Bloody shovel

Don't call it a spade

Men have good reason to be concerned about the sexual satisfaction of their partners.

Conflicts of interest with men

Because males and females can best enhance their fitness in different ways, conflicts of interest between women and men are, unfortunately, an intrinsic part of the mating game.

A man can enhance his fitness by investing in his children and by maxi- mizing his number of mates, but time and resources devoted to one interfere with the other. These trade-offs lead to variation in male strategies, with the polar types immortalized in the words of Draper and Harpending45 as “cads” (low investment males seeking to maximize mating opportunities) and “dads” (high investment males committed to one sexual partner).

The trade-offs facing men define the choices facing women. Should a woman try to secure an investing mate (who may have lower mate value in other respects) or should she content herself with getting good genes and immediate resources from a non-investing cad? She will have trouble doing both at the same time, because the behavior that attracts a cad (flaunting her sexuality) will put off a dad (who wants evidence of fidelity), and vice versa.

Having it both ways: mixed strategies

Recent research suggests that the difficulty of having it both ways is not always insurmountable. Women may try to get investment from one man while mating with another who is desirable in different respects. Baker and Bellis have found that when married women have affairs, the matings with the “extra-pair” male occur disproportionately during the woman’s fertile period. This finding suggests that one goal of short-term matings for women is to secure “good genes” from another mate, and that women may use deception to play a mixed sexual strategy.

The detailed investigations of Baker and Bellis on human sexual behavior show that this strategy also exists on a more covert level. They have found that “high retention” female orgasms (those that retain the largest amount of sperm) are those occuring between one minute before and forty-five min- utes after the male’s ejaculation. Questionnaire data from a large sample of women indicates that those who had extra-marital affairs were more likely to have high-retention orgasms with the extra-pair partner than with their regular mate. Baker and Bellis argue, further, that non-copulatory orgasms also affect sperm retention, thereby endowing women with considerable flexibility in attaining their reproductive aims. These data suggest, among other things, that males have good reason to be concerned about the sexual satisfaction of their partners.

Married men, that is. This suggests though that it’s not that men should make an extra effort to artificially make their women have orgasms; what you need to do is watch if she’s having it spontaneously; and be *very* careful if she is not.

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3 responses to “Men have good reason to be concerned about the sexual satisfaction of their partners.

  1. Pingback: Men have good reason to be concerned about the sexual satisfaction of their partners. | Reaction Times

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