Review of Chapters 1, 2 and 6 of What Women Want-What Men Want byJohn Marshall Townsend.  Review by Julia Baird, Lily Garcia, Kathleen VanDusen (Spring, 2003)

 

 

                                                                                                           

 

What Women Want - What Men Want:

Why the Sexes Still See Love and Commitment So Differently

 

 

Chapter 1: Basic Sex Differences

 

            Why are men and women so different when it comes to sex? It mainly has to deal with their sexual drives. For both men and women the drive is different. First of all women’s sexual desire fluctuates throughout her life. It is discontinuous. Women can go weeks, months, and even yeas without sexual activity. Women don’t need that stimulation of the genitals as men so often crave. Their sexual desire as well as activity can be high one day and low another. This irregularity is not found within males. They will always have that crave for sexual stimulation. If they do not have someone to fulfill this desire, men will often turn to masturbation or will find themselves to be having “wet dreams”.

            Men don’t need too much to become aroused. They are easily aroused by the nude body, objects, fantasies or through pornography. Men are focused on the stimulation of genitals and having an orgasm. Women can often become side tracked during intercourse. Women need the internal feeling of feeling loved, wanted, and appreciated. Just a touch or a simple loving caress can put a woman in the mood. Because men are so readily aroused by a numerous variety of stimuli, it is more nature, or they are more prone to wanting to be with many women, or having many partners. Kinsey’s findings: “boys experience first sexual arousal earlier than girls, are aroused more frequently, and masturbate more often. Men are more likely than women to have multiple partners and to reach orgasm during intercourse. Men are more excited by visual material and exhibit a stronger desire for a variety of sex partners and uncommitted sex.”

 

Are men and women sexually excited by the same things?

            Women focus on the internal aspect of sex. Most stimuli starts out with internal psychological ideas: “Does he love me?”, “Am I comfortable?” or “Am I safe” are all questions [depending on the women] that sometime need to be answered before she can begin / continue with intercourse and reach orgasm. She must be out into the mood or allow herself to be put in the mood. Women don’t base sex on ‘looks’, it normally goes farther into personality, characteristics, and status for her to want ‘him’ for a sexual partner. “She observes that the message in a man’s eyes is ten times more powerful than the most gorgeous body. Of course, it is an additional attraction if the man’s eyes are beautiful, but ‘it’s the expression in and around the eyes that makes the difference’.”

            Men can become aroused by looking at a woman who is across the room. He can become aroused by fantasizing about her, or someone else. When seeing an attractive stranger, men can run pornographic movies in their heads about them. “A mental impulse of sexual desire and anticipation precedes and initiates the physical process of arousal. This impulse translates into: ‘That person is sexually attractive. I would like to have sex with that person’.” Women are more aroused by a man’s touch or words, if she is with the right or “select” mate.

            For women and pornography, they are mostly aroused by the characters qualities, traits, characteristics and the plot itself. Men on the other hand see the women in the “story” as an object that they would like to have. Playgirl, which showed the male nude body, failed for this reason. Women are not turned on by the male body itself. Playboy and Penthouse etc, on the other hand had huge success, because men love the nude female body.

 

Do men and women maintain relationships just for sex?

            Some male do stay in a relationship purely because it offers a continuous amount of sexual activity. Sometimes the sexual need of a male come first before the rest of his emotions take control.

            For a woman to stay in a relationship for the sole fact of sexual pleasure is very rare. Most women want to have that ‘special someone’ in a relationship that they can experience sexual activities with. They need to feel secure in a relationship. Women don’t base relationships on physical ‘feelings’, but rather on mental ‘feelings’.

 

Do gay men and lesbians show the same differences in their sexual behavior as heterosexuals do?

            Gay men usually care less about emotional attachment to a person. They are more interested in the sexual pleasure they receive from having many different partners. Gay men focus on genital stimulation with as many partners as possible. “75% of white males in the sample had, had over 100 partners, while 28% had, had over 1000.” These encounter are very quick and don’t last too long, a few minutes or so. Gay men find their partners almost anywhere: clubs, restrooms, or off the street. But there are a few gay men that want the emotional attachment of a lasting relationship. Sometimes these couples decided to make it acceptable to have sex with others outside the relationship, as long as it doesn’t become serious.

