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Male sexual attractiveness predicts differential ovulatory shifts in female extra-pair attraction and male mate retention


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Because ancestral women faced trade-offs in choosing mates, they may have evolved to pursue a dual-mating strategy in which they secured investment through one partner and obtained good genes through others. The dual-mating theory predicts that women will display greater interest in extra-pair sex near ovulation, especially if they are mated to a primary male partner who is low in sexual attractiveness. Forty-three normally ovulating women rated their partner's sexual attractiveness and separately reported their own desires and their partner's mate retention behaviors at high and low fertility (confirmed using luteinizing hormone tests). In the high-fertility session relative to the low, women who assessed their partners as being lower in sexual attractiveness reported greater extra-pair desires and more expressed love and attention from their male partners. Women's desire for their own partners did not differ significantly between high and low-fertility sessions.
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Male sexual attractiveness predicts differential ovulatory shifts
in female extra-pair attraction and male mate retention
Elizabeth G. Pillsworth, Martie G. Haselton*
Center for Behavior, Evolution, and Culture, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA
Initial receipt 1 July 2005; final revision received 11 October 2005
Because ancestral women faced trade-offs in choosing mates, they may have evolved to pursue a
dual-mating strategy in which they secured investment through one partner and obtained good genes
through others. The dual-mating theory predicts that women will display greater interest in extra-pair
sex near ovulation, especially if they are mated to a primary male partner who is low in sexual
attractiveness. Forty-three normally ovulating women rated their partner’s sexual attractiveness and
separately reported their own desires and their partner’s mate retention behaviors at high and low
fertility (confirmed using luteinizing hormone tests). In the high-fertility session relative to the low,
women who assessed their partners as being lower in sexual attractiveness reported greater extra-pair
desires and more expressed love and attention from their male partners. Women’s desire for their own
partners did not differ significantly between high and low-fertility sessions.
D2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Ovulatory cycle; Mate guarding; Sexual conflict; Conception; Sexual desire; Female sexuality
1. Introduction
Females can benefit by selecting mates who offer material benefits to offspring, such as
parental care and food resources (Trivers, 1972), and by selecting mates who offer benefits
1090-5138/06/$ – see front matter D2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
4Corresponding author. Communication Studies and Department of Psychology, University of California,
3130 Hershey Hall, 415 Portola, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA. Tel.: +1 310 206 7445; fax: +1 310 206 2371.
E-mail address: (M.G. Haselton).
Evolution and Human Behavior 27 (2006) 247 258
that can be genetically transmitted to offspring (Jennions & Petrie, 2000; Kokko, Brooks,
Jennions, & Morley, 2003; Møller & Alatalo, 1999). In principle, women could benefit from
both material and heritable benefits conferred by male partners, but both sets of features may
be difficult to find in the same mate. Men who display indicators of good genes are highly
attractive as sex partners; hence, they can, and often do, pursue a short-term mating strategy
that tends to be associated with reduced investment in mates and offspring (Gangestad &
Simpson, 2000; Gangestad & Thornhill, 1997). Therefore, women may often be forced to
make strategic trade-offs by selecting long-term social partners who are higher in investment
attractiveness than sexual attractiveness (Gangestad & Simpson, 2000).
These trade-offs may have selected for a psychology of dual mating, which leads women
to seek primary partners who provide investment while seeking good genes through extra-pair
mating. Indeed, rates of human extra-pair paternity are substantial, with current estimates
ranging from lows around 1% to highs of more than 55% in some populations (Anderson,
2005). In sum, there are conditions under which a dual-mating strategy may have evolved,
and there is evidence that human extra-pair mating occurs.
1.1. Predictions
1.1.1. Shifts in extra-pair desire
A key prediction of the dual-mating hypothesis is that attraction to extra-pair mates should
increase as women near ovulation. Results from previous studies have been somewhat mixed,
with most documenting greater attraction to extra-pair mates when women are in the ovulatory
phase of their cycles (Gangestad, Thornhill, & Garver, 2002; Haselton & Gangestad, in press)
and one suggesting that women are more attracted to their primary partner at peak fertility
within the cycle (Pillsworth, Haselton, & Buss, 2004). In light of these conflicting findings,
Pillsworth et al. (2004) suggested that future research should explicitly examine male sexual
attractiveness to test the hypothesis that a woman’s pursuit of an extra-pair vs. an in-pair
conceptive strategy is conditional on how sexually attractive her partner is relative to other
men. Consistent with this proposal, in a daily diary study, Haselton and Gangestad (in press)
found that increases in extra-pair desires at high fertility were greatest for women who rated
their partners as low in sexual vs. investment attractiveness. Similarly, Gangestad et al. (2005)
found that women with partners high in fluctuating asymmetry reported greater attraction to
extra-pair men, and less attraction to their own partners, when near ovulation. In the current
study, we further examined this hypothesis by seeking to replicate the finding of Haselton and
Gangestad (in press) using a more rigorous luteinizing hormone (LH) method of fertility
assessment. We also advanced two additional predictions, which are discussed hereafter.
1.1.2. Shifts in in-pair desire
According to the good genes model, women whose long-term partners display indicators
of good genes do not benefit from engaging in a dual-mating strategy; thus, we predicted that
women’s reported desire for their primary partner would also result from the interaction of
fertility and partner’s sexual attractiveness, such that ovulatory increases in in-pair desires
will be reported more by women with partners who are high in sexual attractiveness.
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1.1.3. Shifts in partner mate guarding and positive inducements to fidelity
Female affairs can be extremely costly to male partners, and men are therefore expected to
possess evolved counter-strategies designed to protect them from cuckoldry. Mate retention
strategies may be either prohibitive—such as restricting a partner’s movements—or
persuasive—such as engaging in attentive and solicitous behavior toward the partner.
Gangestad et al. (2002) found that women reported increases in both their partners’
proprietary behaviors and attentiveness as a function of fertility. In the current study, we
predicted that women’s reports of their partners’ mate-guarding tactics would increase during
the fertile phase of the cycle, and that this effect would be stronger for women who rated their
partners as less sexually attractive, as these are the women most likely to pursue a dual-
mating strategy.
2. Methods
2.1. Participants
Participants were 43 women recruited from a large university in the Southwestern United
States who either satisfied a research requirement or were paid for their participation, and
who reported that they were currently involved in a romantic relationship. None had used
hormonal contraceptives in the 3 months prior to participation, and all reported having regular
menstrual cycles between 24 and 36 days in length (mean=29.56, S.D.=2.95). Using a
nationally marketed ovulation test (ClearBlue), all participants were assessed to have a LH
surge between 2 days prior and 4 days following one of their laboratory sessions (see data
hereafter). Tests such as these that measure LH levels in urine are 97% concordant with
ovulation as confirmed by ultrasonography (Guermandi et al., 2001). Low-fertility sessions
were scheduled to occur after the likely day of ovulation, excluding menstrual days and the
3 days preceding menstruation (to avoid premenstrual effects). Eighty women were originally
recruited for the study, but 37 were ineligible for inclusion in analyses because they failed to
complete the multisession study (n=22), showed no evidence of an LH surge within six
testing days (n=5), participated in the high-fertility session more than 4 days before a surge in
LH was detected (n=1), or were scheduled inaccurately for low-fertility sessions (with that
session falling either within the 3 days prior to menstruation or within what might have been
an ovulatory phase, n=9). In sum, of the women who completed all parts of the study, 74.1%
were eligible for inclusion in analyses. This retention rate is comparable to those of previous
studies with similar methods (e.g., Gangestad et al., 2002, reported a 61.4% retention rate).
