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SEXUALITY: FEMALE EVOLUTION & EROTICA

Rhawn Joseph, Ph.D.
Neurodynamics, Brain Research Laboratory

This (partial) chapter has been excerpted from

Sexuality: Female Evolution & Erotica

by Rhawn Joseph, Ph.D.



LESBIAN (female-female) SEXUALITY

The Estrus Female: Rouge, Scent, Lipstick, Cosmetics.

Female primates who are orgasmic, who display genital swellings, and who secrete strong sexual perfumes, do not maintain monogamous relationships but seek sex with multiple male partners. This is the case with many modern women (Friday, 1991; Hite, 1976; Hunt, 1974; Kinsey et al., 1953; Tavris & Wade, 1984; Wolfe, 1981), and other female primates. Our female ancient ancestors were probably no different.

The female H. erectus/Archaic H. sapiens, even if she was in a "monogamous" relationship, likely behaved in a sexually promiscuous manner, and during the end of her rein may have been applying cosmetics and scent to her body. Of course, once she had entered into a long term relationship where the male was providing her with goods and resources, she was probably less brazen and more discrete as compared to chimpanzees or previous species of humanity.

Like chimps and modern women, these ancestral females, particularly those who had not yet entered into a supposedly long-term relationship, probably flaunted and exaggerated their sexual availability in order to attract and to enjoy multiple sex partners (and multiple orgasms) one after another. In fact, ancestral women may have artificially accentuated their sexuality through the application of rouge, scent, and other cosmetics, thus duplicating and mimicking those signs of estrus characteristic of other primates.

However, like other primates, when adorned in this manner, she not only attracts men, but other women.
The human female is sexually aroused by sexually attractive women, which one of the (perhaps unconscious) reasons why advertisers use scantily clad young women to sell products to women in general.










ROUGE, LIPSTICK, AND PERFUME

When a female primate enters estrus, her genitals swell up and turn pink or bright raspberry red, and she will secrete a strong sexual perfume (Carpenter, 1942, 1964; Fedigan, 1992; Goodall, 1986, 1990; Wallis, 1992). In addition, the teats of some female primates may change color or turn red and secrete sex-related odors (Fedigan, 1992; Jolly, 1985).

The modern female also secretes sex-related pheromones (e.g. McClintock, 1971), and in fact possess scent making glands which are located along the breasts and vaginal region (as well as the underarms). However, the secretion of sex-related odors is relatively mutated--at least as compared to chimpanzees. Nevertheless, as will be detailed below, the human female may also become aroused by the odors secreted by other women; which is yet another factor why not only men, but women may lick the anal-genetical region of an estrus (sexy) female--and this is also true of other primates and non-human mammals






Like their human counterparts, when sexually excited, the female face and the hairless regions of the female primate face may turn crimson. That is, she may blush just like any other blushing bride. For example, the face of the estrus macaque turns red when she is in estrus, and will flush bright red when she is sexually interested in a particular male. If she loses interest her face tends to pale (Carpenter, 1942, 1964; Fedigan, 1992).

Among present day females, the pinkish colored vaginal area and the coloration of the breasts may redden or turn pinkish and the facial area may flush crimson if she is sexually excited (Masters & Johnson, 1966). Moreover, her breasts and buttocks have become permanently enlarged, thus continually indicating her sexual availability.

Hence, sexual odors, genital swelling, and reddening in the coloration of the teats, face, and genitals are definite sexual signals among a variety of female primates, including human females.

The modern human female has retained the capability of physiologically signaling her sexual status through obvious physical changes in scent and coloration. Moreover, she has gained the cognitive, intellectual and creative capacity to artificially mimic these changes in order to aggressively advertise and flaunt her sexual availability.

The modern woman applies rouge to her cheeks, paints her lips red or pink, wears colorful clothes, and will splash and spray perfumes upon her body that may have been extracted from the sex glands of some other animal. Indeed, human females stereotypically expend a great deal of effort on maximizing their sexual allure through perfumes, dress, and cosmetics, (Cameron et al, 1977; Dreaux & Hanna, 1984; Gagnon, 1977; Joseph, 1985; Koestner & Wheeler, 1988; Tavris & Wade, 1984). Yearly, the average young woman or teenage female spends thousands of hours and thousands of dollars experimenting with her cosmetics and lipstick. Consider, Revlon makes 177 different shade of lipstick.

