Men With Multiple Sexual Partners, More Common Areas With Dismal Economy

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Hopeless economic struggles may lead a man to seek more sexual partners making them more prone to have illegitimate children, says a study conducted by Omri Gillath, a professor of Social Psychology at the University of Kansas. According to a sexual selection theory based on evolutionary psychology, when men are faced with a threatening environment, they tend to face short-term sexual strategies with other people.

Furthermore, Gillath and his colleagues mentioned that when men are asked to think about their own death (which is associated with low survivability conditions), men reacted more vigorously to sexual images and their heart rates increased when they were viewing them, as compared to when these men were asked about their dental pains.

“We’re biologically wired to reproduce, and the environment tells us the best strategy to use to make sure our genes are passed on,” mentions 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 – but women can’t do the same thing.”

“The ultimate sign of low chances of surviving is death,” he added. “After threatening them with their own death, we asked them to look at a computer with sexual and nonsexual images, to see if death makes men more interested in sex.”

People who were preoriented with thoughts and ideas about death and mortality switched a more responsive gear when they were presented with sexual images, as compared to those when who were preoriented with ideas about dental pain. The groups also showed similar responses to non-sexual images.

“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” Gillath said.

This research by fellows from the University of Kansas is the first study to show a causal link between socioeconomic conditions of living or low survivability cues and sexual propensity among men. The study used both behavioral and psychological measures in men. Other researchers have been basing similar studies on demographics to support life history theory, i.e. considering the low birth rates in richer countries, and earlier age of first sexual encounter in low income neighborhoods.

“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,” said Gillath. “But if the environment is dangerous and your chances of survival are low – if there is a famine or more enemies – then people will adopt short-term strategies which allow them to reproduce more.”

Gillath mentioned that the implication of his research is aimed towards the fears of the economy with many analyst predicting that the economic struggles and depression today can lead to an era of unemployment and lowered standard of living.

Gillath concluded by saying that “The economy today is giving us signs that we have lower chances of survival,” said the KU researcher. “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.”




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