Search Results for: cuckold

Sex At Dawn Is Right

I like to think of myself as courageously seeking out important truths, however uncomfortable. But like most would-be-courageous folk, I don’t really know what I want until I get it. I was excited to read the contrarian Sex at Dawn, which suggests sexual promiscuity is our forager heritage. But that pretty sparkler was really a grenade – its uncomfortable truths shook me to my core.

To hear a different view, immediately afterward I read Evolutionary Biology of Human Female Sexuality [EBoHFS], which supports a standard view of foragers as long-term pair-bonders. By comparison, EBoHFS is more academic: dry, clinical, verbose, and careful to define terms and consider many possibilities. It reviews an immense number of studies, and appears to takes a cautious middle ground.

Sex at Dawn, in contrast, frustrates academic sensibilities. It is passionate, partisan, even snide. It doesn’t systematically review evidence pro and con, or points of view, and it takes long detours to settle scores with opponents. It is long on anecdotes and examples, relative to systematic data. Its authors are confused on how economists use “selfishness”, and on basic Malthusian population theory; they aren’t really to be trusted on theory. Furthermore, their relationship advice seems flippant.

But on their key claim, that forager females were sexually promiscuous, I am persuaded: they are basically right. EBoHFS hardly offers any contrary evidence, it just keeps repeating that evidence is ambiguous, while embracing the usual story by default. (Sex at Dawn also gets forager peacefulness right – see Chapter 13.)  Searching for expert critical reviews, the closest I found were this and this, which mainly just complain it is all very complex and no simple generalizations apply.

The basic facts are these. Recent humans mostly had long-term pair-bonds, while our two closest primate relatives, chimps and bonobos, are quite sexually promiscuous. Yes, they hardly mate at random, and may return often to favorites. Even so:

“Among chimpanzees, ovulating females mate, on average, from six to eight times per day, and they are often eager to respond to the mating invitations of any and all males in the group. … A recent study … showed that more than half the young (seven of thirteen) had been fathered by males from outside the female’s home group.” [p70]

Bonobos females are even more promiscuous. In fact, to find biological analogues to recent human monogamy, EBoHFS looks to various kinds of birds; mammals won’t do. “Monogamy is not found in any social, group-living primate.” [p64]

The big question then is when did the biologically-rare (3% of mammals) phenomena of (near) monogamy arise in our lineage, millions of years ago with the rise of humans, or ten thousand years ago with the rise of farming? And since our data on modern foragers suggests that farming at least greatly reduced promiscuity (especially for females), the big question is really whether lightning struck once or twice, i.e., if there were one or two big unprecedented moves away from typical social-primate promiscuity. Occam’s razor suggests one lightning strike.

If human sex were like chimp and bonobo sex, how should we expect it adapt to human changes, like larger brains, group sizes, and lifespans, and more egalitarian sharing? Dunbar says brain size, group size, and grooming time fraction correlate, and says language let humans better “groom” our record size groups. If sex was part of “grooming”, we’d expect humans to spend a record fraction of time on sex. We should also expect more adaptations to longer term relations (like pedophilia).

So what is the data? Humans spend more time having sex than any known species. Human sex shares many otherwise-rare features with the promiscuous bonobos, who hide their fertile days and have sex all month long, in many positions including missionary where they gaze into each other’s eyes and kiss deeply. Bonobos share food with sex, and use sex for social bonding, such as via homosexuality. Human sex has many other features understandable as adaptations to promiscuity, including large external testicles, a record size penis designed to scoop away other semen, men preferring high male-to-female ratios in porn, long frequent sex, and women being louder and lasting longer than men.

Monogamy vs. promiscuity is a rare area where academics and cultural elites tend to favor the conservative/farmer side of the forager vs. farmer divide. While I find myself balking at the idea of embracing sex partners with forager promiscuity levels, I accept that this preference was culturally imprinted on me.

Many Sex At Dawn quotes below the fold: Continue reading "Sex At Dawn Is Right" »

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Swinger Trends

Swinging has switched from a male to a female focus:

Apart from the numeric growth of the phenomenon, swinger behaviour has also greatly changed over the last 25 years. Both in Italy and in the rest of the world. Twenty-five years ago couples sought almost exclusively other couples or single females; now a days couples seek other couples, single males and groups of males. The phenomenon has thus evolved from situations in which the centre of sexual intercourse was the male component of the couple to “harder” situations in which the centre of sexual intercourse is the female component and the male takes his pleasure from sharing his companion with other men. … Now a days an increasing number of single males seek swingers rather than prostitutes, since swinger women are considered more participative than prostitutes.

A swinger party price list:

Couples: $90, MFF Trios: $120, MMF Trios: $170, Single Females $25

Some patterns:

  • Swingers tend to have at least one person per couple with a college degree.
  • The typical rule is that it must be couples, no singles allowed.
  • You must first present a negative STD test, and agree to be routinely tested.
  • Many have restrictions on outside sex … you [may not] “cheat on the group.”
  • [First talk] on the internet for a long … time before anyone will approach you.
  • [Then] several “dates” where they meet the new potential couple.
  • Groups also sort themselves according to their preferences for activity types.

I’m not sure I’ve got the right picture here – not even sure these are the same kind of swingers.  When many men are on one women, the other women are just sitting around being ignored?  Back in the day when men were the focus, were several women on one man while other men were being ignored?

My guess on the focus switch is that women less fear seeming slutty today.  Whereas once swinging women might have been with several men in one night, they drew the line at being seen doing many men at once.  Now that line has moved.

