any pages without written
   permission is strictly prohibited. � 2002 Independent Media Institute.
                            All rights reserved.

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