Begging For It

B

This was originally read out during the AVFM radio segment, The Value of Male Sexuality, and published here.

I’m reproducing it on Genderratic with an addendum in the first comment. The addendum is a reply to a O/T discussion between myself and a commentator on another thread.

Quick. What’s the usual script we have playing in the back of our minds regarding hookup culture? You know, that awful symptom of the cultural degradation of women by men exploiting female sexuality for a cheap thrill?

It probably goes something like this.

Woman: “I’m a precious flower of womanhood who just happens to be hanging out in a bar in a bikini top completely by accident; I just floated in on the breeze.”

Man: “Hark, precious flower of womanhood, let me crush your innocent and beautiful spirit with my filthy sexual arsenal! Ka-POW!”

Woman: “Oh, I am despoiled! Truly hookup culture is an exploitation of me and my pure-as-the-driven-snow sisters!”

We have this attitude toward hookup culture because we are convinced that male sexuality has no value. Not even no value, we think male sexuality has negative value.

Men sow their seed hither and yon; women guard their vaginas like Fort Knox.

But is this true?

Let’s think about it logically. With each act of sex a male ejaculates semen into the female. This is an investment of physical resources that takes time for the male to replenish. So male animals are limited in how often they can have reproductively viable sex. Female animals, on the other hand, are not. The sex act has zero cost to them.

Now, the reason this obvious truth is invisible to us is because we lump in the cost of carrying young with the cost of sex. Yes, carrying young is high female investment but the sex act itself is higher male investment.

For humans who are often trying to avoid the hassle of pregnancy, this makes some sense. For female animals, it makes no sense. The whole purpose for a female animal, in going into heat, is to get pregnant. Because that’s her instinctive imperative, the hassle of pregnancy is irrelevant to her cost of sex.

In fact, for female mammals, the real risk is investing resources in sub-par offspring. Because of this it’s in their best interest to have sex with as many males in as short a time as possible. Multiple male partners improve both her chance of conception and the quality of the conception via sperm competition. This is why the majority of female mammals are polyandrous—they mate with multiple males.

It is not, however, in the best interest of the male animal to mate with as many females as possible.

Why? Because, quite simply, his sperm is in limited supply. He wants to prioritize delivery of sperm to a.) high quality females and b.) less mated females.

Our ‘common knowledge’ about so-called male promiscuity is better termed common stupidity.

Further, the relative costs of sex and the priorities of both males and females explain why a male mammal might evolve to pair bond.

A pair-bonding male has maximized his access to a less mated female. He does trade off in terms of access to a higher quality female than himself—higher quality in terms of status and fertility—but he is less likely to obtain this higher quality female and, overall, he’s better off as a pair bonder then a promiscuous breeder.

What’s less understandable is why a female animal would evolve to seek a pair-bond. She gains nothing at all from restricting her sexual choices.

To see why a female mammal might pair bond let’s take a closer look at human sexuality. Human males are unique in the animal kingdom in that they retain an interest in sex throughout the female’s cycle.

Some biologists conjecture that the human mating pattern—retaining an interest in sex outside of fertile times—is a way for pair-bonding to become more attractive to the male.

But what if it’s the reverse? What if male human sexuality is designed this way to keep sexually carnivorous females interested in just one male?

Human women are rather poor breeders over all. It takes a lot of ‘tries’ for a woman to get pregnant. Compare this to female animals that have one day of receptivity and most of them are pregnant by the end of that day.

What’s happening with women is that they are conceiving, nearly every month, but the conception is usually flushed out due to chromosomal errors. Estimates put the number of blighted ovum at 80% of all conceptions.

This may be due to a lack of sperm competition; instead of filtering out the bad through sperm competition, the bad is transferred to conception resulting in a high rate of malformed zygotes.

But why would this wasteful system have developed in the first place?

Well, for starters it requires human women to secure access to sperm at least once a month twelve to eight times a year to achieve one viable conception. At that point developing an ongoing relationship with someone who can provide her access to sex is looking pretty damn attractive to our female hominid ancestor.

And then we add in the fact that human males are so goddamn finicky. When our female hominid ancestor finds one that’s actually responsive to her—remember, we didn’t evolve with porn, Viagra or tremendous social shaming to create artificially inflated male sexual receptivity—she’s likely inclined to keep a tight hold because of the scarceness of the sexual resource he’s providing her. Which she’s suddenly evolved to need a lot of over an extended period of time to get pregnant.

Bada-bing-bada-boom. Pair bonded female.

However that pair bonded human female probably still has urges to get her monkey on.

Ironically when we look at hookup culture through the lens of human sexuality – which female mammals actually have, as opposed to the absurdly idealized Common Stupidity that fantasizes that only men do — it becomes quickly apparent that it’s HOG HEAVEN for a woman’s inner-ape.

Hook up culture gives the chimp-within every woman the impression she has unlimited access to sperm from males who are higher status and higher fertility then herself.

By contrast a male mammal preferentially wants to breed with a). higher status females and b.) less mated females, to get the best bang for his genetic buck.

Remember that stereotypical hook up scenario presented in the beginning? The predatory male inflicting his horrible sexuality on the pure and virtuous female? In the average hook up culture scenario reality is the exact opposite.

Women are exercising their animalistic desires while men are suppressing theirs.

Let’s strip away the Common Stupidity and listen in on the reality of the hook up scenario.

Woman: Hi, I stink of numerous other men’s intimate attention and I’m about half as attractive as you. Shall we go through a social dance in which you pretend that you’re getting something worth having from me?

Man: My natural instincts tell me to hold on to my sexual resources for high status, unmated females, but you’re granting me access to the one thing I’ve been trained all my life to respond to like a performing monkey. Do you mind if a part of me weeps silently while we have sex?

Woman: Whatever. As long as I get my ape on, I couldn’t care less.

 

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Alison Tieman

Artist/Writer at Xenospora
Alison has been researching men's issues since her mother gave her "Princess at the Window" by Donna Laframboise in 1994 when she was 16. She's taken part in men's rights communities since she started posting on soc.men in 2003. Since 2011 she's run the gender apostate blog Genderratic with her pal Gingko the wonder leaf and she founded Honey Badger Brigade in 2013 with Hannah Wallen and Karen Straughan. According to Vice the pony she most resembles is Fluttershy.
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<span class="dsq-postid" data-dsqidentifier="2914 http://www.genderratic.com/?p=1840">156 comments</span>

  • @ zsulik

    “The pussy is the “carrot””

    Yes, pussy is the ‘carrot’ in our society but that doesn’t mean that ‘pussy-begging’ is evolved behaviour.

    Let’s assume that humans are promiscuous breeders (we’re not, actually, we’re socially monogamous with a fairly high rate of genetic monogamy. This is a widely accepted fact in biology.)

    Promiscuous breeders exist in a certain context, therefor the instincts of promiscuous breeders evolve to reflect those contexts.
    The first important aspect of the context is that in all promiscuous breeding systems _the female does not need male assistance to take care of her young_.

    The second is that in promiscuous breeding systems (in the wild, domesticated animals are different), the females only have a brief window of fertility and they are often all in that window at the same time.

    The third is that due to the brief window of fertility, a male animal only has so many effective ejaculations before he’s ‘out’ and can no longer effectively breed. In other words a male animal can breed a limited number of times during the limited window of female fertility.

    The fourth is that a female animal’s main risk during breeding season is investing all of her resources in sub par offspring. The only way to minimize this risk is to have sex with as many males as feasible to maximize her sperm competition. Yes she prefers to have sex with the best males, but since she loses nothing from having sex with mr. alpha, then going on down the line to mr. omega–and in fact gains quite a bit from increased sperm competition–she will attempt to do so.

    Promiscuous breeders will have evolved to instincts to accomodate all of these contextual limitations in a promiscuous breeding system.
    Males have limited numbers of effective ejaculations(say 3-4); females have no effective limit on the times they can have sex and only gain more sperm competition from each sex act.

    That means that a male promiscuous breeder will instinctually know his semen is a limited resource and prioritize giving it to females who are a. higher status and be. less mated.

    A female animal loses nothing from mating with as many males as possible, therefore she is going to be less choosy then the male who does potentially lose out if he wastes his few shots on a poor choice.

    Let’s imagine a game in which women are carrying poles and men are throwing rings. Each man gets four rings. Each woman gets one pole.
    The woman with the most number of rings on her pole wins. The man who manages to have one of his rings be the only one on a woman’s pole wins.

    How are the men and the women going to act? The men are going to be very choosy and the women are going to beg their asses off. (Now this analogy is simplified and doesn’t include the effects of status.)

    That’s what a promiscuous breeding _should_ look like. Males somewhat more choosy then females in order to preserve their scarce resource for their best options; females trying to suck up every available sperm.

    But that’s not what hook up culture looks like. It does not look like what it should if it reflected the instincts of actual promiscuous breeders.

    It resembles some frankenstinian monstrosity that has to be purely social in origin.

    Promiscuous male animals do not _want_ to have sex with a. more mated or b. lower status females. There would be an instinctual aversion against it.

    Yet that’s _exactly what happens in hook up culture_. Male humans are having sex with females who are noticeably less attractive then them and who are obviously having sex with lots of other men besides. These women should be sexually repulsive to men on an instinctual level because these females are exactly what a promiscuous male animal _does not want to breed with unless he has absolutely no other choice_.

    But they’re not.

    The only time we see individuals going against their sexual instincts to have sex with people they should find repulsive is when something else is being exchanged in the process.

    In the case of male humans in pick up culture that ‘something else’ is social approval. They are swallowing (assuming humans have a vestigial promiscuous instinct) their sexual instincts in favour of their instinct to cultivate social approval.

    In fact the most common hook up scenario is ‘more attractive man with less attractive woman’; the man is prostituting his sexuality out for the social approval he’s been taught he needs to get from her.

    When you include the effects of status in a promiscuous breeding system, it gets even worse. These presumptive ‘alpha males’ are acting like omega males desperate to get whatever they can. One blogger recently detailed his exploits having sex with a woman so repulsive to him that he acted like a rape victim the next day. The only behaviour this models is the behaviour of promiscuous male animals at the very bottom of the hierarchy; males who can’t afford to be choosy at all.

    Strangely our society seems to think that, in terms of social status, all men are equivalent to the alphas on top and in terms of sexual status all men are equivalent to the most bedraggled omega male in a promiscuous breeding system, motivated by ‘pussy’ because he simply can’t get anything better then access.

    When you see attractive men with less attractive women isn’t because of pussy begging; it’s because of approval begging.

  • Except that this whole argument -which is probably the most implausible argument I have ever seen you make, Typhon – totally ignores the entire male female sexual ranking system. You know the “1 through 10” scale. It ignores the fact that men can actually LOSE STATUS among men by having a girlfriend who isn’t “hot enough” for him.
    Did you see all the comments about Zuckerbergs wife on various men’s sites?

    How do you explain the 1 to 10 scale?

  • Not that I hope to change your mind or even get you to modify your ideas. I’ve never seen you do so, no matter how much or well-reasoned the criticism.

    I think you are right about human males and females being less promiscious/more monagamous than often is thought, but I think you often ignore the fact it isn’t an either/or situation, rely too much on the behavior of other animals , downplay the differences among the sexes, and believe your explanations as to how/why are the only ones when there are others for some of your observations.

  • ” It ignores the fact that men can actually LOSE STATUS among men by having a girlfriend who isn’t “hot enough” for him.”

    You mean pair-bonding? Best not to mix up the two systems here. I’m talking about _hook up_ culture.

    Most people pair bond with someone of equivalent attractiveness, yeah.

  • @ Clarence

    ” I think you often ignore the fact it isn’t an either/or situation”

    It sorta _is_ an either/or situation. There are no animals that are both promiscuous breeders *and* pair bonders. Even cuckolding is only possible within a pair-bonding system.

    “Rely too much on the behavior of other animals”

    Is this different then other evo-psych explanations? ‘Alpha male’ and ‘beta male’ are based on the behaviour of wolves in wolf packs. (Captive wolf packs no less.)

    Further it’s fairly common to use other animals to model our own behaviour. It happens a lot in biology.

    “downplay the differences among the sexes”

    How did this downplay the differences between the sexes? I just pointed out a huge difference in male/female sexual behaviour!

    “when there are others for some of your observations”

    Feel free to introduce them into the conversation.

  • The radio broadcast was so very good. I think it’s incredibly poignant to go back to the game theory of promiscuous vs pair bonding mating strategies and the fact that both are intended to result in pregnancies. Too many modern “theories” rely on sex without consequence to prescribe a behavior to men and women and they try to rationalize it as if that’s what we have evolved to do (no – what we have evolved to do is to have babies so unless you account for that, your theory fails).

    John The Other’s commentary about the graphics designer really resonated with me. I’m extremely bothered by my friends who walk down the street with their tongues hanging out of their mouths, paying tribute to non-reciprocating women who scoff at them or look the other way. It’s a sort of false bravado, an overt mental gymnastic designed to desensitize one’s own survival instinct when you know you’re about to do something risky. The caller who offered a cross-cultural perspective on this was spot on. There’s beautiful women everywhere but in some countries, the atmosphere is just so much more collegiate, there is so much less misandry in the air, and men learn very quickly that they don’t need to desensitize their survival instinct just to talk to a woman. You realize this after walking down the street for 15 minutes in a foreign country where woman after woman make eye contact and smile as they pass you, acknowledging that you actually exist. Remember when black men in America would get lynched for looking at white women? Well, now you know everything you need to know about Schrodinger’s Rapist.

  • @ dungone

    “I’m extremely bothered by my friends who walk down the street with their tongues hanging out of their mouths, paying tribute to non-reciprocating women who scoff at them or look the other way.”

    Sad.

    “Remember when black men in America would get lynched for looking at white women?”

    There is a long history of men being persecuted for their sexuality in Christian cultures.

  • Wow Typhonblue, this was an excellent post.

    You’ve managed to articulate ideas that I’ve long held subconsciously.

    Men naturally tend to have a preference against promiscuous females (for the reasons you’ve mentioned and more). However I feel current western culture tries very hard to program this out of us for whatever reason. Men are expected not to be choosy when it comes to female sexual partners.

    I especially liked you pointing out the concept of “artificially inflated male sexual receptivity”. Growing up I observed that even before puberty young males were trained to have an inflated sexuality, where as young girls were trained to down play their sexuality as much as possible.

    I suppose this is to maintain the sexual power disparity between the sexes that wouldn’t naturally exist. Normally this would correct itself like an overpriced item, however the system is somewhat self-sustaining. Men on the whole can’t really afford to be choosy because women hold the high ground, a monopoly on the sexual resource. Which is probably why I’m sure many relationships don’t work out because men have reluctantly settled for a female that will offer them sexual release but not much else; also reinforcing a lesser quality of woman.

    Men are trained to be sexual beggars from childhood; some call it the Dating Game.

  • “I’m extremely bothered by my friends who walk down the street with their tongues hanging out of their mouths, paying tribute to non-reciprocating women who scoff at them or look the other way.”

    It always bugged me, like when I saw a girl that caught my attention, and suddenly a friend of mine next to me is like “hey check out that girl, she’s pretty fine.” I always felt like I had suddenly become only 50% of the person I was right before he said that. It’s weird how these guys don’t see what they’re doing to themselves.

  • I didn’t understand the post at all. It seems to be written for young people. Am I supposed to know what “hook-up culture” consists of? I’ve been ‘pair-bonded’ for 25 years now, so I’m sorry, I haven’t a clue.

    (sigh)

    The online age-divide is getting worse and worse, but I guess that’s another topic.

  • Interesting stuff Typhon. Don’t you think that birth control has had a major impact on this? The risk of multiple couplings for females has dropped like a rock. 100 years ago things were likely much different. I also wonder about your assessment of the availability of sperm for men. I remember as a very young man having a much more robust “sperm availability.” 😉 The other factor that may be involved lately is the government as “default father.” This also reduces risk of multiple couplings for women since they will be protected and have their essential needs furnished while the govt holds males accountable and tracks them down on milk cartons. Yet another example of the denigration of male sexuality.

  • Typhonblue:

    No, I don’t mean “pair bonding”, only.
    Trust me as a guy who was in many a men’s locker room, the “1 to 10” system operates even on the level of one night stands.
    Do you have a “hot” lay? Do you have a “hot” girlfriend? Do you have a “hot” wife? The system works at all these levels and I think you will have to deal with it, if this theory of yours is going to be workable. And yes, while you can get a pass for being drunk or “any port in a storm” (notice you need an excuse like alcohol or months/years without), a man who consistently only beds women considered low on the scale will be shamed, even if they are just one night stands.

