Brooke A. Scelza is an Assistant Professor in the Anthropology Department at UCLA. Dr. Scelza is broadly interested in human behavioral ecology, life history theory, reproductive ecology, and maternal and child health. E-mail: email@example.com
Choosy But Not Chaste: Multiple Mating in Human Females
Version of Record online: 24 OCT 2013
Copyright © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Evolutionary Anthropology: Issues, News, and Reviews
Volume 22, Issue 5, pages 259–269, September/October 2013
How to Cite
Scelza, B. A. (2013), Choosy But Not Chaste: Multiple Mating in Human Females. Evol. Anthropol., 22: 259–269. doi: 10.1002/evan.21373
- Issue online: 24 OCT 2013
- Version of Record online: 24 OCT 2013
When Charles Darwin set out to relate his theory of evolution by natural selection to humans he discovered that a complementary explanation was needed to properly understand the great variation seen in human behavior. The resulting work, The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex, laid out the defining principles and evidence of sexual selection. In brief, this work is best known for illuminating the typically male strategy of intrasexual competition and the typically female response of intersexual choice. While these sexual stereotypes were first laid out by Darwin, they grew in importance when, years later, A. J. Bateman, in a careful study of Drosophila mating strategies, noted that multiple mating appeared to provide great benefit to male reproductive success, but to have no such effect on females. As a result, female choice soon became synonymous with being coy, and only males were thought to gain from promiscuous behavior. However, the last thirty years of research have served to question much of the traditional wisdom about sex differences proposed by Darwin and Bateman, illuminating the many ways that women (and females more generally) can and do engage in multiple mating.