Lesbians on the other hand are closely related to the desire of heterosexual women. They want the emotional attachment and end up having much fewer partners than gay men. “74% of the lesbians surveyed had, had fewer than 15 partners. 58% had, had fewer than 10”. They normally become friends and then move on to become lovers. “Lesbians frequently criticize homosexual men because they were interested in nothing but genitals; gay men, in turn criticize lesbians because they “do nothing at all” in a homosexual relationship. These are the exact complaints heard from heterosexual couples or married couples”.

Since gay men are not constrained by a woman’s desire for commitment and investment, they can truly act as most heterosexual males want to act: have numerous partners to satisfy the endless urge for genital stimulation. Homosexual women act more like heterosexual women do. They want the touching, verbal intimacy, caressing and affection in a relationship more than they want genital stimulation. So in conclution, Homosexual males are living the heterosexual male’s dream and homosexual women wants are the same as heterosexual women.

 

Why is there a double standard?     

Why is it that men can sleep around and it’s fine, but women can’t because she’ll be considered a slut? A bad reputation follows a woman that has been known to sleep around. “If a woman wants to have casual sex and is no worried about love and commitment, why would she care if men knew that? If she had that reputation, men who crave these women would be pursuing her, therefore satisfying her urges. Why would this be bad?” Men don’t see anything wrong with a woman who sleeps around, when that’s all he is looking for. If he’s getting what he wants and she’s getting what she wants,, then they see no problem with it. But when a man is looking for something more in a woman that’s when she gets a ‘bad reputation’.

Some women do want to have casual meaningless sex with men, but she does not desire this lifestyle for too long. “When they do engage in casual sex they soon have this urge for a relationship of a higher level, a relationship that contains affection, investment, commitment, and long term potential”. Women almost never want a continuous life of casual sex. They strive for the relationships with meaning. This is what a women wants for her and her offspring: a good relationship / good mate.

 

How does evolutionary psychology explain sex differences?

The evolutionary psychology explains sex differences when it comes to risks and opportunities of both women and men. Women have a huge risk when it comes to having sexual intercourse: pregnancy. If the time isn’t right or she does not have the right mate this is a threat to her childbearing limitation. Since her childbearing years are limited and her investment in her offspring is huge, she need to have everything ‘perfect’ in her life before she can have her baby. This is why women are so picky when it comes to picking a mate.  They need someone who can invest in many ways to both her and her offspring: attention, affection, time, energy, money, and other material resources.

Females need proof of quality investment for her and her offspring. “In some animal species the male brings a gift (access to territory for feeding, mating, and rearing young. If the gift is inadequate, the female rejects the male. Same with humans. Women need men to prove that they are willing to put serious effort into investment. Women need to feel cared about as well know that resources are available for her offspring. When men want sexual relations without investments, women will be less satisfied and feel that her partner is getting “everything” he wants, but she is getting nothing in return.

“Women are sexually aroused less frequently and by a narrower range of stimuli, and women’s sexual desire is intimately tied to signs of investment because these tendencies were biologically adaptive for females.” Males are very easily aroused and their biology makes them believe that they can increase their fertility with more than one female. This is why they have this desire to be with many partners. When men invest hugely in their offspring it does pay off in the end, but if he had other partners and lest commitment his fertility would be greater in future generations. Even though many males do invest a huge amount in their offspring’s, biology does not require them to do so. For the sole reason of the difference in parental investment, is reason why there is a difference in men and women’s sexual psychologies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 1 Outline:

 

I.                    Basic Sex Differences

A.     Men and women have different sex drives

1.      Women’s sex drives are discontinuous; they can go weeks, months, and sometimes years without sexual activity

2.      Men have a continuous sexual drive because they have a greater variety of sexual stimuli.

a)      Men are aroused by the sight of an attractive women and can fantasize about a stranger  

b)      Pornographic magazines directed towards women were unsuccessful compared to the success of magazines such as Playboy, Hustler, Penthouse, etc.

3.      Women’s arousal is different. It is more internal. They are less

aroused by external stimuli

II.                 Do gay men and lesbians show the same differences in their sexual behavior as heterosexuals do?

A.     Gay men tend have low-investment sexual relations with multiple partners and their sexual activities focus on genital stimulation.

1.      Gay men tend to have large numbers of partners.

a)      75% of white males in the sample had, had over 100 partners.

b)      28% had, had over 1000

2.      These contacts were with anonymous strangers, occur in public

restrooms, and often last only a few minutes.

3.      Some gay men desire durable emotional attachments.

4.      In order to have more lasting relationships, gay men usually      agree that sex outside the relationship is acceptable as long as it is not serious.  This is called “cruising”.