The mean age of participants in the sample was 21.43 years (S.D.=5.35, range 18– 46);
8.1% identified themselves as Asian-American, 25.6% as Caucasian, 9.3% as Hispanic, 2.3%
as African-American, 2.3% as Middle Eastern, and 2.3% as another ethnicity. All women
in the sample identified themselves as bcurrently in a romantic relationship,Qwith a
median relationship length of 15.55 months (mean=28.34 months, S.D.=35.77, range=
.1–144 months). Twenty-six (60.46%) women had engaged in sexual intercourse with their
current partner; of those who had not, 15 (34.88% of the sample) were virgins. On average,
E.G. Pillsworth, M.G. Haselton / Evolution and Human Behavior 27 (2006) 247–258 249
women had a total of 2.45 sex partners to date (S.D.=4.94, range=0–25). Four out of 43
women (9.3%) had engaged in sexual intercourse with someone other than their current
partner while involved in the current relationship.
2.2. Procedure
Participants came to the laboratory for three sessions: an initial session and two follow-up
sessions. The follow-up sessions were scheduled according to each participant’s menstrual
cycle, with one session occurring during the ovulatory phase of her cycle and the other
occurring during the luteal phase (information on phase scheduling appears hereafter).
2.2.1. Initial session
Participants answered questions about their health (e.g., medications they were taking),
cycle regularity, cycle length, and anticipated next date of menstrual onset. Participants then
completed several computer-based questionnaires that included basic demographic informa-
tion, relationship and sexual histories, and several items concerning their assessments of their
relationship and current partner.
Items assessing partner mate value (after Haselton, 2003) varied along two primary
dimensions: sexual attractiveness and investment attractiveness. Sexual attractiveness (a=.83)
was the aggregate of the following: bCompared with most men, how attractive is your
partner’s body to women?QbCompared with most men, how attractive is your partner’s face to
women?QbCompared with most men, how sexy would women say your partner is?Q
Investment attractiveness (a=.71) was the aggregate of the following: bCompared with most
men, what is your partner’s present financial status?QbCompared with most men, what is your
partner’s estimated future financial status?QbCompared with most men, how high is your
partner in social status at the present time?QbCompared with most men, what is your partner’s
estimated future social status?Qand bHow intelligent would women say your partner is,
compared to most men?QEach of the items was rated on a scale of 1–9 (1=bextremely lowQor
bnot at all sexy/intelligent/etc.,Q5=baverage,Qand 9=bextremely highQor bextremely sexy/
intelligent/etc.Q). Intelligence has been argued to be a sexually selected fitness indicator
(Furlow, Armijo-Prewitt, Gangestad, & Thornhill, 1997; Miller, 2000), and it is also linked
with financial success (Neisser et al., 1996). Because intelligence was correlated more strongly
with the investment attractiveness items than with the sexual attractiveness items, and its
inclusion in the investment attractiveness composite increased the reliability of the investment
attractiveness measure, we included it in the investment attractiveness composite. Dropping
intelligence from the composite did not affect the patterning of results reported below.
Sexual satisfaction was assessed with five items created for the purpose of this study. Each
item asked women to assess their primary partner relative to other men with whom they had
sexual experience (a=.91): bRelative to sex with other men, how enjoyable is sex with your
current partner?Qb... how passionate is sex with your current partner?Qb... how attentive to
your needs is your partner during sex?Qb.. . how satisfying is sex with your current partner?Q
and b... how much closeness do you feel during sex with your partner?QWomen were
directed to answer these questions with regard to all sexual activity (including kissing,
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touching, etc.), whether or not they had ever engaged in sexual intercourse. Items were rated
on a 1–7 scale (1=not at all enjoyable/etc., 4=average, 7=extremely enjoyable/etc.).
2.2.2. Scheduling and LH testing
We followed the methods of Gangestad et al. (2002). In the initial session, if a participant
was currently in the follicular phase of her cycle (more than 17 days prior to the anticipated
start of her next menstruation), she was scheduled for a high-fertility session; if she was in the
luteal phase of her cycle (between 4 and 17 days before menstruation), she was scheduled for
a low-fertility session. Women expecting menstrual onset within 3 days were scheduled for
high-fertility sessions. About half of the participants completed their high-fertility session
first (n=23, 53.49%), and about half completed their low-fertility session first (n=20,
High-fertility sessions were scheduled to occur between 16 and 19 days prior to the
expected end of the cycle, with the expectation that ovulation normally occurs 14–15 days
prior to the onset of menses (Weinberg, Gladen, & Wilcox, 1994; Wilcox, Weinberg, & Baird,
1995). Women were scheduled to complete urine tests beginning 2 days before their high-
fertility session and continuing for at least 5 days, or until a surge was detected; on these days
participants reported to the laboratory and were given an unlabeled midstream urine test
designed to detect the presence of LH in the urine. Participants were blind to the purpose of
the tests. An LH surge usually occurs 24–48 h prior to ovulation; thus, it was expected that a
surge would be observed for most women on or shortly following their scheduled high-
fertility session. Luteinizing hormone surge was observed, on average, 0.98 days following
the scheduled high-fertility session (S.D.=1.42; range, 2 days prior to 4 days following).
Conception may occur as a result of intercourse up to 5–7 days prior to ovulation (Jochle,
1973; Wilcox et al., 1995); hence, all of the women included in this study are presumed to
have been in a fertile state at the time of their high-fertility session. Because the probability of
conception increases as ovulation nears, the estimated number of days prior to ovulation
(days-to-LH-surge minus 2) was included as a control variable in analyses. Inclusion of this
variable (with day of ovulation=0) allowed us to estimate high- vs. low-fertility effects at the
day of ovulation.
Low-fertility sessions were scheduled to occur 3–10 days prior to the next expected
menstrual onset. On average, women were tested 6.61 days prior to the end of their menstrual
cycle (S.D.=1.93), excluding one women whose low-fertility session was conducted during
the follicular rather than the luteal phase (23 days before expected menstruation or 9 days
before estimated day of ovulation). This session was far enough from the predicted date of
ovulation to be nonfertile (Wilcox et al., 1995) and was thus retained in the analyses.
