I began researching this article about a month ago to cover replication attempts of research supporting the dual mate hypothesis over the last ten years. In short, most recent research has failed to replicate effects supporting this hypothesis. Then on June 20, Steven W. Gangestad — one of the originators of the dual mate hypothesis himself — published a review of the literature in the journal Frontiers in Psychology covering this very topic (Gangestad & Dinh, 2022).
It is open access and you should read it: Women’s Estrus and Extended Sexuality: Reflections on Empirical Patterns and Fundamental Theoretical Issues.
My conclusions from reviewing the research turned out to be very similar to what Gangestad & Dinh wrote in their recent paper. When I was sent the notification for this paper I thought perhaps the originator of the hypothesis had a different take on the replication efforts. Unfortunately, in short, most recent research on the dual mate hypothesis has not been able to support it.
And this has some major implications for pop psychology theories, especially in the manosphere and the realm of male dating advice, that relied heavily on this theory to explain female behavior.
A quick intro to the dual mate hypothesis
This hypothesis has a couple of names. The longest title I have read is the dual mate strategy hypothesis of ovulatory shifts. If you hear this referred to as the dual mating hypothesis/strategy or ovulatory shift hypothesis/strategy it is referring to the same thing.
The dual mate hypothesis suggests that women prefer “good genes,” or more physically masculine and attractive men, during the fertile phase of their ovulatory cycle. This may influence female behavior, such as a tendency to shift preference toward short term or uncommitted sexual relationships.
This can be conceptualized adjacent to an existing relationship, where female preference was initially for a longer term monogamous pair bond.
The idea is that women can secure a man who will form a long term relationship, provide resources and raise a child together — meanwhile she is able to secure the genes of a physically better man.
Infidelity is at least implied in this theory, if not absolutely necessary. The woman attempts to secure resources from one man while raising the offspring of another.
Alpha Fucks, Beta Bucks
Manosphere dating coaches and ideologies such as “The Red Pill” came up with a saying: “Alpha Fucks, Beta Bucks (AF/BB).” I don’t know if this was derived directly from the dual mate hypothesis, but I have seen the dual mate hypothesis frequently referenced to support AF/BB as “scientific.” Either way, it’s a similar construct.
The idea is that women secure a relationship with a less desirable provider “beta” male, while giving sexual access to a more physically desirable “alpha” male. If you have read my article on what the manosphere gets wrong about alphas and betas, you may immediately recognize some problems with this. For example, that providership is associated with higher, not lower, status.
AF/BB in manosphere ideology does not need to be constrained to relationships. It is also used to explain different priorities in mate preferences. A preference for providership versus a preference for physical attractiveness. This is aligned with the dual mate or ovulatory shift hypothesis. All of the following research will test to see if women have different mate preferences while fertile, both while single and while in a relationship.
The manosphere often lacks nuance, but hasn’t been completely without it. In real life we don’t see a clean decoupling between providership and physical attractiveness. The two usually covary in a given individual. Men high in status and dominance are more likely to be good providers. Thus, AF/BB as a construct seems to have low validity in slotting men into one group or the other.
To grapple with that fact — anyone can look around and see people aren’t neatly categorized into hot loser alphas and ugly rich betas — the manosphere also came up with the elusive “Alpha Bucks.” Basically, the alpha provider. And in reality the average married man or Good Monogamous Relationship Haver is probably close to the alpha provider archetype. Again, see my previous article for research supporting this.
It is up to you to decide how much the dual mate hypothesis overlaps with your version of AF/BB. As an internet meme AF/BB has a loose interpretation. However, be cautious of citing the dual mate hypothesis to support it. If this hypothesis has not panned out, which largely seems to be the case, then AF/BB is also inaccurate to the degree that it shares similarity with it.
Ovulation and mating behavior
At the core of the dual mate hypothesis is ovulation. Women go after “good genes” when they are fertile, per the hypothesis. Ovulation is also where we begin to meet replication issues, largely related to poor measurements of ovulation in early research.
Per Gangestad & Dinh (2022), the only thing that has really held up is that ovulation has an effect: women experience more sexual desire during ovulation. Unfortunately we don’t know the direction of that desire. It hasn’t been established that women prefer “good genes” or extra-pair partners more while fertile. It may simply be the case that women are more attracted to their own partners, more attracted to men in general, or hornier without any specific direction at all.
