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#ScienceSpeaks Male Promiscuity Is NOT Hardwired By Evolution

Everywhere you look, the same stereotype is perpetuated as fact – that men are averse to commitment, preferring sexual flings than a long term committed relationship, that evolution wired them that way. Evolution is quoted as the reason for anything these days, including male promiscuity.

In a study published in the Royal Society Open Science, anthropologists present evidence that suggests that male promiscuity isn’t hardwired into men’s brains. That evolution has nothing to do with it. In fact, mating preferences and strategies are pretty flexible, in that they respond to prevalent circumstances such as gender ratios.

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Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

Ryan Schacht of the University of Utah, who led the study, said that when women are fewer in number, men prefer long-term committed relationships. In essence, women need to be scarce for men to keep it in their pants!  On the contrary, women can be just as interested in one night stands as men, found the study.

The idea that evolution has hardwired men to spread their seeds far and wide has been perpetuated since forever. The idea is that if a man slept with more women, and the less he was tied to one woman and their children, the more chances he gets to beget children to whom he would pass on his genes. This is considered as a measure of evolutionary success.

Suggested read: Sunlight can turn your lack of interest in sex around, says Science

Ryan Schacht and Monique Borgerhoff Mulder of the University of California, Davis, decided to test this theory out, and they chose the Makushi, Amerindians of Guyana. They examined eight communities in all, and they found that the ratio of adult males to females varied from 1.43 to 0.93. They found that the more the men outnumbered women, the less likely they were to prefer casual flings over long-term commitment.

Schacht said that it makes evolutionary sense. He said, that commitment increases the number of ‘mating opportunities’ that men have when compared to a situation where they have to keep attracting new partners.

Schacht said, “The best strategy is to find one women and stick with her.” The biggest things that defeat this strategy are infidelity and promiscuity.

While natural selection does favor behavior that increase a man’s number of offspring, it also strongly favors behaviors that make it possible for those who grow up and become parents themselves. Schacht said that the latter is more likely only when men stick around to protect and provide for their family rather than jump from one partner to another, from one fling to another.

Makes sense, doesn’t it? Spreading their seed far and wide may give them offspring, but if those very offspring up and become bad people, what’s the point? They may even die due to lack of care or parental guidance, no? We’re all for this study which says male promiscuity isn’t hardwired. We’ve anyway known that it’s a conscious choice that some men make to hop from fling to fling, right?

Featured image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

Article Name
Male Promiscuity Is NOT Hardwired By Evolution, Says Science
Evolution is quoted as the reason for anything these days, including male promiscuity. But how true is it?
Chaitra Ramalingegowda

Chaitra Ramalingegowda

I fell in love with storytelling long before I knew what it was. Love well written stories, writing with passion, baking lip-smacking-finger-licking chocolate cakes, engaging movies, and home-cooked food. A true work-in-progress and a believer in the idiom 'all those who wander are not lost'. Twitter: @ChaitraRlg