2.2.3. Sessions 2 and 3
During the high-fertility and low-fertility sessions, participants completed a series of
computer-based questionnaires about their current feelings, desires, and recent experiences
with their primary partners and with other men.
Participants were asked to rate, on a scale of 4 (far less than usual) to +4 (far more than
usual, 0=about average) how much they had experienced certain events over the last 48 h,
E.G. Pillsworth, M.G. Haselton / Evolution and Human Behavior 27 (2006) 247–258 251
relative to other days. The items of interest were interspersed with other items that were not
theoretically predicted to vary across the menstrual cycle, and for which few significant
effects emerged, with no clear pattern across like items (e.g., bfelt happyQor bfelt sadQ).
Table 1 presents items used to test our predictions with composite reliabilities at both high
and low fertility.
3. Results
3.1. Statistical analyses
We conducted analyses using repeated general linear models (SPSS 12.0) on the dependent
variables of interest. Fertility status (measured as low vs. high phases of the cycle) was a
repeated factor in all analyses. In our focal analyses, we entered partner’s sexual
attractiveness and investment attractiveness—which were of primary interest in tests of
predictions—as quantitative predictor variables, along with the number of days prior to
ovulation in the high-fertility session, and session order (high vs. low first).
In a second set of analyses, we added several control variables to examine whether the
effects of primary interest were robust to the inclusion of variables that might be confounded
Table 1
Measures in surveys administered at high and low fertility
Measure Items aat high fertility aat low fertility
Extra-pair desire Been physically attracted to
someone you did not know
.70 .85
Been physically attracted
to an acquaintance
Been physically attracted
to a friend or coworker
In-pair desire Felt sexually attracted to your partner
General desire Had persistent sexual thoughts .93 .94
Had sexual thoughts
Had sexual fantasies
Experienced sexual desire
Given you attention .94 .90
Expressed commitment to you
Expressed feelings of love to you
Expressed sexual attraction to you
Partner jealousy Acted jealous about your casual
interactions with other people
.80 .90
Monopolized your time
Acted possessive of you
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with partner’s sexual attractiveness. Whether a woman had ever had sexual intercourse with
her partner (yes vs. no) was entered as a factor and therefore controlled. Sexual satisfaction
and relationship length were also added as quantitative control variables. These quantitative
variables were zero centered so that the main effect of fertility status would be estimated for
mean levels of these predictors. Our consent procedures made it clear that women could skip
items that they did not wish to respond to and still remain in the study. There are, therefore,
some missing data, and the degrees of freedom for the reported analyses vary accordingly.
We followed the recommendations of Rice and Gaines (1994) by implementing directed
tests for predicted effects. These tests allocate a probability of .04 (of a total .05) to the
predicted tail and .01 to the unpredicted tail. For unpredicted effects, we used two-tailed tests.
Reported pvalues reflect these criteria.
One woman had an extremely low partner’s sexual attractiveness score (3.54 S.D. below
the mean), raising the possibility that her datum might skew estimates of effects. We therefore
winsorized the data, which entailed truncating only this score to meet the next lowest score
(1.74 S.D. below the mean; Howell, 1992). Presented analyses include the truncated score.
The two key interactions of sexual attractiveness and cycle phase remain when the original
score is included in analyses.
3.2. Shifts in extra-pair and in-pair desires
3.2.1. Are ovulatory increases in extra-pair desires greater for women with less sexually
attractive partners?
As predicted, the effect of fertility status on extra-pair desires was moderated by partner’s
sexual attractiveness [ F(1,38)=5.54, p=.015, partial r=.36; see Fig. 1]. Women who
perceived their partners as low in sexual attractiveness were particularly likely to report
increases in extra-pair desires at high fertility. There was no interaction of phase and partner’s
investment attractiveness on extra-pair desires [ F(1,38)=.05, ns]. Overall, women tended to
report greater extra-pair desires at high fertility (marginal mean=0.27) than at low fertility
Fig. 1. Relationship between male sexual attractiveness and ovulatory shifts in women’s attraction to extra-pair men.
n=43, partial r=.36, p=.015; points represent residual scores after controlling for investment attractiveness, order
of session (high vs. low fertility first), and estimating effect of phase at the day of ovulation (based on LH assay).
E.G. Pillsworth, M.G. Haselton / Evolution and Human Behavior 27 (2006) 247–258 253
(marginal mean=0.48), but this effect was not statistically significant [ F(1,38)=.70, ns]. No
other effects were significant.
With the other covariates added, the interaction of fertility status and partner’s sexual
attractiveness remained robust [ F(1,30)=6.28, p=.011], and the main effect of fertility status
began to approach significance [ F(1,30)=1.88, p=.113]. Partner’s investment attrac-
tiveness had a marginal main effect, such that women with more investing partners reported
lower overall extra-pair desires [ F(1,30)=3.84, p=.059]. No other main effects or interactions
were significant.
3.2.2. Are there ovulatory increases in in-pair desires?
There were no significant cycle effects or interactions involving partner quality on in-pair
desires, in either the focal analysis or in the secondary analysis in which potential confounds
were controlled (all pvaluesN.20).
3.3. General sexual desire
We did not find main effects of phase or interactions with partner’s sexual or investment
attractiveness on women’s reports of general sexual desire (all pvaluesN.50). In the
secondary analysis, we observed a significant phase by sexual satisfaction interaction
[F(1, 29)=4.88, p=.035], such that women who were more sexually satisfied showed a
greater increase in sexual desire at high fertility than those less sexually satisfied. No other
main effects or interactions were significant. In sum, a generalized increase in desire at high
fertility was not found in this sample, nor did we find that fertility interacted with partner’s
sexual attractiveness; hence, general desire does not appear to be able to explain the target-
specific shifts we have observed.
3.4. Mate retention
3.4.1. Do less sexually attractive men increase their mate-guarding efforts more when their
partners are fertile?
There was a significant interaction of partner’s sexual attractiveness and fertility on
women’s reports of their partners’ expressed love and attention giving [ F(1,34)=5.93,
p=.013, partial r=.39; see Fig. 2]. Less sexually attractive partners increased their mate
retention efforts more at high fertility. There was also a significant main effect of partner’s
investment attractiveness on women’s reports of positive attention by their partners
[F(1,34)=4.78, p=.036], such that partners higher in investment attractiveness tended to
engage more in positive mate retention efforts. No other effects were significant.
With possible confounds controlled, the observed interaction of phase and partner’s sexual
attractiveness remained significant [ F(1,26)=3.40, p=.048], and the relationship between
partner’s investment attractiveness and positive mate retention dropped to nonsignificant
[F(1,26)=1.91, p=.179]. There were no other significant main effects or interactions.
In contrast to these robust effects, no significant effects were observed for partner jealousy
and mate guarding in either the focal or the secondary analysis. Because ovulatory increases
E.G. Pillsworth, M.G. Haselton / Evolution and Human Behavior 27 (2006) 247–258254
in jealousy were observed in a previous study (Gangestad et al., 2002), we also examined the
individual items within the composite. None of these effects were significant in either the
focal or the secondary analyses.