B.     Lesbians are much monogamous than gay men. For lesbians, genital sex is less important than it is for gay or heterosexual men, but affection and caresses are more important.

1.      74% of the lesbians surveyed had, had fewer than 15 partners.

2.      58% had, had fewer than 10.

3.      Lesbians almost never cruise. They tend to become friends    before they become lovers.   

C.     Lesbians frequently criticize homosexual men because they were

Interested in nothing but genitals; gay men, in turn criticize lesbians because they “do nothing at all” in a homosexual relationship. These are the exact complaints heard from heterosexual couples or married couples.

D.     Homosexual men and women have rejected so many aspects of traditional sex roles - including the very basic aspect of sex, marriage, and children with opposite sexed partners. 

1.      Homosexual men exhibit male tendencies in an extreme form,

because they are not constrained by women’s needs for commitment. Also because they are dealing with other men who also have the same desires

a)      They can express their capacity for visual arousal.

b)      Their desire for casual sex with multiple partners

c)      Their desire for genital stimulation

2.      Lesbians focus more on diffuse touching, verbal intimacy, and

signs of affection because that is what women want and what comes naturally to them.

III.               Why is there a sexual double standard?

A.     If a man has sex with multiple partners, he’s a “stud”; if a woman does the same thing she is a “slut”. If women were to have casual sex with a lot of partners, they say they would get a “bad” reputation. If a woman wants to have casual sex and is no worried about love and commitment, why would she care if men knew that? If she had that reputation, men who crave these women would be pursuing her, therefore satisfying her urges. Why would this be bad?

1.      Joan’s example: She wanted casual sex. All the men she slept

With would call her back when they wanted sex. They didn’t see her as degraded by her wrongdoing, nor did they feel degraded themselves, because they knew that’s what she wanted to begin with. But she herself did feel degraded. Meaning that men are more capable than women are of enjoying sex without these the desire of attachments or intimacy.

2.      Women do not want casual sex, and if they do, they don’t want it

for too long. When they do engage in casual sex they soon have this urge for a relationship of a higher level, a relationship that contains affection, investment, commitment, and long term potential.

IV.              How does evolutionary psychology explain sex differences?

A.     Evolutionary psychology explains basic sex differences in terms of the

different risks and opportunities women and men have faced in mating throughout human history

1.      Women face greater risk.

a)      can become pregnant

b)      the number of children able to produce during her lifetime

are limited.

2.      Therefore women are picky when it comes to selecting a mate.

They need someone who can invest in many ways to both her and her offspring

a)      Attention

b)      Affection

c)      Time

d)      Energy

e)      Money

f)        And other material resources.

3.      Women are sensitive to the quality of the investment

a)      In some animal species the male brings a gift (access to

territory for feeding, mating, and rearing young.

b)      If the gift is inadequate, the female rejects the male.

4.      Women want men to show that they care about them and are

willing to invest their time and resources to make them happy.

5.      When men want sexual relations without investments, women

will be less satisfied and feel that her partner is getting “everything” he wants, but she is getting nothing in return.

6.      “Women are sexually aroused less frequently and by a narrower

Range of stimuli, and women’s sexual desire is intimately tied to signs of investment because these tendencies were biologically adaptive for females.” 

B.     Men have a lot to gain by being easily aroused and attempting to mate

with many partners.

1.      A man with to wives can increase fertility and spread more of

his genes to later generations. A women with two husbands does not increase her fertility.

2.      Men profit when investing in their offspring, but a man’s biology

does not require him to do so. They typically do invest a huge amount in their offspring, but they are easily aroused by a greater variety of stimuli and just the thought of a new partner urges them to try to also have sex with women who they won’t need to invest any amount of themselves in.

C.     For this reason (difference in parental investment) men and women have

evolved different sexual psychologies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ch. 6:  The Dating-Mating Market

 

In the 1970’s, for every 100 women over 14 there were 92 men.  This surplus of women allows men to avoid making commitments to the women they date. Women are also more likely to experience desertion, abandonment and betrayal.  It is mostly men’s unwillingness to commit that leads women to delay marriage, stay single, or remain divorced rather than remarrying.

 

The postwar baby boom left women born between 1946 and 1948 - who want to marry men two or three years older – face a severe squeeze because the birthrate was down between 1943 and 1945.  There basically weren’t enough men in that age bracket for the women who might want to marry them.  This concept is known as the marriage squeeze.  Men’s tendency to marry younger women leads to large numbers of divorced or widowed women over thirty. 

