The Evolution of Human Mating Essay

This essay has a total of 1172 words and 6 pages.


The Evolution of Human Mating





The Evolution of Human Mating



It may seem obvious to some why people mate, however there are many facets to human
mating. Psychology has shown that reasons for mating have gone beyond the scope of love
and physical attractiveness. People may search for mates who resemble archetypical images
of the opposite-sex parent, mates with characteristics that are either complementary or
similar to one’s own qualities, or mates with whom to make an exchange of valuable
resources (Buss 238). Although these theories play a key role in understanding patterns
in human mating preferences, evolutionary psychology and sexual selection theory provide
more concrete frameworks for explaining human mating.

Evolutionary framework for human mating is based on three elements. First, strategies for
mating developed to solve specific problems in human evolutionary history. Second, people
behave differently depending on the type of mating involved. There are two types of
mating, short term and long term mating. Short term mating is defined as casual sex (i.e.
one-night stands and brief affairs). Long term mating is seen as a committed relationship
(i.e. dating, going steady, and marriage). Third, males and females developed different
strategies due to the difference in problems they have had over the course of human
evolution (Buss 241). This paper will examine those strategies specific to males.

Men have developed different mating strategies to solve problems in both long term and
short term mating. In pursuing a short-term sexual strategy men face four man problems:
partner number (variety), identifying women who are sexually accessible, identifying women
who are fertile, and avoiding commitment and investment. Men evolved over evolutionary
history a desire to have access to a large number of partners because it is a direct
measurement of a man’s reproductive success. Consequently, in short term
relationships it has become an active part of a man’s repertoire. One strategy that
has evolved as a result of this problem is for males to lower their standards in looking
for an acceptable mate. Such standards include age, intelligence, personality traits, and
status (whether or not she is involved in another relationship). Another strategy that
has evolved is to limit the time it takes to seek sexual intercourse from a woman. More
time spent on seeking sexual involvement from one female, the less time that can be spent
on making another effort for sexual intercourse from another.

Men prefer to spend the least time, energy, and resources in making a short-term
relationship successful. It is for this reason that they look for sexual accessibility.
A man’s strategy for solving the problem of sexual accessibility is to look for
sexual experienced women. Often men concur promiscuity to be one sign of experience.
They steer away from women who seem prude, conservative, or have a low sex drive.

Fertility and reproductive value are high on the list of important qualities in a
short-term mate. Fertility is the probability of present reproduction. Reproductive
value refers to expected future reproduction. Therefore, a younger women would have
higher reproductive value that an older female because her reproductive future is longer
whereas the older women has a higher fertility value than the younger women because she
may be in her peak years compared to a teen who typically has low fertility. A man,
however, would prefer to mate with a woman with higher reproductive value. Reproductive
value is related to age and health. An old, unhealthy woman has a lower reproductive
value than a young, healthy woman. A woman’s age and health status is typically
given away by physical appearance (i.e. fullness of lips and smooth skin), behavior (i.e.
high activity level), and reputation (i.e. information from others about past health
history and age). It is not surprising that men tend to go after younger women (Buss,
Schmitt 208).

As mentioned before, the larger the investment a man puts into one short-term relationship
the fewer resources that he has to put in other short-term relationships. An evolved
solution for this problem is for a man to avoid women who seek commitment or a large
amount of their resources (Buss, Schmitt 208).
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