    I think there’s total truth to the fact that men are more visual in terms of sexual attraction than women.

  • Typhonblue:

    It sorta _is_ an either/or situation. There are no animals that are both promiscuous breeders *and* pair bonders. Even cuckolding is only possible within a pair-bonding system.

    Humans aren’t like other animals, as any launch of a spacecraft should tell you. We are probably the only animal that has evolved enough intelligence to be able to affect its own evolution. It’s hard enough -and suspicious enough of an enterprise – to infer universal human behaviors from our closest primate relatives, let alone wolves, voles or things of that nature. In short, I don’t think your arguments from nature are in any way conclusive at this time, esp. since no primate or other animal perfectly models human group behaviors. Mind you, I’m not saying we share nothing in common with other animals I’m merely saying that we don’t know precisely just what and how much and that any model of human group behavior (if it’s possible at all) in terms of other species will, in my opinion, probably have to be a mix.

    “downplay the differences among the sexes”

    How did this downplay the differences between the sexes? I just pointed out a huge difference in male/female sexual behaviour!

    I was speaking of your general tendency in your writing.
    As to this post, you seem to want to reverse the observed behavior of the two sexes. It’s sort of like , dang, wolves are like THIS therefore humans must be like THIS and any observed behavior to the contrary MUST be socialization, even though its a universal among all known cultures.

    In most of your other posts I can at least recognize the feelings and thoughts and experiences of being a man under your hypothetical construct. Not so in THIS case. It totally goes against literally everything I have experienced and thought, to the point where I doubt even the best societal brainwashing suffices as an explanation.

  • Re: Promiscuous females
    1. Most men (as a rule of course there are exceptions) do care about the “number”.
    2. Women with high numbers (lets say for sake of clarity anything over ten by age 25,) are generally considered suitable for short term mating, not long term. In other words, “sluts” are fun, and you might befriend one or protect one, but you aren’t going to (in general!) marry one.
    3. Women with low numbers are often valued as mates.
    4. As shown by preliminary data I linked to on feminist critics via two statistical studies, both males and females with high levels of promiscuity seem to have trouble staying in LTR, thus making them bad bets for marriage. There was also a significantly statistical difference between highly promiscuous males and females: the ability to pair bond (stay in a marriage without divorce) seemed impaired more in the highly promiscuous females than in the males, thus providing at least some preliminary hint as to where the infamous “double standard” came from, as well as a potential justification for it.

  • What we agree on in this post:

    First:
    Woman: “I’m a precious flower of womanhood who just happens to be hanging out in a bar in a bikini top completely by accident; I just floated in on the breeze.”

    Man: “Hark, precious flower of womanhood, let me crush your innocent and beautiful spirit with my filthy sexual arsenal! Ka-POW!”

    Woman: “Oh, I am despoiled! Truly hookup culture is an exploitation of me and my pure-as-the-driven-snow sisters!”

    This is funny.
    Second:
    Most cultures are negative about one of the two binary sexes sexuality. While some control is necessary over sex – esp in small communities without infrastructure or the “state of the wild” – people in power have long loved the power this control gives them.

    Third:
    “Human males are unique in the animal kingdom in that they retain an interest in sex …”

    Why yes, but then you do your usual and gloss over our extremely long childhoods, the year round ability to conceive that human females have, and etc to claim that we are just like other animals when it comes to all this stuff.

    The last two paragraphs and last sentence of this article of yours seem to resemble male thought – on the planet Ork or someplace other than Earth. Seriously, for a short term romp in the hay if she’s decent looking and without disease – there is no way in hell I’m “crying” inside, lol.

  • Dark,
    “Men on the whole can’t really afford to be choosy because women hold the high ground, a monopoly on the sexual resource. ”

    Thus the real importance of the marriage strike, the MGTOW movement. In fact a little “gay for a day” can really turn a situation around too.

    OO
    “It always bugged me, like when I saw a girl that caught my attention, and suddenly a friend of mine next to me is like “hey check out that girl, she’s pretty fine.” I always felt like I had suddenly become only 50% of the person I was right before he said that. It’s weird how these guys don’t see what they’re doing to themselves.”

    Loose lips sink ships. Just take my negotiating position and trash it, buddy.

  • @ Clarence

    I think you misunderstand the thrust of the entire piece.

    I’m assuming that human beings have some sort of vestigial promiscuous instinct… an assumption I’m not even sure is true as we are pair-bonders.

    But if we do have a vestigial promiscuous instinct it’s going to have _evolved_ when we reproduced in a promiscuous mating system. Since promiscuous mating systems have universal features including the one of our nearest relative which is the surest bet to model _our_ proposed vestigial promiscuous instinct, males in a promiscuous mating system will have evolved certain instincts related to maximizing their success in a promiscuous mating system.
    When the male of this species:

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071129100050.htm

    Is acting in a choosy manner, he’s acting on instinct. If we’re going to propose a ‘vestigial promiscuous instinct’ for humans and decide to set aside the fact that they are pair bonders, then that ‘vestigial promiscuous instinct’ is going to resemble the behaviour of animals in actual promiscuous mating systems (including that of our closest relative.)

    Even if those instincts don’t make sense in the context of an environment that’s at most 100 years old (more like 50), these instincts will still persist despite that fact.

    And these instincts for male promiscuous breeders are: female fertile periods are short, I have a limited number of ejaculations, I have to keep these limited number of ejaculations for a. higher status and b. less mated females (unless I’m on the bottom rung of the hierarchy and just get whatever I can.)

    That means that in ‘hook up culture’ the behaviour of the average human male–having sex with a less attractive female that he knows is having sex with lots of other males–goes against our proposed vestigial promiscuous instincts. In hook up culture a male human is not acting like the ‘ideal’ promiscuous male animal.

    “I think there’s total truth to the fact that men are more visual in terms of sexual attraction than women.”

    The desired outcome isn’t what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the _actual_ outcome. Hook up smart has identified the dynamic. The majority of one night stands are of the dyad more attractive man- less attractive woman.

    “on the planet Ork or someplace other than Earth”

    It’s the thought patterns of a male animal in a promiscuous mating system. Having sex with a less attractive female(or lower status) who is multiply mated is against his instincts and he’ll only do it _if he knows he has absolutely no other choice._ If he had any status in the group at all, he’d refuse her and wait for a better offer.

    Since the average hook up scenario is precisely _that_, if we took out a human male and inserted the mindset of an actual promiscuous male, those would likely be his thoughts. Depression and resignation: ‘I’m an omega, I take what sex I can get.’

    Our society, assuming human males _do_ have vestigial promiscuous instincts, compels men–even high profile pick up artists have spoken about having sex with women who disgust them, so them too–to act like they are omega males in a promiscuous mating system. ‘I’ll mate with a female that is less attractive and multiply mated because I don’t feel like I can do better.’

    At the moment the current evo psych explanations for human male behaviour reference animal behaviour that does not even exist in the wild. If we’re going to look to animals to ‘say’ something about human sexual behaviour, then let’s look at the behaviour of actual animals.

    “I was speaking of your general tendency in your writing.”

    You’re going to have to get more specific. Each time I’ve used an animal model I’ve linked to researchers who have done the same.

    I may be extrapolating from _their_ research but I do have cites for the use of these particular animal models to model our own behaviour.

    Vole pair bonding modelling our pair bonding (and some species of birds are used as well.) An experiment that found parallels in pair bonding behaviour between voles and humans when looking at a gene that both share.

    Wolves used to model the behaviour of our hominid ancestors in terms of dispersion without speciation.

    The other pop evo psych I’ve seen doesn’t even attempt to relate their observations to the reality of any other species or mating system. They just relate it to some sort of mish mash of ‘just so’… ‘well if we assume infinitely fertile females with an infinite supply of sperm and a promiscuous breeding female that wants to avoid getting pregnant with sub-par offspring and sperm competition is irrelevant this explains why men will hump anything and women are picky’ This context resembles nothing in nature.

    It’d be like me saying ‘well if we assume an infinite supply of sugar, fat and salt in nature we can see that obesity evolved to prevent humans with poor self control from reproducing.’

  • @ Hackberry

    I’m not really talking about the behaviour of humans beings in our social setting, but promiscuous animals in a promiscuous breeding system.

    In that system sperm is in limited supply due to the short breeding window therefor males are more picky and females lose nothing from being multiply mated due to sperm competition(except that they’ll be refused by the best males unless they trick them. Which they do.)

    “I also wonder about your assessment of the availability of sperm for men.”

    Even a chimp with balls two or four times the size of a human male has about 3-4 copulations before he’s out. By comparison a female chimp has infinite potential to copulate and only gains more sperm competition from each one.

  • That means that in ‘hook up culture’ the behaviour of the average human male–having sex with a less attractive female that he knows is having sex with lots of other males–goes against our proposed vestigial promiscuous instincts. In hook up culture a male human is not acting like the ‘ideal’ promiscuous male animal.

    If we were to take an economical perspective, we’d say that his behavior is optimized for the current environment. It does not require evolution to bring about his behavior and it’s really hard to justify it as such. Especially when it involves worsened reproductive chances, poorer quality offspring, suffering from STD’s and numerous mental health issues, and otherwise harming the long term viability of their genetic code. It’s really important to address the conditions that have to be met in order for promiscuous behavior to be evolutionary advantageous before we say that it is. If it doesn’t result in high quality offspring then it’s not evolutionarily advantageous. Period. (Really great arguments, Typhon).

  • @ dungone

    “Really great arguments, Typhon”

    Thanks. Sometimes I get the feeling like no one understands them.

    With other evo psych theories on human sexuality they look at the behaviour of humans in a context that has only existed for at most two generations and invent ‘just so’ stories to explain that behaviour without any reference to anything that exists or could exist in nature. And then they use that as proof the behaviour is evolved thus ‘instinctive’ and not socialized.

    But because they haven’t connected the behaviour back to the actual context in which promiscuous breeders evolve, it doesn’t really prove a thing. It’s exactly like me asserting:

    ‘If we assume an infinite supply of sugar, fat and salt in nature we can see that obesity evolved to prevent humans with poor self control from reproducing.’

    I’m trying to approach it from a different angle. Instead of inventing ‘just so’ stories to explain human behaviour without reference to the actual context in which certain instincts would evolve, I’m starting with the context and working forward to see if it resembles the behaviour of humans. If it doesn’t then it’s not an evolved behaviour.

    Promiscuous breeding systems have _this_ context, how would instincts in promiscuous breeders have evolved to create success in that context?

    Now, how well does the behaviour of promiscuous males and females in a promiscuous mating system compare to the behaviour of human males and females in a hook up culture?

    Human males: How do evolved promiscuous instincts and male behaviour in hook up culture match up? The match up is not good. Men in a hook up culture are acting in a very odd way when you compare them to promiscuous males in a promiscuous mating system. They’re not prioritizing what they should therefor it’s unlikely they’re working off the instincts evolved in a promiscuous mating system. Their behaviour _does_ resemble that of the lowest category of males in a promiscuous mating system however.

    Human females: How does the evolved behaviour of promiscuous females match up with the behaviour of women in hook up culture? The match up is actually *too* good. Human females are behaving exactly like promiscuous female animals would… but they’re behaving exactly like promiscuous females would in a context set up to cater precisely to the desires of promiscuous females! Human females are getting out of hook up culture exactly what a promiscuous female would want in her ideal situation. Namely access to higher quality sperm then she would otherwise have access too (more attractive males) and as much of it as she can physically harvest.

    Hook up culture is optimized to serve a promiscuous female animal’s instincts!

    And it’s optimized for her instincts because somehow most men are behaving not like they naturally would if they were promiscuous males–which would involve a range of status–but like they all occupy the lowest status position in a promiscuous mating system. The omega male who can’t afford to follow his instinctive preferences.

    Hook up culture is optimized to serve promiscuous female instincts because human men are all acting like the omega males in a promiscuous mating system. Even the self-styled ‘alphas.’

  • (cont’d)

    What does it mean for something to be optimized for the current environment? For men, we have to operate within an extremely misandrist system. We are constantly pushed into mating situations with lower quality women or cut off from mating altogether but forced to pay for the mating opportunities of others. It strikes me as odd that almost every single situation where I have seen men “sharing” a single well-mated woman was filled with guys who were under incredible amounts of stress and oppression. A good example of this is the “Snow White” scene in the Russian war movie, The 9th Company. I’ve seen that kind of stuff happen in real life, in the military and outside of it as well. If you want to see something truly depressing, go to a geeky event such as a college Anime club and notice how there will usually be 1 or 2 girls who had mated with every single guy who goes there and 99% of these guys would be virgins if not for that 1 girl. And the girls… well in Iraq we used to call those kinds of women “desert queens” for good reason.

  • “Even the self-styled ‘alphas.’

    Whereas actual alphas do not tolerate the competiton, or a system that allows it, that is the basis of the hook-up culture. In fact their aplha status is predicated not only on exclusive access, but exclusive access to a number fo females, called a harem.

  • @ Ginkgo

    Well I’m talking about a promiscuous breeding system. But, yeah, the ideal situation for males in a promiscuous breeding system is exclusive access to females of higher quality then himself. However this never exists in a promiscuous mating system, nor does the reverse ideal situation for promiscuous females in which _she_ has first dibs on males of higher quality then herself and can mate with as many as she wants.

    I suppose the ‘ideal mating system’ is the carrot that the monetary system promises for some men. Whereas women, of course, get it for free by participating in hook up culture.

    I think in reality most men work to be eligible to exercise their monogamous instincts.

  • Typhon:

    “I’m trying to approach it from a different angle. Instead of inventing ‘just so’ stories to explain human behaviour without reference to the actual context in which certain instincts would evolve, I’m starting with the context and working forward to see if it resembles the behaviour of humans. If it doesn’t then it’s not an evolved behaviour.”

    You are merely starting at the other end and telling your own just-so stories, and what is worse is that you look at a paucity of evidence for your theories in observed male behavior as if it proves your theories! That’s circular and backwards, and makes you no better than the “evo psych” theories you decry. Indeed worse, for they at least have some data to test up and back up some of their claims. You may argue all they do is produce convenient stories to explain the data, but at least they have data to test. You don’t even have that, just a reification of non-human ethology, which I think is misplaced at least in part because you haven’t actually tied it into human behavior. In other words, find a society of promiscuous humans and compare it to the “hook up ” culture and then I think you might be able to talk.

    As far as it goes, I’m hardly some defender of all ev-psych or “sexual market theory” explanations, and I’ve long felt they were incomplete in parts and inaccurate in others, but I don’t think the evidence we have supports throwing them out in-toto, and it certainly doesn’t invalidate the science of evolutionary psychology as a study.

  • Gingko:
    I’ll repeat this for the benefit of those here:
    Alpha: Leader of Men , sexual object of desire for women
    alpha: sexual object of desire for women
    alpha: leader of men

    Now this isn’t how “Alpha” is used in a wolf-pack, nor is it necessarily how its used in any given PUA forum (some reify the alpha as the man who gets the most women with the least effort) but these three usages are all useful at one point or another in describing leadership in male hierarchies. Some men hold not much power, but can “charm the pants” off many ladies, Some hold tons of power but repulse most women, and some lucky bastards have the best of both worlds. Speaking as a heterosexual male, of course.

  • @ Clarence

    “You are merely starting at the other end and telling your own just-so stories”

    I am observing the behaviour of males and females in actual promiscuous mating systems. All of which share certain constraints.

    I’m comparing that behaviour to the behaviour of males and females in hook up culture.

    I’m finding that they don’t match up, indicating strongly that the behaviour did not evolve in a promiscuous mating system.

    ” Indeed worse, for they at least have some data to test up and back up some of their claims.”

    What data? They are claiming that the behaviour of men and women in our society evolved but they aren’t referencing a believable context in which those behaviours could have evolved.

    The POP evo psych stories I decry all have the same quality. They take some aspect of human behaviour (usually one that isn’t even universal across most cultures. Hook up culture isn’t, in fact arranged marriages are more common then a social free for all) and they make up a context in which it could have evolved that often has nothing to do with any context that actually exists in nature.

    There is no context in which females are infinitely fertile, sperm production regenerates instantly and sperm competition isn’t a factor in female choice. All of these things are required to come to the conclusion that females have evolved to be more choosy then males.