 

In 1989, women between 25 and 39 showed a higher marriage rate then women between 45 and 64.  The conclusion was that women are typically marrying older men.  Divorced men often remarry women who are considerably younger; the older then man the greater the difference is between his age and that of his partner.

 

Age is a powerful impediment to marriage for women. One study suggests that women who reach 30 unmarried have only a 20% chance of marrying.  At 35 years they only have a 5% chance, and at 40 it is a mere 1% chance.

Because younger women tend to marry older men, these women subtract these older men from the marriage “market”.  There is great competition for these men. 

 

Financial independence now allows women to be much choosier than they were in previous eras, and this means that a man has to do more now to keep a wife or even to get her in the first place.  Young working women have a lower marriage rate then unemployed women. The better the job, the lower the wage. Women with children have the same chances of getting remarried as women without children.  The youth and beauty of women in their twenties may outweigh men’s fear of taking on additional dependants.

Younger children are more acceptable to prospective stepfathers than older children.

Women in their thirties with no children are more financially independent and can afford to be choosier than younger women with 3 children.

Youth and beauty are more important in men’s choice of partners; financial gain is more important in women’s, and the more economically secure women are, the choosier they can afford to be in selecting partners. Contemporary women want both types of investment: significant material advantages and emotional attachment and sexual fidelity.  Higher status men have more women interested in them so they are more able to satisfy these desires.

 

The New Polygyny

 

Most men who can attract a mate marry, and if divorced, they remarry relatively quickly.  Because sex outside of marriage is more available today, men take advantage of this and indulge in partner variety.

Functional Polygyny refers to a men, single or divorced, who use their potential for investment to coast in relationships, limit their investments, and indulge their desires for partner variety.  They typically tell their companion that they would get married if they found the right person, but somehow they are never with the right person. Men typically have simultaneous sexual relationships with more than one woman.

Polygyny is when a man can legally have more than one wife; this is accepted or preferred in over 83% of human societies.

Polyandry is when females can have more than one mate; appears in less than 1% of human societies.  In Western nations, both forms are illegal, but men engage do in fact engage in polygynous relationships. Serial polygyny is when a man divorces and remarries, or has several sexual relationships but with only one partner at a time.

 

Songbirds where observed and conclusions were made about their behavior and how it is similar to that of humans.  Many male species of birds, like human males, offer provisions to females and their offspring.  In species where mates offer resources to females in order to mate with them, polygyny would be expected to be more pronounced in situations where some males have better resources.  The concept of polygyny threshold is when female songbirds will choose to be the first mates of males who offer the best territories and resources until all the best males have been chosen.  Once this happens, female songbirds will choose to be the second mate of a high quality male rather than the first mate of a lesser bird.  The offspring of the males chosen first tend to do better than those of the second male.  Females who choose secondary status do about as well reproductively as the females who chose monogamy with lower-quality males.

 

Women with economic independence, higher earning power and no children are less likely to lower their socioeconomic requirements for a mate and are therefore less likely to marry or remarry.  Women without adequate means to support themselves are more likely to adjust their standards to what the market has to offer in order to marry or remarry.  Both women are competing for the small pool of higher-status men.  This allows men to practice functional polygyny.

 

Honest and Dishonest advertising

 

In some cases, males may falsely inflate their potential for investment, or they inseminate the female and then are unwilling to invest what they advertised.  When men practice functional polygyny, the degrees of honest and dishonest advertising are rarely obvious.  The man himself may not know for certain that he will never marry a particular partner.  He may feel guilty about coasting into relationships and do not consciously analyze their intentions.

 

Marrying Up

 

            Hypergamy refers to the tendency of either sex to mate with individuals of superior status. Hypergyny is when women date or marry up, and hyperandry is when men date or marry up.  Anthropologist Mildred Dickemann found that polygyny and hypergyny cause higher-status women to suffer drastically reduced fertility rates.  In the U.S., women’s hypergynous tendencies allow higher status men to be functionally polygynous.  If a higher-status man wants more children, the high divorce rate allows him to divorce his wife and remarry a younger woman with whom he can have more children.  This type of serial polygyny enables some successful men to enjoy higher fertility rates than women who are their peers and share their status.

 

More than 90% of young women enter adulthood with the expectation or desire to have children.  Of the minority who do not do so, some will change their minds when they face the biological clock on their thirties.  Some women choose to have children without being married.  Statistics suggest that many older single and divorced women who are financially independent will remain childless, or will fail to have more children because of their inability to find suitable partners and because their fertile years are limited.

