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  #21  
Old 04-03-2011, 02:00 AM
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detritus detritus is offline
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Originally Posted by MindfulAgony View Post
I think your mixing things up a bit. While working towards a Ph.D. in psychology (unfinished) David Buss was a star in the department. I spent a lot of time with the evolutionary psych folks partly because I had some intellectual interest in the subject matter. But, admittedly, also because David had the hottest grad students in the department (even the males were hot). Anyway, back to our topic.

In the passage you take issue with, Ryan and Jetha are talking about the evolutionary psychology theory of parternity certainty. As they explain, it hypothesizes that selection would favor men who acted to invest in their own children versus others because that investment is costly. It does not actively presume that this is a conscious psychological process that the more casual description in the book may seem suggest. Instead, evolutionary psych proposes that men evolved solutions to the problem of paternity certainty when they're engaged in long term mating strategies. Specifically, men were "evolved" to desire chastity, sexual fidelity, and abhorence for promiscuity in a long term mate. These long term "mating strategies" are hypothesized to be an evolved mechanism in men who have the challenge of paternity certainty.

Consciuos behavior, pre-conscious or unconscious desires are all involved here. Assuming that something has to be conscious to be driving behavior is a mis-understanding of psychological science.

They were simply describing the hypothesis around paternity certainty which is certaintly a cornerstone of theory of Evolutionary Psychology. Which is an area of research populated by both psychologists and biologists. With that further explanation, are you still convinced that they are misunderstanding natural selection?
The quote that bothered me seemed to imply that the desire for paternity certainty was conscious--but it's entirely possible that it was one of those shorthand ways of describing evolutionary processes that seem to indicate motivation or goals where there are none. I've only gotten to just that passage, so they may backfill with more details that satisfy me.
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  #22  
Old 04-03-2011, 02:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Tonberry View Post
I'll admit that I don't fully understand evolutionary biology, but I'm not sure why producing offspring would be the only definition of success, or why you'd want to only care for your own offspring.
You can transmit other things than your genes, and from an evolutionary point of view it seems to me it certainly benefits the whole species when you take care of younglings that might grow to heal others, and so on. Obviously, for the species to survive, you need to carry on genes, but producing offsprings that survive to reproduce doesn't seem to me to be the only thing. Making sure people, whether your own offsprings or not, live to reproduce is also a good thing. Sometimes, having less offspring to give the ones who survive a better chance is good too.

I think there is a lot of benefit in social creatures to being there are a parent figure, with or without transmitting your genes. I'm speaking of both genders here, you have lots of stories about female animals who adopt and raise an orphan (sometimes of a different species, too), I think these provide advantages as well as they grow to help the rest of the tribe, as well as yourself when you're old. I think it carries the whole tribe and the whole species up.

There is much to survival of the species than sharing your genes is what I'm getting at. Sometimes, it might even be better to make sure you don't share them if you carry something that would endanger future generations or make them weaker. I don't think the species is as simple as each individual selfishly reproducing their own genes, I think there are also cooperative ways that we act naturally and that from an evolutionary point of view are useful to the species, yet have nothing to do with reproduction.

Actually, selection pressures don't act upon the species as a whole. Most research supports Dawkins' theory that evolution acts at the level of individual genes, although I think there are a number of biologists that disagree and believe it acts at the individual level. Basically, there is almost always a higher level of competition between individuals of the same species than there is between entire species or populations. Most kind acts that look selfless (caring for unrelated young, etc) have their basis in pretty selfish motivators (if I care for their young, they will return the favor later). If you are interested in learning more, I highly recommend Dawkins' Selfish Gene or Stephen Jay Gould's The Panda's Thumb.