In sum, men who were rated as less sexually attractive were reported to increase attention
to and expressed love for their partners near ovulation, as predicted. Jealousy, in contrast,
produced no such effects, suggesting that the ovulation-contingent mate retention efforts
observed in this sample were limited to positive inducements to fidelity.
4. Discussion
According to the good genes model, a dual-mating strategy is advantageous only if a
woman’s partner lacks cues to good genes. We therefore predicted that women with less
sexually attractive partners (those likely to display fewer cues to good genes) would show
ovulatory increases in extra-pair desires. The good-genes model predicts that this effect will
be specific to sexual attractiveness and will not be observed for partners lacking investment
cues. This differential pattern of effects is, in fact, what we found. Sexual attractiveness, but
not investment attractiveness, interacted with fertility status to predict extra-pair desires;
women rating their partners as least sexually attractive showed the greatest increases in extra-
pair desires. We predicted and found parallel results for partner mate retention. Less sexually
attractive men—those for whom female infidelity may be of greatest concern—were reported
to increase their mate retention efforts more at high fertility. We did not find evidence of
ovulatory increases in male jealousy or interactions of partner’s sexual attractiveness and
cycle phase predicting male jealousy; thus, in this study, mate retention effects were limited to
positive inducements to fidelity.
We predicted a reversed pattern for in-pair desires, such that women with sexually
attractive partners would show increases in attraction to partners at high fertility. We did not
Fig. 2. Relationship between male sexual attractiveness and ovulatory shifts in male mate retention. n=39, partial
r=.39, p=.02; points represent residual scores after controlling for investment attractiveness, order of session
(high vs. low fertility first), and estimating effect of phase at the day of ovulation (based on LH assay).
E.G. Pillsworth, M.G. Haselton / Evolution and Human Behavior 27 (2006) 247–258 255
confirm this prediction. It is possible that this effect, if it exists, is smaller in magnitude than
the predicted effect of sexual attractiveness on extra-pair desires (see Gangestad et al., 2005)
and, thus, more difficult to detect.
Male sexual attractiveness is correlated with many other variables, and thus, we cannot be
certain that our effects are driven by it. However, when we controlled for several variables
that may be associated with male sexual attractiveness, including female sexual satisfaction
and relationship length, our effects remained robust. Our results are also cross-validated by
the findings of Gangestad et al. (2005) who documented that women mated to relatively
asymmetrical partners showed greater ovulatory increases in extra-pair desires than did
women mated to symmetrical partners.
Like Gangestad et al. (2002) and Haselton and Gangestad (in press), we did not observe a
main effect of fertility on general sexual desire, nor did we find an interaction of partner’s
sexual attractiveness and fertility in predicting generalized desire. This is noteworthy, as it
helps to rule out the alternative explanation that target-specific cycle shifts are produced by
generally elevated sexual desire. This does not appear to be the case in any of these studies.
We did observe an interaction of sexual satisfaction and fertility on general desire. Given the
number of tests we conducted by virtue of controls for confounds, this effect could be
spurious. If robust, it may reflect a greater sensitivity in sexually satisfied women to changes
in sexual functioning near ovulation (e.g., increases in the frequency of orgasms) relative to
the luteal phase (Clayton, Clavet, McGarvey, Warnock, & Weiss, 1999).
A limitation of this study is that reports of male mate retention are made by female partners
rather than by male partners themselves. Other studies have demonstrated that male and
female partners’ reports of male mate retention behaviors tend to agree (Dobash, Dobash,
Cavanagh, & Lewis, 1998; Gangestad et al., 2002). Nonetheless, this is a clear avenue for
future research. In addition, although there was considerable range in the ages of the women
in our sample and in the length of their relationships, our participants were, on average,
relatively young and their relationships were relatively new. It is possible that shifting
relationship dynamics across the cycle vary depending on female age or relationship length,
and a systematic investigation of this question may also be fruitful.
In sum, this study provides additional evidence for the good genes hypothesis of
female extra-pair mating. This study also provides evidence for the texture and subtlety
of adaptations underlying partner choice and relationship dynamics—not only do women’s
desires and men’s mate retention efforts vary across the cycle (Gangestad et al., 2002),
but the degree to which they change varies with theoretically relevant characteristics of
male partners.
We thank Dave Frederick, Sheila Allameh, Anna Berezovskaya, Lani Cante, Elizabeth
Carlin, Sarah Dodd, Bahar Ebrat, Erika Forster, Lisa Marchlewicz, Lisa Newon, and Carolyn
Pratt for their generous assistance in collecting the data; Paul Andrews, Steve Gangestad, and
Christine Garver-Apgar for helpful advice on high- and low-fertility scheduling; April
E.G. Pillsworth, M.G. Haselton / Evolution and Human Behavior 27 (2006) 247–258256
Bleske-Rechek, Dan Fessler, and two anonymous reviewers for comments on an earlier draft;
the UCLA Experimental Biological Anthropology group for discussion of the ideas contained
in this manuscript; and the UCLA Statistical Consulting Center for statistical advice. We
gratefully acknowledge Unipath Diagnostics for their generous donation of ClearBlue
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... Researchers have proposed that women's mate preferences shift across the ovulatory cycle, with purported cues of "good genes" (e.g., male muscularity, behavioral confidence, and "sexiness") receiving greater weight when women are fertile (see Thornhill & Gangestad, 2008, for a review). These mate preference shifts purportedly have downstream effects on romantic relationship dynamics because (a) when partnered women's primary partners lack these cues, women experience greater sexual attraction to men other than their partners when fertile, and (b) men whose female partners experience greater sexual attraction to men other than themselves-that is, men who lack purported cues of good genes-exhibit greater proprietariness and vigilance of their partners' activities when they are fertile (e.g., Gangestad, Thornhill, & Garver-Apgar, 2005, 2010Haselton & Gangestad, 2006;Larson, Pillsworth, & Haselton, 2012;Pillsworth & Haselton, 2006;Shimoda, Campbell, & Barton, 2018; see also Gangestad, Garver-Apgar, Cousins, & Thornhill, 2014). ...
... This preregistration laid out a series of hypotheses, several of which pertained to moderation effects. Arslan et al. summarized these hypotheses, based on prior studies (e.g., Haselton & Gangestad, 2006;Pillsworth & Haselton, 2006), as follows: The fertile phase increase in women's extrapair desires and reported male partner mate retention will be strongest for "women who perceive their partners as lower in sexual and physical attractiveness," "women who perceive their partners as low in sexual attractiveness relative to long-term partner attractiveness," and "women who perceive their partners to be less attractive in relation to themselves" (preregistered hypotheses CH3-CH5; p. 3). In addition, the fertile phase increase in women's desire to have sexual intercourse with primary partners will be strongest for "women with more sexually and physically attractive partners" (preregistered hypothesis CH9, p. 3). ...
