The Role of Evolutionary Theory in Describing Sexual Behavior
Over the past decade, the work, research and theories of evolutionary psychology has been the focus of discussion. Evolutionary psychologists advance the theory that the human mind, like any other organ, was designed for the purpose of transmitting genes to the next generation. That it is man's instinctual and innate nature to be gene producing beings or to want to spread their genes or produce copies of themselves.
These theorists also indicate that both sexes are prone under the right circumstances to infidelity. But men seem much more deeply inclined to actually acquire a second or third mate or to keep a harem. Men are also more inclined toward the casual fling.
Women also can be promiscuous. But women, regardless of how many sex partners he has can generally have only one offspring a year. For a man, each new mate offers a real chance for pumping genes into the future. According to the Guinness Book of Records, the most prolific human parent in world history was Moulay Ismail, the last Sharifian Emperor of Morocco, who died in 1727. He fathered more than 1,000 children.
Do you think the evolutionary perspective is a valid one? Why or why not? Is the purpose of humankind's existence to spread their genes to keep the species evolving? Is it natural for man to practice infidelity? Is it true that lifelong monogamy is not as "natural" as many might think? What are the future implications of this perspective?
Do Evolutionary and Genetic Factors Determine Our Sexual Behaviors? In Slife, Brent (Ed), 1998. Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Controversial Psychological Issues. Guilford, Connecticut: Dushkin/McGraw-Hill, 66-90.
Williams, Richard N. (1995). "Science or Story Telling? Evolutionary Explanations of Human Sexuality," (written for the above publication.)
Wright, Robert. "Our Cheating Hearts." Time (August 15, 1994).
Related Web Links:
This site will provide you with more background information on the origins of evolutionary psychology and the orginal views of Charles Darwin.
A good introduction to evolutionary psychology from the Center for Evolutionary Psychology's web site.
This site will help expand your knowledge on evolutionary psychology. It includes discussions on landmarks in genetics, evolutionary theory, natural selection and the natural limits to genetic determinism. See the learning links page for other interesting web sites on this subject, including a discussion on the evolution of human sexuality and a discussion on sperm wars.
Darwin's complete book online where he discusses evolution and comparisons of man and animals.
Presents a biographical sketch of Darwin, the originator of the theory of evolution and the embryonic stages of evolutionary psychology.
Darwin's complete book online.
Becoming Human brings together interactive multimedia, research and scholarship to promote greater understanding of the course of human evolution.