Do males and females pick sexual partners based on different criteria?

Discussion in 'General Sex Discussion' started by kons21, May 9, 2007.

  1. kons21

    kons21 New Member

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    Hi all,

    I am doing a research for my sociology class and I can use your help collecting data. I chose to do the different patterns of choice of a sexual partner between males and females. A psychological theory states that males are more likely to be promiscuous in their choices since biologically they are "programmed" to spread their seed. On the other hand women, have more to invest in the sexual act - e.g. pregnancy, children, and therefore will subconsciously look for stability in their choice of a sexual partner. What do you think about that statement, is it true or are we just socialized to think so.

    In order to collect data I have designed a small (9 questions) survey that pertains to my topic. Feel free to fill it out, all help in obtaining accurate data will be greatly appreciated. But also do not forget to post your opinions here since I think this might lead to an interesting discussion.

    ALL INFORMATION IS CONFIDENTIAL. I HAVE NO WAY OF KNOWING WHO PUT WHAT ANSWERS. ALL I GET IS THE RESULTS. So if you have a couple of minutes to spare to help me out please go here http://fs12.formsite.com/kons21/form421844057/index.html

    Also if you have friends that might want to help out as well send them over as well. All help is appreciated :)

    Thank you all in advance.
    .
     
    #1 kons21, May 9, 2007
    Last edited: May 9, 2007
  2. Dreama

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    Why did you make two topics?? Ugh. Be patient. But, I'm not doing your survey, because you're too persistent.
     
  3. kons21

    kons21 New Member

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    sorry, I am new to the forum and had a problem posting the first time. :nerv I tried to take the second one down now and I hope it worked.

    Besides your being upset at me for posting twice, what are your thoughts on the subject?
     
  4. ShyDave

    ShyDave New Member

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    I have a minor in Soc and I think that your questions were a bit too vague, unless for a very low level class. You also left out alot of factors and some of your questions are open-ended. Open ended questions will most likely skew your results as respondents are given too much room to provide different answers, leaving you to interpret what they meant. Just my 2 cents.
     
  5. kons21

    kons21 New Member

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    Hey Dave, my class is a lower level so I am allowed some level of flexibility on my questions. I did try to make them pointed towards my goal of differentiating between the patterns of choice that males and females follow and to be relatively easy to interpret. I mean, I think if someone sees themselves willing to have sex with a stranger, only based on outside attraction, then their choice does not involve looking for future security. While I agree with you that the questions could use up some (serious) polishing I do hope they will be sufficiently clear to get me the data needed. I do appreciate your input, though. :)

    The survey itself left aside, what do you think about the validity of the socio-biological argument? Is it true that men are intrinsically more promiscuous? I personally believe that there definitely is a behavioral pattern that supports that argument. So far the results that I have received show a much higher rate of men being involved in one night stands and also willing to engage in sexual activity with little to no knowledge of the partner. From personal experience and from what I have observed in my close friends, females are much more likely to take it slow in sexual matters and to prefer knowing that the person they sleep with is more than a pretty face. Most of them point out as a reason the fact that they don't want to be "easy." It is interesting to consider whether this behavior is biological or socially trained in us. One interesting find for me so far has been the fact that homosexual individuals of EITHER sex tend to follow the male sexual pattern more closely. Could that be because lesbians do not feel the same social judgment and are free to express sexually?

    These are just some thoughts that made me chose this topic as my final project, and I hope this pushes some further discussion about it on this forum. I would love to hear other people's opinion on this.
     
  6. Dreama

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    It's cool. I was just busting your chops. Don't worry. I really will take it. :)
     
  7. cbrmale

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    I am a social psychologist, and at the physiological level women are as promiscuous as men. If you look at the genitals of both sexes, you should find enough evidence that the human female is designed to have mulitple sex partners, and the human male is adapted to deal with this as best he can. The oversized male penis is a prime example, men have the ability to depost sperm very close to the cervix, which would not be needed if the female wasn't having multiple sex partners.

    At a sociological level here and today in the West, women are almost as non-monogamous as men, and are more likely to pick another sex partner close to the time they are ovulating. Not only this, women are more likely to pick a sex partner at this time with typically masculine features such as a square jaw and thinner lips at this time.