... We then ran mixed model analyses using this five-component measure of partner sexual attractiveness. Haselton and Gangestad (2006) and Pillsworth and Haselton (2006) previously argued for the importance of controlling for women's ratings of their partner's LT attractiveness (to account for possible positivity biases and scale-usage effects). Hence, we did so in our analyses. ...
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Arslan et al. (2020) conducted a large-scale, preregistered daily diary study on over 400 normally ovulating women. Of core interest were hypotheses that women's ratings of their partner's sexual attractiveness moderate associations of fertility status with women's own extrapair sexual desires, their own interest in in-pair sex, and their partners' mate retention tactics. The authors claim that "no evidence for moderator effects" (p. 426) was found. In fact, their own analyses reported in their supplementary material show robust evidence for moderation effects. Moreover, a new reanalysis using a more comprehensive composite measure of male partner sexual attractiveness yielded even stronger results. Effect size estimates are consistent with the existence of large, meaningful moderation effects, revealing that this study actually does show evidence of moderation effects. Additional analyses show similarly strong moderator effects on male proprietariness. We discuss the findings in the context of reliance on binary (significant vs. nonsignificant) labels and the pitfalls of underreporting effects. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).
... f) Finally, Gangestad and Dinh (2021) formed a "more comprehensive" composite for short-, but not for long-term attractiveness. In previous, comparable studies, Haselton and Gangestad (2006) and Pillsworth and Haselton (2006) both averaged a rating item of long-term attractiveness and items about social status, current and future financial prospects. We had planned to do the same, but internal consistency analysis and factor analysis for all long-term attractiveness items (a rating item, financial status, occupational prospects, net income, LT1-LT4, Arslan et al., 2018, SOM) showed that the rating item (LT1) was not highly correlated with the other items (LT2-LT3), causing the scale's Cronbach's alpha to fall below our preregistered criterion of .60. ...
... Conceptually, we think subtracting long-term from short-term attractiveness as a moderator (or adjusting for long-term attractiveness as a moderator) maps poorly onto the verbal predictions made by GGOSH. According to Gangestad and Dinh (2021), " Haselton and Gangestad (2006) and Pillsworth and Haselton (2006) previously argued for the importance of controlling for women's ratings of their partner's LT attractiveness (to account for possible positivity biases and scale-usage effects)", but neither study makes reference to the concepts of positivity bias or scale-usage effects. Pillsworth and Haselton (2006) reported no significant moderator effect of investment attractiveness (in their reporting, both whether or not they fit multiple moderators jointly and the direction of the effect are unclear). ...
... According to Gangestad and Dinh (2021), " Haselton and Gangestad (2006) and Pillsworth and Haselton (2006) previously argued for the importance of controlling for women's ratings of their partner's LT attractiveness (to account for possible positivity biases and scale-usage effects)", but neither study makes reference to the concepts of positivity bias or scale-usage effects. Pillsworth and Haselton (2006) reported no significant moderator effect of investment attractiveness (in their reporting, both whether or not they fit multiple moderators jointly and the direction of the effect are unclear). Haselton and Gangestad (2006) wrote "a difference score should better tap the extent to which a mate specifically has the qualities particular to good long-term mates (e.g., willingness to invest) or particular to good short-term mates (sexual attractiveness)", but in a difference score partners who have both "particular qualities" at the same time are penalised. ...
In Arslan et al. (2018), we reported ovulatory increases in extra-pair sexual desire, in-pair sexual desire, and self-perceived desirability, as well as several moderator analyses related to the good genes ovulatory shift hypothesis, which predicts attenuated ovulatory increases in extra-pair desire for women with attractive partners. Gangestad and Dinh (2021) identified errors in how we aggregated two of the four main moderator variables. We are grateful that their scrutiny uncovered these errors. After corrections, our moderation results are more mixed than we previously reported and depend on the moderator specification. However, we disagree that the evidence for moderation is robust and compelling, as Gangestad and Dinh (2021) claim. Our data are consistent with some previously reported effect sizes, but also with negligible moderator effects. We also show that what Gangestad and Dinh (2021) call an "a priori[…]more comprehensive and valid composite" is poorly justifiable on a priori grounds, and follow-up analyses they report are not robust to a composite specification that we consider at least as reasonable. Psychologists have to become acquainted with techniques such as cross-validation or training and test sets to manage the risks of data-dependent analyses. In doing so, we might learn that we need new data more often than we intuit and should remain uncertain far more often. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).
... Females with low mate values, on the other hand, may rely on short-term mating strategies to acquire high-quality males (Millar et al., 2018). Therefore, from the viewpoint of assortative mating, a man who remains with a woman with low mate value for long periods is likely to be of lower quality (Buss & Shackelford, 2008;Pillsworth & Haselton, 2006). Further consideration is needed on the interaction effect between the quality of the model female and the duration of past relationships. ...
... Since this preference was observed only among women without sexual experience, short-term mating (or friendship) and long-term mating might be more linked in females with less sexual experience. Thus, the strategy of using short-term mating as a foothold for long-term mating might be more likely to occur in females with lower mate values, who have difficulty acquiring long-term mating partners (Greiling & Buss, 2000; see also Pillsworth & Haselton, 2006). ...
... A plausible interpretation is that the short-term and the long-term mating contexts are more linked in females without sexual experience. The strategy shifting from a short-term relationship to a long-term relationship may more often be used by females who have lower mate value, and therefore have difficulty to acquiring longterm mating partners (Buss & Shackelford, 2008;Millar et al., 2018;Pillsworth & Haselton, 2006). Women without sexual experience until a certain age may have a lower mate value, and because of their lesser sexual experiences, they may also not be skilled at evaluating men. ...
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Mate-choice copying is a phenomenon whereby females assess the mate quality of males based on the mating decisions of other females. Previous studies demonstrated that the presence of a partner enhanced men’s attractiveness. Mate assessment is, however, error-prone, and the accepted male may turn out to be of poor quality after the relationship has progressed. This study extended the previous research by focusing on more reliable social information about male quality as a long-term partner: duration and interval of past relationships. Japanese female students (N = 201) were presented with a male profile containing information about past relationships, and they rated the target males as long- and short-term partners. The results confirm that information about a man’s long past relationship enhances the women’s desirability ratings for that man as a long-term partner. It was also found that a man with a long relationship was preferred by sexually inexperienced women, even in the short-term mating context, if the interval between the man’s past relationships was long. The study findings show that female mate choice is influenced by information about males’ past relationships, in addition to the information about male’s past partners discussed in previous studies. The finding for short-term mating suggests that it is used as a foothold for long-term relationships by females who may have lower mate value. The findings of this study add a new aspect to the non-independent mechanism of human mate choice.
