Men & Menopause

Hot Flash! Men May Be Cause of Menopause

Tia Ghose, LiveScience Staff Writer
Date: 13 June 2013
older man on date with woman
 Through history, older men have, on average, tended to partner with younger women, which may have led to the evolution of menopause, new research suggests.
CREDIT: auremar |

Ladies, here’s one more thing you can blame on men: menopause. At least, that’s according to a new theory.

Women go through menopause because men have consistently preferred younger women in recent evolutionary history, according to a study published today (June 13) in the journal PLOS Computational Biology.Thus, menopause is not evolutionarily advantageous and may be the result of a series of random, harmful mutations that accumulated in women but weren’t acted on by evolution because the women had already reproduced by the time the mutations affected them.

“Our first assumption is that mating in humans is not random with respect to age, which means men of all ages prefer to mate with younger women,” said study co-author Rama Singh, an evolutionary biologist at McMaster University in Canada. “If mating is with younger women, any deleterious mutations which affect women’s reproduction later in life will accumulate because they are not being acted on by natural selection.”

Menopausal mystery

Menopause, in which women stop menstruating and become infertile, has been a long-standing puzzle for biologists: Why would evolution have led to a trait that essentially reduces the reproductive potential of an animal?

Most other animals don’t go through menopause (although killer whales do). Even chimpanzees, humans’ closest living relatives, seem to reproduce into old age in the wild, and males even prefer older females.

Biologists have proposed the grandmother hypothesis to explain the conundrum. The hypothesis holds that menopause allows a grandmother who is done rearing her own kids to help rear the young of her children, thereby increasing the survival odds of her grandkids, and therefore, her genes.

But grandchildren and grandparents share just a quarter of their genes, versus half for children and their parents, so menopause would have to dramatically boost survival of grandchildren to be evolutionarily advantageous. Past studies have shown that maternal grandmothers boost their grandkids’ survival rates, though exactly how much depends on the society.

Younger women

For thousands of years (at least), men have, on average, mated with younger women, Singh said.

That’s because, if all else is equal, “those who reproduce earlier, their genes are passed on faster,” Singh told LiveScience.

So the researchers created a computer simulation to model that preference.

Early on, both men and women in the model reproduced until death. But over time, the model found, men’s preference for youth reduced older women’s odds of reproducing.

Simultaneously, people accumulated random mutations, some of which decreased later-life reproductive ability. But since older women were left out in the cold anyways, those mutations didn’t impact their reproductive success, whereas mutations in men that could reduce late-life reproduction were weeded out. (Men who stopped reproducing at some point in life would produce fewer offspring than those who didn’t, and the late reproducers would outcompete those who stopped breeding earlier.)

Over 50,000 to 100,000 years, the accumulation of all those mutations could have led to universal menopause, the researchers suggest. Menopause would then be another form of aging akin to graying hair or wrinkles.

If later childbearing becomes the norm, as current societal trends suggest, women who can reproduce at older ages might gain an evolutionary advantage, and menopause could, in theory be pushed later, Singh said.But it’s more plausible that technological changes such as fertility treatments will artificially extend women’s ability to reproduce, Singh said.

Questionable assumptions

But the new model might have the causation reversed, wrote Kristen Hawkes, an anthropologist at the University of Utah, who was not involved in the study, in an email to LiveScience.

As human life spans increased, women might have had many healthy years after fertility. As a result, men grew to prefer younger women because older women couldn’t reproduce.

Supporting that hypothesis, female chimpanzees see their egg reserves decline around the same age as human females, Hawkes noted. But unlike humans, they die shortly after this age, whereas humans have decades of healthy life left.

“The preference men have for young partners is a striking contrast with other primates,” Hawkes said. “My guess about that has been it’s a consequence of our life history.”