 

The reduced fertility rates of higher-status single and divorced American women are similar to the chaste religious celibacy of a large percentage of higher-status women in medieval Europe.  In medieval Europe, the woman’s family usually made the decision that she wouldn’t be allowed to marry or reproduce.  In contemporary America, the individual woman chooses not to marry because she can’t find an acceptable partner, reducing her fertility rate.  In both cases, the same principle appears to precipitate these decisions: hypergynous and polygynous tendencies produce a lack of suitable partners for higher-status women.  Ironically, current dating and marriage patterns in the U.S. suggest that effective contraception and female economic independence increase the incidence of hypergyny and functional serial polygyny, and reduce the fertility rates of higher status women. Women’s tendency of hypergyny is caused by women’s relative lack thereof in today’s society.  Even though it would make sense that once women increase their earning power, this trend would stop, it doesn’t.  There is no evidence of a narrowing age gap once women earn gain more status.  This is mainly due to basic sex differences in partner selection.

Many men who are functionally or serially polygynous do not want children or do not want additional children.  Some higher-status polygynists encourage their partners to become pregnant, or at least don’t discourage them.  Their partners end up believing that they will eventually make a commitment.  This also often involves false advertising, procrastination, and evasion on the male’s part.

Women who are deceived in these situations are often reluctant to admit that they preferred to have a child out of wedlock.  In reality, they would have preferred to marry their higher-status mates and receive all of their material and emotional investments.

 

 

Apparent Anomalies

 

Evolutionary psychologists: women and men’s behavior are predispositions, and whether they emerge in behavior depends on environmental conditions.

These predispositions tend to arise wherever opportunities allow, and even do so in the face of impediments and suppression by men and women.

A current lack of partners may cause women to turn to men they would not otherwise consider, such as a much older man or someone of a different race.

These women, however, do not maintain regular sexual relationships and don’t take them seriously.  They make sure to maintain an emotional and physical distance from them.

 

Psychotherapy can teach you to identify and understand your own and other’s emotions.  By doing this, you can prevent people from manipulating these emotions to make you do things you may not want to do.

 

Blumstein and Schwartz: “women are “the keepers of monogamy” because women want sex to stay within the relationship and to function as a strong emotional and physical bond.”

Women prefer monogamy because it allows the possibility of obtaining all of a man’s emotional and material investments and it gives the woman more sexual bargaining power.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ch. 6 Outline

 

I.      The Man Shortage and the Marriage Squeeze

 

A.           1970’s - for every 100 women over 14 there were 92 men.

 

1.      Surplus of women allows men to avoid making commitments to the women they date.

2.      Women are more likely to experience desertion, abandonment and betrayal.

3.      It is mostly men’s unwillingness to commit that leads women to delay marriage, stay single, or remain divorced rather than remarrying.

 

B.           Marriage Squeeze: There is intense competition for older wealthy men between younger and middle-aged women.

 

C.           1989 marriage statistics

 

1.      between the ages of 25 and 29, 13.2% more women are married then men.

2.      Between the ages of 35 and 39, only 1.7% more women are married then men.

3.      Between the ages of 45 and 54, 6.2% more men are married then women.

4.      Between the ages of 55 and 64, 14.9% more men are married then women.

 

D.     Age is a powerful impediment to marriage for women.

1.      One study suggests that women who reach 30 unmarried have only a 20% chance of marrying.

2.      At 35, 5% chance

3.      At 40, 1% chance

 

 

E.      Financial independence allows women to be much choosier

1.      Young working women have a lower marriage rate then unemployed women.

2.      Women with children have the same chances of getting remarried as women without children.

3.      Youth and beauty of younger women may outweigh men’s fear of taking on additional dependants.

4.      Younger children are more acceptable to prospective stepfathers than older children.

5.      Older women with no children are more financially independent and can afford to be choosier than younger women with children.

 

F.      Men and women have different standards for their partners

1.      Youth and beauty are more important in men’s choice of partners

2.       Financial gain is more important in women’s,

3.      Contemporary women want two types of investment:

a)      Significant material advantages.

b)      Emotional attachment and sexual fidelity.

4.      Higher status men have more women interested in them so they are more able to satisfy these desires.

 

II.   The New Polygyny

 

A.     Polygyny: when a man can legally have more than one wife.

1.       Accepted or preferred in over 83% of human societies.

 

B.     Functional Polygyny – men who use their potential for investment to coast in relationships, limit their investments, and indulge their desires for partner variety. 