... Indeed, women prefer physical attractiveness over other qualities in an extra-pair partner (Scheib, 2001) and report stronger attraction to extra-pair men (e.g., Gangestad et al., 2002Gangestad et al., , 2010aPillsworth et al., 2004) and lower commitment to their primary partners (Jones et al., 2005) at peak fertility. However, these effects may be contingent on their primary partner's quality; women mated to relatively asymmetrical (Gangestad et al., 2005), feminine (Gangestad et al., 2010b), unattractive (Haselton & Gangestad, 2006;Larson et al., 2012;Pillsworth & Haselton, 2006), or genetically incompatible (Garver-Apgar et al., 2006) men displayed more attraction to extra-pair partners at peak fertility, whereas those mated to comparatively symmetrical, masculine, attractive, or genetically compatible men reported more attraction to their primary partners. Similarly, others have found that women who had more sexually desirable partners felt closer to their partner and more satisfied with their relationship during the fertile phase of their cycles, whereas fertile women whose partners were less desirable felt less close to their partners and were more critical of their partners' faults (Larson et al., 2013). ...
... This study was among the first to investigate women's risky sexual strategies in relation to the mate quality of their long-term partners, informed by an evolutionary perspective. Results lend some support to other work demonstrating that women's sexual behaviors, preferences, motivations, and cognitions are somewhat conditional on the putative genetic quality of their long-term partners (see, e.g., Gangestad et al., 2005Gangestad et al., , 2010bHaselton & Gangestad, 2006;Larson et al., 2012Larson et al., , 2013Pillsworth & Haselton, 2006). This study therefore represents a useful first step in investigating the factors associated with conceptionrisking behavior and unintended pregnancy. ...
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A great deal of research has focused on women’s attention to the physical and behavioral cues of potential romantic partners. Comparatively little work has investigated how these cues influence women’s sexual risk-taking. The current study investigated the relationship between women’s perceptions of various factors associated with their partner’s genetic or investment quality, and women’s risky sexual behaviors (i.e., behaviors that could lead to unintended pregnancy). This work also investigated the influence of estimated menstrual cycle phase using a between-subject design. Analyses failed to reveal menstrual cycle effects, but women reported a greater tendency to engage in risky sexual behaviors when they had more physically attractive partners and when they use sexual inducements as a mate retention strategy. Also, conception-risking behaviors occurred most often when the woman reported being more socially dominant and she reported being less upset by a potential pregnancy. Moreover, the self-reported likelihood that women would carry an unintended pregnancy to term with their partner was predicted by feeling less upset by a potential pregnancy, taking fewer social risks, religiosity, and by more favorable ratings of their partners’ masculinity. These results are discussed in line with evolutionary theory surrounding mate choice.
... Extensive research has examined menstrual-cycle variation in cisgender women's sexual motivation and behavior, seeking to test various evolutionary theories regarding the functional significance of such variation. The "estrus" model posits that increased sexual motivation around the time of ovulation enhances reproductive success by ensuring that women are motivated to pursue sexual activity when such activity is most likely to produce offspring (Gangestad et al., 2007;Pillsworth & Haselton, 2006). Yet the "extended sexuality" model posits that women should be particularly motivated to engage in sexual activity during non-fertile phases of the cycle (such as the luteal phase), because non-reproductive sexual activity may foster pairbonding and hence secure a partner's future investment in any potential offspring (Grebe et al., 2013). ...
... Extensive research has documented menstrual cycle-related shifts in heterosexual women's sexual motivation toward partners who are more sexually attractive and more reproductively viable (Gangestad et al., 2007;Gildersleeve et al., 2014;Pillsworth & Haselton, 2006). The present study investigated cycle-related shifts in gender-specific sexual motivation in women with diverse sexual orientations. ...
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We used a one-month daily diary assessment to measure menstrual cycle-related changes in same-gender and other-gender sexual motivation and behavior in 148 cisgender women (32% lesbian-identified, 35% bisexually identified, and 33% heterosexual-identified). Women with exclusive same-gender orientations reported increased motivation for same-gender sexual contact during the higher-fertility phase of the cycle, but women with exclusive other-gender orientations did not show a parallel increase in other-gender sexual motivation during the higher-fertility phase. Bisexually attracted women showed no phase-related changes in same-gender or other-gender sexual motivation, regardless of whether they generally preferred one gender versus the other. Rates of partnered sexual contact did not increase during the higher-fertility phase. During the 14 midcycle days during which we assayed salivary estrogen and testosterone, we found no significant associations between daily hormones and sexual motivation. However, daily estrogen levels were positively related to sexual behavior among women currently partnered with women, and negatively related to sexual behavior among women currently partnered with men. Our results suggest that traditional evolutionary models of menstrual cycle-related changes in sexual motivation do not adequately reflect the full range of cycle-related changes observed among sexually diverse women.
... Looking at current literature on ovulatory changes in general, the predominant finding is that women show increased sexual motivation when they are fertile (Arslan, Schilling et al., 2018;Bullivant et al., 2004;Jones et al., 2019;Roney & Simmons, 2013, 2016Shirazi et al., 2019). While the nature and function of these shifts remain a matter of debate (Arslan, Schilling et al., 2018;Gangestad et al., 2005;Havliček et al., 2015;Pillsworth et al., 2004;Pillsworth & Haselton, 2006;Stern et al., 2019Stern et al., , 2020, one hypothesis that is gaining more attention and empirical support is the motivational priority shifts hypothesis (Roney, 2016;Roney & Simmons, 2013). According to this hypothesis, estradiol and progesterone act as a two-signal code that promotes mating effort during the fertile phase, when reproductive fitness benefits outweigh the costs (risking injury, sexually transmitted diseases and opportunity costs with regard to e.g. ...
... This is hinted at in our results, with the highest ovulatory increase being sexual desirability, followed by attractiveness and smaller increases in selfesteem and positive mood. Yet there are different theoretical approaches that try to account for the ovulatory increase in sexual motivation in women (Arslan, Schilling et al., 2018;Gangestad et al., 2005;Gildersleeve et al., 2014;Havliček et al., 2015;Pillsworth et al., 2004;Pillsworth & Haselton, 2006;Stern et al., 2019Stern et al., , 2020Wood et al., 2014). In the face of these debates, there is a great need for methodologically sound studies, preferably using open science practices, before any final conclusions about the functions or associations of ovulatory cycle shifts can be drawn. ...