    The idea of the monogamous woman who was a virgin at marriage is really a male-controlling mechanism to ensure paternity of his offspring. If you go beyond Western-Christian society, you will find ample evidence of societies where female promiscuity while in a relationship was expected and tolerated, or other societies where female promiscuity was feared by men and therefore controlled in the same way as we attempt to do.
     
  8. loveit247

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    I really do think it is about time the world realized that women and men are both sexual beings. I am so sick of hearing the old nice girls don't do that routine!

    I watched a BBC series called the science of sex. It was brilliant. It stated that the only reason men are thought of as more promiscuous is because they don't shut up about it. Women do it quietly.
     
  9. SexyScorp

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    .......ha.......

    and usually the ones that dont
    shut up about it....aint doing it
    anyway....

    lol!!
     
  10. sexaholic

    sexaholic New Member

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    Not necessarily true, as I'm sure you know that's not the full story. The size of the penis and its location in approximation the cervix does make fertility more possible, multiple partners or not. The size could easily also be vestigial, since penis size relative to height has not increased over the evolutionary span of early Homo species, and could easily be a remnant of the time prior to the female hiding of the estrus, when it was indeed highly unlikely that females had just one sex partner during heat; of course, during this time, other bonds we now take for granted did not develop either.

    It's really impossible to draw full conclusions here, I'd think, unless there is an agenda being advocated.


    This is not a sociological level, but socio-biological, or an angle of evolutionary psychology, which has some serious methodological troubles. Sociobiology is obviously not the same as sociology, and the two are often at conflict over primacy and much else.


    Ah, now this is just some pretty fascinating revisionism... Can you elaborate here, because I'd argue that this is exactly wrong. Firstly, the male controlling mechanism to ensure paternity was never monogamy, but poligamy... It's often found in early agricultural societies and is the ultimate in 'male control.' It is certainly not the default arrangement of human society, although it may have been at some point far in the evolutionary distance.

    Monogamy is definitely not preferable if 'male control' is the ultimate goal. Female or male promiscuity is rarely encouraged in pre-agricultural society. I'm guessing you're thinking of, say, Coming of Age in Samoa here, but the focus was about sexual experimentation until finding the right partner; very different rules existed for those of 'age' and while promiscuity existed, it was not accepted 'just like that' and often occured on prolonged and uncertain absences (in those days, much more uncertain!). This is especially interesting since Samoans were very patrilineal and matrilineal (not anymore), and were historically more egalitarian than just about all agricultural groups and much more so than a large number of horticulturalists (but again, not all).

    Similar situations are found with the !Kung San, where elder women had full 'democratic' rights afforded to them and wielded more influence in political life than women in most societies do today. And yet the !Kung were, and are, fiercely monogamous--as are just about all band societies, egalitarian or not--with generally accepted very low rates of adultery and harsh communal sanction from both male and female leaders.

    Hunter-gatherers such as the !Kung are also by far the closest we have to the early band societies, which were the norm since the appearance of Homo Sapiens, although the egalitarianism was, no doubt, variable.

    It would not be out of step to suggest that the majority of paleontologists and biological anthropologists believe the monogamy developed much, much earlier, once the females developed concealed ovulation. The male had to stick around since he had no idea when the women was in heat, which also has implications on father-son bonds. Now, what makes more sense? To have all men compete for all the women and try to try them all out hoping one is fertile, or to generally stick with one woman maximizing the chance of propagation AND GROUP survival (this is an important point that often gets completely side-swiped in the simple-minded each man for themselves view of evolution; I blame geneticists although even they know it doesn't actually quite work out so simply).

    Male control? There is nothing in this idea to suggest that women were trapped or were not willing partners to this arrangement; after all, concealed ovulation was selected for a reason, outside of any male or female preferences. In fact, there's some really very fascinating work in support of this theory, but like everything, it's only one possible way it could have gone down. There are some powerful objections to these arguments, but they actually not only support pair-bonding more so, but advocate female control, though obviously not in any particularly conscious manner.

    I certainly would not be so rash as to proclaim 'monogamy as male control' as in any way more 'developed' than other explanations. Just the opposite.
     
    #10 sexaholic, May 11, 2007
    Last edited: May 11, 2007
  11. cbrmale

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    Not advocating any agenda, and I only quoted oversized penis sized as an example, and you probably know of the other evolutionary remnants of promiscuity at a physiological level.

