Strategies for Male Mate Selection

Good mate selection can confer many reproductive benefits, such as genes for healthy, protective immune function physically, and provide resources for himself and his children. Wrong mate selection can lead to various costs: sexually transmitted diseases, high mutagenesis DNA sequences, reputational damage, and abandonment.

Male Mate Selection Strategies

Due to the significant gender asymmetry in parental compulsion investment, a simple series of predictions arise from SST about sex differences in short-term mating. Buss & Schmitt (1993) initially pointed out four factors that are directly related to sex differences in diverse sexual desires: men will (a) express a desire or interest in a short-term partner term more often than women, (b) desire more sexual partners than women, (c)) are more willing to have sex after less time than women, and (d) relax standards of partner preferences them in the context of short-term mating than women.

Men who cheat are more likely to cheat than women who cheat with a more significant number of sexual partners. Men around the world are more likely to be patrons of prostitutes than women, even in the most sexually equal and free countries in the world, such as Sweden, Denmark, and Norway. Male preference for relatively younger females should be minimal during the first years of mating but will become more apparent as males age. Younger females are expected to prefer slightly larger males in their first years of life and are less variable as they age.

Male-male competition and female mate selection are considered critical components of mating strategies, and many studies on these behaviors have been performed individually. The innate criteria for selecting females as mates vary between species. Male sexual protection, compared with female sexual protection, is strongly activated when mated with young and physically attractive women compared to significant competitors. The mind has superior resources or economic prospects and has a companion who shows signs of sexual intercourse with a rival.

Models of Male Mating Preferences

Sex choice involves a trade-off between lower mating rates (rejected potential mates) and increased values of selected individuals who accept to be friends. In experimental studies, males prefer to mate with larger, more fertile females. Thus, studies that allow men to choose while, at the same time, women can address how men assess the relative worth of potential mates. It is difficult for a male to determine the worth of a female if he does not immediately fertilize an egg after being selected.

Its value depends partly on how many more competitors it will attract since competitors reduce the likelihood of fertilization. Theoretical models of the evolution of male mating preferences predict that selection will rarely result in all males exhibiting the same preference as the mean value of a female decreases according to the number of men she attracts. Available models predict various possible relationships between male competitiveness and strength and the direction of male mating preference towards larger females.

The predicted relationship depends on the degree of change in male competitiveness and female fertility/quality, the time interval between mate selection and insemination, encounter rate mates, population density, and details of the model's underlying assumptions. The only consistent rule is that males must exercise "conservative selection," balancing the inherent profits of mating with a given female with the possible impact of competition on the odds—paternity per unit of mating effort.

Types of Mating Selection Systems

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Social monogamy is the pairing of behavior between a male and a female. It is more common in birds and rare in other animals. Theoretically, individuals in monogamous pairs should contribute to protecting and caring for the parent's children. Choosing the wrong mate can cost you dearly (see the sections above for more on mate selection). Because the costs of poor mate selection in monogamous species can be so high, in some cases, organisms engage in serial monogamy strategies or mate out of pairs.

Out-of-pair copulation is very common in birds. Monogamy reduces the likelihood of genetic variation among offspring. By mating with more than one male in her lifetime, a female obtains more significant genetic variation in her offspring. The advantages of monogamy, which are the sharing of parental care and territorial resources, are maintained by having only one partner at a time or concealing the relationship between the two outside of husband and wife.


Polygamy is the union of one man with several women. This mating system is found in some birds and insects but is more common in mammals. Polygamy is a strategy used by men to increase fertility.


In heterogamy, there is no double bond, and males and females, although sometimes difficult, often seem to mate at random. Since choosing a mate of one or both sexes is generally more beneficial, promiscuity can occur in species where the environment is unpredictable.

Sperm Competition

Although sperm competition is not a type of mating system, it is a form of male-male competition that plays a vital role in the mating system. If multiple males mate with females briefly, competition can occur after the male releases sperm. In other words, once a man releases sperm, his sperm should be the first to reach the egg. This is often evident in animals using external fertilization.

Of the aquatic animals that release their gametes into the water, the animal that ejaculates the most and the sperm with the highest swimming ability is likely to produce the most offspring. Internally fertilized animals also experience sperm competition. Several mechanisms have evolved to facilitate the reproductive success of males with females with multiple mates.

Role of Testosterone in Men's Mate Selection

Testosterone (T) is essential in the male "mating effort," or the time and energy dedicated to seeking mates and outperforming the same-sex competition. T levels rise after engaging with a beautiful woman, primarily if the woman rates the man's actions as meant to impress her.

On the other hand, sustaining high levels of T might be expensive for males. T may impair immunological function, and because it is associated with mating effort, it may interfere with parenting effort (it is difficult for a guy to be a good dad if he is always chasing other women). As a result, evolutionists theorized that T levels should fall once a man attracts a long-term mate, and investigations have confirmed this.

According to one study, men in committed relationships had 21% lower T levels than unpaired males. T levels were much lower among married males with children. There might be at least two causes for the association between T and relationship status. One is that T levels fall after entering into a committed relationship.

Instead, men with low T levels may be more inclined to enter committed relationships, whereas men with high T levels prefer to be available for short-term mating. What is the proof? Secondly, males in the later phases of a relationship had lower T levels than men in the early stages. Second, long-term research discovered that divorced males who remarry have a subsequent decline in T. These data imply that T decreases following the formation of a committed relationship.

Men in committed relationships, on the other hand, do not always refrain from extra mating efforts. Some individuals continue to seek additional matings. According to the mating effort theory, men who pursue extra matings in their partnerships should have greater T levels than males who stay monogamous. That is precisely what McIntyre and his colleagues discovered. "Would you ever contemplate having an 'affair' (sex with someone else) behind your relationship partner's back?" they questioned males in partnerships.

T levels were more significant in males who said "yes" than in men who said "no." These data support the idea of mating effort. T is associated with committing time and energy to seek and compete for mates; T reduces after successful relationship formation and childbirth to enhance pair bonding and parental effort, but only if the guy is not pursuing extra-pair sex.


Sexual behavior in both sexes is strongly regulated by circulating levels of gonadal steroid hormones, including male hormones (testosterone), estrogen (estradiol), and progesterone. Male sexual behavior also depends on adequate essential hormones circulating in the gonads, mainly testosterone and its metabolites.

Many of the activating effects of testosterone on male sexual behavior in rodents can be attributed to its conversion to estradiol by the aromatase enzyme, which is clearly expressed along the sexual behavior circuitry.

Updated on: 12-Apr-2023


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