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How attractive we find ourselves decides who we target as potential partners and influences our reproductive fitness. Self-perceptions on women’s fertile days could be particularly important. However, results on how self-perceived attractiveness changes across women’s ovulatory cycles are inconsistent and research has seldomly assessed multiple attractiveness-related constructs simultaneously. Here, we give an overview of ovulatory cycle shifts in self-perceived attractiveness, sexual desirability, grooming, self-esteem and positive mood. We addressed previous methodological shortcomings by conducting a large, preregistered online diary study of 872 women (580 naturally cycling) across 70 consecutive days, applying several robustness analyses, and comparing naturally cycling women to women using hormonal contraceptives. As expected, we found robust evidence for ovulatory increases in self-perceived attractiveness and sexual desirability in naturally cycling women. Unexpectedly, we found moderately robust evidence for smaller ovulatory increases in self-esteem and positive mood. Although grooming showed an ovulatory increase descriptively, the effect was small, failed to reach our strict significance level of .01 and was not robust to model variations. We discuss how these results could follow an ovulatory increase in sexual motivation while calling for more theoretical and causally informative research to uncover the nature of ovulatory cycle shifts in the future.
... As might be expected, male partners' sexual attractiveness negatively associates with women's interests in extra-pair men; women with "sexy" partners express less interest in other men, compared to women with relatively "unsexy" partners. Multiple studies have found that this effect is stronger when women are conceptive in their cycles (e.g., Pillsworth and Haselton, 2006;Larson et al., 2012;Dinh et al., 2022a; see , for a review). The purported explanation is that women place greater value on sexually attractive male features when conceptive in their cycles, presumably because these features were associated with genetic benefits to offspring ancestrally. ...
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How do women's sexual interests change across their ovulatory cycles? This question is one of the most enduring within the human evolutionary behavioral sciences. Yet definitive, agreed-upon answers remain elusive. One empirical pattern appears to be robust: Women experience greater levels of sexual desire and interest when conceptive during their cycles. But this pattern is not straightforward or self-explanatory. We lay out multiple possible, broad explanations for it. Based on selectionist reasoning, we argue that the conditions that give rise to sexual interests during conceptive and non-conceptive phases are likely to differ. Because conceptive and non-conceptive sex have distinct functions, the sexual interests during conceptive and non-conceptive phases are likely to have different strategic ends. We discuss provisional evidence consistent with this perspective. But the exact nature of women's dual sexuality, if it exists, remains unclear. Additional empirical research is needed. But perhaps more crucially, this topic demands additional theory that fruitfully guides and interprets future empirical research.
... Indeed, throughout the cycle, women are supposed to experience adaptive changes in their subconscious mental and behavioral processes associated with mating Thornhill, 1998, 2008). They are more sexually aroused (Roney and Simmons, 2013) and interested in mating concerning extra-pair copulation (Gangestad et al., 2005;Pillsworth and Haselton, 2006) or primary partner (Pillsworth et al., 2004). Few studies point to general increase in sexual desire (Jones et al., 2018). ...
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The signaling theory suggests that creativity may have evolved as a signal for mates. Indeed, its aesthetic value might not have been necessary for survival, but it could have helped to attract a mate, fostering childbearing. If we consider creativity as such a signal, we should expect it will be enhanced in the context related to sexual selection. This hypothesis was tested mainly for men. However, both men and women display physical and mental traits that can attract a mate. Previous studies showed that women can be more creative during their peak fertility. We advanced these findings in the present study, applying reliable measures of menstrual cycle phases (examining saliva and urine samples) and the highly recommended within-subject design. We also introduced and tested possible mediators of the effect. We found women's ideas to be more original during ovulation compared to non-fertile phases of the ovulatory cycle. The results are discussed in the context of signaling theory and alternative explanations are considered.
... If women engage in short-term sex, they are particularly attracted by cues of masculinity (i.e., cues for "good genes") like tallness, physical strength and deep voice pitch (Puts, 2005;Roney et al., 2006). Women are more motivated to engage in short-term sex when there is a possibility to take fitness benefits out of these "good genes, " i.e., when they are in the ovulatory phase of the menstrual cycle (Baker and Bellis, 1995;Pillsworth and Haselton, 2006). ...
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In recent years, millions of citizens all over the world have used digital dating services. It remains unknown to what extent human sexuality will be changed by this. Based on an evolutionary psychological perspective, we assume that sexual selection shaped behavioural tendencies in men and women that are designed to increase the reproductive fitness. These tendencies are referred to as sexual strategies. Males and females sexual strategies differ according to sex-dimorphic reproductive investments. We assume that this inheritance will affect human sexuality also in a digital future. To evaluate this assumption, we conducted a selective review of studies on digital dating services. Based on sexual selection theory, we derived a number of hypotheses regarding how men and women will use digital dating services typically and how the use of digital dating services might affect sexual wellbeing. Out of an initial data set of 2,568 records, we finally reviewed a set of 13 studies. These studies provided support for the notion that men and women act in the digital dating area according to sex-typical strategies. However, sometimes the circumstances of digital dating affect communication flow, e.g., in that men are even more active in establishing contacts than they are in real world conditions. Overall, women appear to accomplish their sexual goals in digital dating arenas more than men do given a surplus of male demand. Our results suggest that future human sexuality will be impacted by an interaction of both: sex-dimorphic ancient sexual strategies and new technologies.
Schimpansen leben in einem polygynandrienen Paarungssystem, in dem sich Weibchen mit mehreren Männchen und Männchen mit mehreren Weibchen paaren. Vermutlich haben sich Menschen nach dem pan-homo Split vor ca. 7 Millionen Jahren von einem polygynandrienen zu einem polygynen (Harem) und dann zu einem überwiegend monogamen Paarungssystem entwickelt. Die Sexualität des Jetzt-Menschen zeigt zugleich Merkmale des älteren polygynen und des neueren monogamen Paarungssystems. In diesem Kapitel werden zahlreiche Beispiele von Anpassungen an das ältere und an das jüngere Paarungssystem des Menschen erläutert. Im Ergebnis bedeutet es, dass wir Menschen ein sexuelles Mischwesen sind. Daraus können sich Probleme in unserer Sexualität und Partnerschaft ergeben. Die Kenntnis dieser sehr verschiedenen sexuellen Strategien des Jetzt-Menschen hilft, die eigene Sexualität und insbesondere die des Gegengeschlechts besser zu verstehen und eine gute Sexualtherapie zu machen.
