Re: Sex drives/Prostitution/Rape/Reproduction

Elizabeth Childs (
Mon, 05 Jul 1999 23:13:04 -0700

"Robert J. Bradbury" wrote:

> Ok, so now women are in the position of over-turning the genetic prime
> directive! In that situation what replaces it? Are you going after
> beauty (seduced by our marketing based environment presumably), intelligence
> (based on some subjective assessment), a man's ability/willingness
> to "replace" the woman as a primary nurturing source (so you know
> the children will be properly cared for...)???

Male resources have never been the genetic prime directive, but one factor among several. In hunter gatherer tribes, women produce 2/3 of the calories. That makes them the providers of the resources.

As for beauty, there's some evidence that physical beauty results from health and genetic fitness. Studies show that when you show men around the world pictures of women, they will always declare the same ones to be beautiful, with very minor variations. So it's culturally independent.

Beautiful people tend to have unusually symmetrical faces. It's theorized that this symmetry is indicative of healthy fetal development. Some studies have shown that beautiful people are on average a bit more intelligent and less prone to colds, although another study did not confirm this.

Intelligence is definitely a factor in mate selection among both men and women. The IQ's of husbands and wives are more likely to be in the same range than any other factor, including their pre-marital class backgrounds.

One study showed that a common sense of humor was a good predictor for whether a relationship would last.

In animals, the alpha males are more attractive to the females. I don't know if that's been scientifically demonstrated to be true in humans, but it's apparently quite common for women to throw themselves at powerful men.

Another major factor is that women tend to fall for men who give the appearance of being in love with them. This is what romance is all about - if a man brings a woman wildflowers he picked in a meadow, it's at least as attractive to her as if he'd spent $100 and brought long stemmed roses. Women like to feel that a man is going to stick around.


For one thing, sexual attraction is much rarer for a woman that for a man. Suppose a woman is highly selective, and only finds 1 in 1,000 men sexually attractive. When she finds that one guy, how much is she going to worry about his wallet? This is her one chance to have any fun. "Being a good provider" doesn't actually turn women on; it's a strictly cognitive assessment.

While I think it's true that human beings are full of complicated instincts that we're just starting to understand scientifically, most of what we do on a day to day basis is decided in the cerebral cortex, not deep within our animal brains. And our choices about relationships have a lot to do with our whole personalities, not just pheromones or facial symmetry.

I have a friend who has a thing for really talented computer programmers. (Not rich programmers, good programmers. She likes to watch them work out problems in their head.) Another friend thinks meditating a lot is sexy. These can't possibly be instincts.

Men and women fall in love for reasons they can't explain. Women choose different men at 30 then they do at 15. The love algorithm adapts over time. Women who go out with men who are mean to them in their 20's will often find someone who is kind to them in their 30's.

There are a lot of inputs in the love algorithm - sure, pheromones and resources and immunities and facial symmetry and alpha-ness - but there's also common interests, shared sense of humor, and knowing that you can learn from your partner. When there's a joke I share with someone that no one else in the world would understand, or when someone surprises me completely with a new interest or an amazing revelation, those things draw me closer to that person.

You can only get so far understanding women by studying biology. I think Norton has an anthology of poetry by women.

> Culture & government are different. They appear to separate based
> on the size of the community (when you no longer *know* the voters
> you have a government). I doubt (someone correct me if I'm wrong)
> that in small Polynesian island communities the "government" is
> viewed as separate from the culture.

Sure. I have no objection to voluntary cultures setting up their own internal government; for many types of voluntary organizations, it's essential for the organization to function.

> "" -- brilliant (but it only works for negative reviews)!

Oh, I was thinking of 'slam' as a synonym for sex.

> > That's why people are attracted to people with foreign accents.
> An interesting premise, intellectural feedback into a biochemical
> analytical computer. This would need to be tested.

Yeah, my evidence would be that song, "Long Haired Guys From England." Not too compelling.

(A rather silly American song that was on the radio a few years ago about how all the girls wanted to be with 'Long Haired Guys From England'.)