Zhun/twa men say that women are the chiefs, the rich ones, the wise ones. Because women possess something very important, something that enables men to live: their genitals.

At the end of her narrative in Chapter 12, “Taking Lovers,” Nisa makes this profound statement about the role of women in !Kung society, as well as of the importance of sex. Women, as she says, are elevated to a high position of power by virtue of their sexuality, which both metaphorically and literally rejuvenates the men of the group. In a figurative sense, sex brings life back into a person’s body, so that women can restore a man’s vitality. Sex is also the method of procreation, and women rejuvenate the village by giving birth to new members. This masculine conception of female genitalia also helps to shed some light on the types of insults the !Kung women hurl at each other in Nisa’s narrative (“Death to your genitals!”). The position of prominence that female genitalia occupy in the group’s mind-set explains why cursing a woman’s genitals would be considered particularly insulting.