Sexual conflict refers to intersexual conflict, meaning conflicting sexual strategies between the sexes, i.e. diverging interests in males and females to optimize their fitness over many generations. The sexes literally engage in a war over the course of revolution.
Examples of sexual conflict in humans[edit | edit source]
- From the point of view of women, fitness is optimized if the mate cares for the young thus freeing resources (e.g., time and energy) that can be invested in additional offspring, but caring for a single woman, the man needs to forego other mating opportunities.
- Men seek extra-pair copulations (affairs) because they can scatter their seeds, but this is at odds with women fitness as they depend on men's resources, hence women seek men who invest in them (by attracting them with a reputation of faithfulness and looks). Only in case of very good looking men, women's desire for investment is offset by the promise for the genes for good looking offspring (sexy sons hypothesis).
- In a polygamous setting, male reproductive success is optimized by having mated with multiple females, but female's reproductive success is reduced as the man distributes his sex drive among multiple women. This may be offset by higher quality offspring though, or simply better looking ones as discussed in the previous point. Various studies demonstrate that females are able to detect “attractive” males by secondary sexual characteristics such as ornamentation.
- Women can also conspicuously display their secondary sexual characteristics which have possibly evolved from positive feedback in sexual selection. Thereby women can hope to acquire a higher quality man. This is why most women crave sexual attention. Men however, dislike when their partner whores for attention because it increases the risk of being cuckolded. But not just men dislike it. Historically, marriages were predominantly arranged and marriage was a question of passing on family wealth, hence the entire family had an interest for women to be faithful to avoid spending their resources on some other man's offspring. This is likely one reason why women have been heavily controlled and sequestered away in many cultures, not only by the men, but also the man's parents. So there is a sexual conflict between entire families and women conspicuously advertising themselves.
- The feminine imperative is a collection of adaptations that emerged from women to maximizing their fitness, often at the cost of men's fitness, e.g. single mothers demanding to be cared for by tax money, decreasing men's accumulation of wealth to impress women.
See also[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]