    I’m not against evo psych. I’m against this kind of reasoning.

    Again, it’s identical to me saying:

    ‘If we assume an infinite supply of sugar, fat and salt in nature we can see that obesity evolved to prevent humans with poor self control from reproducing.’

  • @ Clarence

    “Now this isn’t how “Alpha” is used in a wolf-pack”

    Damn right. Because ‘alpha’ isn’t used to describe wolf behaviour simply because it’s been replaced by the more accurate term ‘father’ or ‘breeding male.’

    In wolf packs the ‘alpha’ is the male who has fathered most of the other wolves. He’s dominant to them because he’s their father.

  • I should also mention that many evo psych and other papers examing human dating/mating make use of game theory and other branches of mathematics, and that there is a whole area of mathematical biology that deals with fitness peaks and other aspects of evolution and evolutionarily adaptive behavior. I’m not an expert on this, indeed, while I’ve recently read up on genetics, the only time I was ever dealing with the more mathematical aspects of evolution was when I was busy getting my undergrad degree in biology.But I do think you should make some effort to try and learn it Typhon, as it will help you flesh out your arguments and also to be aware of some of their limitations.

    Lastly, I’m going to point out two very important things:
    A. We don’t know the total story of human evolution, let alone what selective pressures we were under when many of our rather unique traits might have evolved.
    B. We don’t yet fully understand human psychology in individuals, let alone groups.

  • I am unconvinced by these speculations.

    I have a few questions but they are sort of going to be coming from left field.

    If one could rewind time, say 100,000 years or so and then hit play. Would history take the same path? Would things turn out exactly the same? Would they be a little different? Vastly different? What if you ran this time experiment a million times? What sort of truisms about the nature of humans would you find?

  • ‘If we assume an infinite supply of sugar, fat and salt in nature we can see that obesity evolved to prevent humans with poor self control from reproducing.’

    Which is a particularly good one, since obesity didn’t evolve, what evolved was the ability to store calories in response to shortages or erratic supplies of those things, IOW the exact opposite of the proposal.

  • Simple Typhon:

    Well, that’s not how any animals in promiscuous breeding systems (that I am aware of, and assuming things about quantity/viability of eggs and sperm and many other things) behave, so therefore it can’t be how human males behave.

    My response: Nothing in nature says human males have to be like other animals, we don’t know what traits were selected for , or why, and human evolution has probably sped up over the past 10 to 50 thousand years due to the invention of agriculture and animal domestication among other things. Humans now are significantly different I believe from what they were 25, 000 years ago, let alone 100 thousand or more years ago in the past.
    For whatever reason, I’m willing to bet that recent human evolution has favored promiscuity in men, promiscuity that societies have had to deal with. Female sexual behavior has also been nearly freed from the natural constraints of childbirth and the risks that used to occur in many pregnancies.

  • “I’ll repeat this for the benefit of those here:
    Alpha: Leader of Men , sexual object of desire for women
    alpha: sexual object of desire for women
    alpha: leader of men”

    Yeah, I get all that. But that does nothing to undermine anything I say. Real alphas don’t tolerate their women engaging in hook-up culture ficky ficky. They ditch the ones that do and order up replacements, because they can.

  • I should also mention that many evo psych and other papers examing human dating/mating make use of game theory and other branches of mathematics, and that there is a whole area of mathematical biology that deals with fitness peaks and other aspects of evolution and evolutionarily adaptive behavior.

    As a student of economics, I have very little respect for the manner in which psychologists apply game theory, with the same traditionally uncritical lack of robustness and vigor that is a hallmark of their grasp of math and statistics. Oftentimes they fail to account for even the simplest of things – such as that the outcome of a game will change when you play it more than once. Such was one experiment where they tried to show that people are willing to pay more for a dollar bill than the dollar bill is worth by setting up a game that would only work out that way on the very first time you played it.

  • @ Clarence

    “game theory and other branches of mathematics”

    Good. Then they parallel where I’m coming from because what I’m doing is looking at the observable factors in a promiscuous mating system, identifying the conditions of success for both males and females and inferring the best behaviours to maximize success. As informed by research into sperm competition.

    A promiscuous mating system has certain observable features;

    1. Females are limited in their window of reproduction.
    2. Males take time to regenerate sperm giving them a daily ‘cap’ on their effective copulations. Often the amount of time it takes to regenerate exceeds the effective fertile window of the female. This means male animals have finite effective copulations.
    3. Sperm competition is a goal for female animals; the more the merrier.
    4. Females lose nothing by copulating as much as possible (except possible opportunities with high status males, which they can also game by tricking them)

    The ‘winning’ conditions for males and females are different.

    Females: Induce as much sperm competition as possible.
    Males: Deliver limited sperm to best reproductive options, a. less mated and b. higher status females.

    What behaviour results assuming males and females will act to achieve their ‘win’ conditions?

    That behaviour will have been selected for in this system.

  • The irony in your statement, dungone, is delicious, esp since when properly understood, economics is merely a subdivision of psychology. If you are correct in the lack of mathematical rigor from many (most?) of those in the field of psychology, it is no wonder that progress in that field has been rather slow. Perhaps some day you could take up a minor in psychology and contribute to that field using your advanced math background? If I recall you had a minor or something in sociology and currently hold an advanced degree (Phd?) in economics.

  • Except, Typhon, I would deny that “1” exists in any meaningful sense in human reproduction as far as women are concerned. Our women do not go into heat, therefore you should NOT apply models for animals that go into heat to promiscuous human mating systems.

  • Gingko:
    LOL. Do I detect a tongue-in-cheek? Is a “real alpha” like a “real man”? 🙂

  • “I’ll repeat this for the benefit of those here:
    Alpha: Leader of Men , sexual object of desire for women
    alpha: sexual object of desire for women
    alpha: leader of men”

    Have you met an alpha without deep-seated psychological issues? They’re all pretty much happily married men raising their own children. One of the most important factors in children who are successful in life isn’t the money their parents left them but the life skills that their father taught them. Promiscuous men aren’t going to maintain their social dominance across generations. Pair bonding men are. The kind of sociopathic families that climb the social ladder for 1-2 generations due to some fortuitous set of circumstances, the ones who cheat on their wives or marry the kind of women who treat them like garbage, those are the ones whose kids we often watch failing spectacularly.

  • @ Clarence

    “Our women do not go into heat, therefore you should NOT apply models for animals that go into heat to promiscuous human mating systems.”

    Actually, human women *do* go into ‘heat’, we’re just a lot more subtle about it. For whatever reason we lost the ability to attract every male within a ten mile radius to us in order to induce sperm competition. The occult nature of female human’s reproductive cycle is not an argument that humans are naturally promiscuous; it’s actually the reverse. In fact the entire wasteful mess of the human female reproductive cycle (ovulating 12 times more then any other female animal; disposing of blood and tissue every month; the high rate of blighted ovum, 60-80% or more of all conceptions) is likely evolved to compensate for an insanely high, possibly extinction-level rate of genetic monogamy[1][2] by replacing sperm competition with flushing chromosomally abnormal conceptions

    Since bipedalism is a strong possible driver for our monogamy (bipedialism is up there with flight in terms of evolutionary cost and difficulty of raising offspring), it’s likely our common ancestor with chimps shared a similar promiscuous breeding system since there was no evolutionary pressure for chimps to change this.

    Again if we do have a vestigial promiscuous instinct it would resemble the instincts of other promiscuous animals in a promiscuous mating system and have evolved prior to the changes in our reproductive system introduced by our switch to social and genetic monogamy.

    Most other mammals or birds who are socially monogamous have rates of genetic monogamy as low as 35%. They still go into overt heat, likely to attract strange males and induce sperm competition in order to prevent extinction.

    [1] This source puts human genetic monogamy at 97-98%. It’s likely between 90-98% naturally. For obvious reasons, results from the self-selecting group of men seeking paternity testing is not going to reflect our rate of ‘natural’ genetic monogamy. http://www.anth.uconn.edu/degree_programs/ecolevo/kermyt.pdf

    [2] Evidence that monogamy can cause a species to go extinct.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100225122655.htm

  • @Clarence, (sorry for the double comment)

    Do you think that the skyrocketing rate of college-aged virginity and hook-up culture have nothing to do with one another? And how about the epidemic of single motherhood, whose children are falling out of the middle class and back down into poverty? How about the general hostility towards men’s sexuality and the increasing levels of risk imposed upon them for approaching women? How about the fact that married couples generally have more sex, not less, than promiscuous singles? I don’t think that any of these things are separate issues, they are all symptoms of one issue: misandry.

    I know it’s counter-intuitive, but modern-day promiscuity is the default anti-sex, anti-man position. A single woman is more than capable of giving birth to more babies than any one man could ever hope to have the resources to raise. What possible reason would an “alpha” male have for having babies with low status women that he shares with other lower-status men? When he could just find a single high-status woman who is more than capable of giving birth to the optimal number of babies he needs for ensuring that his genetic line maintains high status and enjoys the best mating options across generations? Does he really benefit from “sperm competition” with a bunch of other men? Of course not.

    Honestly, I think that this myth about alpha males is like ants looking up at a pile of shit and seeing it for a mountain. If you live in a completely misandric culture where the vast majority of men are treated like the lowest of the low, then you can look up as high as you can but you’re never really get to see the top.

  • Incidentally if you’re going to bring up ‘occult ovulation’ as a adaptation to cuckolding, I’ll point out that mammals that still ‘go into heat’ and advertise this fact manage a far higher rate of ‘cuckolding’ then human females.

    Probably because her male partner can’t fight off a couple dozen other males attracted to her smell all at once.

    The interesting thing about human sexuality is that it’s seemed to have evolved to reward consistency rather then opportunity.

    In other words a man who is consistently having sex with a woman is more likely to reproduce then one who has sex with multiple women. And then there’s the fact that our ‘consistent’ man is also more likely to give his children the emotional and educational resources to succeed.

  • You people seem to have totally forgotten that SEX IS FUN.

    Seriously , dungone, do you think most heavily promiscuous males give two shits about babies? Have either of you (Typhon included) ever talked to young males ? One thing I notice about many of my younger male and female friends (most are younger than 30) is an aversion to pregnancy. Sex is FUN in part because it helps get people together where they can make these babies. Then there’s Typhon and her idea about how males would naturally be “choosy” – as if most human males have ever had females throwing themselves at them in great abundance. “Crying ” inside because I’m “only” fucking an “8” or a “7” or even a “6” instead of a “9” or “10”? WTF. That doesn’t match any male I know , and even ones I personally know who haven’t had sex for years retain the male “ranking” system and have females they simply won’t have sex with because they consider them too ugly. Oh, and her argument about how we can only produce so much sperm in a day – as if the great majority of males ever have a situation where they have to worry about things like that!

    I have more serious critiques of some of what Typhon just posted, but it’s thundering here and I’m annoyed, so I’m going to sign off for awhile.

  • @ Clarence

    “You people seem to have totally forgotten that SEX IS FUN.”

    Sex only needs to be fun when it’s bonding. Otherwise hormonal compulsion will do just fine.

    “Oh, and her argument about how we can only produce so much sperm in a day – as if the great majority of males ever have a situation where they have to worry about things like that!”

    In a promiscuous mating system, male animals would definitely have instincts regarding conservation of sperm.

    Before you respond to me, please read this article that I’ve linked too:

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071129100050.htm

    BTW, doesn’t this:

    “Then there’s Typhon and her idea about how males would naturally be “choosy””

    Directly contradict this:

    “That doesn’t match any male I know , and even ones I personally know who haven’t had sex for years retain the male “ranking” system and have females they simply won’t have sex with because they consider them too ugly.”

    “You people seem to have totally forgotten that SEX IS FUN.”

    So is masturbation. And considering how many men I’ve read now who either have outright stated or agree with the statement they’re giving _themselves_ orgasms even when they have sex with women, I have to wonder… why bother?

  • Having standards helps make sex enjoyable.
    Your argument was that men were psychically harmed and did not enjoy sex with any but the “best ” females. My counterpoint would be that if she meets some minimal standards of attractiveness men will find just about any sex enjoyable. In short, men don’t just bang “anything that moves” but we DO enjoy it when we bang. No contradiction there.

  • Typhon,
    I read your link and fail to see any relevance. It’s well-known that sexual roles are not the same among all species. That isn’t new.

  • @ Clarence

    What I’m saying seems to resonate with some guys, maybe not with you.

    From the article:

    “He noted that this reversed sexual conflict might not be a rarity in the animal kingdom, as topi are “in many ways a very typical mammalian species characterized by male mate competition and female choice.””

    The same selection pressures that exist in the promiscuous topi breeding system are the same selection pressures that exist in all promiscuous breeding systems.

    Further they’ve observed these kinds of behaviours in other promiscuous species, including chimps.

    This particular research field is wide open.

    ” “Crying ” inside because I’m “only” fucking an “8″ or a “7″ or even a “6″ instead of a “9″ or “10″? WTF. That doesn’t match any male I know ,”

    And “I’m just a fainting flower blown in on the wind” probably doesn’t match the thought process of any woman in hook up culture either. It’s an exaggeration for humorous or satirical effect.

  • Who says that human promiscuous systems like “hooking up” culture are exactly the same as other promiscuous systems where the animals all operate purely on instinct, and, for the most part, without any kind of “culture” intervening? Do you have a mathematical proof that ALL promiscuous systems have to be the same way even trans-species and with very different estrous cycles? If you don’t have that, do you at least have some other promiscuous human cultures to compare the hookup culture to?

    C’mon Typhon,get some actual evidence or at least stop being so dogmatic. The human brain helps determine who we “hook up with” and to my knowledge no other species is considered a good model for the human brain.

  • @ Clarence

    Maybe there could be a formula to determine the relative selectiveness of males and females based on the length of time a female animal is in heat and the amount of time required for a male to regenerate sperm. However usually it is a day to regenerate sperm so even if a female’s cycle is longer then a day, then _all other females cycles are longer then a day as well_ which means the same situation of unlimited female sexuality competing for limited male semen repeats on day seven of a female’s heat cycle as day one.

    There’s no reason to believe that promiscuous male animals conceptualize their behaviour based on our understanding of time. If it makes sense to be choosy on day one, it most likely also makes sense to be choosy on day seven. Because one of those days is the day during which she ovulates.

    “Who says that human promiscuous systems like “hooking up” culture are exactly the same”

    If they have the same instinctual basis, they should exhibit the same behaviours.

    Incidentally, you can see exactly what I’m saying in the 1 to 10 scale you talk about.

    Most men _talk_ about having a 1 to 10 rating scale, but I can’t help but notice it doesn’t actually effect their choices. Men have sex with less attractive (often significantly less attractive) women in hook up culture as a rule and they end up marrying a woman who is about as attractive as them.

    Judging by their behaviour, they don’t adhere very strongly to their own rating system. Which is an interesting contradiction. Males have a rating system that indicates great selectivity(which reflects what I’m saying about male promiscuous instincts to be choosy) yet fail to actually abide by it in their behaviour(which reflects what I’m saying about men slumming being a socialized behaviour).

    Sorta needs an explanation, don’t you think?

  • “It’s hard enough -and suspicious enough of an enterprise – to infer universal human behaviors from our closest primate relatives”

    And given that our closest primate relatives show vast differences in mating behaviour… you can pick whatever you want.

    “As to this post, you seem to want to reverse the observed behavior of the two sexes. It’s sort of like , dang, wolves are like THIS therefore humans must be like THIS and any observed behavior to the contrary MUST be socialization, even though its a universal among all known cultures.”

    Wait what? What universal among all know cultures? There is no such thing.

    Anyway, wow. I rarely read something so interesting and so wrong at the same time, thanks!

  • @ Tomek

    “And given that our closest primate relatives show vast differences in mating behaviour… you can pick whatever you want.”

    Not… really. Our closest primate relatives are chimps or bonobo. And as far as I can tell a lot of the observations about bonobo are suspect.

    And about chimps for that matter.

    “Anyway, wow. I rarely read something so interesting and so wrong at the same time, thanks!”

    If you’re referring to what I’m saying, please feel free to point out the error in my logic.

  • To be honest I think people are emotionally invested in believing that ‘hook up culture’ is not gynocentric and not set up to benefit women at the expense of men because ‘hook up culture’ is the last holdout of supposed benefit for men in this culture.

    Once it goes, men have nothing left and it’s painful to feel used.