{INSERT FIGURE 8.23 ABOUT HERE}

Over 66 billion dollars are spent on cosmetics and an additional 5 billion are spent on perfumes every year (The Economist, 1995). Most of these latter sales involve women buying perfumes for themselves or other women, and one third of these ladies apply perfume five to seven times a week (American Demographics, 1995). Cosmetics are applied almost daily and often several times daily.

{INSERT FIGURE 8.42 ABOUT HERE}

In addition, females who work around men are more likely to be heavy scent and cosmetics users, and single women are heavier users than married women, especially those females in the marriage market (ages 18 to 24) or the remarriage market (ages 45 to 54). Moreover, one of the major reason late teens and women between the ages of 20 and 50 give for purchasing perfumes is to attract men (American Demographics, 1995). Not only is there nothing comparable in the realm of male allurements but 30% of those who use male fragrances are women--a function perhaps of a conscious or unconscious desire to sexually attract and arouse other females.

SEXY FEMALES ARE ATTRACTIVE TO MALES AND FEMALES

The modern human female artificially exaggerates her sexuality through cosmetics, scent, and colorful dress. She does so because they mimic the sexual attributes of her estrus primate cousins and serve to arouse male and female sexual interest. Indeed, the modern woman also reacts to these cosmetic sex-signals with sexual excitement and arousal when they are displayed by other women or men, and when she applies them to herself (Heiman, 1975; Joseph, 1977, 1985; Stauffer & Frost, 1976). That is, the human female is sexually aroused by the swollen breasts, buttocks, and other signs of estrus including rouge, lipstick, and scent and is thus sexually excited by other women.

In fact, it has been experimentally demonstrated that females are more likely to respond with interest and arousal, as indicated and measured by pupil dilation and viewing time, when gazing at an attractive woman than when looking at an attractive man (Joseph, 1977). They will also spend significantly more time looking at pictures of attractive females as compared to time spent looking at attractive males. In fact, it has been demonstrated that up to 60% of women may become sexually aroused when viewing, hearing about, or reading erotic material depicting or describing the naked female body (Heiman, 1975; Stauffer & Frost,1976; Symons, 1979).

Moreover, a female may become sexually aroused when she dresses in "sexy" clothes, and applies cosmetics to her own body. She not only looks, but feels "sexy" when she sees herself dressed and painted in this manner.






Again, because females are sexually aroused by the female body (Heiman, 1975; Stauffer & Frost,1976; Symons, 1979), this may also explain why brightly colored and scantily clad females are frequently employed in advertisements aimed at women (e.g. Umiker-Sebeok, 1981). This may also explain why young human females dressed so as to emphasize their sexual availability (such as when at a nightclub), not infrequently report that other young women approach them for sex.

As noted, one third of those who use male colognes. Exposing women to male sweat can induce ovulation (Veith et al., 1983) and thus maximal sexual receptivity. Women often buy perfumes for each other, and these odors, and female pheromones can also induce ovulation and sexual arousal. Indeed, not just other species, but human females are effected by the sexual odors and pheromones secreted by other women (McClintock & Stern, 1998) and they sexually and physiologically respond to these odors--in some ways much more so than men.

Females living together in apartments or dorms begin to ovulate at the same time and thus demonstrate synchronized menstrual cycles (McClintock, 1971). This effect is not limited to just humans but occurs among dogs, cats, and other social creatures who live in close proximity. Moreover, simply dabbing secretions from the female axillary glands beneath the nostrils of other women can also entrain and synchronize their patterns of ovulation and menstrual cycles (Doty, 1985; McClintock & Stern, 1998), thus making these women physically and sexually maximally receptive and maximally sexually aroused simultaneously.