Interview w/Flordemayo, Wise Woman

FLORDEMAYO – Wise Woman of the Earth

By Donna Strong

From an interview that was originally posted in “AWARENESS” Magazine

A wise woman of the earth, Flordemayo has been a Curandera Espiritu, a healer of divine spirit, her entire life. And through her keen vision she is able to sense other realms of light, sound and color. As a seer, she is able to see the effects of existing imbalances on the physical, emotional and spiritual levels within a person’s energy system.

Flordemayo is a founding member and President of the Institute of Natural and Traditional Knowledge, based in Estancia, New Mexico. She has been widely recognized for her healing ability and wisdom, including being the recipient of the Martin de la Cruz Award for Alternative Healing. This prestigious honor is given by the International Congress of Traditional Medicine. Working with  respected spiritual leader, Don Alejandro Cirilo Perez Oxlaj, who is head of the Quiche Maya Council of Elders, Flordemayo has been recognized as a ‘Priestess’ by the Maya.

Flordemayo was born and grew up in the big highlands of Central America in a family of traditional healers. She now travels around the globe to share her healing abilities and to foster more spiritual understanding among people. Since 2004, Flordemayo has been a founding member of the Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers, a group of traditional female elders drawn from around the world, whose work it is to travel and unite people through a circle of prayer.

A frequent contributor at international conferences such as the Institute of Noetic Sciences and Bioneers, we are most honored to highlight the visionary work of Flordemayo, in our July/August Indigeous Peoples Issue.

Awareness: In the West we often define health as the absence of symptoms, but as a Curandera Espiritu, you may have a different perspective on the process of healing and what health is.

Flordemayo: To my observation, when we look for healing and are doing everything we can to heal, we come to a place of surrender. When we surrender, we open ourselves to receive. Not only do we receive the wisdom we are to receive, but then we also open our hearts and our minds and it is at this point that someone like myself who does healings becomes a conduit, an intermediary who will bring the person looking for healing into a magical dance between themselves and their Beloved. So in actuality what I see is a magical dance. I don’t see it any other way. Healings don’t happen unless we surrender.

Awareness: From what I have read, you basically see light in and around a person.

Flordemayo: I see light with everything. Everything is alive. When it is alive, it is full of light. I see light like the Aurora Borealis, you know how it moves, kind of like that. I also hear my Beloved speaking to me. So then I will let the person know what it is that I am seeing and what I am being told. I ask for permission to look into their sacred space. When I ask for permission, I close my eyes and listen to their name. In listening to their voice, I listen to the vibration and it is the vibration that opens the picture for me. I close my eyes and with my spirit eye, I see a combination of a dance of color and light in and around the body, and this is how I do the healings.

Awareness: You have said there is quality of trust that needs to emerge…

Flordemayo: Well, you see the trust also comes when we surrender. We can’t be in fear or doubt. When I meet people for the first time, I don’t know anything about them and they don’t know much about me, so when I start talking to them and I say, ‘I see this and this and that going on in your body, and you’ve been doing this and it hasn’t helped you out. As I’m starting the dialogue with the person, I also see the energies.

When I pray I ask for help from the Beloved with this healing, because I am not the healer. It is between the person and his or her Beloved. So as soon as the person starts receiving through this dialogue, I start witnessing the change. I talk to them, “Look, now this is beginning to move, I see this other light and other color coming in, and I see the healing starting.” Some healings are instantaneous and some are not.

Awareness: You were acknowledged at a very young age as a healer. Can you tell us a bit about how that happened?

Flordemayo: The recognition came from my family, my mother, brothers and sisters, while I was a baby. I was born seeing, and I was not the only child born like this in our family. In my particular case I saw a lot of things. My mother was a midwife.

When I was four, my mother decided that it would be good for me to come with her while delivering babies. I never saw the baby being delivered. She would give me the baby after the umbilical was cut and the baby was cleaned and wrapped in a little blanket.

I would kind of innocently just look at the baby and I would see how the light looked, things in the past and in future, in the presence of the child. I would see little bits of information, but it was enough to delight the mother and father, and my mother thought it was a good way for me to continue my growth. It was beautiful!