1.      Most men who can attract a mate marry, and if divorced, they remarry relatively quickly.

2.      Because sex outside of marriage is more available today, men take advantage of this and indulge in partner variety.

 

C.     Serial Polygyny: When a man divorces and remarries, or has several sexual relationships but with only one partner at a time

 

D.     Polyandry: when females can have more than one mate.

1.      appears in less than 1% of human societies.

 

E.      Songbirds and how their behavior is similar to that of humans

1.      Many species of songbirds, like human males, offer provisions to females and their offspring.

      • Polygyny threshold – female songbirds will choose to be the first mates of males who offer the best territories and resources until all the best males have been chosen.  Once this happens, female songbirds will choose to be the second mate of a high quality male rather than the first mate of a lesser bird.
      • Females who opt for secondary status do about as well reproductively as the females who chose monogamy with lower-quality males.

 

 

 

 

III.           Honest and Dishonest advertising

 

A.     In some cases, males may falsely inflate their potential for investment, or they inseminate the female and then are unwilling to invest what they advertised.

B.     When men practice functional polygyny, the degrees of honest and dishonest advertising are rarely obvious.

    • The man himself may not know for certain that he will never marry a particular partner
    • He may feel guilty about coasting into relationships and do not consciously analyze their intentions.

 

 

 

IV.            Marrying Up

 

A.     Hypergamy – the tendency of either sex to mate with individuals of superior status.

B.     Hypergyny – when women date or marry up

C.     Hyperandrywhen men date or marry up

 

1.      Polygyny and hypergyny cause higher-status women to suffer drastically reduced fertility rates.

2.      In the U.S., women’s hypergynous tendencies allow higher status men to be functionally polyynous.

3.      If a higher-status man wants more children, the high divorce rate allows him to divorce his wife and remarry a younger woman with whom he can have more children.

4.      This type of serial polygyny enables some successful men to enjoy higher fertility rates than women who are their peers and share their status.

 

D.     More than 90% of young women enter adulthood with the expectation or desire to have children.

E.      Others will change their minds when they face the biological clock on their thirties.

1.      Some women choose to have children without being married

2.      Many older single and divorced women who are financially independent will remain childless, or will fail to have more children

a)      Inability to find suitable partners

b)      Their fertile years are limited.

 

F.      In contemporary America, the individual woman chooses not to marry because she can’t find an acceptable partner, reducing her fertility rate.

1.      Hypergynous and polygynous tendencies produce a lack of suitable partners for higher-status women

2.      Effective contraception and female economic independence increase the incidence of hypergyny and functional serial polygyny, and reduce the fertility rates of higher status women.

 

 

 

V.   Apparent Anomalies

 

A.     Evolutionary psychologists:

1.      Women’s and men’s behavior are predispositions, and whether they emerge in behavior depends on environmental conditions.

2.      These predispositions tend to arise wherever opportunities allow, and even do so in the face of impediments and suppression by men and women.

3.      A current lack of partners may cause women to turn to men they would not otherwise consider, such as a much older man or someone of a different race.

4.      These women, however, do not maintain regular sexual relationships and don’t take them seriously. 

 

B.     Blumstein and Schwartz :

1.      “Women are ‘the keepers of monogamy’ because women want sex to stay within the relationship and to function as a strong emotional and physical bond.”

2.      Women prefer monogamy because it allows the possibility of obtaining all of a man’s emotional and material investments and it gives the woman more sexual bargaining power.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 2: Emotional Alarms: The Link Between Sex and Love

 

 

Sexual Strategies and Emotions

 

In this chapter women and men were interviewed about their relationships,

specifically with casual sexual relations of the opposite sex. This was studied in order to gain insight as to how men and women perceive commitment differently. Can women maintain casual sexual relations with a man and feel ok with themselves?

            The first part focuses on “sexual strategies.” It seems that men and women each have their own sexual strategies and the emotions that women tend to feel towards men when they are in sexual relationships with them are there for their own best interests. A woman wants a man to invest in her who she has strong feelings for, someone she wants a long term commitment with, possible children in the future. When she is in a sexual relationship with a man like this she begins to have very negative feelings, she feels bad about herself, she feels used. If the man refuses to commit to her she leaves him. This is to protect her from continuing a relationship with a man who will not invest in her, it is her “sexual strategy”.  Men on the other hand are able to maintain sexual relationships with women they don’t plan on investing in or don’t even like for that matter. The sex gives them confidence, makes them feel better about themselves, the opposite reaction from women. Men feel that having low investment relationships with women make it easier for them to stay mentally balanced and focus on their career goals. Women’s feelings towards these relationships are opposite to this, they feel that casual sexual relationships are damaging to their mental health and their career goals. They must have signs of investment from a man in order to feel that they are in a good relationship.