That's not to say that we shouldn't be cooperative or kind. It's dangerous to take moral cues from evolutionary processes, it's just that I find them pretty fascinating.
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  #23  
Old 04-06-2011, 12:00 AM
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Magdlyn Magdlyn is offline
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I just finished Sex at Dawn and was happy to see the authors address current trends in contemporary life to deal with humans' natural need for sexual variety, in the last chapter. Polyamory, swinging and open relationships were all mentioned. So was the sad fact that most couples therapists today are not on the bangwagon, and try to enforce monogamy at all costs.
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Love withers under constraint; its very essence is liberty. It is compatible neither with envy, jealousy or fear. It is there most pure, perfect and unlimited when its votaries live in confidence, equality and unreserve. -- Shelley

me: Mags, 58, living with:
miss pixi, 37, who is dating (NRE):
Master, 32
my bf: Ginger, 61, married to:
Robin, 60 (mono)
and dating (NRE): Carla and David, married couple, early 40s
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  #24  
Old 04-06-2011, 08:29 PM
Ariakas Ariakas is offline
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Originally Posted by Magdlyn View Post
I just finished Sex at Dawn and was happy to see the authors address current trends in contemporary life to deal with humans' natural need for sexual variety, in the last chapter. Polyamory, swinging and open relationships were all mentioned. So was the sad fact that most couples therapists today are not on the bangwagon, and try to enforce monogamy at all costs.
haha... semi comical side point. Could it be because most people seemingly suck at regular monogamous relationships and having multiple relationships will just be that much more tumultuous. Therapists might be more inclined to endorse non-monogamy if more people were better at being in a relationship with themselves first and then their lovers.

If I were a therapist, and saw cases roll through where the primary relationship wasn't doing well and someone took on another lover.. I would not be endorsing it either. With how high the ratio is on these poly sites, I wonder how negative it all feels to the therapists.
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  #25  
Old 04-08-2011, 11:03 AM
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MrFarFromRight MrFarFromRight is offline
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I'm looking forward to reading this book.

I don't want to highjack this thread, but since there might be some general interest in ground-breaking anthropological books among people who check in here, I want to mention 2 others that I find excellent:

"The Descent Of Woman" by Elaine Morgan. She is (was? Will be 90 this year if she's still alive.) a journalist who adopted a theory by biologist Sir Alister Clavering Hardy that proto-humans had - after coming down out of the trees - returned to an aquatic stage (or at least beach-based with a lot of time actually spent in the water). Her book is very readable and made a lot of sense to me. She scoffs at the "Tarzan" school of evolutionists, who, when they can't think of any other reason for a particular evolutionary feature, throw it into a big bag labelled "for sexual attraction". She supplies much more believable reasons for those adaptations. The title of her book comes from the fact that she believes that most evolutionary change happens more because of the female's (and child's) needs than because of the male's needs.

Fascinating reading and I strongly feel that it should be taught - at least as a plausible theory - in schools, but it has been pooh-poohed by Desmond Morris and company. (Morgan wrote a reply to their reaction, which I've just found out about on her Wikipedia page, entitled "The Naked Darwinist (2008)".

I actually read Morris' "The Naked Ape" after (and because of) reading "The Descent Of Woman"... and had to put it down quickly because I found - like Morgan - some of its theories so ridiculous.

+++

"Cows, Pigs, Wars and Witches" by Marvin Harris. This is more on a cultural level: convincingly explains - among much more - why eating pork is forbidden to Jews and Muslims, cows are sacred in India, and the common image of the witch riding a broomstick. (That last explanation is amazing!)
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The person who says something is impossible should not interrupt the person who is doing it.
- old Chinese proverb
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
~ Anais Nin
I'd rather have a broken heart / Than have a heart of stone.
- from "Boundless Love (A Polyamory Song)" by Jimmy Hollis i Dickson
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  #26  
Old 04-12-2011, 08:42 AM
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MrFarFromRight MrFarFromRight is offline
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From another thread, explaining one theory from this book:
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Originally Posted by Magdlyn View Post
The head of the human male corona is extra large and works as a squeegee to scrape out another man's semen. Not mentioned in the book is the idea that women's watery ejaculate is produced to wash out semen, to make way for something better that just came along.
I've got to admit to the shameful fact that I've never actually had sex with a woman right after another man has. So I can’t speak from personal experience of shifting another man’s sperm with the head of my penis. But for several years now I have been getting the occasional erection, and so I've had some opportunity to consider its shape. And I also seem to remember that a woman’s vagina feels (more or less) tight around it. [I'm not the most sexually experienced of men: perhaps other couples have found this not to be the case?]