Added 9a: Apparently, men in couples mostly initiate the move to swinging, but some women become very enthusiastic converts, and become the female centers.  In the past such women were less visibly slutty, with one man at a time.  Many men are overconfident, and learn they attract few women at such events.

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Cheater Finder Fee?

Today tort law lets folks sue others for harms outside the scope of a contract. Consider:

If it would have been hard for you to negotiate a deal where someone might pay you for your help, the law might also want to let you sue that person, asking for some estimate of the value of the help you gave.

Half of my recent law & econ final exam was to analyze:

If A informs B that spouse C is cheating on B with D, should A be able to sue B for compensation for this service?

My forty students mostly disagreed; 50% of A students and 75% of below A students said no.  The obvious pro arguments are less cheating and earlier discovery of cheating. Con arguments:

  • Estimating value gained is hard; only count cash gains.
  • They could have paid someone else to check for cheating.
  • Many spouses would rather not know of cheating.
  • The cheating spouse and partner lose if exposed.
  • Some might make fake evidence to gain money.
  • Some might entrap folks into cheating.
  • The legal process is costly, as is law change.

Now fraud and entrapment could be obvious exceptions, and the cost of law argues equally against all law.  The difficulties and signaling penalties of contracting with folks well placed to notice incriminating evidence suggests we apply tort law principles.  And only paying a fraction of cash gained in a divorce settlement would mainly help wives, who get most such cash.

Instead, I’d suggest a standard finder’s fee of 5% of annual income for the first direct clear evidence of cheating in a declared exclusive relation (e.g., marriage) lasting over two years.  This seems to me a conservative estimate of an average value of learning that your spouse is cheating, while still enough to induce lots more stranger efforts.

My students also opposed cuckolded men suing for compensation; some said it was his fault too if she was unsatisfied.  It seems most students think cheating should not be discouraged more than it is; if cheating seems a good bet to you given your chance and level of punishment, they seem to say go for it.  Yes they might not want to say it that directly, but is there any other contrary data out there?

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Do Men Hurt More?

Added Oct ’13: Warning: The topics of this post are disturbing to many.

I wrote:

Biologically, cuckoldry is a bigger reproductive harm than rape, so we should expect a similar intensity of inherited emotions about it.  If 2+% of women were raped and we had a reliable cheap way to identify the guilty party, don’t you think we’d require that?

Many were offended at my suggesting cuckolding hurts a man remotely as much as rape hurts a woman.  Reasons I heard:

  • what the cuckold doesn’t know can’t hurt him
  • lots of men don’t mind raising genetically unrelated kids
  • rape victims are more socially disapproved of
  • rape has direct physical effects, while cuckoldry does not
  • rape victims are more often diagnosed “post traumatic stress”
  • rape victims they know seem more expressively upset

Let’s consider these last two arguments.  We all know that women tend to be more expressive about their complaints – you can’t beat ’em for wailing and gnashing of teeth.  But the fact that men act more stoic and complain less doesn’t mean they hurt less.  To economists, the relevant standard is willingness to pay, and by this standard new results suggest men hurt more from most harms:

What’s a marriage worth? To an Aussie male, about $32,000. That’s the lump sum Professor Paul Frijters says the man would need to receive out of the blue to make him as happy as his marriage will over his lifetime. An Aussie woman would need much less, about $16,000.  But when it comes to divorce, the Aussie male will be so devastated it would be as if he had lost $110,000. An Aussie woman would be less traumatised, feeling as if she had lost only $9000. …  The lifetime boost to happiness that flows from a birth – for the mother around $8700, for the father $32,600. …  The death of a spouse or child causes a woman $130,900 worth of grief. … It costs a man $627,300.

HT to Katja Grace.  I’d bet that male willingness to pay to avoid cuckoldry is not much less than female willingness to pay to avoid rape.

Added 10:30p: I’d prefer to be raped rather than cuckolded; any other men have a preference?

Added 6:30p: Here is data on men being more stoic.

Added 3Dec: Roissy did a poll of his male readers; over 3/4 prefer rape to cuckoldry.

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Require Baby Paternity Test

The most extensive and authoritative report … concluded that 2 percent of men with “high paternity confidence” — married men who had every reason to believe they were their children’s father — were, in fact, not biological parents. Several studies indicate that the rate appears to be far higher among unmarried fathers. …

At a federally convened symposium on the increase in paternity questions, a roomful of child-welfare researchers, legal experts, academics and government administrators agreed that much pain could be avoided if paternity was accurately established in a baby’s first days. Several suggested that DNA paternity tests should be routine at birth, or at least before every paternity acknowledgment is signed and every default order entered.  …

The same care that hospitals take ensuring that the right mother is connected to the right newborn — footprints, matching ID bands, guarded nurseries, surveillance cameras — should be taken to verify that the right man is deemed father.

More here, and HT to Roissy, who supports mandatory paternity testing at birth, as do I. After all:

Most states … have their own mandatory newborn screening programs … Almost all states now screen for more than 30 disorders.

Most of those disorders are much rarer than 2%, and we have a far stronger reason to expect market failure for paternity testing than for the other required tests.  Men are clearly reluctant to request a paternity test at birth because doing so sends a bad signal: Continue reading "Require Baby Paternity Test" »

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Thank you ma’am, may I have another?

We often see a women complaining about a men, to that man or to other women.  We less often see the gender-reversed scenario.  At least that is what I see, in friends, family, movies, and music.  Yes, men roll their eyes, and perhaps in general women talk more about people.   But women complain more, even taking these into account.  Why?

The politically correct theory is that women’s lives are worse, so they have more to complain about.

Continue reading "Thank you ma’am, may I have another?" »

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