           

Stages of Awareness Concerning Casual Sexual Relations

 

Younger women seem to have more liberal ideas about sex. They aren’t as concerned with marriage and career goals, so they aren’t quite as concerned with signs of investment. There seem to be stages that women go through in realizing what they actually want from sexual relations. The first stage is called the “coming out” stage. These are usually women in high school or the first years of college. This is when a woman begins to test her sexuality. She wants to know how attractive she is, and she becomes competitive with her friends. These women feel good about themselves when men want to hook up with them. They don’t believe that you need to be emotionally involved with a man before having sex. They aren’t yet aware that they may feel unsettled by their wanting some investment from a man, and the man not giving it. T

            The second stage is called “awareness and denial.” This stage is when women have engaged in more casual sexual relations. Most of them seem to be ok with casual sex and think that sex without love is okay. But they are beginning to see that when they don’t get the amount of investment from a man that they want it is very hurtful. They develop negative feelings that they often try to suppress. Women begin to try this difference in the level of investment they want from a man and the level of investment the man will give them. Many of them try to deny that they actually care about investment. Women who say that they don’t need to feel emotionally attached to have sex in this stage will often contradict themselves by saying something that implies that they do week investment. These women will say that sex is “no big deal” but then admit that after having sex with a guy they worry about his intentions, wondering if he will call. Another way that women use to control their feelings is to split men into to groups of men that are “just for sex” and men that they would want a relationship with. Some women will have one-night stands with little regret, but then expect another man to date her for a while and show sufficient investment before having sex with him. Some women that have had one-night stands will admit that it provoked a lot of sexual emotions in them. They try to suppress them but they emotions tend to be strong, and disturbing to the women. A women’s desire for investment is very strong, it is difficult for a woman to just ignore.

            The third stage is called “rejection of casual sex”. This is when women have had a large number of casual sexual relations and now have decided not to engage in them anymore. Three events will lead to this decision. The first is that women realize that they cannot control the difference in level of investment they want from a man and the level of investment he will give them. Not having control of this balance can cause negative emotions. The second factor is that intercourse will produce feelings of attachment and vulnerability that can’t be ignored. The third reason women decide not to engage in casual sex is that they discover that monogamy feels right.

            Women seem to have different motives for engaging in casual sex. Such as wanting to test their own attractiveness or seeing how good-looking of a guy they can get. Also they can have one-night stands out of revenge. They want to get back at a man who hurt them. For example a woman may have sex with her ex-boyfriend’s best friend to get back at him.

 

Do Men Care About Investment?

 

Another sample of college students were studied. They were chosen for having the most liberal views on sex, and the most casual sexual relationships. Even women who had the most liberal views on sex were much more likely to feel vulnerable after sex. They were more likely to look for long-term higher investment relationships and, and it was difficult to keep themselves from feeling emotionally tied to the men. Men and women in this study were both as likely to try sex without any emotional ties, but men were much more likely to keep having sex with someone without a commitment. Women want sexual relations to lead to a higher investment; men are okay with that not happening.

            Men that were interviewed told their own view on casual sexual relations. They seemed to have completely different reactions to casual sex than women. Men enjoyed having sex with someone, even if it is with someone they don’t like. Many of them admitted that they knew before having sex with them that they didn’t want to get emotionally involved. Men stop tend to reduce the number of sexual partners they have when they begin to feel guilt for the negative emotions they are causing in women. They begin to feel bad for hurting women. Men that have the most sex partners are high profile men such as star athletes or fraternity boys. Many if these men do not want to settle down; they feel like women want too much from them, more than they are willing to give. They have more opportunity to sleep with a variety of women and often times the take advantage of this opportunity.

            Many women felt that the more experience with casual sex she has had, the more likely she is to want to settle down. Men were the opposite. They tended to not want commitment when they are able to engage in plenty of casual sex. They feel trapped or suffocated by a committed relationship. When men decide to become monogamous it is often because it becomes difficult for them to have casual sexual relations. The negative emotions of the partner, the demands for investment can become too much for them to continue their casual sexual relations. They end up becoming monogamous not because it is their desire to do so but because of the heavy demands of their partner.

