Effects of Gender and Sexual Orientation on Evolutionarily Relevant Aspects of Human Mating Psychology

  • Bailey J
  • Gaulin S
  • Agyei Y
 et al. 
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Sexual selection theory provides a powerful model for the analysis of psychological sex differences. This research examined (a) tests of several sex differences in mating psychology predicted from sexual selection theory, (b) broad developmental hypotheses about sex differences in mating psychol-ogy—through the relationship of mating psychology to sexual orientation, and (c) the structure of within-sex differences in mating psychology. Scales measuring aspects of mating psychology were administered to heterosexual and homosexual Ss of both sexes. The structure of scale intercorre-lations was similar across groups. All scales yielded sex differences consistent with sexual selection theory. Homosexual Ss generally obtained scores similar to those of same-sex heterosexual Ss, though several scales were significantly related to sexual orientation. Findings constrain hypotheses concerning the origins of sex differences. Evolutionary Basis of Sex Differences Sex differences were recognized as an evolutionary puzzle by Darwin (1871), who noted that, in many species, males alone possess a range of traits that function in competition for sexual partners. Species where females compete more intensely for mates than do males are rare but not entirely missing from the zoological record. The evolutionary theory that best explains these sex differences in sexual competitiveness implicates re-productive rate, not sex per se, as the key independent variable (Clutton-Brock & Vincent, 1991). It might seem that neither sex would be differentially chal-lenged in the search for mates, as long as a 1:1 sex ratio pre-vailed. But consider a species where males could potentially re-produce more rapidly than females. This would be the case in most mammals because males expend less on each offspring than do females. In such a case the typical male will complete a reproductive venture (which might merely consist of copula-tion) before his current partner (who must gestate and lactate, at a minimum) and could therefore start another reproductive venture if he could find an available female. Statistically speak-ing he will be unlikely to find that female because this same sex difference in reproductive rate pervades the population, with the aggregate result that males, being faster reproducers, find

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