Alpha males in hominids (human-like primates) generally slaughter any other male's offspring born through females they designate as their own. This usually takes the form of infanticide.
In order to reduce this likelihood, and increase the probability of having a male-partner to help provide for the mother and children, human females HIDE THEIR OVULATION (as opposed to broadcasting it by having brightly-glowing butt cheeks, or other obvious signs ;))
In this way, they prevent potential/current "long-term partners" (beta males) from determining whether or not they were ALREADY PREGNANT when they initially hooked-up, or even if they became pregnant by another SINCE they hooked-up.
Hidden-ovulation also facilitated another method human females may have used to prevented infanticide, (as demonstrated by Bonobo chimps) by mating with every Alpha male within the community, so that none could be confident that children born are not their own (and therefore will not slaughter the newborns). [sources: Sarah Blaffer Hrdy, Frans de waal]
Prior to the last great Ice Age (approx. 10000 years ago) Humans lived in small 'packs' most-likely, similar to wolves' or lions' prides, dominated by a single Alpha male and complemented by subordinated alpha- and beta-males, and many child-bearing and child-rearing females. The Ice Age drove them into warmer climates, and into caves, etc.
After the ice melted, and people again resurfaced, there was likely nothing but barren landscape. However, once the ground had thawed and began sprouting new growth (able to survive the elements in seed-form) primitive man discovered that these perennial plants would grow predictably, and generate seeds, which could be replanted in new and appropriate locations. From this, primitive man was able to establish that if he spent sufficient time tending to, and ensuring the safety of. his plants, he could generate a bountiful livelihood.
Not just that, but if he enlisted others, the progress scaled remarkably, with a half-dozen farmers generating enough food for many dozens of people! This was a radical departure from gatherers & hunters, whose efforts could never be demonstrated to scale positively, at least prior to refrigeration - anything not immediately used would be wasted.
As society progressed through the 'hunters/gatherers' phase of human evolution, and the 'agricultural revolution' began, humans started farming and ranching (raising livestock) - both of which taught them that seeds planted in fertile soil (or sperm implanted in fertile female animals) brought produce - either plenty of food, or livestock which could become food or be used to generate food; or be used as labor. [source: Jared Diamond]
This instilled the notion of 'Property' - things which one has carefully tended (such as farmlands, livestock, and women) are THEIRS, and the product (including CHILDREN) are ALSO theirs.
In order to prevent women from having extra-marital encounters which could result in their bearing a third-party's child, men needed to sequester 'their women' into harems, etc - guarded by men they could trust - generally eunuchs (ie, emasculated men who could not possibly impregnate the females)
But it is hard to get men to 'sign up' to be castrated, to become harem-guardians for another man... Not a popular job! [source: Michael Jackson - no, just kidding ;)]
Besides, like house-cats, ovulating human females feel biological compulsion to get out, and become impregnated - not by a single male, but by any and all appropriate potential fathers nearby. Harem guards are not always effective enough to prevent ones' slipping out for a quickie![source: Matt Ridley]
Finding a male 'sperm donor' is never a challenge for a female, but only when she's in this highly-affected state will she casually drop all pretense of desire to be 'committed' to the donor, or caring about his history, personality, or his concern for her welfare... or even her OWN concern for her welfare. [source: Desmond Morris]
Sperm from rival 'donors' fight it out inside a woman's womb, during their 72 hour lifespan, trying to evade other men's sperm and beat them to the egg. [source: Robin Baker]
Ovulation begins taking place somewhere between 10 and 17 days after the start of a woman's period, normally. During the 5 days or so surrounding it, a woman goes into 'estrus' (aka heat) from two days before she releases an egg to two days after. During this time, her reasoning and decisions regarding mating are [at least partially] overwhelmed by her hormones... and as a consequence, a woman who is truly 'good to go' when in this mode will completely ignore all traditional 'deal breakers' such as a filthy venue, poor general hygiene, or a total lack of contraception!
Terrifying myths which served to reduce men's fears that their children were NOT their own - including the broad-ranging introduction of the notion of an all-powerful, all-knowing being (think Santa Claus ) with the power to 'reward virtue' and 'punish wickedness' - were propagated and socially reinforced, so that active human policing of women could be replaced with religion.
- Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbors Wife applied to the males;
- Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery applied to the females.
Since the violation of these rules implied a terrible penalty in the Afterlife, it was presumed that no reasonable person, raised to believe these things to be unquestionable from childhood, would ever violate them.
It therefore stood to reason that all children born to pair-bonded couples MUST therefore be the offspring of the husband. (riiiight? )
It was ESSENTIAL for men to believe their children were their own, otherwise why should they dedicate so much effort to supporting them and their mothers?
Women KNOW that, as much as it was true that they would not normally violate those rules, occasionally reason and accountability get chucked out the window when their hormones overtake their psyches. Therefore it was ESSENTIAL for women to maintain the facade that they NEVER violated those rules, to ensure that men would never question the value in supporting them and their children. [source: Geoff Miller]
The best way to ensure this popular notion remained in force was to DECRY PUBLICLY any woman who appeared to have sex without first insisting that the male guarantee that he would support her and the kids. Assign her extremely derogatory and insulting, shameful and painful terms like 'harlot' 'slut' 'whore' 'tramp' etc etc etc.
By vilifying any woman who would undercut the going-rate for sex (a lifetime of economic support for the woman and her offspring) women could ensure she would succeed in her biological imperative.... So long as she could maintain the APPEARANCE of not committing adultery.
WOMEN DO NOT TRUST ONE ANOTHER - because they know that they themselves cannot be trusted when it comes to their sexuality - that they WILL betray all the things which they have been taught they must abide if they happen to meet the right type of guy at the right time in their cycle, and they think they can get away with it... even if the guy is their best friend's partner, their own partner's best friend, or whatever.
In order for a woman to exist comfortably - and without having to self-describe internally as a tramp/slut/whore/harlot etc - she will equivocate: Women will lie to themselves, and to others, about their sexual history by finding ways logically to excuse themselves... "He was married, so it didn't count..." "We just had oral sex, so it didn't count..." "I didn't get his last name, so it didn't count..." etc
The very fact that each woman is assigned-from-childhood the responsibility to maintain the myth of 'female chastity' or suffer extreme abuse from the hypocritical masses of other women who will despise them for destroying the economic underpinnings of the Family Unit, breeds chronic-distrust amongst women.
So important to the growth of our society has been this need for men to be kept in the dark about women's true natures that women themselves have always been the counter-force to their own emancipation and liberation.
REMEMBER: Women don't care if MEN call them sluts - but if other WOMEN do, it's traumatic and terrifying.... Just as men don't care if they are rejected by women, it's being SEEN to be rejected that is the real killer.
I hope this all makes sense to you!
Watch the full version of this paradigm.
Or read more about mom's little secret.