    So I can sympathize. But… as far as I can tell my logic is correct. Promiscuous mating systems among mammals do not differ by that much–and the ways that they do differ don’t alter the pressures I’ve identified significantly.

    And, really, is it that unexpected that in a gynocentric culture, hook up culture would also be gynocentric?

  • “Not… really. Our closest primate relatives are chimps or bonobo. And as far as I can tell a lot of the observations about bonobo are suspect.

    And about chimps for that matter.”
    But we’re quite close to Gorillas, too. Between these three species, there is plenty of variety to choose for comparisons – that’s what i meant. But anyway, what do you mean about the suspect thing? Something new about primate behaviors? Curious here, are you following such studies?

    “If you’re referring to what I’m saying, please feel free to point out the error in my logic.”
    Glad you asked! Wasn’t sure if it’s worth the effort to comment a lot about such a long post, but since you seem to be interested, i’ll get to it.

  • @ Tomek

    “But we’re quite close to Gorillas, too.”

    We’re closer to chimps. If you want to look at models for archaic hominid behaviour, it won’t be gorillas. Actually chimps aren’t a really good model either.

    And again I’m theorizing that we have a ‘vestigial promiscuous instinct’ that would have evolved long before our pair-bonding instincts and existed in the common ancestor we share with chimps. Since chimps didn’t have the evolutionary pressure of bipedalism, their promiscuous breeding system is likely the best model for this ‘vestigial promiscuous instinct’ (which I am not saying actually exists). Since their promiscuous breeding system shares features with every other one, I’ve extrapolated what this instinct might ‘look like’ from a generalized promiscuous mating system.

    “Something new about primate behaviors? Curious here, are you following such studies?”

    Bonobo ‘niceness’ has possibly been greatly exaggerated. As was their ‘free love’ lifestyle.

    Jane Goodall’s observation that chimps engage in warfare may have been compromised by the fact that she fed them, thus altering their natural behaviour.

    “Wasn’t sure if it’s worth the effort to comment a lot about such a long post, but since you seem to be interested, i’ll get to it.”

    Just don’t repeat the issues I’ve already addressed. If you do I’ll indicate that you have and not address them further.

  • Sigh.
    I’ve never argued “hook up culture” doesn’t benefit most average females and a few lucky males at the expense of the majority of men and a minority of women. In fact, I think “hook up” culture (and its not a universal culture in the US anyway) is mostly bad for both men and women, but worse so for the men. I’ve argued that “hook up” culture is based more on nature than on “nurture”, and yet it still relies on women’s access to both birth control and legal and economic benefits that shield them from the effects of both known promiscuity and “oopsie” pregnancies. In short, “hook up culture” is the average female sex drive unleashed and unhampered. Male sexuality is a bit more constrained as this type of culture favors the most socially sauvy and physically good looking or intimidating males over shy and more introverted or intellectual types, while at the same time shifting the costs of both rejection and bad outcomes from sex largely -almost entirely- on to the male.
    An “alpha” male who does not want kids and is smart enough to take his own precautions comes out almost universally ahead in this system as do most of the women who are totally free to explore hypergamous and sexual impulses and if they fail to secure the commitment most of them want, they at least retain autonomy and anonymity.

    The current US hookup culture and arguably much/most of the legal and financial systems are due to collapse precisely because they do not properly utilize human mating behaviors.

  • >An “alpha” male who does not want kids and is smart enough to take his own precautions comes out almost universally ahead in this system

    And here’s where I disagree.

    It’s like saying a well-paid respected courtesan gets out ahead of her clients. Well, yeah, she’s better off then a call girl or a street walker and she can leverage her talents to make a better life for herself.

    But better off then her _clients_?

    Seriously? ‘Alpha’s’ in the hook up culture are having sex with women who are less attractive. The women they’re having sex with are having sex with men who are more attractive and that they–regardless if we hypothesize that the human race is monogamous or promiscuous–would NEVER HAVE ACCESS TO OTHERWISE. If the human race is promiscuous, the alpha males would still want to reserve themselves for their best options–which these women are not–and if the human race is monogamous, the alpha males aren’t getting out ahead either. At best they’re wasting their time, at worst they’re fucking up their ability to bond with the high quality women they are instinctually primed to want.

    The ‘alphas’ are patsies too!

  • Typhon:
    A. You assume that the Alpha’s want to bond. I dare say many -perhaps most – do not.
    B. You are forgetting that alpha’s do NOT have sex with girls merely for sex. The girl either meets his standards (which can be higher for him than other men) or he has someone else to call on. Provided a less attractive girl meets his minimum standards, well, he still gets sex. More sex, less commitment. What’s not to like from a selfish “playa” point of view?
    C. The hookup culture hurts the female 4’s and below, but it also reduces the bargaining power of female 9’s and 10’s as they can get undercut by female 8’s and 7’s who are far more numerous and whom most men would be perfectly happy to “wife up” and most Alpha’s are perfectly happy to “pump and dump”.

  • And seriously:
    Some courtesans become rich. Most of their clients are not. Are you seriously arguing that the highest paid (as opposed to streetwalkers or those who are illegally pimped) “hookers” , “escorts”, “courtesans” or “call girls” or whatever you want to call them can’t end up living better than their average poor/middle class joe schmoe schlub client?

  • @ Clarence

    “You assume that the Alpha’s want to bond. I dare say many -perhaps most – do not.”

    If we’re pair bonders, then yes, he does want to bond. That’s the nature of a male pair bonder. Therefore he’s wasting his time with women who are well beneath him while making himself less attractive to women who are worth his time.

    If we’re promiscuous breeders, then no. But if we’re promiscuous breeders then the behaviour is also dysfunctional because an alpha promiscuous breeder does not lower himself to fuck a female below him in status.

    And just to add in the gorilla model… if we’re polygynous it still sucks because he _doesn’t have exclusive access to the females he’s fucking_.

    In no breeding system does this guy ‘win.’

    Except in the artificial one we’ve created in which female sexuality is artificially inflated in value.

    “which can be higher for him than other men”

    If he’s having sex with women who are less attractive then he is, he’s still slumming. Hell, I know alpha party boys who have horrible sex with unattractive women _and keep coming back for more_.

    “Some courtesans become rich.”

    Courtesans are not richer then their clients. That’s why they’re their clients. But anyway, alpha playas are whoring not even for money but what amounts to a pat on the head and a gold star.

    “The hookup culture hurts the female 4′s and below, but it also reduces the bargaining power of female 9′s and 10′s as they can get undercut by female 8′s and 7′s who are far more numerous and whom most men would be perfectly happy to “wife up” and most Alpha’s are perfectly happy to “pump and dump”.”

    There are _few_ women hurt by ‘hook up’ culture. In every sense it allows women access to higher quality male sexuality then they would otherwise have access too. The male 4s are getting no play either and will eventually shuffle off with the female 4s who probably have bagged a few males who are 6 or 7 before they ‘settle’.

    Female 9s and 10s may be legitimately screwed because the men they’d normally pair with are being fucked into unmarrigability (only an idiot wants to inherit a mess of STDs, other women’s problems and the inability to bond through sex, not to mention the self-loathing nihilism that seems to seep out of many players’ pores–these are not happy men) and they don’t actually benefit by having access to sex with men they always had access to. Which is deeply ironic.

    But I don’t see the alphas benefitting. Particularly if, once again, we are pair-bonders. He exists to create a pair bond; he has burned through his ability to do so being exploited for sex by women who (even if he was a promiscuous breeder) he wouldn’t have given the time of day too.

    This fucked up mess of insanity reflects no naturally occurring breeding system and has to be explained as a social phenomena.

    I’m beginning to believe arranged marriage is more sane a system then this human woodchipper.

  • Well, i said it was very interesting, so excuse me if i don’t limit myself to pointing things that i think are wrong. I found your take on the sexuality issue quite novel and really counter-intuitive, which is rare. And insightful, too.

    “Let’s think about it logically. With each act of sex a male ejaculates semen into the female. This is an investment of physical resources that takes time for the male to replenish. So male animals are limited in how often they can have reproductively viable sex. Female animals, on the other hand, are not. The sex act has zero cost to them.

    Now, the reason this obvious truth is invisible to us is because we lump in the cost of carrying young with the cost of sex. Yes, carrying young is high female investment but the sex act itself is higher male investment.”

    Well, this reminds me of something – in demography, until recently the common wisdom was that the male investment into reproduction is smaller since the beginning, which was done by commparing the size of sperm and the egg. Talk about confirmation (of stereotypes) bias! No one apparently cared to think about the numbers.

    But i digress. I think you’re saying that females can copulate effectively without limit, while males are limited by finite resource – their sperm count. In my opinion it is too simplified and you can’t discount the physical cost of mating – energy expenditure, lost opportunities, danger. This subverts your argument, because you follow with female strategy of ultra-promiscuity and male strategy of selective breeding due to scarce resource.

    And while i find your take on female reproduction strategy insightful, your take on male one is one i disagree with. For example, among homo sapiens, if we assume – and we can – small groups, long pregnancies, breastfeeding, the sperm is not likely a valid limit. This is quite important as you rest much of your argument on this. AFAIK, repeated copulations around ovulation period only slightly increase chance of pregnancy in couple (no idea about extra-couple), and with the relative resilience of sperm in the female genitalia environment the potential frequency of copulation is much higher than needed.

    “For humans who are often trying to avoid the hassle of pregnancy, this makes some sense. For female animals, it makes no sense. The whole purpose for a female animal, in going into heat, is to get pregnant. Because that’s her instinctive imperative, the hassle of pregnancy is irrelevant to her cost of sex.”

    Not that it matters, but my pet theory about the reason for hidden ovulation in humans is one i never heard anywhere – that it serves as a way to prevent women from trying to avoid getting pregnant (which is really bad from evolutionary perspective and really good from individual one. And humans are just too smart not to figure it out)

    “A pair-bonding male has maximized his access to a less mated female. He does trade off in terms of access to a higher quality female than himself—higher quality in terms of status and fertility—but he is less likely to obtain this higher quality female and, overall, he’s better off as a pair bonder then a promiscuous breeder.”

    But then we have few months of visible pregnancy, so that access is worthless, and even before both are rewarded for having sex outside the “couple”. That would be quite short-term and rather weak bond, btw compared to the traditional meaning of child-raising pair.

    “However that pair bonded human female probably still has urges to get her monkey on.

    she’s likely inclined to keep a tight hold because of the scarceness of the sexual resource he’s providing her”
    Sperm isn’t that scarce, and both sexes are better with more partners and thus both should get “urges”. Males to their limit, starting from most attractive (which is in humans, IMO, irrelevant, thus promiscuity), females a number that makes them fairly sure of getting pregnant while limiting themselves to more attractive males. Relatively, of course – it means, say, in 20 male female should be copulating with 10 males and with 10 male group, with 8. Or something like that.

    There isn’t much space or reason for pair bonding left. If we assume sexual monogamy. I think it’s more likely that the child raising was done on larger, group scale, anyway, at least when it comes to males.

    “Ironically when we look at hookup culture through the lens of human sexuality”

    I think there is no point of looking at our culture from the perspective of biology. Sociobiology was more or less complete failure. Nevertheless, your take on it at least doesn’t fall in ought-is fallacy, and you arrive at counter-cultural conclusions. Which is way more interesting than the usual way of trying to find something in biology that supports our current cultural makeup.

    (on a side note, we do agree that culture is basically detached from biology? Lysistrata was comedy because the thought of females witholding sex from their men was so propestrous that it was hilarious, they were thought to be way too lustful for it. Contrast with Victorian England)

    “b.) less mated females, to get the best bang for his genetic buck.”
    Oh – that’s one of the interesting thing i meant. I haven’t encountered it before (outside of monopolizing female in jealous monogamy, but you say it as an less attractive female), but it makes a lot of sense. Now, obviously, such female doesn’t stay less attractive for long, so there’s a paradox, but it’s interesting thought nevertheless.

    Hmm. I thought it would be longer. Oh well.

    But let’s get to your addendum/comment.

    “Let’s assume that humans are promiscuous breeders (we’re not, actually, we’re socially monogamous with a fairly high rate of genetic monogamy. This is a widely accepted fact in biology.) ”
    How can it be accepted fact in biology if biology doesn’t care about human social behaviour? Sociology, anthropology, and i never heard such claims, and even then they wouldn’t be about our “primal” state you seem to be talking about (since we’re talking about our species evolutionary adaptation)

    “The first important aspect of the context is that in all promiscuous breeding systems _the female does not need male assistance to take care of her young_. ”

    That’s also true for humans, more or less.

    “The second is that in promiscuous breeding systems (in the wild, domesticated animals are different), the females only have a brief window of fertility and they are often all in that window at the same time.”
    So do more monogamous animals, AFAIK.

    “The third is that due to the brief window of fertility, a male animal only has so many effective ejaculations before he’s ‘out’ and can no longer effectively breed. In other words a male animal can breed a limited number of times during the limited window of female fertility.”
    In many cases, especially with mammals, the time and space is more important limit.

    “The fourth is that a female animal’s main risk during breeding season is investing all of her resources in sub par offspring. The only way to minimize this risk is to have sex with as many males as feasible to maximize her sperm competition. Yes she prefers to have sex with the best males, but since she loses nothing from having sex with mr. alpha, then going on down the line to mr. omega–and in fact gains quite a bit from increased sperm competition–she will attempt to do so.”
    I’m torn here. As i mentioned earlier, i think it would make more sense to copulate only with suffiecent number of the more attractive available males, but then again, what if the less attractive male you copulate with ends impregnating you? That means, even if he is less healthy, he has something very valuable – fertility, thus his true (evolutionary) attractiveness is higher than the deceitful health indicators. So you might be right indeed.

    “Males have limited numbers of effective ejaculations(say 3-4); females have no effective limit on the times they can have sex and only gain more sperm competition from each sex act.”
    Humans? Likely. Which is quite enough for copulating with every fertile female in typical human group every, say, three days. Other animals vary wildly when it comes to this.

    “That means that a male promiscuous breeder will instinctually know his semen is a limited resource and prioritize giving it to females who are a. higher status and be. less mated.”
    I’d like to also point that this scarce resource is wasted if not used. So, yeah, prioritize, but do it anyway even if you wouldn’t in other circumstances.

    “A female animal loses nothing from mating with as many males as possible, therefore she is going to be less choosy then the male who does potentially lose out if he wastes his few shots on a poor choice.”
    This is wonderful, because i had a gripe with exactly that – let’s say a statement from old friend who thought that the only important difference between sexes is greater female choosines(?). And this is right 😀

    Or, more seriously, this is right depending on circumstances.

    “One blogger recently detailed his exploits having sex with a woman so repulsive to him that he acted like a rape victim the next day”
    Got a link?

  • Seriously , dungone, do you think most heavily promiscuous males give two shits about babies? Have either of you (Typhon included) ever talked to young males ?

    First of all it doesn’t really matter what they think about having babies, what matters is how much happy it makes them when they do (assuming here a normal man who isn’t suffering from mental illness). Every man I have ever met in my life who actually gets laid on a regular basis with a hot woman (myself included) has done it through committed relationships and has had a much better time of it. You don’t have to work nearly as hard at it, don’t face rejection, and she’s better looking than you could otherwise get. Dudes who bring home a different girl every night are doing it all wrong. I’ve met too many, too many who act out like it’s what they really want to do but you dig deeper and you find that they either have some hidden insecurity or past trauma. Like one friend of mine who admitted to me that he was afraid of getting dumped by the gorgeous women who constantly flirt with him because he thinks they all lose interest as soon as they find out he can’t afford to pay for a date – so he screws married women who like to smoke pot, instead. Or the room mate I had who literally brought home a different girl every night but when he was alone he would down a bottle of Robitussin and mope after the girl who hooked him on it and dumped him 2 years prior to that. One by one, right after the other, the guys who become promiscuous are usually psychologically damaged. Even when they do have a positive outlook about what they’re doing, it’s always Plan B, once burnt and twice shy. The only exception that I’ve ever seen to this personally were pretty much sociopaths, compulsive liars, the kind of guys who embezzled money from their company, refused to pay contractors who worked on their house, and stole the rims they put on their beemer. And yes, I do know those guys. Not good role models.

  • Typhon:
    I’m not sure humans are either/or in terms of promiscuous/monogamous. The way I see it is that most or all humans have genes for both which can be turned on or off (possibly epigenitically) depending on environment, OR the human population consists of people of both sexes some of whom lean monogamous and some of whom non-monogamous. There probably are (regardless of how implemented) more promiscuous genes in the male genome overall, which might explain het male group behavior.

