Evolutionary Aspects of Sexual Aggression

Researchers have worked for decades to develop and perform experimental assessments of sexual assault and its precursors to take advantage of the many scientific advantages offered by laboratory experiments, such as tight control of critical variables and causal identification. Sexual assault is a person performing a sexual act with someone who does not or cannot consent to the act.

In the context of this definition, sexual assault cannot be directly and ethically measured in a laboratory. If researchers could develop a reliable procedure for validly and reliably measuring sexual assault behaviour, that procedure would be unethical because it involves others becoming victims.

Meaning of Sexual Aggression

When it comes to the constellation of victim-perpetrator relationships, studies have shown that sexual assault often involves known victims and perpetrators only among strangers. For those who facilitate sexual assaults, alcohol was found to be involved in about half of all sexual assaults, especially when the victim and perpetrator did not know each other well.

Alcohol increases the risk of crime and victimization through its pharmacological effects by impairing the ability to process information, such as attention to rules prohibiting the use of force or danger signals. Alcohol also increases the risk of sexual assault through its psychological effects, such as triggering stereotypical beliefs that drinking is suggestive of sexual availability and the risk of men overestimating women's sexual interest.

Sexual Assault Against Women

In the #MeToo era, with increasing rates of sexual assault in the mass press and international consciousness, it is essential to identify men at risk of sexual assault. It is an important task that requires a solid basis of empirical evidence. Indeed, sexual assault continues to be a significant problem worldwide, affecting women and girls disproportionately. Sexual assault is used comprehensively to indicate a continuum of unwanted sexual behaviour that includes all forms of unwanted sexual contact, from sexual harassment to sexual assault.

Although men can be victims of sexual assault, the vast majority and obviously of these attacks are perpetrated by men against women. Clarifying the social and personal factors that contribute to men's attitudes and concerns about sexual assault is necessary to help improve women's lives and ultimately prevent violence against them.

Sexual Assault Against Men

Sexual assault is essentially considered a crime to be experienced by women, ignoring that men can also be affected by sexual assault. Furthermore, for a long time, sexual assault has been conceptualized as an offence committed by a man. However, it has been established that women also engage in the sexual assault with potentially devastating effects on the individual involved. It has been established that women also engage in sexual assault with potentially devastating effects on the individual involved.

Overall, sexual assault by women is increasingly recognized by researchers in forensic psychology, psychiatry, and gender studies. Recent studies have focused not only on the prevalence of sexual assaults committed by men but also on the prevalence of sexual assaults committed by women.

Evolutionary Aspects of Sexual Aggression

The unfortunate prevalence of the "impulsive" model has been fueled, in part, by the recent rise of more sophisticated biological theories of sexual assault. These theories suggest that if there is no "gene" that causes men to rape, the existence of a predisposition to rape may be an evolutionary consequence. According to this theory, men susceptible to rape may have more reproductive success (such as having more children). Over an extended period, this reproductive advantage translates into a predisposition to rape common among men. Other theorists suggest that the predisposition to rape is not an adaptation but a side effect of reproductive adaptations, such as pursuing several mates.

Along with these biological explanations for abusers' behaviour, there have been biological explanations for the behaviour of victims of sexual assault. For women, sexual activity with a limited number of partners is desirable, and therefore, women have evolved to resist rape. Furthermore, according to these theorists, experiencing "trauma" related to sexual assault is a reproductively successful response, as women who experience such trauma subsequently avoid being sexually assaulted.

Although some biological theorists argue that recognizing the biological basis of rape does not justify rape, such theories can contribute to strengthening and perpetuating beliefs about rape, believing that the perpetrator is not responsible for his or her actions and blaming the victim. For example, some proponents of biological theories argue that since men cannot control their irresistible urge to rape, women are responsible for avoiding dressing provocatively. According to this view, women who are raped must put themselves in the situation that led to the rape and respond appropriately to teach them how to avoid being raped.

Biological explanations for rape also tend to "naturalize" the perpetrator's behaviour, concluding that the behaviour is "acceptable" and potentially unchangeable. These theories also alleviate the pain and suffering of the victim. Furthermore, biological theories have important implications for criminal justice responses to rape. If rape is a biological adaptation, the response must include monetary punishment; furthermore, such theories would call for chemical castration or hormone treatment, which could constitute human rights violations.

The evolutionary explanation for human aggression stems from species change over millions of years. These changes increase their chances of survival and reproduction; these changes, also known as traits, are naturally selected to pass on to their descendants. Sexual jealousy is one of the leading causes of human aggression and is mainly explained by evolution. Sexual jealousy is the primary driver of aggressive behaviour; The theory of evolution suggests that the aggressive strategies that males use to keep their mates are adaptive; those that are more aggressive and use it successfully in a breeding situation will be more successful in obtaining sexual partners and pass on those genes.


To identify specific conditions, distinguish between different offences or control for certain variables, research often looks at the characteristics of sexual assault. Characteristics include, for example, the frequency of sexual assault, which represents the frequency of acts with the affected person. Another feature often assessed is the relationship between the affected person and the sexual abuser.

Updated on: 19-Apr-2023


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