Thus, just as the female body can make other women sexually aroused (Heiman, 1975; Stauffer & Frost,1976; Symons, 1979), human female pheromones, can trigger ovulation and (presumably) sexual arousal in other women. In consequence, females, being aroused by one another, sometimes have sex with one another. However, in some instances, she may come to exclusively prefer women to men.








There are numerous factors which contribute to lesbian relationships among humans (Bailey et al., 1993; Byne & Parsons, 1993) including the effects of pre-natal stress on the female brain, or sex abuse during early childhood. That is, they may avoid men and seek safety in the arms of a woman, due to their early experiences of abuse, or because they possess a "male" limbic system, and respond to women just as men do, i.e. with sexual arousal.

Among humans and many other species of female, lesbian sexual behavior is also stimulated by the signs and smells of estrus. That is, just as a male is sexually aroused by the signs of estrus, so too are females, including the human female.

Females are sexually aroused by colorful ornaments and other attributes of sexuality be they displayed by males or females. Thus, the human female uses cosmetics and adorns herself likewise as it makes her feel sexy. And when she sees other women adorned in a similar fashion, she also feels sexy.

Females of many species become maximally colorful when they enter estrus but are otherwise quite plain and drab in appearance. By contrast, the males of many species display coloration and other ornaments throughout the year. Be it fish, bird, antelope, dog, lion, chimpanzee or human, males are naturally more muscular, more "colorful," and possess the thickest coat of hair, or the most striking ornamentation as compared to females in general. Moreover, among innumerable male species, the penis and/or scrotum are often colored in a variety of striking hues.

Though it is true that some females may also display colorful ornaments, especially when in estrus, in general females are much less striking in appearance. Among most species it is the male who is the biggest, the most colorful, and who have the most luxurious and colorful coat of fur or plume of feathers, as well as other sexual ornaments such as scrotal coloration, throat pouches, head crests, and thick capes of shoulder hair; all of which stimulate female sexual interest.

Because females are attracted to these ornaments, and as they are also employed when males threaten or compete with other males for resources and access to females, human males also tend to accentuate these masculine characteristics. Males grow beards, and wear wigs, shoulder pads, lapels, feathers, war paint, and so on (Eibl-Eibesfeldt, 1995; Wickler, 1973). In fact, just as females through sexual selection may have promoted the evolution of smaller, more sociable males who have big penises, these ancient females may have also promoted the evolution of these attention getting masculine ornaments. That is, over the course of evolution, these masculine sexual attributes became exaggerated simply because she is, and was, more likely to mate with and have children by those males displaying these attributes.

{INSERT FIGURE 8.26 ABOUT HERE}

However, because these ornaments and scrotal colors (including related pheromonal secretions) stimulate female sexual arousal, females may also sexually react to similar colorful ornaments (and secretions) when they are displayed by estrus females or human females in general (Joseph, 1977, 1985). Females are sexually aroused by estrus females, and human females become sexually aroused by a sexy beautiful woman displaying all the colors and scents associated with estrus--and this includes (as detailed in earlier chapters) sexual arousal in response to another"sexy" woman's swollen breasts and buttocks. Indeed, when engaged in female-female sexual activity, women may spend hours sucking and licking upon one another.








FEMALES HAVE SEX WITH SEXY FEMALES

When a female primate displays signs of estrus, including nipple and genital swelling, non-estrus female primates not uncommonly react to these colorful and odorous sexual signals by touching, grooming, licking, and inserting fingers into he vaginas of these estrus females. She may even attempt to mount these females and have sex with them (Carpenter, 1942; Chevalier-Skolnikoff, 1974; Fedigan, 1992; Michael et al., 1978). Estrus females become the center of not just male attention, but female attention, and some of these non-estrus primate females may become exceedingly sexually aroused and also respond to her sexually. Again, the same behaviors are seen among human females.<

According to Carpenter (1942, p. 137), not only do priamte females engage in homosexual activity with estrus females, but "it is not unusual to see several females grooming a receptive female showing marked sexual swelling."