    As far as it goes – the fate of most men in a hookup culture is pretty bad. Because most of the female 5’s and above can participate in the hookup culture, the average male 7 or below mostly has the pick of the 4’s that are left. Since most males won’t “slum” that far down (both men and women seem to only date/mate within 2 or 3 points at most on the various male/female scales) The male 7’s and 6’s are much lonelier than they’d be in a more assortive mating style system, and like most things around the middle of a distribution there are ALOT MORE male 7’s and 6’s than 8’s, 9’s and 10’s. And honestly, female 4’s are just as attracted to male 8’s as males are to female 8’s , so quite a few female 4’s will “refuse to settle” on a male 4, 5, or in some cases, even a 6.

    Anyway the current hook up SMP is very unassortive, and has resulted in very low birthrates, which is yet another reason why it will eventually collapse. That being said, whatever our abstract numbers say, the male winners in this system are happy. They are not thinking ahead and many of them lack the bonding instincts of most of the other men.

  • @ Tomek

    I’m busy at the moment but something jumped out at me.

    “That’s also true for humans, more or less.”

    Humans have the most resource expensive offspring on the planet. It’s not true that a human child–outside a system that can create resource surplus generation after generation–would survive without investment by their father.

    Humans are pair bonders. This is a pretty uncontroversial statement in biology and anthropology.

  • But i digress. I think you’re saying that females can copulate effectively without limit, while males are limited by finite resource – their sperm count. In my opinion it is too simplified and you can’t discount the physical cost of mating – energy expenditure, lost opportunities, danger. This subverts your argument, because you follow with female strategy of ultra-promiscuity and male strategy of selective breeding due to scarce resource.

    No, I think that you’re mistaken about her intent. She is firmly saying that both men and women are highly selective, pair bonding breeders. What she is saying that as a strategy, the promiscuity that is displayed in our culture is optimized for promiscuous females and not for promiscuous males, counter to what all of popular culture would have you think about it. By devaluing male sexual value, we really have no choice but to agree with her on this. How else do you explain the “precious resource” at the Anime club who takes the virginity of 30 men in the course of a college semester? Very few, extremely high status men (think professional sports players) actually enjoy promiscuous sex that is advantageous to them.

  • @ Clarence

    “There probably are (regardless of how implemented) more promiscuous genes in the male genome overall, which might explain het male group behaviour.”

    Still doesn’t explain it.

    “They are not thinking ahead and many of them lack the bonding instincts of most of the other men.”

    Then they’re not alphas. Having a well developed bonding instinct is an aspect of evolutionary fitness in a pair bonding species.

  • “We’re closer to chimps. If you want to look at models for archaic hominid behaviour, it won’t be gorillas. Actually chimps aren’t a really good model either.”

    I know. That’s the point. Even chimpanzees and bonobo are way too distant from us to draw conclusions about our behavior.

    I wanted to say that gorillas and chimpanzees are polar opposites when it comes to sexuality and they are not much more distant from each other as we are from them, and that’s why it makes no sense.

    Even more, the most primodrial still existing (or those that existed in last 100 years) human societes are way too developed to be model for “natural human behavior”. And they show incredible diversity.

    “And again I’m theorizing that we have a ‘vestigial promiscuous instinct’ that would have evolved long before our pair-bonding instincts and existed in the common ancestor we share with chimps”

    Sperm competitionn gene exists even in gorillas, so it’s a safe bet that’s rather old thing. But i suppose our social instincts (affiliation) are really old too.

  • “I’m busy at the moment but something jumped out at me.

    “That’s also true for humans, more or less.”

    Humans have the most resource expensive offspring on the planet. It’s not true that a human child–outside a system that can create resource surplus generation after generation–would survive without investment by their father.”

    Oh, good. That’s because i concentrated on your literal meaning “a help of a male” and wanted to stress that. Mother could really use help, of course, but it need not be from the male in general or the father (biological) in particular. It’s most likely from the whole group, and pair bonding is relatively recent thing. Not to mention there are even cultures that are functionally polyandro/gynous. Polyamorous? I mean, cultures where there are not couples, but “quadruples”, so that:

    Humans are pair bonders. This is a pretty uncontroversial statement in biology and anthropology.

    Is not really true, if by pair bonders you mean long-term sexually exclusive monogamy. By “nature”.

    Is there a more convenient way to quote someone here, btw?

  • Typhon:
    Human Alpha’s are to be judged solely within the context of a human system.
    Are “leader of men” alpha’s -on average – having more success than a “regular” man in the hookup culture?
    Yes.
    What about “charmer” alpha’s ? Certainly.
    Ok, Capital “A” Alpha’s that enjoy both sexual and social power?
    You bet your sweet Canadian ass.

    By your definition of Alpha, a few Mormon guys, many in prison, and many with wives of the age of 14 are the only “true” Alpha’s. After all, many have 33 kids, whose names they can’t keep straight.

    Or maybe you mean to say that an Alpha is the local stereotypical deadbeat dad, with 8 kids from five different women, none of whom he feeds and most of whom he hardly ever sees?

    Neither of this types has gotten good “social press” for at least the past 100 years.

    In fact, I think my definition of Alpha’s – or even the PUA idea of a pants charmer – are more accurate when describing humans.

    Now, me and you may disagree that the “hookup ” culture is “natural” or “unnatural”, but what I think we both agree on is that it is ACTIVELY SUPPORTED by our society and technology. EVEN IF I am right and it is totally based on male/female biological desires, these desires are being propped up and amplified.
    Remove birth control or abortion, remove child support or anonymity, and see what happens to female behaviors. Whatever the true behavior of “group female” is, it has never existed in the wild without biological and often social constraints.
    This is unique, in some ways, in human history, and this “social experiment” doesn’t seem to be working very well.

  • Dungone,
    “No, I think that you’re mistaken about her intent. She is firmly saying that both men and women are highly selective, pair bonding breeders. What she is saying that as a strategy, the promiscuity that is displayed in our culture is optimized for promiscuous females and not for promiscuous males, counter to what all of popular culture would have you think about it. By devaluing male sexual value, we really have no choice but to agree with her on this. How else do you explain the “precious resource” at the Anime club who takes the virginity of 30 men in the course of a college semester? Very few, extremely high status men (think professional sports players) actually enjoy promiscuous sex that is advantageous to them.”

    Well, i think i might have missed something obvious, it’s middle of the night here after all, but i thought when she wrote about females and biology of reproduction she wrote both about other mammals and humans. But it’s ambiguous, so let’s wait for Typhon.

    I’d say that our culture is hardly optimized for promiscuous sex for anyone, so yeah.

    On a more tongue-in-cheek note:

    “we didn’t evolve with porn, Viagra or tremendous social shaming to create artificially inflated male sexual receptivity”

    I KNEW IT! All these phallic figurines are dildos! And “Mother Goddess” figurines are simply primitive porn accessories! 😀

  • http://cosmiclog.nbcnews.com/_news/2011/01/03/5759666-how-big-babies-shaped-society

    “The expression that ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ may actually go back pretty far back into this Australopithecus group,” DeSilva told me.”

    “But DeSilva emphasized that much more study would be needed to confirm the relationship between bigger babies and social organization.
    “The causality arrow on this, I’m not sure,” he told me. “The data I played around with just shows that this group, Australopithecus, was birthing bigger kids than we thought. I think that has implications for reconstructing their biology.”

    http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2010/12/23/1003865108.abstract

    “Carrying such proportionately large infants may have limited arboreality in Australopithecus females and may have selected for alloparenting behavior earlier in human evolution than previously thought.”

    “In biology and sociology, alloparenting is a system of parenting in which individuals other than the actual parents act in a parental role.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alloparenting

    None of this points to pair bonding.

  • You missed this part:

    “DeSilva speculated that Australopithecus babies would have been unable to walk on their own for their first 6 to 7 months. Their mothers would have faced the challenge of finding nutrients for themselves as well as breast-feeding the babies, “and would have benefited from the help of _pair-bonded males_, older children or siblings, or a combination of these.””

  • Oh, by the way, getting back to chimpanzees as a model of human nature, there’s another problem, because chimpanzees differ culturally between populations, so there is that, too.

    “It’s most likely from the whole group, and pair bonding is relatively recent thing.”

    What do you consider relatively recent? It looks like it may have evolved in Australopithecus to compensate for large, helpless offspring.

    In this context, i consider 10-15kya recent. I think this corresponds to the beginnings of more compact family units. Obviously, I think it’s cultural development, linked mostly to the concept of property.

    Looking at your link, though, what’s the meaning you use pair-bonding in? Because the article actually sort of supports what i’m to saying, that most of homo sapiens prehistory was spent in groups and not couples (as “family” units).

  • Yeah, as much as that “Sex at Dawn” book irritates me (ask any primatologist about it) I do think the evidence for exclusive pair-bonding in humans is pretty darn weak.

    I honestly don’t know what to think. Heck, there’s some claim that women are less adapted to pair-bonding than men and want to “step out” every 4 to 7 years or so. However, throughout human history (at least written history) it seems its been harder to get men to commit than women.

    I’d just say humans exhibit both types of behaviors and we don’t know enough to solve all the “how much of this, how much of that” or “why” questions about them.

  • You missed this part:

    “DeSilva speculated that Australopithecus babies would have been unable to walk on their own for their first 6 to 7 months. Their mothers would have faced the challenge of finding nutrients for themselves as well as breast-feeding the babies, “and would have benefited from the help of _pair-bonded males_, older children or siblings, or a combination of these.””

    I was confused because it sounded like response to the post i made just after you 😀

    The pair bonding qualificator is peculiar DeSilva interpretation, most likely modern bias. What we know is that help is beneficial regardless from where it comes from, and it’s acknowledged in the very quote.

    Help from other males and females would be welcome, too.

  • Tomek:
    Be fair. Most of those groups consisted of individuals who were all somewhat related by blood. It’s more likely these groupings were more like “extended families” than “villages” of complete biological strangers.
    There does seem to be evidence for biological ties leading to more protection and better outcomes overall for children.
    So no, I don’t think our ancestors were all stone age hippies, experiencing “free love” and without the concept of Mother and Father.
    More likely the babies would have known their extended bio family like few today do.

  • @ Tomek

    “The pair bonding qualificator is peculiar DeSilva interpretation, most likely modern bias.”

    DeSilva is the one who did the research.

    “I do think the evidence for exclusive pair-bonding in humans is pretty darn weak.”

    “Anthropologists say the rise of male-female pair bonding was a key factor. “We see that process getting under way around 2 million years ago but becoming more pronounced around a half a million years ago,” Gray and Anderson write. With pair bonding, males had a bigger stake in defending their mates as well as their genetic progeny.
    “When fathers invested more time in nurturing the family group, the mothers didn’t have to expend as much energy — and that opened the way to more frequent births and bigger families. At least that’s the hypothesis advanced by Northwestern University’s Lee T. Gettler in the journal American Anthropologist. That, in turn, led to a population explosion among the early members of the Homo genus.”

    http://cosmiclog.nbcnews.com/_news/2011/06/17/6883618-how-fatherhood-made-us-human

    “The researchers believe the loss of these spines in humans may be related to changes in human courtship.

    “The loss of spines, they say, would result in less sensitivity and longer copulation, and may be associated with stronger pair-bonding in humans and greater paternal care for human offspring.”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-12689692

    “The study of more than 10,000 people in 18 countries seems to throw on its head the generally accepted expectations that men tend naturally towards promiscuity and women are more particular when it comes to choosing a mate.
    “But the new work – which brings together 18 surveys from Europe, the US, South America and Africa – dispelled this.
    “The research, published by Cell Press, found in western countries both men and women had on average two offspring whereas in some African societies it was as high as 11.
    “”The conventional view of promiscuous, undiscriminating males and coy, choosy females has also been applied to our own species,” said Dr Brown.
    “”It doesn’t seem to be true.””

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/5213956/Men-are-no-more-promiscuous-than-women-survey-finds.html

    (The fruit fly study that the above article references–and is the source of the belief of the ‘choosy female/promiscuous male’ theory–hasn’t had its findings replicated thus is debunked.)

    “Variation in the gene for one of the receptors for the hormone vasopressin appears to be associated with how human males bond with their partners, according to an international team of researchers.

    “The researchers found that the “334” allele of a common AVPR1A variation, the human version of avpr1a studied in voles, seemed to have negative effects on men’s relationship with their spouses.”

    http://live.psu.edu/story/34245

    Hell, even wikipedia acknowledges that humans pair bond.

    This isn’t a controversial position.

  • Typhon:
    I said EXCLUSIVELY pair-bond, and you’ve linked to some of that evidence before on Feminist Critics. I’ve also read some of it myself on my own. You didn’t need to do all the work of dragging up those links again, though I guess the newer readers might benefit from them. As for the fruit-fly study, that’s not the only piece of evidence for the “standard model” though I will agree that any papers that rely on it (in contrast with merely mentioning it) are also debunked. Alas, I’m not familiar enough with genetics literature to have any idea what all those papers would be.

    Anyway, you just strawmanned my position and proceeded to attack the strawman. I specifically said that humans exhibit both promiscuous and pair-bonding behaviors and I don’t see that as a controversial stance.

  • Oh, by the way:
    That BBC article about the survey does not convince me esp since you can find plenty of surveys saying the opposite. Indeed, around the manosphere its pretty commonly thought to be obvious (based on STD disease prevalence or prevalence of paternity fraud or sometimes both) that women tend to undercount their partners on surveys.
    By itself that might tend to support your point, until you realize just how weak and subject to manipulation most surveys are as a form of evidence.

  • @ Clarence

    By your definition of ‘pair bonding’ no animal on earth pair bonds. We are social pair bonders, definitely. In all other social pair bonding species there are extra pair couplings, in fact humans are pretty unique in that our genetic monogamy is rather high.

    The human rate of genetic monogamy is somewhere between 90-98%. In other socially pair bonding mammals it can go as low as 35%. In fact many species of song birds are more like 70% genetically monogamous.

  • Typhon:
    The extremely high rate of divorce (at nearly 50 percent) argues against a simplistic acceptance of your contention.
    http://dalrock.wordpress.com/2012/07/04/conventional-wisdom-on-the-trend-in-us-divorce-rates-may-be-about-to-change/
    I’m afraid that when given any kind of incentives at all, many people, but mostly women will often leave the pair bond.

    Regardless, human pair-bonding may “naturally” be for no more than 4 to 7 years.
    Humans are complicated.

  • I have nothing to contribute to the debate over pair bonding because I have no background in biology or evolutionary psychology (or regular psychology) and I have no idea what you’re even arguing about at this point (honestly, it kind of looks like whatever the original point of your disagreement was got lost somewhere along the way).

    I would just like to say that I am so, so glad that “hook-up culture” has completely passed me by. Seriously, I do not understand what anyone sees in it (I’m not going to say they’re wrong for doing what they do; I just have no interest in it whatever).

    As far as all this talk about females with previous partners, I think there is a meaningful distinction between women who have been in previous committed relationships and women who have been in a lot of casual “hook-ups”. I can think of no reason to hold a prejudice against the former unless they are carrying a lot of emotional baggage from past relationships with them (in which case they really shouldn’t be looking for a new relationship at all until they’ve sorted that out), but anyone looking for a long term relationship would be perfectly justified in viewing the latter with suspicion, as they have demonstrated that they are quite possibly either unable or unwilling to commit.

    Oh, and Clarence: I do not rank people on a scale of attractiveness, I have never done so, I think that doing so is imbecilic, none of my close associates do so, and your descriptions do not reflect any locker room conversation which I can recall, so it would be best not to assume such a monolithic view of male sexuality.

  • HidingFromTheDinoSaurs:

    Without knowing :
    A. Who your friends are
    B. What their sexual orientation is
    C. How old you were in said locker rooms
    I am totally unqualified to comment on them.
    I will simply say that the “ranking system” is highly prevalent even in the wider culture, and I do not much care how “imbecilic” you think it is. It is , by all evolutionary and psychological accounts I have seen, how most males think. I presume you are saying that neither you, nor any of your friends, ranks females (assuming you are het) by attractiveness, and quite frankly I find that extremely unlikely. More likely they wouldn’t tell you as you would just call them “imbecilic”.