Awareness: How few babies born are seen and recognized such as this! So you worked with your mother probably for quite a long time…

Flordemayo: My mother was my teacher throughout my life until she passed away when I was seventeen. I was with her when she took her last breath, and was able to help guide and prepare her in surrendering her physical body. By the age of seventeen, when you come from Central America, you are raised in such a reality of life, so I felt like I was all grown up having seen so much – birth and death. You know, you are never ready for your mom to die. Absolutely never. I didn’t have a dad, and was the youngest in the family, so I got married right after my mother died.

I wanted to have a teacher because I was always seeing and experiencing with dreams, and you have a need to communicate with a physical person who understands you, who would be able to sit there and dialogue. I really missed that as I was getting older. I prayed and prayed and prayed to my Beloved. It wasn’t until my late forties when my teacher came. So there was a long period of loneliness waiting for a teacher. When he came, my interest at the time was my people and their way of life. I wanted to hear the language and prayer in the Mayan language. That is how I came to meet him.

Awareness: How courageous that you kept going for what must have felt like such a long time – almost two decades.

Flordemayo: I was not ready to embark on this journey until then. Earlier I had to take care of little children, the house and the husband. But I met my teacher in a period of time in my life when my children were all grown up and I could give my teacher one hundred percent of my time.

Awareness: I had also wanted to ask, what is it that you would offer women about being more in alignment with rhythms of nature?

Flordemayo: I am honored to say that my mother taught me so much – this is what her life was, working with women. My mother used a few herbs in her practice that are really, really good for the woman’s body.

One of the things my mother always talked about was how we as modern women had forgotten how to honor and feed the earth. In doing so, she would always, when she could, squat on the earth and allow her menstrual to flow on the earth. Because this was food for the earth and we had the capacity to do that.

When I was a child, all of the placenta was buried in the earth. But we don’t do that anymore. I had the privilege of doing this with my grandchildren, but not my children, because I was in a big city when I had my children. As women, we have to be aware of the need to feed the earth and how we are going to do this. We have to feed the earth the nourishment she needs.

Awareness: Is there anything you would suggest to women living in urban areas to stay more attuned to the cycles and rhythms of Mother Earth?

Flordemayo: When you go outside you bless the ground. Even women in urban areas can collect their blood and give it to the Earth. Let that be a silent dialogue with the Earth. If there is a will, we just have to find a way of doing it. In the old days women would use a sponge or a rag; they would wash it, take that water and put it in a very sacred place, so it is not anything we cannot do.

to read the rest of the interview, go to:

500 Years of Women Portraits

500 Years Of Female Portraits In Western Art (VIDEO)

First Posted: 9/19/11 11:48 PM ET   Updated: 9/19/11 11:48 PM ET

New to us at HuffPost Arts, Philip Scott Johnson‘s “500 Years Of Female Portraits In Western Art” is intriguing in its ability to trace how representations of women have changed throughout art’s history. Watch as Johnson delicately weaves together famous portraits to show what traits and characterisitcs of the female figure have been deemed ‘ideal’ from epoch to epoch. See this list for all the paintings used in the video.

Women In Art from Philip Scott Johnson on Vimeo.

The Moon and its Lore


Urban shaman, eco-ceremonialist, ritual expert and consultant

 The Moon: Our Cosmic Mother

Posted: 8/23/11 11:25 AM ET

Avid moon watcher that I am, I must confess that I never could recognize the face of the man in the moon. How could anyone conceivably mistake that face — that round, profoundly gentle face, jolly and eternally indulgent, that unconditionally comforting countenance — for male?

The dark marks that define her features are in reality the bodies of water on her surface: the sea of tranquility, the ocean of storms and the sea of fertility. Sounds like a woman to me! My version of the ma’am in the moon will always be Aunt Jemima. The ultimate maternal perfection fantasy figure: purveyor of affection, protection and pancakes.

