The Male Biological Imperatives Of Sexual Promiscuity and Jealousy Are Going Extinct
A common refrain from men is that they have a biological imperative to spread their seed and keep their mates on sexual lockdown as a result of our evolutionary history. The logic goes that since sleeping around and ensuring his mate did not do the same worked really well for a man’s reproductive success in our species’ distant past, men have almost no choice but to repeat that behavior in today’s world.
Sorry, gentlemen, but you are wrong.
It is my belief that male sexual jealousy and promiscuity are no longer useful evolutionary tools in first world cultures and are doomed to go the way of the dinosaurs at some point in the near future. While it was once of vital importance for a man to prevent his mate from sleeping with other men because her doing so meant she had a high likelihood of bearing some other man’s child, modern cultures now have highly effective birth control and access to abortion. A man’s jealousy in the face of such technology serves little real purpose and should therefore slowly begin to die out as a trait in human males. Similarly, sleeping around does little for the average man to increase his reproductive success — while I assume there will always be some men with enough resources to provide for multiple women’s children, that has never been case for the majority of men and now that condoms prevent most casual flings from resulting in offspring, male promiscuity will start to become less useful. Most men reproduce with one, maybe two partners in their lifetimes, a state of reproductive success that puts them on par with most women. As male promiscuity and jealousy die out, men will indeed start to more closely resemble women, and their testosterone levels will drop since the hormone of aggressiveness, sexual possessiveness and high sex drive will no longer be as necessary for men to produce offspring.
If you don’t believe me, there is evidence to suggest this is already happening in western nations. According to the “Massachusetts Male Aging Study” published in 2007 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, male testosterone levels have been steadily dropping over the last two decades and the changes cannot be attributed to health and lifestyle changes. While the authors of that study voiced concern that this was bad for the male population’s health, other men have a different take on the matter. David Longhi, author of When Women Cheat, suggests that perhaps male testosterone levels are dropping to accommodate higher levels of female infidelity. The cheating rates for men and women are extremely similar these days, standing at 65% for men and nearly 50% for women according to David J Ley, Ph.D., of Psychology Today, so it is no surprise that male biology would evolve to reflect new behaviors in their female partners, especially since male jealousy in the face of birth control serves no real purpose and could in fact drive a potential mother of his child away from him, ruining his chances of reproductive success. It is my belief that women’s newfound freedom thanks to modern technology will radically alter the way the genders approach each other and cause both genders to behave more like the other, resulting in a more equitable society where sexual relationships outside of one’s primary relationship won’t be as socially unacceptable and the imbalance between expectations for male and female sexual behavior will slowly dissipate. Perhaps that would be more fun for all of us if we could learn not to be so jealous.
For men who claim men simply must be hard-wired for jealousy and promiscuity and cannot help themselves, I must ask: you call women the hormonal, illogical gender when you’re literally telling me you cannot help your behavior because of your hormones? That’s rich. While the numbers suggest that men are still currently less forgiving of a partner’s infidelity than women are — according to a 2014 survey of 5,000 people on the dating site Victoria Milan, 35% of men would forgive a cheating partner vs. 76% of women — it’s important to remember that in the span of humanity’s existence, reliable birth control is an incredibly recent invention and therefore needs far more time than we’ve given it to have a lasting impact on human behavioral and cultural norms. For most men, I can’t help thinking that refusing to forgive a partner’s infidelity when it has literally no impact on their chances of producing offspring with that partner is no longer a particularly helpful move, and since the odds of both genders cheating are so similar, the double standard really just needs to die out already. Luckily current trends predict it will.