The hidden intelligence of hormones and their role in empowering women to succeed sexually, reproductively, and socially.
Did you know women walk more, eat less, socialize more, meet more men, dance more, and flirt more when they're ovulating? Or that PMS may have evolved to get rid of boyfriends with unfit sperm? Behind the "fickle" differences in what women find sexy about men, or what they like to wear, there's a hidden adaptive intelligence that has been shaped over eons.
In this provocative and paradigm-shattering book, Martie Haselton, the world's leading researcher on sexuality and the ovulation cycle, takes a deep, revealing look at the biological processes that so profoundly influence our behavior and sets forth a radical new understanding of women's bodies, minds, and sexual relationships, one that embraces hormonal cycles as adaptive solutions to genuine biological challenges. At the core of Hasleton's new Darwinian feminism is her remarkable discovery that humans, like our animal cousins, possess a special phase of sexuality, called estrus, which comes with a host of physiological and behavioral changes.
Rigorously researched, entertaining, and empowering, Hormonal offers women deep new insights into their bodies, brains, relationships, and affairs, allowing them to make better-informed choices about sex, marriage, friendship, contraception, and more. Above all, Hormonal is a clarion call to appreciate and embrace the genius of female biology.
About the Author
Martie Haselton, PhD, is the world's leading researcher on how ovulatory cycles influence women's sexuality. She is a professor of Psychology at UCLA and the Institute for Society and Genetics, edited the leading journal in the field, Evolution and Human Behavior, and directs the Evolutionary Psychology Lab at UCLA.
"What a refreshing book. Finally, a feminist with the courage to discuss women not as victims of their hormones but as elegantly built captains of their minds and lives. In this solidly scientific yet graceful book, Haselton shows how women's evolved hormonal activities help them shop for Mr. Right, compete with rivals, and raise healthy, productive young. Hormonal also informs on vital current issues-from bearing babies in middle age to taking hormone supplements in later life. This is the real story of women. It's an honest, accurate, important, and captivating read.—Helen Fisher, author of The First Sex and Why We Love
"Martie Haselton has written the book many of us have been waiting for: a genuinely feminist exploration of what we know about how our hormones shape the way we feel, love, and behave. I thought I knew a lot about the biology she covers, but Haselton gave me a much deeper understanding of our sexual and reproductive lives. Whether you're wanting to understand your hormonal teenager, your life as a college student, your desire to protect your babies, your sexual peaks and valleys, or how we women just keep developing sexually into our sixties and on, this is the book for you. With lively prose and healthy skepticism, Haselton takes us a fascinating tour of our hormones." —Alice Dreger, author of Galileo's Middle Finger
"Hormonal is a brilliant book. It takes readers on a fascinating journey through the hidden molecules that influence women's bodies and minds. Anchored in deep science, Haselton takes the reader on a mesmerizing tour from the stirrings of puberty to the aftermath of menopause, from sexual fantasies to the ways in which women often call the shots in the game of mating. Required reading for all who seek to understand the hidden forces of hormones. It shows how all women are linked to a long and unbroken chain of wise ancestral mothers, and how modern women can control their own mating destinies."—David M. Buss, author of The Evolution of Desire
"A book about the effects of hormones on the behavior of female rodents might be dull, but it would not be controversial. Substitute humans for rodents, and prepare for a storm. In Hormonal, Haselton takes on this challenge and explores the complex roles that hormones play in women's lives as we choose our mates, cultivate our relationships, rear our children, and transition to menopause. Written with passion and wit, Hormonal provides important insights about the female experience."—Joan Silk, professor, School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Arizona State University, and coauthor of How Humans Evolved
"Written by a leader in her field, Hormonal beautifully exposes the powerful and unrecognized influence hormones play in our lives. The book is essential reading for both women and men interested in a deeper understanding of the influences contributing to our choices and preferences. Hormonal is engaging, clever, very funny at times, and always scientifically impeccable."—Barbara Natterson-Horowitz, MD, coauthor of Zoobiquity