Why we keep men around… A.M Tidbit 3

24 Aug

Another bit from Linden’s The Accidental Mind

In the “Love and Sex” chapter, Dr. Linden points out that most female mammals “advertise” their ovulation – with different scents, changes in appearance, etc. Males and females won’t approach each other when the female has not begun ovulating. In human females, however, time of ovulation is completely concealed: our men have no way of knowing when we’re most fertile, and sex becomes more recreational. Why?

Here’s a direct quote from pg. 149:

“With concealed ovulation… the couple has to mate all through the woman’s cycle to have a reasonable chance of conceiving. Not only that, but if the male decides to stay and try his luck with another female, he cannot be sure that another male will not sneak in the back door and mate with the first female on her fertile days… Hence, with concealed ovulation, the best male strategy is to stick with one female and mate with her all the time.”

But what about the females? Does this type of mating system benefit us? He continues:

“Most other mammals are able to find their own food immediately after weaning, but human children do not achieve this level of independence for many more years. As a consequence, the reproductive success of a female human is much greater if she can establish a long-term pair bond with a male and he contributes in some form to child-rearing.”

So, we need concealed ovulation – so our big-brained offspring are properly taken care of by two adult parents. The bonding that comes as a result of more frequent, recreational sex stabilizes the whole situation… and even keeps us ‘doing it’ when conception isn’t in the picture (like after menopause or during pregnancy).

(These ideas are all from Linden, pgs. 147-150)

Pretty neat, eh?


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