Friday, August 12, 2011

Ask Dr. Efficient, the Love Guru:
Dr. Efficient Answers All, #8

Warning: The following is an adult entry. If you are underage or simply do not want to read about sex-related topics, stop now.

All opinions are those of Dr. Efficient.

In Dr. Efficient's eighth guest column, he clarifies some of his positions while also helping his questioners.

As usual, the questions he answers originated with U.S. women who chose to remain anonymous.

Why do men like to watch women masturbate? It has nothing to do with procreation, which is your general theme for sex. Explain that to me, Dr. Efficient.

Okay, two things: First, I'm not a biological determinist. And second, men don't care about procreation, they just want to fuck.

If I tend to give answers rooted in evolutionary biology, it's because I tend to get cross-cultural questions like "Why do men do like to watch women masturbate?" rather than "What is it with Germans and Scheisse porn?" or "Why is female genital mutilation common in Northeast Africa but not in Northern Europe?"

Evolution has left humans with a broad palette of mating behaviors to choose from. Which of those strategies they evince depend largely on culture and individual personality. When a young man in middle America hires a limousine, rents a tuxedo, and gives a girl flowers in the hope of getting laid, that's one mating strategy. When a young man in Sudan joins a dozen of his Arab militia buddies in gang-raping a Nuban tribeswoman, that's another.

And those are just evolutionary strategies that make some kind of evident sense. (Demonstrating resources to a prospective mate in one case, forcibly increasing genetic diversity in the other.) Beyond that, there are numerous sexual behaviors that appear, at least on the surface, to be maladaptive. Homosexuality, celibacy, and polyamory all seem like behaviors less likely to result in successful propagation of one's genes than the traditional serial monogamy, polygyny, or monogamy+cheating. Yet homosexuality, celibacy, and polyamory persist, and continue to be practiced by single-digit percentages of the population. Do they convey some evolutionary benefit that is at first non-obvious? Or are they merely side-effects of some other adaptive behavior?

And then there's the truly freaky shit. Vorarephiliacs who get off on watching people being eaten. The aforementioned Germans and their love of shitmunchery. Amputation fetishists. Human furniture. Kitten crushing. If it exists, there is porn of it. It's all but unimaginable that these behaviors are adaptive. Yet there are whole sub-communities devoted to all of them. Psychologists call such fetishes paraphilias--but can't agree on their origin, or even whether they're disorders that should be treated or healthy behaviors.

So where were we? Oh, yes. People do all kinds of whack shit to get off that has nothing to do with procreation. That said, the answer to your question seems pretty obvious. As I mentioned, men aren't turned on by procreation; they're turned on by fucking, and biology takes care of the rest. Foreplay, to a man, is the sight of a sexually available woman. A naked woman who's done the two-finger taco tango until she's dripping wet is about as available as it gets.

On the other hand, if Studly Do-Right would rather watch you buff the beaver than actually walk over and stick his dick in, he probably has a paraphilia. Depending on how satisfied you are with this arrangement, he may require treatment.

How can you tell if a man is potentially interested in you as a long term mate vs. just thinks you're a fun fuck? To what extent do men really differentiate?

When surveyed, men express different preferences for casual encounters than for a long-term mate. As David Buss explains in The Evolution of Desire, for men seeking short-term sex partners, promiscuity is a plus. A woman seeking commitment is undesirable. A woman's marital status is less important in short-term than long-term relationships. In fact, a lot of standards are lowered for short-term mates: Men are willing to accept a wider age range, lower intelligence, lower education, less athleticism, and more emotional instability in short-term sex partners. That last point should work in your favor.

Men gain greater evolutionary benefit from casual sex than women do, which has left men much more willing to fuck around. Women know this, and so women who are interested in longer-term relationships typically require demonstrations of a man's commitment. They require ongoing effort in courtship: lots of dates, lots of phone calls, time spent listening to the woman's problems, time spent discussing the improbable future of their relationship. When a man buys a woman an engagement ring, that's not a custom that evolved by happenstance. It's a signal that a man is sufficiently committed to the relationship that he's willing to spend several months salary on a useless bauble for the woman.

On the other hand, men know all of this. Both sexes practice deception in securing the attentions of the other. Men looking for a quick fuck will pretend to be interested in long-term relationships. They'll pretend to be polite. They'll pretend to be considerate. Men who want to get laid will ape human feelings and will pretend to care about small animals and children. If cornered, a man will even tell a woman, "I love you." None of these things should be believed. Women think men are nicer than they are, when really women just have something men want.

The battle of the sexes is a war that's hundreds of thousands of years old. Male and female mating strategies operate at cross purposes. When one sex has evolved a new behavior to maximize success, the other sex has evolved countermeasures, in a never-ending arms race. Where men seek signs of youth and fertility, women deceive them with make-up, high heels, and wonderbras. Where women seek success and fidelity, men deceive them with feigned bravado and pretended sincerity. And the war goes on.

Have fun on your next date.

As long as you keep sending in questions, Dr. Efficient will return soon! Email your queries to me or send them via the Contact page on my site.


Michelle said...

The two fingered taco tango has to be among the best of your descriptive phrases. Kinda creepy and disturbing, but definitely conjures a visual. Are these made up or is there a sex thesaurus being utilized?

Mark said...

Dr. Efficient, the author of the piece, would have to answer that one.

Windsong Journals said...

Kyle, When you said "When a young man in Sudan joins a dozen of his Arab militia buddies in gang-raping a Nubian tribeswoman, that's another." is not another strategy for mating - it's a power, oppression thing. That was a bit much!

Dr. Efficient said...

I Google a lot. This column in particular owes a debt to List Of The Day's 371 Euphemisms For Female Masturbation.

A fan of Mexican cuisine myself,
Dr. Efficient

Sarah said...

Agree with Windsong Journals.

Also, in general, I take back all my previous comments about the relative worst-ness of your columns. This is definitely the worst.

Dr. Efficient said...

The subject of rape could probably fill several columns on its own. I can't really do it justice here, but nothing I've written should be interpreted as excusing rape or Sudanese atrocities in the Nuba mountains.

David Buss writes in The Evolution of Desire, "it is a matter of controversy within evolutionary psychology today whether rape represents an evolved sexual strategy of men or is better understood as a horrifying side effect of men's general sexual strategy of seeking low-cost casual sex." However, "the age distribution of rape victims corresponds almost perfectly to the age distribution of women's reproductive value, in marked contrast to the age distribution of victims of other violent crimes. This evidence strongly suggests that rape is not independent of men's evolved sexual psychology."

Rape is also most often perpetrated by socially outcast young men who've lost the game of marital musical chairs because there aren't enough available women to go around. (A fact that bodes poorly for Asia and its 160 million missing girls. But that's another column.)

Tiggerz said...

uh, Dr. Efficient, am I correct in reading that last answer as: all men (who want me at all) just want me for a fun fuck?

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad that there are so many men in the world who don't think like this, so I can avoid those who do. It's really not that hard. This is just racially-biased pseudo-scientific crap, primarily designed to bolster his feelings as a being a more "evolved" man. However, it's really just a projection of very western sexist and racist attitudes, not a description of human nature.


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