The relationship between fitness and survival creates a deep asymmetry in nature.
It’s why, for women, it’s even more important to be sexually disgusted by ineffectiveness than to be sexually attracted to effectiveness. Effectiveness requires a lot—thousands of genes, hundreds of adaptations, dozens of organs, and millions of neurons working together in awesomely intricate ways to produce sustained, adaptive behavior. But there are an infinite number of ways to be ineffective as a male animal, from being spontaneously aborted as a blastocyst to losing competitions to rivals, and literally every point in between. […]
Thus, apart from cultivating signs of effectiveness, it can be even more important to stop showing signs of ineffectiveness. In most species, in fact, a lot of female choice is about avoiding the bad rather than approaching the good.
Tucker Max & Geoffrey Miller, Mate: Become the Man Women Want, New York, 2015
Religion, we think, has a great deal to offer to many people—the comfort of faith and the security of community among them. But believing that God doesn’t like sex, as many religions seem to, is like believing that God doesn’t like you. Because of this belief, a tremendous number of people carry great shame for their own perfectly natural sexual desires and activities.
We prefer the beliefs of a woman we met, a devoted churchgoer in a fundamentalist faith. She told us that when she was about five years old, she discovered the joys of masturbation in the back seat of the family car, tucked under a warm blanket on a long trip. It felt so wonderful that she concluded that the existence of her clitoris was proof positive that God loved her.
Dossie Easton & Janet Hardy, The Ethical Slut, 2nd ed., New York, 2009, p. 13
Women […] rarely develop sexual fetishes for objects. They do, however, develop emotional fetishes, a condition known as objectum sexualis.
Women who suffer from objectum sexualis usually claim that they are in love with an inanimate object, such as fences, a roller coaster, or a Ferris wheel. Though they sometimes have sex with the objects, their interest usually expresses itself as a powerful emotional connection and a desire for intimacy. Sometimes these feelings culminate in a romantic ceremony. One objectum sufferer name Eija-Riitta Berliner-Mauer marries the Berlin Wall. Another objectum sufferer, Erika Naisho, marries the Eiffel Tower. After the ceremony, she changed her name to Erika Eiffel. “There is a huge problem with being in love with a public object,” she reported sadly, “the issue of intimacy—or rather lack of it—is forever present.”
Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam, A Billion Wicked Thoughts: What the World’s Largest Experiment Reveals about Human Desire, New York, 2011
[T]his puzzle is, in the present state of evolutionary and sociological thinking, insoluble. Fashion is change and obsolescence imposed on a pattern of tyrannical conformity. Fashion is about status, and yet the sex that is obsessed with fashion is trying to impress the sex that cares least about status.
Matt Ridley, The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature, New York, 1993, pp. 103-104
The mind of the opposite sex is an exotic dark continent at age 15, a partly-explored colony at age 35, and an over-familiar garden at age 55.
Geoffrey Miller, ‘Mating Intelligence: Frequently Asked Questions’, in Glenn Geher and Geoffrey Miller (eds.), Mating Intelligence: Sex, Relationships, and the Mind’s Reproductive System, New York, 2008, p. 378
[A] man’s attractiveness in short-term mating contexts is just as important to women as a woman’s attractiveness is to men when men evaluate long-term mates.
Steven Gangestad and Jeffry Simpson, ‘The Evolution of Human Mating: Trade-Offs and Strategic Pluralism’, Behavioral and Brain Sciences, vol. 23, no. 4 (August, 2000), p. 581
If you are chronically spending every Saturday night alone, despite valiant and persistent effort to find a date, then chances are there’s something wrong with you, at least in this area of life. You probably don’t possess the qualities that members of the opposite sex seek in potential mates. Evolutionary psychological research has not only discovered what these traits are that men and women seek in each other, but also that the traits sought after by men and women are culturally universal; men everywhere in the world seek the same traits in women (such as youth and physical attractiveness) and women everywhere in the world seek the same traits in men (such as wealth and status). In fact, one of the themes of evolutionary psychology is that human nature is universal (or “species-typical”) and people are the same everywhere (or their cultural differences can be explained by the interaction of universal human nature and the local conditions). You may be comforted to know that you are not alone in your plight; there are losers like you everywhere in the world, and for the same reasons.
Satoshi Kanazawa, ‘The Evolutionary Psychological Imagination: Why You Can’t Get a Date on a Saturday Night and Why Most Suicide Bombers are Muslim’, Journal of Social, Evolutionary, and Cultural Psychology, vol. 1, no. 2 (2007), p. 8
On the African Savannah […] our rational male forebears wanted young and beautiful partners while our rational ancestors down the maternal line would have preferred high-status males. Have these preferences, like attitudes to sex, survived to the present day? Folk wisdom would certainly say so. In the song ‘Summertime’ from Gershwin’s opera Porgy and Bess, there’s a reason why Bess soothes the baby with the line ‘Your daddy’s rich and your momma’s good looking’ rather than the other way round. And how often do you hear of a twenty-six-year-old Chippendale marrying an eighty-nine-year-old heiress?
Tim Harford, The Logic of Life: The Rational Economics of an Irrational World, London, 2008, pp. 78-79