5 patriarchal myths I bet you believe – part 1

Want to have some fun?


Here’s a quick quiz to see how savvy you are with patriarchal myths re sex and sexuality.  While there are lots of obvious ones, in the next few weeks, I’ll explain 5 that surprised me.


Why?  Because how we think about sex and sexuality conditions us to behave a certain way.  I want to crack that open.


Plus, when you know more than your kids, and more than your kid’s teacher, you’ve got credibility.  That goes a long way towards having open conversations about sex.


Ready?  Let’s go!


True or false:  The egg cell passively accepts whichever sperm reaches it first.

Scroll down…

Answer: false!


Yep.  Scientifically, we know it’s false, but the truth just doesn’t fit our paradigm of masculinity and femininity, which has been defined by…you guessed it…patriarchy.


Many sex-ed classes and science text books portray the egg as a sleeping beauty, passively drifting along, waiting for the swiftest prince to claim her.


Actually, the human egg produces chemicals to attract the sperm.  In both mice and sea urchins, it has been demonstrated that the egg cell chooses which sperm of many to accept.


What if we painted this picture: The egg sings a siren song as she journeys through the fallopian tube.  Sperm near and far are compelled in her direction.  As she meets her suitors, she chooses her favorite and shuns the rest.


That’s quite a different power dynamic, and it’s the truth.


How does it feel to hear that story?  What changes inside you?  Please add your comment below.


Look for myth #2 in your inbox soon!


In support of you,




P.S.  Happy fall!  School has started for many, and parent groups everywhere are planning their events for the year.  I’ve got a bunch of presentations lined up already, and if you’d like me to present for your community, I’d be delighted!  Click here.

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13 Comments. Leave new

  • Really interesting perception to help define ones self…great piece to talk to kids about within the context & concept of gender. Thank you!

  • As a man I find this information furthering my amazement of the potent feminine. So good to see the matriarchal power at work on the cellular level.

  • Never knew that! It does feel different, more empowered.

  • I definitely knew this from my biology studies. I don’t know if I conveyed it as well to my daughter when I taught her about conception. Great job framing it correctly.

  • This is very interesting. I thing I have heard that before but not this clearly. I wonder then why we were taught that the first sperm gets in. Maybe the research didn’t know it yet?

  • So that means then that really the woman determines the sex of her baby then!

  • I’ve heard the whisperings of this story a few times recently. I love your framing of it. Although i recall the story of Ulysses and the Sirens to be one of men mastering themselves over the call of the feminine. But imagine if we allowed ourselves to understand and respect that impulse and nourish and honour it rather than fear and repressing it. Thanks.

  • Love this, Anya!

  • It feels great to think my egg had choice when it chose the sperm that made my son, and encouraging that my mothers egg chose the spent that made me…

  • Matthew J Cahill
    September 18, 2018 5:15 pm

    The way I read this is that the egg secretes a chemical to attract the sperm. This doesn’t mean that the egg selecting one sperm over another or playing any role whatsoever in selection. It’s less of a power dynamic switch but closer to the truth to say that they need each other for a child to be born.

  • Yes! Lets own THIS. Emanate this. Thanks Anya!


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