Men’s Long Term Mating
Why do Men Commit?
 Because women demand it…
 Access to mates
 Increase in paternity certainty
 Increase in offspring survival
 Increase in status and alliances
Assessing Reproductive Value
 Concealed ovulation- shifts focus from estrus
detection to reproductive value detection
 Reproductive Value: the average expected number of
children a person is likely to have in the future
 Fertility: actual reproductive performance- how
many viable offspring are produced?
Preference for Youth
 “moko dude” females are preferred worldwide
 Men prefer women about 2.5 years younger
 With increasing age, the age preference gap grows
 Adolescent boys prefer slightly older females
 Helps to examine alternative explanations for preferences
 Older men prefer women in mid 30’s- beyond
maximum fertility
Compromise between desire and reality?
Evolved Standards of Beauty
“Beauty is in the adaptations of the beholder”
Don Symons
 Physical cues
 Hair quality
 Skin quality
 Facial femininity
 Facial symmetry
 Facial averageness
What Makes a Face Feminine?
Averaging Faces
Beauty Continued
 Standards emerge in infancy
 Standards are consistent across cultures
 Pleasure centers of the brain are activated by
beautiful faces- they are rewarding
Body Preferences: Waist to Hip Ratio
 Waist-to-hip ratio of .70
 Correlates strongly with fertility
 Excellent indicator of health
 Correlates with cognitive function
 New studies find it predicts cognitive
development in children
Body Preferences: Slim or Plump?
 Most culturally variable body preference
 More a function of resource scarcity
 In the US, women’s ideals are
thinner than men’s
Sex Differences and Cultural Evolution
 Consistently over time and culture, physical
attractiveness is more important to men
 The importance placed on attractiveness has
increased over the past century
Do Men Know When Women are Ovulating?
 Men have much to gain from detecting ovulation
 Channeling efforts and resources
 Mate guarding
 Evidence that men may detect ovulation
 Facial changes- rosier and lighter
 Decrease in waist-to-hip ratio
 Ovulating women are touched more in bars
 Men prefer scent of ovulating women
 Facial attractiveness increases
Can men detect it or are they just responding to women’s
The Problem of Paternity Uncertainty
 The challenge of concealed ovulation
 Marriage as one solution
 Desire for premarital chastity
 Depends largely on status of women
in a society
 Quest for postmarital fidelity
 Role of sexual experience and
Context Effects on Men’s Mating Behaviors
 Men with resources are most able to actualize their
As income goes up, men seek younger partners
 Exposure to attractive women lowers men’s
perceptions of and commitment to their partners
Spiraling competition- eating disorders and plastic surgery
The Role of Testosterone
 T plays a key role in mating effort and intrasexual
T is hard on the immune system
Higher T is associated with lower parenting effort
T levels drop when a man is mated long term, but
less if he is still pursuing other mating opportunities
T levels drop when men have children- even after
they hold babies
Men’s Behaviors: Personal Ads
 Men respond to women’s ads more than women
respond to men’s
 Younger women receive more responses than older
 Mentioning physical attractiveness produces more
responses, especially by men
Men’s Behavior: Marriage and Competition
 Men are older at marriage: 3 years, 5 years, and 8
years (first, second, third marriages)
 Women respond to men’s preferences
Makeup and hair enhancements
Dieting and exercise (and plastic surgery)
Women are more likely to lie about age
 Female derogation tactics
 Appearance
 Fidelity
 Eating disorders: a byproduct of sexual competition?