Benefits and Difficulties of Male Mating Preferences

Men use characteristics to evaluate potential partners, especially those that contrast with those women use to evaluate potential relationship partners. Men place more importance on indicators of youth and fertility, while women place more importance on social status and resource potential. Choosing a mate includes decisions about whether or not to pair up and how many resources to allocate to each mate or partner.

An essential factor in the evolution of male mate choice is the relationship between the number of receptive females available to a male individual for mating. Men, more often than women, explicitly ask for a sexual relationship. Generally, men are looking for potential partners younger than them, a growing trend among older advertisers. Males prefer younger, physically attractive mates. Fertility traits were rated more highly by men than women. Men have their preferences about their partner's appearance.

Men's primary concern is to nourish a female friend to have children. Men tend to look for a relatively young woman with full labia, breasts, and hips and a smaller waistline, indicating sufficient estrogen levels for successful childbirth. Men also look for facial symmetry, lustrous hair, fair skin, and white sclera. Men care less about the social status of their chosen companions.

Benefit of Commitment and Marriage

The ground rules established by women provide one answer to the problem of why men desire marriage. Men who failed to commit would have suffered selectively on the mating market since it is evident that many ancestral women required solid signals of male commitment before consenting to intercourse. Guys who do not exhibit an interest in commitment may not be able to attract any women at all. Another advantage of marriage is that it improves the kind of woman that a man may attract.

Men who offer long-term wealth, protection, and commitment to children are more enticing to women. Thus, men prepared to commit to the long term have a larger pool of women to pick from. Such guys attract attractive women because most women seek long-term commitment, and highly appealing women are in the most excellent position to acquire it.

A third possible advantage is an increase in the likelihood that a guy is the father of the children a woman births. Marriage provides a guy with repeated sexual access—in most situations, exclusive sexual access. His paternity would be jeopardized if he did not have this repeated or exclusive access. As a result, married males reap the reproductive benefit of increased paternity certainty.

A fourth potential advantage of marriage would have been an increase in the man's children's survival. Infants and early children are likelier to die in ancestral habitats without the protracted involvement of two parents or a connected family. Even today, children without an investing father have a mortality rate greater than 10% greater than children whose dads are still alive among the Ache (also known as Guayaki) Indians of Paraguay. The crucial point is that an increase in a man's children's survival rates may have been one adaptive benefit that prehistoric males gained by engaging in a long-term marriage connection.

Even children who did survive without their father's investment may have suffered from the loss of his teaching and political ties throughout human evolutionary history because both of these assets assist in overcoming mating issues later in life. Fathers in many cultures, past and present, have played a significant role in arranging advantageous marriages for their sons and daughters. Marriage provides men with an elevation in status.

Males in many cultures are not believed to have become genuine masculinity until they marry. Improved prestige, in tum, may offer a slew of advantages, including more excellent resources for his offspring and more mates. With his wife's family, males acquire access to coalitional allies, which gives extra reproductively relevant advantages.

The Difficulties Men Face in Choosing a Mate

As men become more willing to mate, they must compete for women's attention. Psychologist Roy Baumeister explains how it has motivated men to seek recognition by accumulating land and possessions, exploiting military, political, exploration, and similar achievements in a way that most women cannot do. Women prefer men with more ambition and resources because ambition indicates their ability to acquire more resources in the future.

Mating through evolution has taught males that they must always have enough resources to attract females; otherwise, they will not spawn. Most men today are descendants of men who made a special effort to prove themselves. As a result, the risk-taking genes have survived and are passed on to the next generations, making men more willing to take risks to prove themselves.

Remnant genes may explain why men try to outdo everyone and gain as much power as possible, even in the most miniature spheres. Women do not have this constant competitive drive to the same extent because it does not give them the same reproductive benefits.

The Problem of Assessing a Woman's Fertility

To be successful in reproduction, prehistoric people had to marry women who could produce offspring. A woman with the ability to carry numerous offspring would have undoubtedly been more advantageous in reproductive currencies than a woman with the ability to bear few or none. Because males cannot directly examine a woman's reproductive worth, selection could only have shaped men's preferences for attributes associated with reproductive value.

When we compare humans to their nearest ape cousin, the chimp, we notice a stunning discontinuity in female reproductive status marketing. When a female chimp can conceive, she enters a phase known as estrus, during which she releases her eggs and exhibits maximum sexual receptivity. Estrus receptivity is typically signaled by bright red enlarged genitals and odors that are particularly appealing to chimp males.

Most, if not all, of chimp sexual activity occurs during the estrus phase when the female is most likely to conceive. Humans have a distinct pattern of mating. First, ovulation in women is somewhat hidden or mysterious. Unlike chimp females, when women release their eggs for prospective fertilization, there is no noticeable vaginal swelling. Second, most individuals engage in sexual activity during the ovulation period.

In contrast to the chimp, sexual activity is not often focused on during the phase when the female is most likely to conceive. The change from public estrus to covert ovulation for our ancestral males presented an acute adaptive issue. Since ovulation is not promoted, how may men discern a female's reproductive status? In brief, ovulation concealment changed the difficulty from detecting when a woman was ovulating to deciding which women were likely to be capable of having children—the problem of evaluating a woman's reproductive worth or viability.

The amount of children a person of a certain age and sex is anticipated to have in the future is referred to as reproductive value. A fifteen-year-old woman, for example, has a more excellent reproductive value than a thirty-year-old woman because, on average, the younger woman is more likely to produce children in the future than the older woman. Individual women, of course, can defy these statistics.

A fifteen-year-old may opt not to have children, whereas a thirty-year-old may have six. The crucial point is that reproductive value relates to a person's average projected future reproduction at a particular age and sex. Conversely, fertility is defined as actual reproductive performance as measured by the number of viable children produced. Women in their mid-twenties tend to have the most viable offspring in human communities; hence fertility among humans peaks in their twenties.

Conversely, fertility is defined as actual reproductive performance as measured by the number of viable children produced. Women in their mid-twenties tend to have the most viable offspring in human communities; hence fertility among humans peaks in their twenties. However, the answer to determining fertility or reproductive value is more challenging than it appears. The number of children a woman is expected to have in her lifetime is not etched on her brow. That is not ingrained in her social standing. Even women themselves are unaware of their reproductive worth.

On the other hand, Ancestral men may have evolved systems sensitive to visible characteristics of a woman that are connected with underlying reproductive worth. A woman's youth and health were two potentially noticeable signs. Elderly or ill women could not procreate at the same rate as young, healthy women.


There are seven potentially substantial adaptive benefits that males prepared to undertake the commitment of marriage would have received increased chances of attracting a mate, increased ability to attract a more desirable mate, increased paternity certainty, increased child survival, increased reproductive success of children accrued through paternal investment, increased social status and added coalitional allies.

Males of many species prefer fertile, new, and sexually receptive females. Males assess the suitability of a potential mate using female morphological features, including sex size and coloration or olfactory cues. However, few studies have looked directly at how women's behavior affects men's choice of mate, which is surprising since men often respond strongly to women's behaviors.

Updated on: 11-Apr-2023


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