Evolution may explain why men are more likely to cheat


EXCERPT: . . . Evolution, biology, and the platitude “boys will be boys” do not excuse poor and inconsiderate decision-making. But there are biological factors (as well as numerous cultural factors) that may make men more likely than women to act upon their sexual impulses. [...] For instance, the sexual pursuit area of men’s brains may be up to 2.5 times larger than that of females. Men report masturbating over twice as frequently as women [...] their primary motivation being insufficient sex. Upon reaching puberty, men begin to produce 25 times more testosterone (the male sex hormone). Although this is obviously not true of all men, on average, a male’s brain is, evolutionarily, more primed towards sexual conquest.

The image of the male as the more promiscuous seems nearly universal in the animal kingdom, although there are some exceptions [...] The explanation behind the behavior differences of the sexes has been accepted for a long time: since females birth and nurture the children, they must invest more in finding a worthy mate. Males, on the other hand, are incentivized to spread their sperm as far as possible.

Despite popular misconceptions [...] the majority of human cultures actually practice polygamy (both polygyny, the practice of having many wives, and polyandry, the practice of having many husbands, are common throughout history). [...] Over the course of evolution, our style of social organization has affected our sex lives and thus our anatomy. For us, monogamy is a recent invention-- the earliest human ancestors likely lived similarly to chimpanzees today, in large multi-male, multi-female groups. This organization is the optimal strategy for a species on the move. Meanwhile, primates with one dominant male and many females, like Gorillas or Orangutans, typically have the male defending some piece of valuable territory for his harem.

Our ancient, polygamous male ancestors thus had to compete with each other to father the most children. [...] Women, in turn, transitioned from the nearly universal in the animal kingdom “estrous cycle” (where a female is perceivably “in heat” for a short period of time) to the “menstrual cycle.” The cycling hormones of the menstrual cycle may make the woman more open to sex regularly (at least compared to the estrous cycle), and it is not obvious to the male when she is fertile.

In doing so, the ancient woman may have provided more frequent sex to her male partner (without him knowing if she is fertile) and thus convinced him into providing resources for her and the children. In other words, some scientists believe menstruation coincided with the birth of monogamy and partnership in child-rearing (or at least alimony). Others even argue that humans evolved to walk on two legs in order for males to carry food in their freed arms to nursing females. Yet others believe monogamy is much more recent, and evolved in order to protect against STDs with the growth of large groups. All these theories, however, remain controversial, even after decades of debate.

Nevertheless, the invention of monogamy (or at least, lifelong, single partnerships) may have led to an "evolutionary dissonance" of sorts: men had evolved for millions of years to seek lots of sex with many partners, while women now expected a partner for life. The introduction of cultural and social norms placed even more constraints on sex. In turn, some men have decided to engage in infidelity, and even sexual misconduct, in order to satisfy their basal desires.

[...] young men can develop their sex drive before their full powers of decision-making. When sexual impulse overruns the more the recently-evolved rational and empathetic portions of the brain, some men can be driven to act on their desires without consideration for others, resulting in adultery and other forms of sexual misconduct. The male libido (and female acquiescence to it) may be more ancient and hard wired into our brains than our recently evolved "higher intelligence," but that doesn't mean it has to be more powerful. [...] Just as the majority of us have evolved to value monogamy, bodily autonomy, and empathy, so too can we teach ourselves to overcome even our most hard-wired sexual impulses....

MORE: https://www.forbes.com/sites/adambarsouk...-to-cheat/

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