The Evolution Of Desire Summary (8/10) — Unearned Wisdom

The Evolution of Desire by David Buss discusses the different mating strategies implemented by men and women based on evolutionary psychology.

Regardless of what men and women are wired to desire, there are still many ambiguities concerning the right strategy to choose, such a strategy is informed by geographical location, age, social standing, and availability of options.

Some men are very reluctant to get married. Some prefer casual sex. And today, there are online dating apps, like Tinder, that facilitate this short-term strategy. Women derogate men for their hesitancy to commit, and these concerns make sense given the large asymmetries in the costs of sex.

Women not only have to choose men with sufficient resources, but men who are willing to commit those resources specifically to them.

Since sex is one of the most valuable reproductive resources a woman can offer, they have evolved psychological mechanisms that makes them resist giving it away indiscriminately. Requiring love, sincerity, and kindness is a way of securing commitment of resources that is proportionate with the value of the resource that women give to men.

In the process of exchange of resources between men and women, there are some deal breakers. These are simply the inverse of what each sex desires. For women, these inverse qualities include a lack of resources, drive, ambition, status, intelligence, dependability, or emotional stability, or being small, weak, or feminine in appearance, or being unhealthy, asymmetrical, mean, cruel, or lacking love specifically for the woman who is engaged in mate selection.

A Summary

Most women are unwilling to settle for men who are less educated, less intelligent, and less professionally successful than they are. Men are less exacting on precisely these dimensions, choosing to prioritize, for better or worse, other evolved criteria such as youth and appearance.

The good news is that educated women and men who choose each other tend to have happier, more stable, and more affluent marriages.

Men are not doomed to have affairs because of an insatiable lust for sexual variety. Women are not doomed to dismiss men who lack status and prestige. We are not slaves to sex roles dictated by evolution. Knowledge of our multifaceted desires and the costs and benefits of different strategies gives us the possibility of choosing from our wide-ranging mating menu.

Both sexes want cooperative, trustworthy, and loyal mates.

Because fertilization occurs internally within women, ancestral men confronted the problem of uncertainty over their fatherhood. As a consequence, men have evolved particular mate preferences for sexual loyalty, a psychology of jealousy centered on sexual infidelity, and a proclivity to withdraw commitment when cuckolded, all of which differ in design from the mating psychology of women.

No woman wants an unfaithful man because of his desire for novelty. No man wants an unfaithful woman because of her desire for emotional closeness.

To assume that both genders are the same psychologically (as traditional social science insists) goes against what we know about evolved sexual psychology.

Men and women also differ in their proclivities for casual sex without emotional involvement, in their desire for sexual variety, and in the nature of their sexual fantasies.Internet dating sites reveal modern expressions of our evolved sexual psychology. Tinder is deluged with more men than women who want casual sex. appeals mostly to married men who seek sexual variety. caters to men with status and resources and women with youth and beauty who want to parlay their respective assets.

Men trying to control resources, and women chasing men who control resources is not a passing historical trend. It is very much the reality of the modern world.

Originally published at on April 1, 2022.



I write about ideas that matter to me. In other words, revolutionary.

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Sud Alogu

Sud Alogu


I write about ideas that matter to me. In other words, revolutionary.