  • I said EXCLUSIVELY pair-bond

    What do you mean by “exclusively”? I can drive a dump truck over a golf course but it doesn’t mean that it was designed to serve as a golf cart. Some species have evolved weird traits to cope with changing mating conditions. There’s an aquarium fish you could buy that’s evolved to change its sex from male to female if it doesn’t see enough other females in the fish tank. What happens to humans when they switch from their evolved pair-bonding traits into more promiscuous traits? We already know that male penises don’t become bony and it’s never easy to get over the loss of a mate, and that very few people are out there with kids from more than one partner who aren’t dependent on social safety nets to survive. I’m asking this as a serious question. I know what Typhon means when she defines different levels of pair bonding, but I’m not sure what others are referring to.

  • Clarence:

    I was referring specifically to the ranking system based on a 1-10 numerical, which is the one you mentioned. I obviously notice different attractive qualities or levels of physical attractiveness in different people, but I do not believe they can be meaningfully quantified. I have several friends of various genders and sexual orientations who comment on the attractiveness of others, but they invariably do so in terms of specific physical qualities and generally not in comparison to any other person. I believe that the only reason the numerical ranking system you keep referring to is so widespread in our culture is that so much media is devote to shoving down everyone’s throats from a young age as part of the socially constructed monolithic view of male sexuality. I am sick of every attempt to define and describe male sexuality being entirely alien to anything I have ever felt or experienced.

  • Typhon said: “I’m not really talking about the behaviour of humans beings in our social setting, but promiscuous animals in a promiscuous breeding system.”

    Okay, then I misread you. I assumed you were inferring from your statements about animals to the behavior of males and female humans.

    Typhon said: ” and females lose nothing from being multiply mated due to sperm competition(except that they’ll be refused by the best males unless they trick them. Which they do.)”

    I don’t see this as being correct. Female Gorilla’s lose a great deal if they have intercourse with any Gorilla other than the alpha. If the alpha finds out he will kill the babies. Females gorilla’s will clandestinely have sex with the beta males at times but it is apparently to hedge their bets. It seems they are guessing that the beta may become the alpha and if he does he will allow their offspring to survive. The females have a great deal to lose through multiple couplings.

  • “The extremely high rate of divorce (at nearly 50 percent) argues against a simplistic acceptance of your contention.”

    That is exactly what TB means when she faults people for building evo-psych on observations of superficial and recent social developments. That 50% divorce rate dates form no earlier than the 60s and the no-fault divorce law reforms. And why should it be any more indicative of genetically instinctual behavior than the almost zero rate of divorce in traditional China?

    But I still lean in your direction on this. I don’t think much of any conclusions can be drawn from marraige customs and behaviors, including divorce stats. I think the evidence is in behaviors around infidelity and frequency of sex in later years even in stable relationshios.

  • Clarence,

    “However, throughout human history (at least written history) it seems its been harder to get men to commit than women.”

    I can’t think of anything pointing to that, apart from modern stereotype.

    “Be fair. Most of those groups consisted of individuals who were all somewhat related by blood. It’s more likely these groupings were more like “extended families” than “villages” of complete biological strangers.
    There does seem to be evidence for biological ties leading to more protection and better outcomes overall for children.
    So no, I don’t think our ancestors were all stone age hippies, experiencing “free love” and without the concept of Mother and Father.
    More likely the babies would have known their extended bio family like few today do.”

    You mean fair to DeSilva? I am. This is modern bias (ok, most likely by journalist and not the scientist, so indeed perhaps i am not fair). The studies you mention (i suppose you mean that) are about our society. They tells us that children raised by stepparents in our environment are, for example, at bigger risk of dom. violence compared to children raised by biological nuclear families. But about that subject, it tells us nothing, because the environment is different, and even more, the comparison isn’t between non-biological and biological couple but between different things (and that’s only a start). So we know nothing, and there is no reason to limit our thinking about this situation to the help to “immediate” family.

    But yes, such a small group basically means everyone is bonded with everyone, of course not to the same extent, and that they are all related by blood more or less. It’s also quite conductive to cooperation and makes humans suspectible to social pressure, since you depend on the group. I don’t want to use the term extended family because it conjures an image of rural peasant medieval family for me, and it’s quite different animal. And while i don’t think of them as of “free love hippies”, i bet their concepts of “Mother and Father” were wildly different.

    This reminds me, by the way, of another suspicious assumption in original Typhon’s post. Namely, human fecundity – it’s based on moder humans, and we don’t know how it was in different environment – it is possible that our relatively polluted and toxic environment is really bad for our fecundity, there are even things that point to it. So there’s that, too.

    Typhon,

    “DeSilva is the one who did the research.”

    Yes, research about early hominids having comparatively big infants, not research about their social life. I’m not questioning his research, but the one comment that’s, if he researched what is said in the article, isn’t substantiated at all – that’s why i called it bias. He’s not anthropologist but biologist, btw.

    Hackberry,

    “I don’t see this as being correct. Female Gorilla’s lose a great deal if they have intercourse with any Gorilla other than the alpha. If the alpha finds out he will kill the babies. Females gorilla’s will clandestinely have sex with the beta males at times but it is apparently to hedge their bets.”

    Gorillas have bigger sexual dimorphism and are less smart. Human male couldn’t do that without huge danger to himself.

  • Gingko:

    No fault divorce removed a societal and legal constraint, and the changes that came with it often removed some of the economic constraint as well. When women are given a choice, divorces go considerably up.

    Now your larger point is right, but the fact is if we are arguing socialization versus biology, I don’t see how removing a social constraint makes a given phenomenon more likely to be socially mediated rather than less.

  • Correction: DeSilva works at anthro faculty, though, so he seems a bit of interdisciplinary guy.

  • dungone:
    I know it was easy to miss, but I think I already answered your question.
    I think it’s very possible that some humans are not inclined to pair bond at all. Thus we are not a “universal” pair bonding species. It seems the vast majority of het human females are down with serial monogamy, and probably most men would be as well if we would insist on fathers having contact with their children and not make divorce such a horrid mess. And some het people don’t ever want to get married or have kids. I think it’s actually wrong to think we can totally classify human sexuality by the more limited options that animals display in the wild.

  • Clarence:
    Concerning the 1-10 rating system for attractivity:
    What is the meaning of: This woman is a x (x being an integer between 1 and 10)?
    How would a man determine the number of a particular woman?

  • @ Tomek

    “Yes, research about early hominids having comparatively big infants, not research about their social life. ”

    There can only be inferences used on physical evidence. So, yes, he is researching their social life by inferring from the physical evidence.

    @ Clarence

    Human’s sexual anatomy, their hormonal systems, their genetics, even the near universality of pair-bonding in cultures around the world (most relationships are one man/one woman even in societies where polygyny is practiced as an acceptable form of social welfare for women), the psychologically problematic effects of promiscuity(and the correlation between its expression and people subject to abuse) all suggest pair-bonding as their reproductive model. Not only that but biologists _accept_ that humans are pair bonders and consider this non-controverisal. Look at how often biologists will simply reference the pair-bonded nature of human beings in a offhand manner, as in, ‘I study song birds which I believe to be a good model for pair-bonding in humans’. Finally, studies show our genetic monogamy is unusually high as well relative to other animals that practice social monogamy. I’m baffled why you continue to assert otherwise.

    If a species is pair-bonding (which ours is) an alpha male wasting his time with sub par females, increasing the odds of having what nature values about him–his fertility–ravaged by disease and at the very best leaving behind socially maladjusted poor quality children(if not a string of dead babies), is not going to be an evolved behaviour. Hunkering down with ms. alpha and producing successful alpha babies is going to be his evolved behaviour.

    Lack of father-involvement isn’t deadly in our society because we compensate with welfare; it would be deadly at any other point in our evolutionary pre-history. And even now lack of father involvement is correlated with poor outcomes for children both social and emotional (even controlling for family income). Human children are evolved to require father care. Human men are evolved to provide it.

    Pleasure thus, for mr. alpha, will come primarily in raising and producing children who will then go on to successfully produce grandkids. This is what he would be evolved to do.

    Now even if we assume mr. alpha is part of a promiscuous breeding system, he still wouldn’t have evolved to take pleasure in having sex with women of lower status then himself for exactly the reasons I mention. He has a limited resource; they do not. He wants to reserve his limited resource for his best options not waste it on skanky bar denizens.

    In both cases male human behaviour is off-kilter. It doesn’t resemble the behaviour of males in a promiscuous breeding system or those in a pair bonding system. Thus it must be socialized behaviour.

    In fact I suspect that a great deal of this behaviour can be explained as a sublimated religious urge. The resemblance of the ideal female to androgenous angelic beings; the worshipful attitude that men take in their presence; the association throughout history between religious ecstasy and orgasm; the violent attitudes towards the various heresies that reject female sexuality or are implied to reject it(homosexuality, MGTOW); the apostate nature of male virgins; the strange facination/repulsion our society has for men who desire the female form to the point of doing violence; our obsession that men desire women at the same time they are punished for doing so, men are expected to act like believers in the presence of the Holy, deeply fascinated but ultimately unworthy. Our most influential religion has made a direct tie between the female body and God, after all.

    Anyway, moving on to the divorce rate of 50% initiated mostly by women.

    Paleotologists are suggesting that the primal form of parental care is paternal. That is, female dinosaurs would lay eggs then abandon their offspring for the males to raise (going off to find another male to lay eggs with.) As an evolved behaviour this makes sense since the male will be more invested in offspring he doesn’t know he can replace; and the female less so since the egg making facilities are always with her.

    In terms of human beings, we may be seeing a resurgence of this archaic female behaviour, but with a twist.

    Since we essentially pay women not to abandon their children, they’re more inclined to keep them around rather then following the archaic model of maternal abandonment(although they still do, despite it being deincentivized). So actual abandonment becomes soft abandonment in the form of neglecting children from previous relationships in favour of those from new relationships.

    This explains why children are more likely to survive in single-father households and why single-fathers are more likely to invest heavily in their offspring then single-mothers. This may also explain the historic preference for father-custody.

    (As an aside I find it deeply ironic that our society essentially pays women to parent and punishes men for being parents and still thinks men are the deadbeats.)

  • “Now your larger point is right, but the fact is if we are arguing socialization versus biology, I don’t see how removing a social constraint makes a given phenomenon more likely to be socially mediated rather than less.”

    Right. True. I am just saying that we can’t deduce evolutionary development based on this or that that social manifestation.

    “I think it’s very possible that some humans are not inclined to pair bond at all. ”

    Okay, now we are getting somewhere. I thnk it’s very possible that some humans are not lactase persistent, are not all capable of digesting kelp, not all capable of living on an almost purely carnivorous diet, not all capable of living on almost purely plant diet… What species is going to survive very long putting all its evolutionary eggs in one behavioral or physiological or even anatomical basket? Well, koalas – and look where that has landed them.

  • @ Ginko

    Sure there are some humans who are inclined not to pair bond.

    They’re probably the ones their tribes pushed off a cliff.

  • Typhon,

    “There can only be inferences used on physical evidence. So, yes, he is researching their social life by inferring from the physical evidence.”

    And the physical evidence is that they had comparatively large infants and lived in groups. The conclusion shouldn’t be that A. were pair bonding, that’s just one hypothesis. But all this based on news article, so it’s not particularly important.

    BUT WAIT!

    Remember how i said (to Clarence) that it’s probably modern bias of journalist. Turns out that Jeremy DeSilva indeed didn’t say this, in fact he wrote something different entirely (oh the joys of science reporting)

    (from the abstract)

    “Carrying such proportionately large infants may have limited arboreality in Australopithecus females and may have selected for alloparenting behavior earlier in human evolution than previously thought. ”

    Alloparenting. Not pair bonding (as was described in article, i’m not sure how do you define that yourself)

  • Different folks, different strokes. Some tribes turn their gay and intersex people into shamans, some into bonfires. It just varies. So following that analogy, we can’t know for sure what someone’s genetic proclivities are because they may be so deeply motivated to stay closeted and mask thier observable behavior. This may go on for centuries and millenia. The trait won’t get selected out because it’s effectivley not being expressed, not in a way that result in selective pressure.

    Humans have some pretty undeniable anatomical and physiological features that suit group sex or promiscuity. That doesn’t make it the whole story or even a major part. We also have some major aquatic adaptations, for that matter, hardly the whole story of that either.

  • @ Tomek

    “Alloparenting. Not pair bonding (as was described in article, i’m not sure how do you define that yourself)”

    Pair-bonding comes from a quote by DeSilva himself. Likely he uses alloparenting as a catch-all in the summary.

    From the actual paper:

    ‘During this first year, a female Australopithecus would have faced the challenge of obtaining nutrients to sustain herself and to breast-feed a growing infant, and would have benefited from the help of pair-bonded males (56–58), older children or siblings (59), or a combination of all these (60)”

    ” The contribution of grandmothers would probably have been negligible in Australopithecus given the likelihood of female transfer and evidence that extended lifespans did not evolve until H. erectus (61) or even later in Pleistocene H. sapiens (62). There are comparative data to support the connection between a large IMMR and increased male parental care and/or alloparenting. It has been shown in primates, for instance, that birthing of relatively large neonates is correlated with shared postpartum care (63).”

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3024680/?tool=pubmed

    Saying that the female Australopithecus needed help raising her young and that she got it from ‘older children’ makes no sense. Who helped her raise those older children? And she may have also got help from her siblings, but, again, what happens if her (female) siblings are also pregnant. This leaves her pair-bonded mate as her best choice, her brothers as her second best, older children as third and sisters as fourth.

  • @ Ginko

    “Humans have some pretty undeniable anatomical and physiological features that suit group sex or promiscuity.”

    I’m pretty unconvinced by the evidence.

    Male humans having larger testis then gorillas… Which could be compensating for an occult female estrus–more sperm increases the fertile window, which becomes necessary when synchronizing sperm delivery and female fertility becomes suddenly far more difficult without visual or scent cues.

    And… a bunch of researchers using a dildo without an active foreskin to scoop corn starch out of a cylinder. If you include the action of the foreskin, the corona of the glans will more likely scoop other men’s sperm into a man’s foreskin and end up with him carrying around another man’s seed to be deposited into the women _he_ ends up having sex with later. Not very advantageous.

  • It means that it took the efforts of the whole tribe in raising young. “pair bonded male” is just used as an example.

    I think speculations are both valuable and fun. I have issues with presenting speculations as facts but even then it’s not really a big deal to me (in this context). So please, my unconvinced state of mind is nothing more than just that. Have at it. Speculate away.

  • @ debaser

    “It means that it took the efforts of the whole tribe in raising young.”

    Did you read the quoted sections? The most likely ‘alloparent’ is the father himself at least in the early stages of our evolution. The other likely parent is the mother’s brother–but, still, this is far more tenuous. All other potential ‘alloparents’ either required the investment of an original ‘alloparent’ to be so (older children) or would be compromised by pregnancy and nursing themselves(sisters.)

    Extended lifespans apparently hadn’t evolved by then so no grandmothers or grandfathers.

  • Just to let everyone know, a couple of DaisyDeadhead’s comments got caught in the spam filter. I’ve freed them. They’re fairly early in the thread.

  • @ Clarence

    I actually misread the universality of what you were asserting, so, my apologies. Yes, there could still be individual humans without a pair-bonding instinct who are, instead, promiscuous.

    Sociopaths seem to be inclined that way for starters. Which is not a dig at the theory, just an observation.

  • I didn’t understand the post at all. It seems to be written for young people. Am I supposed to know what “hook-up culture” consists of? I’ve been ‘pair-bonded’ for 25 years now, so I’m sorry, I haven’t a clue.

    (sigh)

    The online age-divide is getting worse and worse, but I guess that’s another topic.

    @Daisy, I thought that “hook-up culture” was a phrase invented by old people to describe young people. I recall first hearing it out of the lips of breathless TV reporters describing the fact that young women were sleeping with guys they barely even know. CNN had called it the sexual nihilism of the modern woman. The general thrust of it has been that it’s demeaning to women and I think you’re right that there’s an element of an age gap involved. It’s something that I think women “my age” have chosen to do for themselves and I think that men are largely disadvantaged by it, but older people seem to think that guys “my age” are not willing to recognize women’s own agency in this.

  • Please strike these words in order for my above sentence to make sense (sorry I have a bad headache):

    “have chosen to do for themselves and I think that men are largely disadvantaged by it, but older people —-seem to think that guys “my age”—- are not willing to recognize women’s own agency in this.”