It therefore seems quite plausible to me that if I were to slip my erect penis into a vagina that had just received a delivery of another man’s ejaculate, I would actually be pushing some of it (perhaps even most of it) even further inwards. So far in fact (ahead of the head, so to speak) that my penis couldn’t hope to scoop it back out on subsequent thrusts.

[An analogy occurs: the famous maternal injunction to her children before leaving them at home alone: “Now, don’t go sticking beans up your nose!” I invite you to ignore her (well-meaning but naïve) advice (as did one of my brothers on a memorable occasion) and push a bean far up your nose with your finger... Now (Have you done it yet? Is the bean in place?): try to hook it out again with that same finger. (This pastime offers the potential of hours of entertainment. My brother was eventually taken to casualty. Apparently, the more experienced doctors stand by with an instrument rather like a crochet needle to use on the children of those mothers who proffer this injunction to their offspring.)]

So – while I have no difficulty in accepting that if 6 men ejaculate into the same vagina during the same playtime, it’s quite plausible that the healthiest spermatozoa have an edge on the rest of the field in reaching the ovum and successfully negotiating a union – I respectfully submit that this theory that penis #6 has squeegeed out a determinant amount of its rivals’ offerings doesn’t really hold water. Or other fluids.

Anthropology – and most especially prehistoric anthropology – offers wonderful scope for inventing pleasing little theories. (Pleasing to the inventor.) Allow me to offer an example from the evolutionists:

The Desmond Morris (“Tarzanist”) school of evolutionists reasons thus:
a) Our female primate ancestors (and our present-day female primate “cousins”) have flat chests.
b) Human males find large breasts sexually attractive (when it’s human females who wear them).
c) Human females (generally) have (more or less) large breasts. (Larger than most men’s anyway.)
d) The obvious inference is that female proto-humans evolved large breasts in order to sexually attract proto-human males.
e) This evolution probably occured when the males began to hunt and the females to become gardeners. Hunting was so much fun (and the males so resented being told to eat up all their cabbage) that the females needed to invent an attraction to get the men to return to the fixed-abode females. (“Hey! Let’s grow bazoomas! That’ll keep the boys from wandering too far...”)

Elaine Morgan (see my earlier comment on this thread) says: “Bullshit! You’ve got it arse-backwards!” (Actually, she uses more refined language. But she is rather scathing about this Tarzanist argument.) “Human females don’t have large breasts because human males find them sexy: Human males find large breasts sexy because human females have them.” (In case you’re wondering, human females grew large breasts for an entirely different interest-group... their children. And it was a case – as all evolutionary changes – of increasing the chances of survival of the genes of the ones with that mutation. How and why? Read the book: it’s fascinating!)

Coming back to the book's penis squeegee theory. If it is correct, wouldn’t this imply that the last male to deposit his offering becomes the most likely to father the future child (and pass his genes on to future generations)?

But I would guess (I have a right to propose my own whacko theories, don’t I?) that the last male tdho is precisely the champion wimp, the furthest from alpha, the least aggressive, the milquetoast who has to wait until the tough guys have all had their shot. Or maybe he’s the strong, silent type, polite to a fault, who allows less well-mannered bozos to jump the queue? So the genes that would predominate among today’s humans would be either those of the unaggressive wimp or those of the principled, polite, generous pacifist.

