We all know what sexual relations between men and women were like in prehistory on the African savannah, right? OK, it’s prehistory, but that’s just a detail.
What happened was this: Males rushed around spreading their seed, while females tried desparately to get the nuclear family to work. Lesson for today: men benefit from having as many mates as possible, while women need a faithful male to work for the benefit of them and their children.
Right? No! No! No!
Or at least that isn’t at all necessarily what we see in societies that approximate to the prehistorical ones in their lack of influence from the present developed world. This is according to a report published in the summer issue of the journal Human Nature, by Monique Borgerhoff Mulder of the University of California, Davis
In fact, ladies, if you want to maximize your reproductive fitness, forget about the nuclear family. Successive monogramy (with more than two serial husbands) is the way to go.
So the next time you think, “Funny thing, I could swear I wouldn’t mind the extra partner,” don’t blame evolution for the difficulties you face on that score (as it were).
And Kudos to Sarah Blaffer Hrdy for yet another wise observation:
The women are lining up more protection, more investment, more social relationships for their children to exploit…. A lot of what some people would call promiscuous I would call being assiduously maternal.
And a deep pink ribbon to Geoffrey F. Miller, an evolutionary psychologist at the University of New Mexico, for this observation:
Evolutionary psychology and anthropology really need to take women’s perspective seriously in all its dimensions…the capacity of women across cultures to dissolve relationships that aren’t working has been much underestimated.