The strategies of sex

15 01 2010

Some time back we ran a post by Vak, titled ‘Words of wisdom on sex’ which posed some interesting questions about the problems associated with sustaining sexual interest in a monogamous relationship. We know that generally accepted evolutionary theory shows that the reasons for and levels of interest in sex with the same person over a long period of time are very different for men and women:

“Because reproduction is the key to survival of the human species, men appear to have developed a short-term sexual strategy, as men who pursue multiple partners are more likely to out-reproduce men with one partner. Therefore, men’s mating strategies includes a desire for sexual variety making the chances higher that if reproduction is not successful with one female, it will be with another.

According to the journal article Sex Differences in Sexual Psychology Produce Sex-Similar Preferences for a Short-Term Mate: Men desire nearly five times as many sexual partners than do women over a lifetime. Men’s sexual fantasies also reveal a psychology attuned to sexual variety. Men’s sexual fantasies more than women’s sexual fantasies include multiple and unfamiliar partners.

This modern day psychology of the human male is no doubt an offshoot from his male ancestors who were physiologically prompted to over-reproduce to insure survival of the species.

Women, on the other hand, do not appear to have such a physiological need to procreate with multiple males, as women do not compete with other females in terms of reproduction during sexual encounters. Therefore, short-term sexual partners for women may function only to evaluate possible long-term mates, and serve more of a social function whether than a sexual or reproductive one.”

So women are not so much interested in quantity as in quality. While men seek to mate with the maximum number of partners, women seek to locate the best possible partner – one who will father strong, healthy children and also stick around to help look after them.

When it comes to homosexuality, the above equation must change a lot. Since this type of sexual encounter does not result in offspring, natural selection cannot operate as usual. So I guess gay men and lesbians are more likely to be more interested in sex for the sake of pleasure!

Interestingly, in his book, Straight Science? Homosexuality, Evolution and Adaptation, Jim McKnight writes, “Homosexuality is a major puzzle for evolutionary theory, for if evolution has a purpose it is reproductive fitness, the passing of genes to our children.” Natural selection should weed out the less fit of the species and those who carry genes for a certain genetic anomaly breed less and diminish their genetic representation in the population.” McKnight indicates this should gradually flush out the “gay” gene since over several generations, homosexual men would produce less offspring and their genes would eventually fade from the gene pool. Biologically, this would mean that homosexuality has some function in nature, since well-adapted genes adapt and survive, and clearly, the genetic predisposition for homosexuality has done so… (See above link for more.)

We can draw our own conclusions from all this. Either way, the issues surrounding long term sexual relationships in a contemporary context do seem to be more complex than one would think!



One response

18 01 2010

Interesting ..

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