Or maybe they’re the genes of a multi-orgasmic stud who - after making his contribution to all of the females in the group - was still up for another round, when all the other males were already snoring or lounging around the campfire, inhaling the post-coital smoke of a burning weed. (So he was #1 and #7 for several females.)

Looking around at the great majority of my species (and – in the case of the last option - judging from what I've read) I rather doubt it...
__________________
If I can't dance, I want no part in your Revolution.
- Emma Goldman Anarchist and Polyamorous par excellence
The person who says something is impossible should not interrupt the person who is doing it.
- old Chinese proverb
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
~ Anais Nin
I'd rather have a broken heart / Than have a heart of stone.
- from "Boundless Love (A Polyamory Song)" by Jimmy Hollis i Dickson
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  #27  
Old 04-12-2011, 12:00 PM
Ready2Fly Ready2Fly is offline
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Originally Posted by MrFarFromRight View Post
It therefore seems quite plausible to me that if I were to slip my erect penis into a vagina that had just received a delivery of another man’s ejaculate, I would actually be pushing some of it (perhaps even most of it) even further inwards. So far in fact (ahead of the head, so to speak) that my penis couldn’t hope to scoop it back out on subsequent thrusts.
Plausibility arguments such as this are interesting, but they aren't data. The coronal ridge doesn't have to scoop out ALL the competing sperm, just some of it, to be evolutionarily advantageous.

Take a look at the shape of the vagina. It flares out just before it meets the cervix. And that area enlarges even more during sex, just before she has an orgasm. So a penis that could squeegie into that area, let the sperm settle to the bottom under his coronal ridge, and then scoop out from that area would be just dandy for him.

I believe that elsewhere in the book they discuss an actual experiment which gathered actual data, in which grad students used penis-approximating cylinders of various shapes to attempt to pump out sugar water (or something) from a vagina-approximating tube. They found that the dildos with coronal ridges were greatly more efficient at the job.

Sounds like a fun experiment. One kind of wonders whether maybe, just maybe, the penis-approximants and vagina-approximants weren't approximants at all. That would have been much more fun.

Quote:
I respectfully submit that this theory that penis #6 has squeegeed out a determinant amount of its rivals’ offerings doesn’t really hold water. Or other fluids.
Theories stand or fall on data, not plausibility.

Quote:
Coming back to the book's penis squeegee theory. If it is correct, wouldn’t this imply that the last male to deposit his offering becomes the most likely to father the future child (and pass his genes on to future generations)?
Not necessarily, especially if it is not a complete scooping, which it certainly is not. And also especially if previous sperm have already made it into the cervix where the penis can't reach. The scooping only has to incrementally increase his chances of being the baby-maker; it doesn't have to make it certain or most likely.

Last edited by Ready2Fly; 04-12-2011 at 12:05 PM.
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  #28  
Old 04-12-2011, 03:49 PM
Tonberry Tonberry is offline
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Originally Posted by MrFarFromRight View Post
Coming back to the book's penis squeegee theory. If it is correct, wouldn’t this imply that the last male to deposit his offering becomes the most likely to father the future child (and pass his genes on to future generations)?
I would guess it's more of an "equaliser" thing? The first one has the benefit of going first (and some semen will get there) and might impregnate her first. The ones who come after try to scoop some out to compete more effectively. In the end, the first one gets more of his think scooped out because all the males after him contributed to that, but he was there first, and if she got pregnant after him (well, if there was enough time I guess) then the others won't have a chance.

It's possible that there is still a screening process anyway, that is, that the woman still refuses weak men. So the weaker men wouldn't be the ones who go last, they wouldn't get a turn at all. The others would be either #1 or #7 or anything in between depending on which woman they decided to go for and how many other guys made the same decision.