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The aim of this review is to consider the potential benefits that females may gain from mating more than once in a single reproductive cycle. The relationship between non-genetic and genetic benefits is briefly explored. We suggest that multiple mating for purely non-genetic benefits is unlikely as it invariably leads to the possibility of genetic benefits as well. We begin by briefly reviewing the main models for genetic benefits to mate choice, and the supporting evidence that choice can increase offspring performance and the sexual attractiveness of sons. We then explain how multiple matin!: can elevate offspring fitness by increasing the number of potential sires that compete, when this occurs in conjunction with mechanisms of paternity biasing that function in copula or post-copulation. We begin by identifying cases where females use precopulatory cues to identify mates prior to remating. In the simplest case, females remate because they identify a superior mate and 'trade up' genetically. The main evidence for this process comes from extra-pair copulation in birds. Second, we note other cases where pre-copulatory cues may be less reliable and females mate with several males to promote post-copulatory mechanisms that bias paternity. Although a distinction is drawn between sperm competition and cryptic female choice, we point out that the genetic benefits to polyandry in terms of producing more viable or sexually attractive offspring do not depend on the exact mechanism that leads to biased paternity. Post-copulatory mechanisms of paternity biasing may: (1) reduce genetic incompatibility between male and female genetic contributions to offspring; (2) increase offspring viability if there is a positive correlation between traits favoured post-copulation and those that improve performance under natural selection; (3) increase the ability of sons to gain paternity when they mate with polyandrous females. A third possibility is that genetic diversity among offspring is directly favoured. This can be due to bet-hedging (due to mate assessment errors or temporal fluctuations in the environment), beneficial interactions between less related siblings of the opportunity to preferentially fertilise eggs with sperm of a specific genotype drawn from a range of stored sperm depending on prevailing environmental conditions. We use case studies from the social insects to provide some concrete examples of the role of genetic diversity among progeny in elevating fitness. We conclude that post-copulatory mechanisms provide a more reliable way of selecting a genetically compatible mate than pre-copulatory mate choice. Some of the best evidence for cryptic female choice by sperm selection is due to selection of more compatible sperm. Two future areas of research seem likely to be profitable. First, more experimental evidence is needed demonstrating that multiple mating increases offspring fitness via genetic gains. Second, the role of multiple mating in promoting assortative fertilization and increasing reproductive isolation between populations may help us to understand sympatric speciation.
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The authors seek to contribute to a fuller understanding of men's violence against women in intimate relationships by comparing men's and women's accounts of the violence, injuries, and controlling behavior used by men against women partners. Although men and women inhabit a shared physical and social space within the home, their lived experiences and perceptions of such relationships often differ. Despite this, many studies do not consider what effect such gender differences might have on accounts of violence against women and, instead, assume that men's and women's accounts are basically unproblematic. The authors ask whether this is so. Based on findings from an in-depth interview study of 122 men who had perpetrated violence against a woman partner and 144 women who had been the victims of such violence, the results show that women and men provide significantly different accounts of men's violence, controlling behavior, and injuries. These results make problematic the assumption that men's accounts of their own violent behavior can be used uncritically and without reference to women's accounts of men's violence.
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Evolutionary theory predicts that males will provide less parental investment for putative offspring who are unlikely to be their actual offspring. Cross-culturally, paternity confidence (a man's assessment of the likelihood that he is the father of a putative child) is positively associated with men's involvement with children and with investment or inheritance from paternal kin. A survey of 67 studies reporting nonpaternity suggests that for men with high paternity confidence rates of nonpaternity are(excluding studies of unknown methodology) typically 1.9%, substantially less than the typical rates of 10% or higher cited by many researchers. Further cross-cultural investigation of the relationship between paternity and paternity confidence is warranted. © 2006 by The Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research. All rights reserved.
The magnitude of the effect of good genes as a viability benefit accruing to choosy females remains a controversial theoretica and empirical issue. We collected all available data from the literature to estimate the magnitude of good–genes viabilit effects, while adjusting for sample size. The average correlation coefficient between male traits and offspring survival i 22 studies was 0.122, which differed highly significantly from zero. This implies that male characters chosen by females revea on average 1.5%of the variance in viability. The studies demonstrated considerable heterogeneity in effect size; some of thi heterogeneity could be accounted for by differences among taxa (birds demonstrating stronger effects), and by difference in the degree of mating skew in the species (high skew reflecting stronger effects). Although these results suggest that viability–base sexual selection is widespread across taxa, they indicate that the effect is relatively minor. Finally, there was also a effect of publication year in that the more recent studies reported reduced effects. This may reflect publication biases durin paradigm shifts of this debated issue, but it should also be recalled that the studies have only partly estimated the ful fitness consequences of mate choice for offspring.
This article reviews evidence of coitus-induced ovulation. Maintenance of reproductive efficiency by more than 1 mechanism for triggering ovulation is interpreted as an evolutionary phenomenon aimed at ensuring the survival of the species. In earlier research estrogen levels or progesterone output were believed to regulate the ovulatory luteinizing hormone (LH) release and the length of the receptive period in spontaneous ovulators; more recently the effect of neural olfactory and emotional stimuli has been recognized. The neuroendocrine systems involved in spontaneous and reflex-induced ovulation include the hypothalamic-hypophyseal-gonadokinetic system and the neurohormonal pathways for coitomimetic stimuli. In spontaneously ovulating rodents the stimulus of coitus serves as an inducer for pseudopregnancy. The translation of vaginal stimulation into gonadomimetic humoral messages released from the hypothalamus and/or the posterior pituitary for the liberation of LH and prolactin is not completely understood. Nervous or biochemical influences resulting from coitus may even more directly affect ovarian functions by local sympathetic reflexes or by biochemical components of the ejaculate. In coitus-induced ovulation central nervous and/or peripheral autonomic nervous involvement may interact to push ovarian follicles toward maturation and ovulation or may help to ovulate nearly ripe or ripe follicles as a result of cohabitation. Acceptance of coitus-induced ovulation in humans renders rhythm methods of fertility control unreliable. In 1 large study of pregnancies resulting from rape 33-46% of conceptions occurred during what should have been a safe period. Emotions may also play a role in facilitating or predisposing to coitus-induced ovulation. There is a need for further biochemical statistical and demographic analyses of the frequency and sociologic importance of coitus-induced ovulation in humans.
This study explored evolutionary hypotheses concerning extrapair sex (or EPCs: extrapair copulations). Based on recent notions about sexual selection, we predicted that (a) men's number of EPCs would correlate negatively with their fluctuating asymmetry, a measure of the extent to which developmental design is imprecisely expressed, and (b) men's number of times having been an EPC partner of a woman would negatively correlate with their fluctuating asymmetry. In a sample of college heterosexual couples, both hypotheses were supported. In addition, men's physical attractiveness independently predicted how often they had been an EPC partner. Women's anxious attachment style positively covaried with their number of EPC partners, whereas their avoidant attachment style negatively covaried with their number of EPC partners.
Males of many animal taxa allocate resourceslargely to mate acquisition and defence, con-tributing little more than gametes to embryoproduction. In many insects, however, malestransfer large spermatophores or ejaculates tofemales during mating, and extragametic sub-stancesderivedfromthesepackagesareusedforsomaticmaintenanceandeggproductionbytherecipient females (e.g. Boggs 1981). Femalesreceiving multiple male contributions lay more(Ridley1988)andoftenlargereggs(Fox1993a)than do once-mated females, indicating largeeVectsofmale-derivednutrientsonfemalerepro-duction.Furthermore,largemalesproducelargerejaculates or spermatophores than small males(Fox et al. 1995), and females of some insectspreferentiallymatewithlargemales(ThornhillA but see Gwynne 1988). Here, weprovideevidencethatvariationamongmalesinbodysizehasadirecteVectonfemalereproductivesuccess(lifetimefecundityandeggsize)inaseedbeetle,