    I am a psychologist, not a sociologist, and psychology covers much broader ground than sociology.

    First up, I quote monogamous women, not monogamous men, as I know full well that many societies practiced polygamy. I studied a lot more than Pacific Islands, although we looked at Tahiti because there is a lot of material from the various expeditions that camped there. In Tahiti, it was accepted that women would sometimes have other sex partners from time to time, and from our research we discovered similar patterns in many parts of Africa, Native Americans, Japanese, Chinese, other Asian cultures and so on. In some tribes in Africa, a woman could have sex with another man as long as she went to another village. In China, female extra-marital sex happened as long as it was discreet, and so the examples go on.

    I could give you my 10,000 word thesis on this one, but it is analogue pre-computer (typed on an electric typewriter). Nonetheless, my thesis on sex is way more detailed than you will ever go near as an undergraduate. Probably I know more on this one than your lecturer.
     
  12. sexaholic

    sexaholic New Member

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    I'm a graduate student... Blowing me off like that won't work I'm afraid. ''Oh I know more about this than just about anyone." Anyone saying how promiscuity is definitely hard-wired and monogamy is male control turns on red flags for me.
     
  13. sexaholic

    sexaholic New Member

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    Yes, but there are also plenty of things which we have dropped over time that encourage promiscuity; in fact, (majority of bio. anths would say MOST) of these additions encouraged monogamy. Especially interesting in this respect is the research in pheromones and pair-bonding. It's actually my primary area of current interest, but it's obviously much too long of a discussion.


    I was just responding to your claim that what you quoted was sociological evidence which it wasn't.


    Yes, it is true that promiscuity was practiced (and continues to be practiced), and sometimes even sanctioned in many societies (though under general taboo in the vast majority of historical societies and in the anthropological record), but the red flag here went at the idea that monogamy is somehow 'new' or that it was 'unnatural,' when the evidence suggests nothing of the kind.

    I'm willing to bet $$$$$$ that even a cursory glance at the current and previous work on eHRAF will bear that out. The vast, vast majority of human cultures over time have practiced monogamy, and (and this is where my interest truly lies), it seems that there is very good evidence that it was evolutionarily selected for way, way down the line. I am certainly NOT a sociobiologist and would never therefore argue that this is therefore the only 'natural' arrangement, since culture obviously has a large influence on our behavior (after all, homosexual prepubescent sex with adults in ancient Greece was 'normal'), but it makes no sense to claim that monogamy is 'unnatural.' Just the opposite, it seems to have a biological primacy in Homo Sapiens, but obviously biological primacy is not the be all and end all of human sexual behavior...

    I would argue that in general monogamous setups even within that cultural mold have deeply attractive features that further establish upon that biological primacy, which is why it is still with us, not because all of us monogamers are idiots or wife controllers, and others know better.

    But here is my real problem... Sanctioned promiscuity of, say, indigenous Australians (although there were very tight controls on it!) is obviously different from our lives today, precisely because this behavior was sanctioned. However, taking on another lover for either partner without the other partner's consent is emotional abuse, and undeniably contributes to long-term depression and anxiety, and is hence my unwavering objection to adultery. If your partner sanctions promiscuity from the start, male or female, that's totally different and is just one option in a wide tapestry of cultural behavior.

    In a field this murky, I am not a big fan of strong conclusions, is all! :cool
     
  14. Emart

    Emart New Member

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    I was going to post a much less euphemistic response but this is much more professional so I'll just agree.
     
  15. cbrmale

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    In this debate, you are using strong personal beliefs to justify a point of view, which is never the way to go. Also, there are strong differences between sociology and psychology, the latter is more in tune with reactions and responses at the physiological level. And yet you are as aware as I am that monogamy was not the norm in many societies, some advanced societies like China, and some basic like Australia pre-white-settlement. A psychologist will immediately say that is evidence that humans are not innately monogamous, and social factors are responsible for this state of affairs. Therefore, there is basic conflict between what we are and what we are expected to be. This is what psychology is about: how biology, society and personal values affect us and who we are. And for the clinical psychologist: how the conflicts between what we are and what we are expected to be manifest themselves in behavioural problems for individuals.
     