And in my opinion, they'd go for more than one woman. After their orgasm, they'd be surrounded by other people having sex, and I think that would get them horny again faster than if there was no sex occurring.
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  #29  
Old 04-12-2011, 04:03 PM
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Magdlyn Magdlyn is offline
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Originally Posted by MrFarFromRight View Post
From another thread, explaining one theory from this book:I've got to admit to the shameful fact that I've never actually had sex with a woman right after another man has. So I can’t speak from personal experience of shifting another man’s sperm with the head of my penis.
Well good for you for using condoms!
Quote:
... push a bean far up your nose with your finger... Now try to hook it out again with that same finger....doctors stand by with an instrument rather like a crochet needle to use on the children
Your analogy fails because a finger is smooth and the dr's tool is a hook. The penis has that coronal ridge, similar to the dr's hook, you see. And it's a liquid we're talking about scooping back out, not a small solid bean.


Quote:
The Desmond Morris (“Tarzanist”) school of evolutionists reasons thus:
a) Our female primate ancestors (and our present-day female primate “cousins”) have flat chests.
b) Human males find large breasts sexually attractive (when it’s human females who wear them).
c) Human females (generally) have (more or less) large breasts. (Larger than most men’s anyway.)
d) The obvious inference is that female proto-humans evolved large breasts in order to sexually attract proto-human males.
e) This evolution probably occured when the males began to hunt and the females to become gardeners. Hunting was so much fun (and the males so resented being told to eat up all their cabbage) that the females needed to invent an attraction to get the men to return to the fixed-abode females. (“Hey! Let’s grow bazoomas! That’ll keep the boys from wandering too far...”)
You lost me with (e). The theory i heard was that women grew breasts because of the introduction of missionary style coitus, and the breasts mimick the buttocks. Sex at Dawn says in bonobo culture, the females prefer missionary style while the male prefer doggie fashion. Bonobos gaze into each others' eyes during sex play, as humans do (while other apes do not).

Quote:
human females grew large breasts for an entirely different interest-group... their children.
Why would babies prefer large breasts? They love mama's boobies no matter the size. Not all women have large breasts, there are many Acups and Bcups out there, and they all provide milk perfectly.
__________________
Love withers under constraint; its very essence is liberty. It is compatible neither with envy, jealousy or fear. It is there most pure, perfect and unlimited when its votaries live in confidence, equality and unreserve. -- Shelley

me: Mags, 58, living with:
miss pixi, 37, who is dating (NRE):
Master, 32
my bf: Ginger, 61, married to:
Robin, 60 (mono)
and dating (NRE): Carla and David, married couple, early 40s
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  #30  
Old 04-12-2011, 04:11 PM
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Magdlyn Magdlyn is offline
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Originally Posted by Tonberry View Post
It's possible that there is still a screening process anyway, that is, that the woman still refuses weak men. So the weaker men wouldn't be the ones who go last, they wouldn't get a turn at all. The others would be either #1 or #7 or anything in between depending on which woman they decided to go for and how many other guys made the same decision.
According to Sex at Dawn, one of the beauties of a "promiscuous" ape/human society is that even the lesser males have a chance at sex, since there is more a free for all feeling, not as much of a trend for only alpha males to get all the sex. All the males get a chance at having sex. Weak, premature or deformed babies can result, but would die at birth or soon afterward (or be victims of infanticide in human societies).

Quote:
And in my opinion, they'd go for more than one woman. After their orgasm, they'd be surrounded by other people having sex, and I think that would get them horny again faster than if there was no sex occurring.
Yes, that is a theory presented in Sex at Dawn, and they cite the extreme popularity of gangbang and cuckolding porn as evidence in human culture.
__________________
Love withers under constraint; its very essence is liberty. It is compatible neither with envy, jealousy or fear. It is there most pure, perfect and unlimited when its votaries live in confidence, equality and unreserve. -- Shelley

me: Mags, 58, living with:
miss pixi, 37, who is dating (NRE):
Master, 32
my bf: Ginger, 61, married to:
Robin, 60 (mono)
and dating (NRE): Carla and David, married couple, early 40s
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