Females may also enter estrus or develop a false estrus in response to an estrus female (Ford & Beach, 1951; Goodall, 1971, 1986), thus indicating their own sexual arousal and receptivity by ovulating and becoming sexually receptive. She becomes so excited when in the presence of an estrus female that she also enters estrus--which, however, may also be due to pheromonal synchrony (McClintock, 1971).

If both females are in estrus, they may then take turns mounting each other (Beach, 1968; Chevalier-Skolnikoff, 1974). In fact, "lesbian" sexual activities are not uncommon among many species of estrus mammals such as female mice, rats, pigs, rabbits, sheep, cows, horses, dogs, lions, primates (Beach, 1968; Carpenter, 1942; Chevalier-Skolnikoff, 1974; Ford & Beach, 1951; Michael et al., 1978) and humans (Clunis and Green, 1988; Hedblom, 1973; Maggiore, 1988; Saghir & Robins 1973). Females are sexually aroused by and will sexually mount other females who are obviously sexually receptive, and this includes modern woman who are sexually aroused by the female body.






In a review of studies conducted prior to 1950, Ford & Beach (1951) reported that anywhere from 26% to 51% of unmarried women admitted to "intense emotional relations with other women....including mutual masturbation or genital contact." It is common for young females and young women, to fall in love with obviously sexually attractive women.

Most women admit to engaging in these romantic and lesbian sexual behaviors during late adolescence; a time period when females become maximally sexually receptive and increasingly interested in the sexual attributes of other women. In one sample over 90% of females admitted to having "crushes" on other females during their early adolescence (Ford & Beach, 1951). It is because they experience such a considerable degree of lust and love, that longer-term female-female relationships tend to be rather unstable, and why such bitter anger is often experienced when two "girl friends" break up and begin seeing other women.

Homosexual relations between women is a normal pattern of behavior. Not only are females sexually aroused by a sexy woman, but like males, their first intense emotional, loving, and physical relationship is with a woman; their mother. It is thus normal to and for the female to behave in a physically close manner with other women, and in a manner that is completely distinct from normal heterosexual male-male relationships.

Thus, it is common to observe human women hug, kiss, fondle, groom, and hold one another, and it is not uncommon for them to sleep in the same bed and cuddle. And, it is common for females to become sexually aroused by each other, and to act on that arousal by kissing, fondling, breast sucking, and through mutual masturbation. They may even convince themselves that what they are doing is not sexual as it seems so normal.

Thus we find, for example, that although homosexual rape in male prisons is not uncommon, that more women prisoners engage in lesbian sexual activities and do so to a much greater extent as compared to male prisoners (Ward & Kassbaum, 1970).

In fact, as with modern females and hominoid females, it is likely that hominid females, including even the Cro-Magnon, regularly engaged in bisexual relations. This bisexual female tendency may explain why phallic objects little different from the double-dildos that grace modern sex shops, were being fashioned and employed, presumably by female hands, during the Upper Paleolithic.

{INSERT FIGURE 8.31 ABOUT HERE}

For example, the Gorge d'Enfer double dildo fashioned during the Upper Paleolithic is obviously designed to be used by two women while having "intercourse" with one another. Likewise, female primates have also been observed to masturbate by inserting sticks and other objects into their vaginas, and/or by sticking their hands, fingers, and tongues into the vaginas of other estrus females.















Nevertheless, be it human or ape the majority of females who engage in homosexual relations are probably naturally bisexual rather than homosexual. Most tend to prefer sexual relations with a man and seldom form an exclusive sexual relationship with a woman, though, in rare instances, they may remain bonded as intimate friends.

In fact, among modern day lesbians, although long term consort relationships are common, after a few years they may no longer have sex (Geller, 1983; Tripp, 1987).

Female primates who engage in homosexual relations, like their human counterparts (e.g., Clunis and Green, 1988; Hedblom, 1973; Maggiore, 1988; Saghir & Robins 1973; Ward & Kassbaum, 1970; however, see Geller, 1983), also tend to remain bonded even when they are not in estrus and no longer having sex. That is, their "consort" relationship, once established, often persists, though they also seek sex with males (Fedigan, 1992).

