Understanding Human Sexual Behavior

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A fundamental step for understanding the links between human nature and intimate relationships is by understanding human sexuality. Alfred Kinsey, in his pioneering study on human sexual behaviour, illustrated the degree to which individuals differ in their sexual attitudes, beliefs and preferences (Kinsey, Pomeroy & Martin, 1948). In particular, a marked difference was highlighted in individuals’ sociosexual attitudes and behaviours. Following this, many of the sociosexual features individuals differ in, including preferred frequency of sexual intercourse, the number of different sexual partners they predict to have in the future, and their willingness to engage in uncommitted relationships, have shown to covary (Eysenk, 1976, as cited in…show more content…
A woman’s parental investment is much greater compared to males, due to their limited period of fertility and the infants dependency on the mother for its survival. For successful reproduction, a woman must invest 9 months of pregnancy as well as many years after birth to rear her child. Therefore, choosing a poor partner has severe repercussions for women, by limiting their investment in another, potentially better mate, for a prolonged period (Bjorklund & Kipp, 1996). This is costly compared to men, the lesser investing sex, who can extend their reproductive success by impregnating a fertile woman for little more than the time it takes to copulate (Trivers, 1972). To increase the chances of having more children, men relax their standards and thus engage in more casual sex. Whilst a man’s reproductive success can be heightened by extra-pair copulation (as they have more benefits and less to lose with extra-marital relationships), a woman risks losing her partners investment or, if single, getting pregnant before ensuring such long-term security. Further, women pass sexually transmitted diseases to men more easily than men do to women (Devincenzi et al., 1992), which can consequently lead to women suffering from reputational costs, such as hostility, by engaging in unrestricted sexual activities (Jonason, 2007). Therefore, it is more favourable for men to be unrestricted in their sociosexual orientation, and for women to be more restricted.
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