 

Culture or Biology?

 

Psychologists have found that these inherent sexual desires are what motivate men and women. Even if they were socialized the same they would still behave in the way they do.  Men have positive feelings from casual sex, which motivates them to continue, women have negative feelings, which motivates them to not engage in casual sex. Women are guided by their emotions towards higher investment relationships.

            Socialization is not the cause of these sex differences. Many women that can reject so many traditional sex roles are still unable to control their sexual emotions. Women are only able to have casual sexual relations when they have the upper hand in the relationship; they feel control over the amount of investment they desire and the amount of investment the man gives them. Even women that have permissive attitudes towards casual sex seem to avoid these relations and seek higher investment from males.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 2 Outline: Emotional Alarms

A. Sexual Strategies and Emotions

            1. Women and men have evolved emotional mechanisms and alert them when    sexual strategies are violated

            2. Women’s desire to continue a sexual relationship is tied to a man’s level of     investment

                        a. a women who continues a sexual relationship without sufficient                                               investment will begin to have negative feelings

                        b. they will feel used

            3. A women needs signs of investment from a man to show her that he cares

            4. Women that don’t receive signs of commitment from a man are unable to       continue a sexual relationship

            5. Men can have a sexual relationship with no commitment

            6. Men find it difficult to maintain low-investment, sexual relationships with         women

                        a. women demand commitment or they will leave

                        b. women become emotional and hurt

            7. Men who don’t feel emotionally involved in a relationship will not end the       relationship; women who don’t feel emotionally involved will

            8. Having casual sexual relations makes men feel better about themselves; women          feel worse

B. Women’s Stages of Awareness Regarding Casual Sexual Relations

            1. Stage 1: Coming out

                        a. Women test their sexual power and ability to have sexual relations                              without investment

                        b. Usually high school and college students

                        c. Have not yet experienced the difference between the amount of                                             investment they want and the amount they get

                        d. Testing their attractiveness, competing with friends

            2. Stage 2: Awareness and Denial

                        a. More experienced in casual sexual encounters

                        b. Beginning to see that sexual relations without investment causes

   negative feelings

                        c. Women attempt to control the difference in the investment they are                                 seeking and the investment they are receiving

                        d. Many deny that they wanted investment

                        e. These women tend to contradict themselves

                        f. Use tactics to control such as deciding which men are just for sex and                                        which ones are relationship material

                        g. Sexual emotions are not voluntary and can be very disturbing even as                                     women try to suppress them

            3. Stage 3: Rejection of Casual Sex

                        a. Women make a decision to avoid casual sex

b. Realize they cannot control the differences is desired investment an what  they receive                                                                   

                        c. Causes many negative emotions

                        d. Had bad experiences (waking up next to strangers, running into people                                  they’d   slept with, feeling used, etc).

e. Intercourse created feelings of attachment and vulnerability that            couldn’t be ignored

                        f. Monogamy feels more right

C. Men and Investment

            1. Men will engage is sexual relations with women they don’t like

            2.  They stop doing in when they begin to feel guilty

            3. Men of high profile have the most partners

            4. Men who usually don’t invest feel trapped in a committed relationship

            5. Men become monogamous when it becomes difficult to have casual sex         (women’s demands and negative feelings)

D. Culture or Biology

            1. Some women experienced casual sex without negative feelings

                        a. Must have the upper hand, chose to end the relationship

            2. Women have negative feeling when they aren’t in control of the amount of      investment

                        a. A man won’t invest in them like they want them to

                        b. Women have emotional reactions to this

                        c. These emotions keep women from engaging in casual sexual relations

 

Critical Review

 

 

Interesting Facts:

 

·        Gay men are leading the heterosexual male’s dream of being able to sleep around or have casual sex.  Heterosexual females and lesbians also share the same desire for their mate.

·        Even as women gain a higher status or earn more money, they still seek the same aged partner.

·        How men and women have sexual strategies and their emotions can be alarms to keep them on track of their strategies.

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Further questions / confusing:

 

·        He asked the question of why there is a sexual double standard, but never really answered the question; he only said that women don’t desire casual sexual relations for a long period of time.

·        The author mentioned something about Psychotherapy and how it can help with people’s emotions, but he didn’t really explain the reasons why it works or go into further detail about its effects.

·        The women were more talked about than men where.