LESBIAN BRAINS & PREDATORY SEXUAL BEHAVIOR

Broadly considered, although most women are either heterosexual or bisexual and thus have sex with men and women, an unknown number, perhaps around 2% to 5% of the female population, are exclusively or almost entirely homosexual. Although recognizing that most women are sexually aroused by other women, we will reserve the term "lesbian" for those whose sexual preference is limited to other females.

Some "radical feminists" argue that "lesbianism is a choice, a stance which by its very nature is political whether the individual lesbian chooses to be politically active nor not" (Maggiore, 1988). Some also argue that the preference for men is an illusion (Rich, 1984), and that heterosexuality does not provide woman with a choice and is at the root of all exploitation and illegitimate control. To break that control, some lesbians argue, women must reject heterosexuality and should have sex only with other women (Rich, 1984).

Lesbians, although stereotyped by some, as being highly masculine or "butch" in demeanor or appearance, come in all shape and sizes, ranging from women who are as big and tough as any man, to those who are sweet, demure, and angelic. As to those who are more masculine in behavior and appearance, it is highly likely that genetic and hormonal factors have played a causative role in determining their orientation.

For example, sometimes human female neonates become masculinized due to an over production of androgens (masculinizing hormones), which may have been secreted by their fetal adrenal glands, or as a consequence of a maternal tumor which may have induced excess androgen production (Money & Erhardt, 1990). In these latter instances, the external female genitalia may become fused and masculinized so that it appears that they have a scrotal sac when in fact their vulva which has grown together.

At puberty these masculinized females begin to menstruate and the body tends to become increasingly feminine in form. Most fail to develop secondary masculine characteristics as these physical features are dependent on the presence of circulating testosterone which these androgenized females do not possess in sufficient quantities as they have no testes.

However, in a few of these masculinized females the adrenals continue to abnormally produce androgens such that their brains and bodies continue to be bathed in these masculinizing hormones well after birth. These latter females develop a propensity for homosexual fantasies and relationships. In one study of females with this condition, less than 8% married. Of those treated with cortisone about 50% married. Of course, many lesbians marry as well, including, for example, the current president of the National Organization of Women who has a female lover as well as a husband.

Given the evidence reviewed above, it might be expected that lesbians and androgenized females might have the male pattern of limbic system development. This is particularly likely in that androgenized females behave like males, are more active and aggressive, demonstrate superior visual-spatial skills, and are often "homophobic" toward normal heterosexual males. Some lesbians, quite frankly, are man haters; and perhaps for good reason.

Many lesbians and bisexual females have been sexually abused during their childhood and thus harbor a considerable degree of hate and fear regarding men (Secundo, 1992). Some of these abused women thus seek female companionship as a form of therapy and not for sex, though they are often pressured to engage in sexual relations (Secundo, 1992).

Some lesbians, including those who are very feminine in their appearance and behavior, tend to be very protective of their girlfriends. They will respond with anger and jealousy if a male pays attention to their female date. Some lesbians are also exceedingly violent. In fact, domestic violence and extreme brutality characterize over 30% of lesbian relationships (1997).

Conversely, some actively seek to seduce other women. They in fact can be quite aggressive and predatory and like the male of the species, many will "hit" on and attempt to seduce women under almost any pretext and almost any condition or circumstance. Lesbians seek to pick up sex partners in public restrooms, at work, on the street, and particularly in heterosexual nightclubs. It is not uncommon for lesbians to work at women's shelters, or in organizations that cater to women, as this is fertile ground for finding potential conquests.

{INSERT FIGURE 8.30 ABOUT HERE}

Consider, for example, "Kate," a woman celebrated by the authors (both lesbians), of the book, Lesbian Women.

"Kate works in an office that contains row upon row of desks at which very attractive young women sit and type, sort mail, etc. Kate loves her job--and most of the women in the office. She's "scored" with at least nine of them in two and a half years, which is almost as good a record as some of her male superiors..." and then there is "Elsie, a highly-placed social worker (whose) list of affairs was almost endless."

