Modern Reproductive Choice and the Current Status and Behavior of Women in Our Culture Term Paper

Pages: 4 (1267 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Women's Issues - Sexuality

Psychology - Reproductive Choice

HUMAN SEXUAL EVOLUTION and FEMALE REPRODUCTIVE CHOICE Introduction - Modern Female Reproductive Choice and Evolutionary Perspective

Since Darwin first posited his theory of evolution via natural selection, the field of human evolutionary psychology has grown from the realm of mere speculation into an entire branch of academic research capable of explaining myriad elements of modern behavior. In particular, sexual strategies reflect both conscious preference as well as completely unconscious agendas and contemporary dating and mate selection suggest the strong influence of both in shaping outward choices.

In many respects, elements of modern female social behavior changed significantly in the 20th century, particularly since the 19060s, in ways that have provided additional corroboration of theories of human psychosexual evolution (Ackerman 1995).

The widespread availability of birth control led to dramatic changes in female sexual behavior, in conjunction with which shifts in social mores and societal norms since the era of "free love" have revealed very specific patterns that can only be explained by unconscious biological drives that often contradict both intuition and conscious desires as they relate to the decision-making process inherent in human sexual relations (Margulis & Sagan 1999).

Natural Selection, Parental Investment, and Sexual Strategies in Human Evolution:

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In principle, natural selection dictates that physical traits and behavioral tendencies conducive to survival of the organism correspond to greater likelihood of procreation and therefore, over successive generations, the population of organisms will reflect higher prevalence of those traits (Poole 2007). Generally, random mutation is the mechanism responsible for spontaneous changes in genetic codes, but other influences also contribute significantly to the process.

Term Paper on Modern Reproductive Choice and the Current Status and Behavior of Women in Our Culture Assignment

Sexual selection, for example, relates to the phenomenon of evolved changes in the genetic pool attributable to the greater relative success of certain individuals in attracting mates (Barash 2001). In many ways, modern human social behavior is influenced as much by environmental influences, such as cultural beliefs, values, and expectations, in addition to purely biological factors. Sometimes, those external influences motivate choices that are consistent with evolved natural tendencies; other times, those two bases for behavioral choices are mutually contradictory (Zuk 2002).

Human female estrus characteristics are merely one set of obvious evolutionary adaptations influenced by the evolutionary importance of ensuring continuous interest by the male within human pair bonds: the hidden status of the reproductive window relates directly to ensuring continual male sexual interest, protection, and resource provision instead of temporary interest triggered by overt signs of female fertility (Margulis & Sagan 1999). Unlike many mammals, human females also developed evolutionarily driven strategies to account for the length of human gestation and the relative vulnerability of both females and infants throughout the period from conception to post- infancy necessitated by biological realities.

Specifically, the mechanics of human sexual reproduction requires no further input from the male beyond the contribution of his genetic material through his sperm.

Domain specificity theorists point to the innate universal tendency of males to seek out sexual gratification for its own sake as just one example of natural gender specificity that is not dependent on external social influences (Poole 2007). Meanwhile, female investment necessarily requires nine months of gestation and a prolonged period of relative dependence for protection and resources. In principle, male behavior that is conducive to the optimal propagation of his progeny conflicts with those consistent with the needs of his mate in that his energies and access to resources are better spent on impregnating as many females as possible rather than investing all his efforts on the viability of any particular female. From his perspective, it makes no difference whether or not any particular union with a female results in the production of a healthy child, particularly if he has sexual access to many potential female partners simultaneously (Ackerman 1995). Much of evolved female sexual selection tendencies corresponds directly… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Modern Reproductive Choice and the Current Status and Behavior of Women in Our Culture" Term Paper in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Modern Reproductive Choice and the Current Status and Behavior of Women in Our Culture.  (2008, May 8).  Retrieved October 23, 2020, from

MLA Format

"Modern Reproductive Choice and the Current Status and Behavior of Women in Our Culture."  8 May 2008.  Web.  23 October 2020. <>.

Chicago Style

"Modern Reproductive Choice and the Current Status and Behavior of Women in Our Culture."  May 8, 2008.  Accessed October 23, 2020.