Women are inextricably connected to the moon, to her rhythms and waves. A woman’s blood waxes and wanes with the moon. Her urges and juices ebb and flow. And the moon, as she grows from crescent to full every month, mimics the pregnant swell of a woman’s belly, or a bunny’s, or a dog’s.

The moon as mother is a prevalent, primal mythological theme. The West African Nigeriens believe that the great moon mother sends the moon bird to Earth to deliver babies. The Baganda of Central Africa bathe their newborns by the light of the first full moon following birth. In Ashanti tradition, the moon Akua’ba, is a fertility figure. Women carry effigies of her tucked into their skirts at the small of their backs as an aid to conception and a guarantee of sturdy children.

Moon, O Mother Moon, O Mother Moon,
Mother of living things,
Hear our voice, O Mother Moon!
O Mother Moon! O Mother Moon!
– Gabon Pygmy Song

Women in Europe did the same. During the Renaissance, long after the mass acceptance of Christianity, it was understood that if a woman wanted anything, she should pray not to God, but to the moon mother for succor. Saint Augustine denounced women for dancing “impudently and filthily all the day long upon the days of the new moon,” even as their Hebrew sisters were scorned for wearing lunar amulets by the biblical prophets in Isaiah 3:18.

Ending Sexualization of Females

Calling All Men: Join the Movement Against the Sexualization of Women and Girls

Educational psychologist and consultant, Lori Day

Posted: 8/15/11 09:29 AM ET

This article has been co-written with Michele Sinisgalli-Yulo of Princess Free Zone.

It’s hard to admit it, but we need you. We need you to join the effort to end gender stereotypes and the exploitation of women and young girls. They are being sexualized around the globe in alarmingly rising numbers and alarmingly widespread ways. It is alarmingly invisible because it is alarmingly ubiquitous.

In making the case for more male voices, particularly from business leaders, politicians, and thought leaders, there are immediate obstacles:

• How do women avoid being seen as male bashers, uptight feminists, mommies with too much time on their hands, women with some irrational hatred of pink sparkly things, or all of the above?

• Is there a way to effectively develop a partnership between women and men within a grassroots movement that is still very much under the radar, despite the hard work of a great many individuals?

“This is often seen as a women’s issue or parenting issue,” says Melissa Wardy, owner ofPigtail Pals – Redefine Girly. “It is an issue of civil rights, as our children are having their childhoods cut short by marketers turning them into lifetime consumers.” So much is at stake, and this is a time for unity, not divisiveness.

It brings to mind a favorite quote of a dear male colleague:

When nothing seems to help, I go and look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that blow that did it, but all that had gone before. ~Jacob August Riis

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Weekend “SlutWalk” in San Francisco


SlutWalk San Francisco Is Coming This Weekend (PHOTOS)

First Posted: 8/2/11 09:35 PM ET Updated: 8/3/11 11:10 AM ET

During a safety forum at Osgood Hall Law School in Toronto in January, police constable Michael Sanguinetti told a room filled with women that to avoid being sexually assaulted, they should “avoid dressing like sluts,” The Huffington Post reported in April.

Outraged ensued. Rotten tomatoes were thrown, tar was warmed and feathers were readied. No, not really. But according to SlutWalk organizers, they should have been.

Though Sanguinetti issued a written apology, a small group of Canadian women organized a march to bring awareness to social attitudes about sexual assault. They dressed in their finest lingerie, wrote “slut” on their foreheads, and took to the streets with signs of protest, hoping a few dozen supporters would show up. Instead, 3,000 people crowded the streets. SlutWalk was born.

And this Saturday, it’s coming to Dolores Park.

SlutWalk San Francisco boasts a group of 18 organizers and contributors that has been hosting meet-and-greets, happy hours, and sign-making parties in anticipation of the event.

“We’re so excited for Saturday,” organizer Lauren Chief Elk told The Huffington Post. “We were so moved by the outrage of the women in Toronto. Especially since most of us have experienced sexual assault in one way or another. Rape happens all over the world, but here in the United States, we have a strong tendency to blame the victim.”

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