Lesbians admit to engaging in considerably more varied sexual activity--at least as compared to what a heterosexual women will admit to (Hedblom, 1973). Like males they may be just more inclined to brag about their conquests. They are also more likely to admit to or brag about having had numerous short-term affairs (Saghir & Robins, 1973; Tripp, 1987).

Despite the prevalent myths to the contrary, more than half of lesbians fail to establish any type of long term monogamous relationship with another woman. Like their heterosexual female counterparts, lesbians in "monogamous" relationships often cheat (Tripp, 1987). Indeed, lesbians tend to quickly grow sexually tired of their girlfriends and female "mates," including those with whom they have made a life time commitment. Often, within 2-3 years most lesbians cease to have sex with one another (Tripp, 1987) at which point one or both partners may begin to seek sexual gratification with other women.

LOVE HATE AND FEMALE RELATIONSHIPS

A woman's first and most intense relationship begins with her mother. And these mother-daughter relationships may wax and wane in emotional intensity, fluctuating between love and hate.

In part because of the one-to-one relationship she experienced with her mother, and because of the one-to-one relationship she will experience with her own daughter, girls and women also tend to form one-to-one, best friend relationships. Whereas males may join and associate with groups and gangs of males, females form more exclusive relationships which may involved considerable hugging, touching, kissing, carressing, and sleep overs in whcih case they may not only sleep together, but lick and fondle one another.






Because of its exclusively intimate nature, women also tend to exclude other females from their circle of friends, and periodically break off these friendships if they meet another woman who strikes their fancy. That is, relations between women, like the relations between a mother and daughter, or between a woman and a man, tend to be rocky. However, whereas the daughter-mother relationship will persist, female friendships, especially among younger women, generally do not.

There are a variety of reasons why female friendships are easily and often permanently fractured. As these friendships are often so intensely emotional, they are thus easily fractured when one of the young woman feels hurt or rejected. And because they are so emotional, and as one young woman have a "crush" on the other, one woman may become jealous if her friend begins associating with another young woman. She is heartbroken and wounded because the woman she loved now loves another.

Yet another factor is men. Women often complain that their female friends will undergo an obvious personality change when in the presence of attractive man. Although a variety of explanations may be offered as to why this personality change is so irritating, the biological reasons have to do with sex, jealousy, and competition between women.

Indeed, it is these same concerns which cause so much friction between mothers and daughters, best friends, and female strangers--particularly if one or both are especially attractive. That is, although responding with interest and possible sexual arousal, females may also react to a beautiful sex woman by feeling jealous and sexually threatened (Joseph, 1985). Among social primates it is the estrus female which becomes the center of male as well as female attention and naturally this can engender feelings of resentment among those females who are being ignored--ignored not only by men, but by their "best," and most intimate female friends.








SEXUALITY: FEMALE EVOLUTION & EROTICA
By Rhawn Joseph, University Press, ISBN: 09700733-6-4
$22.00, paperback, 278 pages, Illustrated

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Joseph: Brief Biography

Dr.Rhawn Joseph has been a pioneering developmental and evolutionary neurobiologist for over 20 years, and was the first to conclusively demonstrate the role of hormonal influences on sex differences in learning and behavior, the first to conclusively demonstrate the role of environmental influences on learning and memory, the first to demonstrate recovery of brain cells and neurological and perceptual functioning in primates, and the first to conclusively demonstrate the hormonal and environmental foundations of sex differences in learning and cognition. See Publications. Dr. Joseph has also published pioneering research on the evolution and development of the brain, mind, language, thought, religious and spiritual experience, sexuality, and the limbic system foundations of emotion (e.g. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 2000, 29, 35-66. Zygon: Journal of Religion & Science, 2001, 36, 105-136; Behavioral & Brain Science, 2000, 23, 439-441). He is the author of one of the best selling neuroscience text books of all time (See Book Reviews), his work has been discussed in Time magazine (1997) and his theory on the origin of life was telecast almost verbatim in a 15 minute segment televised by ABC News and ABC Nightline in 1997.


Dr. Joseph's Books Have Received Rave Reviews! (See Book Reviews),



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