  • It’s something that I think women “my age” have chosen to do for themselves and I think that men are largely disadvantaged by it, but older people are not willing to recognize women’s own agency in this.

  • @anyone that is interested
    One question that I’d like to ask people who think humans are not pair-bonders is: Why do women care about their men’s fidelity at all? Because it doesn’t make much sense to me for a female to be possessive of a male mate unless she is pair-bonded with him. Whereas it always makes _some_ sense for a male to be possessive of a female mate regardless of mating system.

    @HidingFromtheDinosaurs
    I agree about the 1-10 scale (or any hotness-scale) being moot. Every attempt I’ve made to define an ideal women’s body has always ended up either too inclusive or too specific.

  • Because maybe possessiveness and jealousy are natural traits humans exhibit….and how this plays out in sexuality is a by product of these traits. Or maybe it’s due to culture.

  • Hey every1/Typhoon.
    I saw the original article and comments on avfm webpage. I’m not sure I’m willing to buy this theory.
    Two caveats that made accepting this idea easier was:
    #1 when you said this would be a deeply buried drive more ancient than most other drives that would have evolved during upright posture.
    #2 when you said that it was maladaptive, like people gorging on carbs

    I agree that women getting as much cock as they can would indeed be getting their inner ape on (for a number of reasons, one of which may or not be your personal theory around promiscuous drives).

    However, even with the above qualifiers I have some problems with this theory.

    First off it places too much importance on the sperm wars concept (of which I have read a little). It hasn’t been until the last 100 years or so in which men have been exposed to a number of environmental factors that sperm health was so important.

    From the little readings I have had of history, men have traditionally been able to conceive children up until death. When you take the issue of declining male fertility out of the loop and accept that healthy-looking men could easily conceive it explains a lot of game theory of much more powerful drives in women to exclusively (unless w/out options) to mate with high caliber men. Having multiple swim teams from men which include beta and lower class men might make for a great sperm, but if sperm health isn’t an issue because all men have high conception rates, then women who are most attracted to alpha characteristics will out-breed those women who don’t because their offspring will be better survivors, warriors and manipulators, more outgoing and more able to build loyalty among others.

    When you remove the idea of sperm health being a factor (which I don’t know why it would have been) the drive in women would be for the best mate (for his genes), not in getting multiple swim teams battling it out and possibly get inferior genes.

  • @ John D

    “First off it places too much importance on the sperm wars concept (of which I have read a little).”

    I suggest you read more about sperm competition.

    Here’s a place to start:

    http://www.liv.ac.uk/researchintelligence/issue39/promiscuity.htm

    It’s a study on fruit flies that found that the absence of sperm competition caused populations to go extinct. Our beliefs about male promiscuity and female coyness were established mostly based on fruit fly studies (That haven’t been replicated thus are debunked.)

    Note this from the article:

    “This could explain why females of most species – from insects to mammals – have
    multiple mates, despite this being more risky for the individual.”

    “When you remove the idea of sperm health being a factor ”

    Sperm competition does more then improve sperm health. It prevents delirious genes from propagating throughout the generations.

  • “@anyone that is interested
    One question that I’d like to ask people who think humans are not pair-bonders is: Why do women care about their men’s fidelity at all? Because it doesn’t make much sense to me for a female to be possessive of a male mate unless she is pair-bonded with him. Whereas it always makes _some_ sense for a male to be possessive of a female mate regardless of mating system.”

    I’ll take a stab at this….

    well, a man would be interested in fidelity because it would let him be confident in the paternity of his children….

    a woman would be interested in fidelity because even a millionaire only has so much in resources….

    both partners might also want exclusivity because they might not want exposure to STD’s…

    Also, there might be other reasons harder to pin down… I remember seeing a comedy show a long while back where a guy was marrying a beautiful woman. She wanted no secrets between them so she revealed that she was in a Playboy type magazine at one point. The show consists of the guy being very jealous and upset as he didn’t want other men seeing his future wife to finally accepting it and saying “They get the pictures, I get the real woman.”

  • It is kind of an elegant theory that you put forth, but what about the very observable phenomenon of women’s sexuality being treated as a scarce resource? If women really benefit more by mating with multiple men, you’d have them doling sexual favours out to all and sundry now that they are quite free to make their own choices in society? Prostitution wouldn’t arise if women were willing to mate with most men. Why would you pay good coin for something that is freely available, i.e. the sexual favour of a woman?

    Is this mentality of women’s sexuality being a scarce resource a cultural phenomenon? I find that hard to believe.

  • “It is kind of an elegant theory that you put forth, but what about the very observable phenomenon of women’s sexuality being treated as a scarce resource? If women really benefit more by mating with multiple men, you’d have them doling sexual favours out to all and sundry now that they are quite free to make their own choices in society?’

    Well there is more to it than that, because this is about a reproductive strategy, not a strategy to get laid. There is more to reproduction than sex.

    Promiscuity is going to work towards getting woman the best quality of sperm, but it is going to work against getting protection and provision for her kids, and herself for that matter, out of men. She needs to get one or two men to focus their resources on her, and as they say, when everyone is watching the kid, no one is watching the kid.

    So it’s not just a phenomenon specific to this or that culture. The pattern of females relying on males to bring in the protein in the group’s diet and also to maintain the intergrity of the group’s territory even for collecting the carbs abd whatnot, is very, very old.

  • Back in the days of roving tribal bands all members were related. They all share genes. This idea of one man focusing only on his children is simply an assertion.

  • You mean the men were all related, I hope. Hopefuly the women were not realted to the men they were having sex with.

    The men were related to each other, but not equally, so that right there is going to introduce some differentiation into how specific men are going to care about specific kids.

    Also it is quite likely to be the case at any specific time that completely unrelated men had been recruited into the band, either as kidnapped boys or as adult men who for whatever reason did not have a band of their own to belong to.

    Roving tribal bands – the size of the band realy matters. It’s one thing f you are tlaking about groups in places like the Great Basin or the Mojave Desert, where they are perforce going to be small and as you say, almost all the men are oging to be closely related. But striclty speaking the huge combined camp of Lakota and Cheyenne that demolished Custer’s people were a “roving hunting band.” Not the same thing at all.

    Also remember that not all early societies were nomadic and small. Do not commit the presentist mistake of thinking all foragers (hunter-gatheres) lived in Kalahari-poor environments. Pre-Neolithic Japan, California, the Pacific Northwest, Britain and Ireland, and Northern Germany had extremely rich resource bases that supported large populations in complex societies, the extent of having class systems.

    Salmon runs were at the base of a lot of these societies. In the PNW for instance salmon were caught from specific spots passed down from father to son and all this was tightly regulated. Every spot was taken and had been held for innumerable generations (barring a disaster like that lahar off of Rainier that wiped out the whole Puyallup valley 500 years ago right down to the tideflats.) So anyway, men had a very strong interest in knowing which kids were theirs, at least sons.

  • Since a lot of this conversation hinges on evolution I am talking as far back as one can go and still consider humans human. And tribes of about 30 people, all (at least) cousins. What did these people evolve? If you are telling me they evolved to be pair bonders, I disagree.

    I contend that humans evolved to desire orgasm. From here human sexuality is mostly determined by culture and environmental constraints. Human nature is sexual lust, not pair bonding to fulfill some far off reproductive strategy. Now if one wants to say that sex helps to create and maintain bonds then yeah, I agree, but that doesn’t only mean man/woman pairs.

    Sorry to sort of gloss over your comment Ginko, it’s just that I am not accepting one of the premises TB is trying to establish. But in response, if you consider evolution to be happening on the level of the gene then it’s easy to see how relatives have a stake in (for example) their cousins offspring. Because they share the same genes. And just because a society is promiscuous where father / child relationship are unknown, doesn’t mean men all of a sudden stop caring about the children. Quite the opposite. In a promiscuous society all children benefit from all the men caring about them. Since 1) it might be your kid and 2) if it’s not your kid then it’s relative’s kid.

    Anyway as you know it’s much easier to make an assertion than it is to debunk one. So again, I state that speculation is fun. But I’ll add that I have no desire to “argue” about speculations. There’s nothing wrong with being unconvinced and skeptical.

  • @ Behemoth

    “Is this mentality of women’s sexuality being a scarce resource a cultural phenomenon?”

    Yep. If you go back far enough the roles were switched. Women were sexually insatiable and it was _men_ who kept their base desires in line.

    A belief in male promiscuity and female coyness is not consistent throughout time or culture.

    @ debaser71

    “What did these people evolve? If you are telling me they evolved to be pair bonders, I disagree.”

    Humans didn’t evolve to be pair bonders because the evidence is suggesting that hominids, several speciations before humans, evolved to be pair-bonders.

    The evidence is overwhelming that humans are pair-bonders. Anatomical evidence, sociological evidence, hormonal evidence, genetic evidence, cultural evidence, anthropological evidence.

    What is your evidence that they’re not? A hook up culture that’s existed for maybe sixty years (compared to the far more prevalent method of arranged marriage throughout the world and historically)? Extra-marital sex? Cuckoldry is actually only a reality for a pair-bonded species, in promiscuous species the males make no claim on any particular female.

  • “The evidence is overwhelming that humans are pair-bonders. Anatomical evidence, sociological evidence, hormonal evidence, genetic evidence, cultural evidence, anthropological evidence.”

    This is an assertion. There’s nothing more to say.

  • Clarence, the men I work with routinely call women by numbers, so I agree with you. There are only 3 women (and we’re a hardy lot!) and about 18-20 men, so they routinely forget we are there (since maybe only one of us working at a time) and often talk to each like we aren’t. And I’ve been listening! In retail, men will say to each other: get out on the sales floor, dude, there is a “two” or “three” out there! (It took me a few times hearing that, to figure out they meant an attractive woman) Then the guy comes back in and declares her a five, and they argue. Every time. Even over the women I would have thought would be universally agreed upon. Not necessarily!

    But I don’t know women who talk like this, and never have heard similar from women. The rating system, I mean. Only if they are asked, they don’t “volunteer” it to each other the way men do.

    Just anecdotal, not meant to be scientific.

    Dungone: @Daisy, I thought that “hook-up culture” was a phrase invented by old people to describe young people.

    I think you mean Tom Wolfe, who first popularized the phrase nationally in an essay of the same name (I think that was the name of it?). Possibly. But the “culture” part is what I refer to. I am as clueless as Hiding is. I agree w/Dungone in that older people still think girls are largely “innocent”, but I sure don’t. I AM agreeing with Clarence about the rating system.

    I don’t believe all humans pair bond. I am confused about why TB is so invested in the idea. Its long been used to discredit men for their (usually higher) sex drives and being non-monogamous. Its like, if “humans are pair-bonders” (and you are claiming 98% are!) and a guy (or a female either, but it is usually a guy) is not interested in pair-bonding, then he is deemed less than human. And that is what women call such a man, an ANIMAL (pig, dog, etc). Why would you want to perpetuate that form of unfairness towards men? I mean, even *I* agree that its unfair. I actually think we need to DE EMPHASIZE the whole morality-thing around pair bonding, to give men an even break. It would also be fairer to women who are openly shopping for husbands/committed relationships, if men were encouraged to be honest about this and not play games as the culture tells them they should (to get girls).

    I agree with Clarence that when women are given choices, as many of them are inclined NOT to pair bond as men are, we just haven’t been given those choices until recently in history.

    Some women do not want to have babies. Really. Given the chance, they won’t. Given the chance, a certain percentage of women will act as men have historically acted (sexually and otherwise).

    I feel like I am reading some Christian or evo-psych test, reducing people to sperms and eggs and penises and uteri, and we are more than that. Or so I thought.

    How does the concept of reproduction as THE guiding evolutionary behavior, have anything to do with the existence of GLBTs and/or heterosexuals with no interest in reproducing?

    (/don’t get it)

  • Yeesh, correction: There are only 3 women (and we’re a hardy lot!) and about 18-20 men, so they routinely forget we are there (since maybe only one of us IS working at a time) and often talk to each OTHER like we aren’t.

    Sorry.

  • @Daisy:

    But I don’t know women who talk like this, and never have heard similar from women. The rating system, I mean. Only if they are asked, they don’t “volunteer” it to each other the way men do.

    Yeah, the numbers-rating for looks seems to be something only men do. I’ve never come across women doing that, but I have come across men doing it.

    The closest equivalent behavior I can think of from women is when some women talk about how “well trained” a man or a boy is. I’ve rarely if ever heard men talk about women that way, and it seems similarly distasteful IMO.

  • In the past 25 years or so the only people I’ve seen do the numbers games are women. Maybe it’s a regional thing.

  • oops hit post….I was going to add that, again, maybe this is a regional thing, but it is seen as crass for men to be so open about who they think is hot but it’s perfectly fine for women to do it. I’ll also add that women can be very harsh towards other women in regards to their appearances….MUCH more so than men. Again, this is only what I personally observe.

  • I don’t believe all humans pair bond. I am confused about why TB is so invested in the idea. Its long been used to discredit men for their (usually higher) sex drives and being non-monogamous.

    It’s really quite simple. Use the same standards and criteria that you would use for any other species when deciding whether they are pair-bonders or not. I think TB is interested in being consistent, precise, and less interested in cultural stereotypes about men or women.

    But I don’t know women who talk like this, and never have heard similar from women. The rating system, I mean. Only if they are asked, they don’t “volunteer” it to each other the way men do.

    Yeah, but I wonder about the puzzled looks that men who evolved this ratings system must have given to one another before Aryabhata came along. Maybe they’d extend their hands a certain distance apart the way guys sometimes do to convey the size of a fish they’d caught…

  • Would you say more women or men are interested in pair-bonding? Which gender tends to seek this out more and who penalizes the opposite gender more for NOT participating?

    If your answer is women (quite honestly: can’t tell if it is), how is that any different from God assigning women responsibility for keeping the human race going, and keeping the wayward mens in line with our superior morality?

    Same as it ever was.

    This is the standard feminist line. I am just kinda surprised to be reading it here from TB, I guess. And you too.

  • @ Daisy

    ” Its long been used to discredit men for their (usually higher) sex drives and being non-monogamous.”

    Well since I’m *also* arguing that if we do have a vestigial promiscuous instinct that women would be more inclined to promiscuity then men… 🙂

    @ debaser71

    “This is an assertion. There’s nothing more to say.”

    *twitch*

  • @ Daisy

    “Would you say more women or men are interested in pair-bonding? Which gender tends to seek this out more and who penalizes the opposite gender more for NOT participating?”

    Neither is more interested in pair bonding.

    Our pair-bonding instincts evolved well before bank accounts and the concept of ‘wealth’. They apparently evolved before grandparents and extended family as well.

  • @Daisy:

    I don’t believe all humans pair bond.
    […]
    I agree with Clarence that when women are given choices, as many of them are inclined NOT to pair bond as men are, we just haven’t been given those choices until recently in history.
    […]
    I feel like I am reading some Christian or evo-psych test, reducing people to sperms and eggs and penises and uteri, and we are more than that. Or so I thought.

    Yeah, I’m with you on this one. I do think our species has pair bonding tendencies, but IMO there are too many counter-examples in human behavior for that to be the complete picture. And in general it’s hard to make assertions about these things with a high degree of confidence, due to numerous possible confounding factors.

  • Clarence:
    “Jupp:
    Read
    http://heartiste.wordpress.com/2009/02/11/female-beauty-from-1-to-10/
    And make up your own mind.”

    When this is the best explanation of the beauty rating system you offer, I hve to conclude, that this grade giving is just a game (like grading of soccer players). Being fascinated by the female body many guys obviously like this game, but I don’t see reasonable people taking these numbers seriously and see them as a guide to their mating behaviour.

  • @ Xakudo

    I have provided a lot of evidence that we’re pair-bonders. Anthropological. Genetic. Hormonal. Anatomical. Everyone in the other camp (promiscuous breeders) has offered nothing comparable.

    In fact if you don’t accept the evidence as it stands, then you also have to accept that there are no actual pair bonding species on the entire planet because the same evidence I’m presenting is the evidence used to classify other species as pair bonders. You guys aren’t just arguing that humans aren’t pair bonders, you’re arguing that pair-bonding simply can’t exist! It’s mythical!

    For starters we have one of the highest rates of genetic monogamy(90-98%) among socially monogamous mammals and birds. Other socially monogamous species can have genetic monogamy as low as 35%! That’s 65% of all young being fathered by a male other then the pair bonded female’s mate! Song birds’ genetic monogamy is around 70%.