  16. sexaholic

    sexaholic New Member

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    Well, I don't think that's true; I do think I am also expressing personal beliefs, but don't we all?


    Indeed, but as I have noted, my research lies at the physiological level... I am not a sociologist, thought like any biological anthropologist trained in North America, I have training in sociological anthropology. My primary interest is in human evolution... though sexuality is a strong secondary area of interest (as biology and culture often mix), and often these topics are fused.


    Well, I don't think it's so simple. Human beings have a whole top layer of cultural adaptation that makes the topic incredibly difficult to truly explore. We've got tribes such as the Tsembaga where ritualised homosexuality was normal, but that doesn't tell us anything about genetic (biological) components to homosexuality.

    There is strong evidence that evolutionarily, monogamy was favoured; the fact that a female's estrus is concealed among the Homo Sapiens is a strong suggestion in favour of early monogamy among our species (logically), quite apart from anything else. But again, as I have tried to argue, I would say reasonably, that doesn't mean that human culture has not found alternate arrangements that are sometimes favoured for other reasons (be they ecological or ideological). Even culturally, my argument is simple: the vast majority of cultures studied are monogamous, but as with everything else cultural there are bound to be many exceptions.

    Notice here, again, that though I personally do indeed have my preferred view which is partially based on evidence but certainly also partially on belief, I don't particularly condemn these alternate arrangements.

    No, my original problem was the ideas that:

    a) monogamy = male control
    b) adultery is 'natural'

    Adultery cannot be separated from its biological or cultural context, just like anything else, and just as the mind has built culture, so culture influences the mind. In our society that means that partners who are cheated on are extremely likely to feel inadequate about themselves and most often develop depression... which, in my opinion is a reason to be against it. As I have tried to point out, I find this very different from situations where partners have an agreement that promiscuity is tolerated.
     
  17. cbrmale

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    No we don't, my beliefs about sex are shaped by what I learned when I was your age.

    Again this is a personal opinion, because there is a lot of cheating going on and not many partners feel inadequate or develop depression as a result. Often, it is not even a relationship-breaker. I will quote you an example: an Australian science show on television which I watched because I was bored, they were going to test various forms of truth-searching devices and procedures. The female journalist doing the story was asked four questions, and she lied one answer. Over to the US she goes and she is polygraphed, and put through an MRI and interviewed by a clinical psychologist. Every single method got the wrong answer, although the psychologist said she never imagined a young woman going on national television and admitting she cheated on her current partner! Yes, that was the question, have you cheated on your partner (de-facto husband), and she said 'no' whereas she had.

    So this is the culture I come from, and maybe this is the difference too.

    Another example, I have just had published a novel set in Russia, and during research I found that like France, partnered Russian men cheat like no tomorrow, and partnered Russian women too. The Australian journalist in the novel doesn't cheat on his Russian girlfriend, but there are times when she expects him to and is surprised he didn't. I had to make this novel feel authentic, and if cheating in Russia is common, then this exchange adds another layer of authenticity.

    Two random examples of how some contemporary societies view fidelity and infidelity.
     
  18. sexaholic

    sexaholic New Member

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    So what you're saying is that everything in science is consensus and that beliefs have nothing to do with it??? Most people propose their theories because they BELIEVE they are right; the dispassionate scientist doesn't exist.


    Often? Well, seldom would be more likely. About 7/10 relationships end as a result of adultery, and a similar proportion of 'wronged' parties become depressed (in Canada).


    Not sure what the relevance is.


    Again, I'm interested where your info on France comes from, research suggests it's more monogamous than North America, for example. I know nothing about Russia, I'll admit.


    Well, are we talking about contemporary society or biology, I'm confused now...

    8/10 Canadians believe adultery is wrong, I'm sure this stat is easily transposed to Western Europe, so if we are talking about society, it is condemned. And of course, adultery, after all, is inherently dishonest since it includes lying and secrecy, and as a society we condemn that too.

    Incidence of a behavior doesn't mean it's right, either... As I've already said, physical abuse of women is globally a serious problem, but it is extremely common. Do you think the fact that a lot of men do it makes it therefore excusable? A majority of people has stolen something in their life. Do you think that's OK as long as you can get away with it?