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24 October 2011
Dismal economy increasing male sex drive
by George Atkinson

Men pursue more sexual partners when faced with a threatening environment such as the current financial crisis, says University of Kansas psychologist Omri Gillath.

When made to think about their own death, which mimics conditions of "low survivability," Gillath and his co-researchers found that men responded more vigorously to sexual pictures and had increased heart rates when viewing them.

"We're biologically wired to reproduce, and the environment tells us the best strategy to use to make sure our genes are passed on," explained Gillath. "If you think you might die soon, there's a huge advantage for a man to use short-term mating strategies - to make sure there are a bunch of offspring and hope that some of them survive." "In low survivability conditions, we think that men would be more apt to pursue sex outside of a monogamous relationship, looking for ways to spread their genes," he added.

Gillath's research, appearing in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, is the first to show a causal link between low survivability cues and sexual preparedness in men. "When the environment is secure and you have enough food and things are working the way you would like them to, people are more likely to invest in their existing kids and stay with their current partner or prefer long-term mating strategies," Gillath notes. "But if the environment is dangerous and your chances of survival are low... then people will adopt short-term strategies which allow them to reproduce more."

Gillath contends that the current poor economic conditions could prompt men to stray away from their long-term committed relationships and follow a more promiscuous lifestyle. "The economy today is giving us signs that we have lower chances of survival. There's not as much money, we're not sure if we're going to have our jobs, we're not sure we can support our existing kids. It's like living on the savannah and discovering you don't have enough fruit and the animals are scarce. In such times, guys might be more inclined to spread their genes and hence be highly prepared for sex."

Related:
Discuss this article in our forum
Attractiveness: The Evolutionary Aftermath
Online romance scams vastly underreported
Girl-on-girl infidelity more acceptable
Monogamy Unnatural in the Natural World

Source: University of Kansas




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