    Being socially monogamous does not mean that cuckolding doesn’t happen (or isn’t even the rule), it means that the species raises its young in pairs. As it so happens, humans are likely even more adapted to genetic monogamy then any other pair-bonding species on the planet.

    Please for the love of god, would you people read these things I’m linking too!

  • @ Titfortat

    “Im curious, as a female, where do you fit in this outlook? ;)”

    In what sense?

    I think if pair bonding is a ‘trait’ I’m probably on the ‘strong’ end of that trait.

  • Typhon:
    You’ve provided strong evidence that other species are pair-bonders. You haven’t provided very strong evidence that humans are pair-bonders in the same exact sense. Indeed, humans seem to possess traits and biological features that can go both ways.

    I don’t know why humans being more flexible than other animals is any shock to you. We are probably the most complex organism on this planet due to our brains, and the genes and hormones and (quantum effects? whatever else)other things that make us human and not the mere equivalent of a dog. *I* don’t expect our sexual behaviors to be simplistic.

  • Let me explain a bit more:
    Many het people -probably a majority (spread out at different points along their breeding years) – would like to or at least be willing to pair-bond and produce a child or some children.
    But clearly this “staying together forever” business “through thick and thin” doesn’t seem to be something that very many people are very good at or desire, esp among the females of the species. Raising children to adulthood takes roughly 15 to 16 years biologically (more, in terms of legal standards and educational expectations in modern societies) and is best done with the combined resources and attention of two biological parents, yet if there’s anything to the “7 year itch” many women can’t really be trusted at that point in time to want to keep the marriage together. But then, unless you believe God designed all this stuff, there’s no reason for evolution to perfectly match need and desire. All evolution has to do is be “good enough”, and thus I suspect many of us harbor competing sexual impulses at times, impulses that don’t always lead to optimal outcomes if they are followed.

    Serial monogamy for most, with culture being able to do such things as affect the amount of cuckoldry and cheating is how I suspect things really are. Divorce seems a powerful incentive, which is probably why it wasn’t just regulated but outright banned for so long. Quite a few either want multiple partners or don’t want children or a pair bond at all.

  • One possibility I haven’t seen mentioned here is that we may have several behavioral patterns, and they may have different purposes.

    When it comes to actual reproduction, pair bonding makes the most sense for us. It Ensures the most paternal involvmet, and if you think further into it, it puts an emphasis on paternal lineages, which makes for more strongly organized clans.bands,tribes.

    But when it comes to recreational sex, promiscuity makes more sense.

    And we certainly see a lot of that across a wide range of cultures. in Ireland the Breathamh legal code recognized as legal relationships both actual marriages resulting in kids who could inherit but than also a variety of mistress/stable boy relationships. In France before the revolution it was considered pathetic to challenge your wife’s lovers to duels – why would they have such a rule unless the situation arose often enough to need a rule? In China not only did wives choose their husbands’ licit girlfirends, but there were quite elegant brothels for gentlemen of means that were staffed with what we would call courtesans. Of course there is the geisha culture of Japan. Recreational sex, and often with no real ficky-ficky involved.

    So really in the question of pair-bonders vs. night crawlers, the answer probably is yes.

  • @ Clarence

    “Raising children to adulthood takes roughly 15 to 16 years biologically (more, in terms of legal standards and educational expectations in modern societies) and is best done with the combined resources and attention of two biological parents, yet if there’s anything to the “7 year itch” many women can’t really be trusted at that point in time to want to keep the marriage together.”

    Child rearing, for humans, is ‘best done’ in an extended family. That’s why human females limit their fertility by going through menopause–to ensure that their _grandkids_ survive.

    The nuclear family is an unnatural model as is the expectation that a married couple get everything from each other. Further our society itself is unnatural. Archaic humans likely never encountered more then a dozen suitable mates in their entire lives. Us modern humans can encounter that in one day.

    This level of temptation, stress and pressure–introduced by high density populations–is likely why we had such strict rules against screwing around for most of human history. It was an attempt to ‘shore up’ pair-bonding in an artificial situation.

    If we took humans and put them back into that old way of life–nomadic hunters–likely we’d see a lot less dysfunction in pair-bonding. Not the least of which being a result of men and women having to depend more heavily on each other for their day-to-day subsistence. That kind of vulnerability and cooperation induces feelings of love.

  • @typhon:
    You can volunteer to be a Nomadic hunter. For me, personally, I’d rather be exploring or settling the other planets in the system . I’m convinced if we survive our destiny is eventually in the stars.

  • This level of temptation, stress and pressure–introduced by high density populations–is likely why we had such strict rules against screwing around for most of human history. It was an attempt to ‘shore up’ pair-bonding in an artificial situation.

    That’s not necessarily a complete picture. Many of the rules limited pair bonding, created to shore up the government’s grip over the population rather than shoring up pair bonding itself. On the other hand, governments themselves would damage pair bonding when they harnessed men to go fight wars and perform dangerous jobs. And then by compensating for the loss of men with creating social programs for single mothers. And then they’d have to compensate for all of this by creating sanctions against the resultant screwing around, which likely spread disease and civil unrest.

  • @Typhonblue:

    Please for the love of god, would you people read these things I’m linking too!

    I haven’t been following the comment thread very closely. I mostly jumped in when I noticed the spam-filtered comments from Daisy. I did read the OP, and I actually was a little off-put by the lack of source material for evidence. Maybe include your references in the OP next time, especially when in relation to something as controversial as evo-psych?

    For starters we have one of the highest rates of genetic monogamy(90-98%) among socially monogamous mammals and birds. Other socially monogamous species can have genetic monogamy as low as 35%! That’s 65% of all young being fathered by a male other then the pair bonded female’s mate! Song birds’ genetic monogamy is around 70%.

    Being socially monogamous does not mean that cuckolding doesn’t happen (or isn’t even the rule), it means that the species raises its young in pairs. As it so happens, humans are likely even more adapted to genetic monogamy then any other pair-bonding species on the planet.

    Fair enough. I didn’t realize other pair-bonding species had such low percentages. Moreover, I might have gotten confused by colloquial usage anyway, which has much stricter standards. Indeed, it sounds like no species is pair-bonding in the colloquial sense.

    In any case, I have no problem calling our species pair-bonding by the standard you’ve outlined in the quoted text above, which is apparently the scientific standard, and the one that is realistic. I do think there is a natural inclination in our species, on average, for long-term sexual companionship (and other things that come with that). If there are cultures past or present where those tendencies have not been expressed, I am unaware of them.

    I do also think our species has a propensity for sexual promiscuity as well, though. I don’t necessarily see it as an either/or thing. However, it’s not clear to me to what extent that is the case, or what the implications of that are with respect to our own or other cultures.

    In any case, your OP made what seemed to me to be some pretty big leaps of faith. Though perhaps that’s just due to the lack of citations. And regardless, the assumptions you were countering with your seeming leaps-of-faith may well be just as leap-of-faithy.

    I have provided a lot of evidence that we’re pair-bonders. Anthropological. Genetic. Hormonal. Anatomical. Everyone in the other camp (promiscuous breeders) has offered nothing comparable.

    To be fair, I’m extremely skeptical of the other camp as well. It seems like a lot of people are looking at other species that share similarities with ours, and then extrapolating to areas where we don’t a-priori know if there actually are similarities.

    Just because a lion has four limbs, two eyes, lungs, and a digestive tract, and we humans do as well, doesn’t mean that we also walk on four legs. The same is true with behavior and social structure: just because we share some behavioral or social similarities with another species, doesn’t mean we can use that other species to extrapolate knowledge about our own (I’m looking at you, bonobos). It can give us some ideas for what to maybe look for, but we still have to verify our own species’ traits independently.

    @Ginkgo:

    So really in the question of pair-bonders vs. night crawlers, the answer probably is yes.

    That’s my suspicion as well, though I didn’t put it as succinctly.

    Regardless, in these matters I also view my own suspicions with suspicion. 😉 Perhaps I am simply not well versed enough in the current science that’s been done, but I’m always a little skeptical of proclamations that “this is how the human species is!”. It’s tricky to suss out what is biological vs what is socially constructed. We can start to get some ideas by looking at what seems constant across varying cultures, of course. But… dunno.

  • @ xakudo

    In this post I recognized that humans are pairbonders but also proposed a vestigial promiscuous instinct that would have evolved prior to our pairbonding instict.

    The thrust of this was to explain that, even assuming a vestigial promiscuous instinct, our culture of promiscuity and it’s stereotypes regarding male and female behavior can’t be explained without appeal to cultural factors.

    That and men aren’t naturally more promiscuous.

  • “Archaic humans likely never encountered more then a dozen suitable mates in their entire lives.”

    You don’t have to go that far back at all! That state of affairs was the norm until very recently, and frankly, only in the West.

    I am reading Vanity Fair finally – set in what, the 1820s? It’s social comment, yes, but in the form of a novel of manners, so it’s a decent anthropological source. Both men and women had a very narrow assortment of suitable marriage partners. Water water everywhere and not a drop to drink. There was all kinds of anxiety about a son or daughter exposing the whole family to ridicule by attempting too high and being rebuffed, or by stooping too low and lowering the whole family.

  • Not trying to be combative, but I’m not sure I’m buying this theory (at least in terms of it having a very large impact on women’s decisions).

    Studies on fruit flies are great, but even the author is merely positing an opinion that what they observe in fruit flies may explain why mammals have multiple mates. In other words, it’s not a study on mammals and he is not representing it as so, but is positing a “what if” opinion.

    Humans have one of the longest gestation periods of land-borne mammals, and are much more likely to have 1 offspring per pregnancy.

    Human offspring are helpless for an amazingly long time (i.e. we couldn’t be more unlike fruit flies). Couple that with the fact that in the past most men could easily conceive healthy babies (compared to today) and you have a recipe that states women who did not tie her high cost of reproduction to her low cost for sex being outbred by those who did and were very choosy in mate selection.

    That is why women’s drive for the best mate supercedes almost all other mating drives (as far as I can see).

    If this wasn’t so, then PUA tips that teach men to act like they are high status wouldn’t be so wildly popular. Maybe at some point in a very far flung four-footed past the multiple swim team concept reined supreme, but I would say this drive is way down the list of mating instincts for women.

    That’s not to say that the few statistical outlier women who love having multiple lovers in rapid succession or multiple lover sex sessions aren’t validating this drive when they have their bell rung, but as far as it being prevalent or driving women’s choices or in any way relevant to society today, I don’t see it.

  • @ John D

    The helplessness of human offspring would have just as profound an effect on men’s mating patterns as women’s.

  • @typhon

    ‘If we assume an infinite supply of sugar, fat and salt in nature we can see that obesity evolved to prevent humans with poor self control from reproducing.’

    I know you said that as a joke or sarcasm. But I actually like that theory. I do think that the obesity epidemic is a population filtering device.

  • @The points made in general

    I find it easy to agree with Typhon when she points out the “odd behaviour” of men in hook-up culture. They are most definetely not acting as they would if they had power or choice.

    Even hyper-attractive men are settling for very unattractive women. Contrary to how hollywood displays hook up culture, the women don’t look like playboy models.

    One theory I have is that this is where sexual-harassment hysteria comes into play (i.e. making men scared and frightened from being assertive or making any moves).

    Oddly enough you’ll notice that if you follow all feminist prescriptions on how to not be a proto-rapist asshole, there’s only ONE THING left for you to do —> be a hyper-sensitive and respectful guy, let women make a move on you first, let women initiate first sex, be hyper erring-on-the-side of caution etc etc.

    As everyone knows, those are actions done by the most unattractive women. Highly attractive women just do not make moves on men nor do they respond to men who ask for explicit permission.

    Feminist says: Ask women for permission “May I kiss you, you won’t mind right?”

    Attractive women respond: “ugggh that’s so creepy”

    Unattractive woman who’s happy a man shows interest goes: “wwwwooow yeeeeeey come here”.

    You can see how most of feminist prescriptions for men “coincidentally” lead to men behaving in ways which guarantee they can only mate with unattractive women.

    This is the REAL reason feminists are pissed off at nice guys. When a nice guy says “I followed all feminist prescriptions and I’m a 40 year old virgin, couldn’t get any women” -> the feminist is FURIOUS because she knows this means he rejected a whole bunch of unattractive women.

    The whole “respectful, passive, waiting-for-women to give me permission” ploy was invented by unattractive women to make sure that men act in PRECISELY the way that guarantees he mates with unattractive women.

    Same with hookup culture. It’s designed to increase the mating options of unattractive women.

  • I like much of your theories, but I’m not sure I buy this one.

    To start off with, how do homosexuals fit in this picture? Socially, we’re considered the most promiscuous of the sexually oriented on the one hand, romantically devoted companions on the other. I’m not sure which view you would endorse, but I have to admit a lot of gays are actually dependent upon hookups. It’s safe to say that we enjoy sex, tied or untied. I prefer the latter but I do derive pleasures from the former. Are you suggesting that we’re somehow ‘suppressing’ our natural tendencies when we engage in hookups? How on earth is this supposed to work? And no, sorry, social pressure or shame really does not count in this case – no amount of that would have us have sex with whom we don’t want to. Else we’d be fucking vaginas.

    You’re also completely forgetting porn, the extent to which heterosexual males and homosexuals alike would go miles to defend the right to watch it (the right that feminists likewise go miles to deprive), I’m sorry, has nothing to do with anything else than our sheer desire for sexual intercourse. Not peer pressure, not social acceptance, just pure ecstacy. To say otherwise is like saying tobacco addictions occur because it’s ‘cool’ or ‘socially acceptable’ to do so. That can be the initative but that is never be the driving force. The driving force is nicotine. In sex it’s testerone.

    In case of having sex with unattractive people, I’m sorry but I think you have to be a male to understand this. The answer is generally ‘sex > no sex.’ Period. Having sex with a person that doesn’t meet your expectations is actually better than having no sex at all. This may sound stupid, trust me it does to me now, but sometimes we just feel the urge to get laid. Yes, I agree it’s not something I am proud of, normally I feel that there needs to be some sort of emotional/mental connection before sex, but it’s an instict that is hard to defy on a purely physical level. There’s nothing to suggest that I’m coerced to this relationship by anything else. I would actually find it a lot more coercive if someone used your article to manipulate me into thinking that I’m ‘shamed’ into hookups.

    In fact all of this seem to suggest that you as part of females is naturally less sexually aggressive – simply by the fact that you just don’t get that “sex is irresistably fun,” at least for males. As for females engaging in hookups I simply don’t know their motives. Maybe they do derive from physical pleasure. Or maybe they just want to be emotionally desired for other purposes. You tell me, do you enjoy sex?

  • I’m not sure if I agree with your biological points either. You give too much significance to ‘sperms’ as a limited resource. It’s really not, 3 or 4 times a day honestly does not count as limited to me. In fact that sounds like a prime way to germinate multiple females in a short amount of time, compared to a female who can be germinated by only one male for her entire 9 months, even accepting the poor rate of conception, which in itself seems highly speculative. If sperms were non disposable, try telling that to a heap of masturbating males. Don’t tell me that’s socially enforced – I masturbated before I even knew its existence.

    Monogamy is a different issue and while I contend that it’s the norm I would argue against that it aided our survivability as a race. Oh I don’t know, ‘Intelligence’ certainly did. Without it our monogamous tendency would actually be a hinderance to our survival. I’m not even sure it’s genetic. In fact, a male marrying multiple females is a far more occurent form of polygamy than the vice versa. Why would this be if this form is not a fast way to produce multiple offsprings? There’s reason to believe that monogamy is culturally enforced and even then primarily in the west. I come from a country where patriarchal polygamy was common throughout history. 98% of our race as genetically monogamous? Our race as a civilization is a very short history compared to the long eras we endured as apes. Do we have any data whatsoever on our sexual behavior in neanderthal times, let alone prehistoric? Because times back then were more animalistic and therefore more natural without social enforcement.

    Which reminds me – natural behavior is animalistic not rational. You attach a lot of evolutionary theories of reproduction into your arguments and I respect that but almost to a point where you don’t seem to understand that genes are not always rational. Our natural impulses may have helped us in our survival but only through causality and never through intent. Sex is a means of reproduction but it is done not because of it – it’s done out of instinct (and love.) Society and the state wants to keep that in a box and recently they began naming their rational impositions as ‘natural’ so as to sustain it. I don’t want to accuse you of that, I don’t think that’s your intent. But I’m afraid you come close to prove your point.

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