Promiscuity refers to mating with many different partners, possibly strangers, which is often accompanied by low mate choice standards and a high sexual drive. The opposite mating pattern is monogamy which refers to sexual exclusivity (pair boding) and often involves high mate choice standards. Promiscuity is often accompanied by a desire for sexual variety. In behavioral science, the effect of becoming bored of the current mate in order to increase sexual variety is called Coolidge effect.
In humans, there are large differences in promiscuity in terms of sex outside committed relationships. Female promiscuity, but not male promiscuity is often driven by access to resources. Further, female promiscuity still involves much higher mate standards compared to males. Female promiscuity also rather occurs more within a pre-selected group of males and backup partners, compared to males who would much more readily copulate with a stranger.
Evolutionary explanation[edit | edit source]
The advantage of promiscuity (from the point of view of the genes) is that it creates lots of offspring that one does not invest into, some of which may make it. More r-selected species are more promiscuous as they invest less in their offspring. In welfare states men can maximize reproductive success by pumping and dumping many females and leaving the raising of the offspring to the state or betabux.
The advantage of sexual variety is also that it increases genetic variety. Combining one's own genes with the genes of many different sex partners increases the chance that one combination is particularly successful, as it increases the genotypic and hence phenotypic diversity of the offspring (with increased variance, an extreme outcome becomes more likely).
Coolidge effect[edit | edit source]
The effect of becoming bored with the current mate is especially present in males of many animals. Modern pornography constitutes a superstimulus in this regard, allowing men to constantly being confronted with a sexually willing female, albeit on a screen.
Sex differences in promiscuity[edit | edit source]
As females often have much higher parental investment, the males are usually much more promiscuous, because females have to lock down a provider male as they are too invested in raising the offspring to gather resources themselves.
Both males and females, benefit from sexual variety (though females only if a source of resources is secured). When females engage in promiscuity, as human female ancestors may have, it heightens men's concern about paternity assurance as they would lose their resources when investing in someone else's offspring (from the male gene's perspective). Thus, it motivates males to constrain female sexuality. This constitutes a sexual conflict, opposing female whoring and engagement in pump and dump on the one side for increasing sexual variety, and culture limiting sexual variety for females on the other.
Female promiscuity gives rise to sperm competition as it means the sperm needs to compete inside the vagina and possibly also affecting shape of the penis so as to be able to scoop out competing sperm. There is some (limited) evidence of female promiscuity in humans, which may have been more behavior of a fast life history speed past, but still show in certain innate behaviors today such as the male desire for paternity assurance, as well the peculiar size and shape of the human penis.
Female promiscuity is also referred to as cock carousel.
Human female promiscuity and sperm competition[edit | edit source]
Evidence against it:
- Sperm volume and testes size smaller than pan with promiscuous females
- Cross-culturally high prevalence of monogamy, very low incidence rate of polyamory
- Despite sexual liberation, no evidence of widespread promiscuity and still very low non-paternity rates
Evidence for it:
- Human penis shape
- Cross-cultural concerns about female promiscuity, giving rise to slut-shaming gossip among females
- Female promiscuity in closely related pan
- Relatively large sperm volume, and shore retention period compared to other mammals (but not other pan)
- Women display a kind of Coolidge Effect in marriages sooner than men
- As females have pretty much been breeding cattle in most cultures and incapable of substantial resource extraction, their more ancient promiscuous adaptations may have largely been hidden by culture that regulates their sexuality, but they may still exist
- High incidence of mate poaching, mate switching, back-burners and relationship instability and a massive decline in long-term monogamous mating in contemporary "liberated" society