Towards Gender Partnership with Riane Eisler, Ph.D.

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"In the war of the sexes, both lose." says Riane Eisler. Author of The Chalice and the Blade, a seminal study of early societies based on partnership rather than domination, she continues her keen re-thinking of social reality by focusing here on gender, pleasure and sexuality. The "dominator model" (of men over women) is still strong today, she explains, but "Whatever privilege men have today in a dominator system is like a first-class cabin in a rapidly sinking ship." Eisler describes her vision of a society where "the human yearning for connection" is satisfied without interpersonal violence or sexual oppression, and shows how dysfunctional intimate relationships actually represent political issues that can be challenged and transformed. "It is not only a sexual revolution," she says, "but a revolution in consciousness." (hosted by Michael Toms)


Riane Eisler Ph.D. holds degrees in sociology and law from the UCLA. She is a founding member of the General Evolution Research Group, and a commissioner of the World Commission on Global Consciousness and Spirituality, along with the Dalai Lama and other spiritual leaders. She is also co-founder of the Spiritual Alliance to Stop Intimate Violence, and president of the Center for Partnership Studies.

Her books include:

  • The Chalice and the Blade (Harper & Row 1987)
  • Sacred Pleasure: Sex, Myth, and the Politics of the Body; New Paths to Power and Love (HarperSanFrancisco 1995)
  • The Real Wealth of Nations: Creating a Caring Economics (Berrett-Koehler 2007)

To learn more about the work of Riane Eisler go to or to

Topics Explored in This Dialogue

  • Sexual myths that still affect us today
  • The new story about eggs and sperm
  • The sexual counter-revolution of violence and domination
  • The importance of sex in ancient spiritual imagery
  • Celebration of pleasure as creative spiritual force
  • Why matriarchy is not the only alternative to patriarchy
  • The sacralization of pleasure instead of pain
  • What the term "family values" really means
  • The connection between anorexia and feminism
  • Why our intimate relationships are actually political issues
  • Cupid as a symbol of the "dominator model" of love relations
Host: Michael Toms       Interview Date: 8/1/1995        Program Number: 2537