Are we talking about the Bar Maid and the Baron here or something more serious?

wench by Alaskan Dude

New Sex Roles
[Via Daily Ideafeed | Big Think]

“For more than three decades evolutionary psychologists have advanced a simple theory of human sexuality: because men invest less reproductive effort in sperm than women do in eggs, men’s and women’s brains have been shaped differently by evolution. As a result, men are eager for sex whereas women are relatively choosy. But a steady stream of recent evidence suggests this paradigm could be in need of a makeover. ‘The science is now getting to a point where there is good data to question some of the assumptions of evolutionary psychology,’ says social psychologist Wendy Wood of the University of Southern California.”


It may well be that social attitudes provide greater pressures on sexual behavior than purely instinctual processes, such as easy male-choosy female. As the article says:

The eager males–choosy females paradigm doesn’t imply that men and women literally make conscious decisions about how much effort they should put into short- and long-term mating relative to their costs of reproduction—minutes versus months. Instead the idea is that during human history, men and women who happened to have the right biochemical makeup to be easy and choosy, respectively, would leave more offspring than their counterparts.

But for humans, having more offspring is not enough, as a very high proportion has historically dies in the first year. Actually getting more offspring to a reproductive age is more important.

This recent study, which seems to have provided better measures to the actual ‘value’ men and women put on their mating practices, show that both men and women place about the same value on short term relationships and that men put a lot of investment into their offspring.

Men do not purely follow a love em and leave em approach. The goal is to get more offspring to a reproductive age. Investing in that provides reasons for why men and women do what they do.

The interesting thing they found was that men are much more concerned about physical infidelity from their women partners than emotional infidelity. This makes sense if there is a real investment of men in the possible offspring.

And recent research seems to indicate that these sexual attitudes are determined by social pressures. Different pressures and you get different attitudes. This is too surprising. Human sexuality has some basic needs but different societies provide very different outlets for that need to reproduce.

The approach of Genghis Khan and his sons – conquer a large amount of territory and have lots of wives/concubines – resulted in perhaps 16 million descendants. Not a strategy that would be looked on favorably today.