There is a psychological experiment that has been repeated quite a few times, generally on college campuses. My books on this sort of thing are all boxed up in storage somewhere, so Iï¿½??m paraphrasing and the numbers arenï¿½??t exact. The point of the study was to determine gender-based attitudes towards casual sex.
A subject would approach a person of the opposite sex and immediately ask them if they would like to have sex with them. Of the male population asked, something like forty percent said yes. How many of the women said yes? None.
From an evolutionary perspective, what are the potential costs to a man of a casual sex encounter? A couple minutes of his time and of course the risk that some other caveman might get jealous and try to club him. Other than that, he walks away, never sees the woman again and possibly passes on his genes to the next generation. Low risk, high reward.
A high status male could feasibly reproduce hundreds or thousands of times in his lifetime. (Think of emperors with harems or the middle-ages ï¿½??Divine Right of Kingsï¿½?? to sleep with every newlywed woman, or in our era, certain celebrities.) With men, casual sex trends markedly towards the ï¿½??rewardï¿½?? side of the risk/reward spectrum.
The first law of behavioral genetics is that all human behavioral traits are heritable. Therefore, a man who was genetically inclined to seek out frequent sexual encounters would be more likely to pass on the genes with that inclination to future generations.
Over hundreds of thousands of years, it would be safe to say that every single male would, to some degree, inherit genes of that nature.
What are the potential costs of casual sex for a woman? Eighteen years of raising a child, and all the other burdens that come with single motherhood, including a diminished ability to attract a long-term monogamous mate. From the same perspective, what are the potential benefits? She raises a child and passes on her genes.
A woman is extremely limited in the number of children she can have in a lifetime, particularly if she is unsupported.
The consequences of a woman indiscriminately choosing a casual sex partner could be severe. If she chooses poorly, she will be raising a child unsupported, and if her mate was of poor genetic quality, her child will be weaker and less likely to attain high social status and reproduce in its own lifespan.
Any woman who happened to be genetically inclined towards casual sex with low-status and/or genetically weak men would be extremely unlikely to propagate her particular genetic traits into the gene pool. Her female competitors who selectively chose high status males in the context of a supportive relationship would be much more likely to pass on their behavioral traits.
The potential investment and cost to woman of casual sex is substantially higher than it is for men, and the rewards for pursuing such a strategy are potentially much lower. What this boils down to when it comes to bio-psychological differences between genders is that the basic strategy for men is to seek quantity over quality. For women it is the opposite.
Both genders have evolved elaborate strategies to this end. Women are more likely to cheat with men who are of higher social status than their current partners. A woman can accurately gauge a manï¿½??s testosterone levels relative to his peers by his facial features. While cheating, they are also more likely to orgasm and less likely to use contraception.
A study repeated numerous times around the world conducted genetics testing on the children of monogamous couples and found that roughly fifteen percent of the children tested did not belong to their supposed father. The rate of cuckoldry (men unsuspectingly raising anotherï¿½??s child) increased inversely to the socioeconomic status of the test subjects.
Research has shown that a manï¿½??s sperm count actually increases with the likelihood of his partner having had an opportunity to cheat, such as her being out of town for the weekend at a business conference, or hanging out with her friends who are really good listeners and all happen to play on the same rugby team.
Men are much more distressed by the idea of a woman becoming sexually, as opposed to emotionally, involved with another man. In some cultures, and possibly the state of Texas, catching oneï¿½??s wife in bed with another man was an excusable reason for murder.
Studies have shown that women, in contrast, are more distressed by the thought of manï¿½??s emotional infidelity. The idea of her partner having sex with another woman is less distressful than the idea that he may be in love with the mistress and willing to leave his current relationship and commit his resources to her.
The qualifications a man needs in order to find a woman sexually attractive (in the context of casual sex) are primarily visual and deal with genetic fitness and childbearing potential. Young, good skin, firm muscles, large breasts, wide hips and a narrow waist etc. A womanï¿½??s criteria are more stringent, due to the emphasis on quality and high status.
This is partly why women are not as easily aroused visually. They need to know more about a manï¿½??s personality for him to qualify. There is a much more emotional process.
Interestingly, the criteria and strategies the genders use in selecting a long-term monogamous mate are quite similar to each other and vary a good deal from those adopted for casual sex.
I could go on with this for a good long while, but my point here Nate, which Iï¿½??m fairly certain you already understand, is that you have not lost your mind. You are functioning exactly the way nature has wired you. The basic human sexual strategy is a monogamous relationship with occasional opportunistic infidelities.
The only question here, one that I deal with myself, is that despite your nature, if your conscious mind has placed you in a relationship with the premise of fidelity, then instincts or not, you will be breaking your word if you stray. And what is a man whose word is of no good?
The solution to this dilemma? G.B. Shaw was pretty accurate with his statement about first-rate men. Youï¿½??d be surprised how many women are ok with the concept of ï¿½??multiple long-term relationships.ï¿½??