I'm nearing the end of Pinker's 'How the Mind Works' and if you're looking for a thorough overview of evolution and psychology, you couldn't start in a better place. Although a lot of what Pinker covers isn't particularly new to my ears, it's interesting seeing somebody who understands evolution well, applying it to consciousness and the brain. I've had to resist the urge to quote huge reams from the book, but here are two extracts which I just couldn't help reproducing:
Are men really slime, or are they just trying to look like slime? Perhaps in questionnaires men try to exaggerate their studliness but women want to avoid looking easy. The psychologists R. D. Clark and Elaine Hatfield hired attractive men and women to approach strangers of the opposite sex on a college campus and say to them, "I have been noticing you around campus. I find you very attractive," and then ask one of the three questions: (a) "Would you go out with me tonight?" (b) "Would you come over to my apartment tonight?" (c) "Would you go to bed with me tonight?" Half the women consented to a date. Half the men consented to a date. Six percent of the women consented to go to the stooge's apartment. Sixty-nine percent of the men consented to go to the stooge's apartment. None of the women consented to sex. Seventy-five percent of men consented to sex. Of the remaining twenty-five percent, many were apologetic, asking for a rain check or explaining that they couldn't because their fiancée was in town. The results have been replicated in several states. When the studies were conducted, contraception was widely available and safe-sex practices were heavily publicized, so the results cannot be dismissed simply because women might be more cautious about pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
An awakening of male sexual desire by a new partner is known as the Coolidge effect, after a famous anecdote. One day, President Calvin Coolidge and his wife were visiting a government farm and were taken on separate tours. When Mrs. Coolidge was shown the chicken pens, she asked whether the rooster copulated more than once a day. "Dozens of times", replied the guide. "Please tell that to the President," Mrs. Coolidge requested. When the president was shown the pens and told about the rooster, he asked, "Same hen every time?" "Oh, no, Mr. President, a different one each time." The president said, "Tell that to Mrs. Coolidge."
...Other desires of gay men, like pornography, prostitutes and attractive young partners, also mirror or exaggerate the desires of heterosexual men. (Incidentally, the fact that men's sexual wants are the same whether they are directed at women or directed at other men refutes the theory that they are instruments for oppressing women.) It's not that gay men are oversexed; they are simply men whose male desires bounce of other male desires rather than off female desires. Symons writes, "I am suggesting that heterosexual men would be as likely as homosexual men to have sex most often with strangers, to participate in anonymous orgies in public baths, and to stop off in public restrooms for five minutes of fellatio on the way home from work if women were interested in these activities. But women are not interested."
Indeed! ;)Go Top