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Menopause or MAN-O-Pause?

It turn out that what causes menopause in women is men. Men have a version of it too, but women are usually the ones with the annoying hot flashes. Although couples often have temperature disputes, for females menopause is part of the "third act" of life. Evolutionary geneticist Rama Singh thinks that menopause is actually an unintended outcome of natural selection. She theorizes that, over time, human males have shown a preference for younger women in selecting mates, stacking the Darwinian deck against continued fertility in older women. Singh says, "In a sense it is like aging, but it is different because it is an all-or-nothing process that has been accelerated because of preferential mating."

While conventional thinking has held that menopause prevents older women from continuing to reproduce, the new theory suggests that it is the lack of reproduction that has given rise to menopause, which is believed to be unique to humans, but no one had yet been able to offer a satisfactory explanation for why it occurs.

The "grandmother theory" holds that women have evolved to become infertile after a certain age to allow them to assist with rearing grandchildren, thus improving the survival of kin. Singh says that does not add up from an evolutionary perspective. "How do you evolve infertility? It is contrary to the whole notion of natural selection. Natural selection selects for fertility, for reproduction -not for stopping it," he says.

The new theory holds that, over time, competition among men of all ages for younger mates has left older females with much less chance of reproducing. The forces of natural selection, Singh says, are concerned only with the survival of the species through individual fitness, so they protect fertility in women while they are most likely to reproduce. After that period, natural selection ceases to quell the genetic mutations that ultimately bring on menopause, leaving women not only infertile, but also vulnerable to a host of health problems. "This theory says that natural selection doesn't have to do anything,” Singh says. "If women were reproducing all along, and there were no preference against older women, women would be reproducing like men are for their whole lives." The development of menopause, then, was not a change that improved the survival of the species, but one that merely recognized that fertility did not serve any ongoing purpose beyond a certain age.

Singh points out that if women had historically been the ones to select younger mates, the situation would have been reversed, with men losing fertility.
Historians of witchcraft have suggested that older, infertile women were exiled into the forests during times of famine, where they learned to use herbs and roots as medicines, then traded them to villagers for food. Ironically, most of the old formulas involve aphrodisiacs, especially those designed to induce male desire.

Essential oils are also a time-honored treatment for menopause.

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Does anyone else have a sensation of fingernails scraping a blackboard while reading this article, or of something equally brain-grating?

The following are a few of my reactions.

1) We know now that there's a limit to the number of people this earth can sustain, so unchecked fertility is not in our species' best interest.

2) What if the evolution of our species includes not just an imperative for biological reproduction, but also an imperative for the expansion of individual and collective consciousness? Isn't that what most of us here at unknowncountry are working toward -- freeing ourselves from the traps of all sorts of programming, including climbing beyond our genetic scaffolds? And what if menopause is part of the evolutionary design for women to have a break from bearing and nurturing children so that we can continue to develop and contribute our many other skills to humanity in the way that most men do all their lives?

3) Some wise folks have theorized that older, infertile women were exiled to the forests as witches because their wisdom and independence threatened the militaristic, patriarchal, violence-laden paradigm that dominated much of human history and beyond which many of us still yearn for humanity to evolve.

4) Not all men want younger, fertile women. Many wonderful men appreciate the wisdom, talents, and experience of women whose energy is no longer (or never has been) focused on childbearing or child rearing; and these men also want to share great sex without getting their female partners pregnant. There is a great cost also to men (those who are conscious and responsible) for being fertile all their lives

5) Healthy sex for humans is about so much more than reproduction! In addition to the potential physical and emotional benefits, it's a potent spiritual gateway for exploring inter-dimensional soul travel.

6) And expanding on that, perhaps the evolution of the species also benefits from the collective sexual ecstasy that sexually active women in menopause can finally experience when we're not worried about getting pregnant! I'm nearly 60, I haven't worried about getting pregnant for about 12 years, and quite frankly I'm having the best time of my life, and learning so much more about consciousness!

If you just look at the world at large, and how powerful men often like flaunting it (including that sweet young thing on his arm), then this rings true. While there are powerful, intelligent, attractive, alluring women of all ages, younger women DO have the edge, at least in Western society. And when an older, powerful woman sports a younger man on her arm, she is usually in extremely good shape and looks younger than she is chronologically.

While human sexuality can be a "potent spiritual gateway" as suggested, what percentage of actual men and women in the world experience and pursue their sexuality in this way?

One thing that this article does not mention is that for thousands of years, women more often than not never made it to 40 years old, let alone menopause. It also does not mention the proliferation and use of 'male enchancing' drugs either over the last 20-plus years. The fact that most insurance companies will pay for a man's Viagra, but not his daughter's birth control pills speaks volumes. Health care reform is attempting to rectify this, but with LOTS of resistance.

Both sexes are locked into stereotypes, and it isn't good for men or women. We all need the freedom to be who and what we are, and that includes our sexuality at whatever age. It should also include freedom to age without the stigma imposed by our youth oriented culture. Looking one's best should never be about how old or young we appear, but about projecting the best in ourselves, and what we bring to the table as self-actualized human beings on the road to enlightement. Truthfully, we have a long way to go.

"Historians of witchcraft have suggested that older, infertile women were exiled into the forests during times of famine,"

Why? How could the opportunity to produce more children alleviate hunger?
Cannibalistic infanticide?

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