Here is the thing — I don’t want anyone to read this and think that ovulation has no effect. We may be unable to detect consistent relationships across recent replication efforts, but that does not mean some kind of relationship we haven’t tested for does not exist. It’s also possible that the effect is just very small. It’s very much an open question that is being researched at this moment.
But this also means you should be very skeptical of anyone claiming “it’s science bro” and citing the dual mate hypothesis as support for their folk wisdom about female behavior. The take home is that we just don’t know based on the best research we have. It’s not an established fact. Its current status is best described as something like: controversial hypothesis.
Wood et al. (2014)
A 2014 meta-analysis (Wood et al.) of 58 studies found that fertile women did not have a short-term mate preference for men with “good genes.” The main “alpha” measures here included high testosterone, dominance, and male sexual dimorphism. Conversely, women not in a fertile period of their ovulatory cycle did show a preference for both symmetrical men and healthier men, contrary to the ovulatory shift hypothesis.
A second issue uncovered in this meta was some marginal publication bias. Publication bias refers to the tendency for journals to publish statistically significant results, but not publish null results. This can create an illusion within a given discipline that a result is being consistently replicated when in reality it is not. Published research on the ovulatory shift was more likely to be statistically significant in this meta than unpublished research.
The date of publication and related effect sizes also indicated some degree of publication bias. The largest effect sizes all coincided with the earliest studies. The more recent the study, the more the effect size approached zero.
A third issue related to how ovulation was tracked. Large windows that estimated ovulation (more than six days) were more likely to report statistically significant results. Significant changes in female preferences for “good genes” were found only in studies that estimated a very wide window of ovulation. When ovulation was more exactly measured, the relationship disappeared. In short, some early significant findings may have been unrelated to the fertile phase of the cycle.
Poor early measurements of ovulation likely explain most of the recent failed replication attempts, which use more precise measurements with smaller windows. It seems that the more accurately we measure fertility the less it predicts a shift in mate preferences.
Gildersleeve et al. 2014
In 2014, a second meta-analysis of dual mate hypothesis research was conducted by (Gildersleeve et al., 2014). Unlike the meta by Wood et al., this meta did find significant effects across variables. Gangestad et al. responded in a paper and favored the second meta. Nonetheless Gangestad & Dinh (2022) would go on to say that most recent replication attempts have not been promising.
The point is not to pick a side and try to argue from the existing research who is correct. As more research and replication attempts are made this will be borne out. The point is to illustrate that this has been an ongoing debate within the literature for the past decade.
Replication is a foundation of the scientific method. The idea is that you repeat the same study and see if the results come out the same. Alternately, you repeat a modified version of the study with a better design and see if the results still come out.
In the case of the ovulatory shift, recent studies with better methodology haven’t been able to replicate the results. The methodological issues tend to center around measurements of ovulation.
In early studies, ovulation was estimated with a wide window. Alternately, women were told to track ovulation and menstruation by diary. In more recent studies, windows of estimation have been narrowed. Ovulation can be tracked more or less exactly, by measuring luteinizing hormone (LH) in urine or saliva.
Mentioned previously, Gangestad & Dinh (2022) cited a number of replication attempts (Dixson et al., 2018; Jones et al., 2018c,d; Jünger et al., 2018a,b; Marcinkowska et al., 2018; Stern et al., 2019, 2020, 2021) that did not find a significant result in their recent review.
I have read at least one recent replication attempt that did not make this list. The point is not to make an exhaustive list. It is to give you some examples of recent replication efforts with good designs and why they have been failing.
Jünger et al. (2018)
Jünger et al. (2018) attempted to replicate ovulatory shift preferences and verified ovulation using a urine LH test. Long-term relationships were consistently rated as more desirable than short-term relationships, while desire for both increased during the fertile period:
Partnered women rated all male bodies as more attractive during the fertile phase. However, none of the masculine traits measured (height, size, dimorphic body ratios and testosterone levels) interacted with the fertile phase. Women did not rate more masculine bodies as more attractive when fertile. Single women rated men the same across luteal and fertile phases.
Women did not rate more masculine bodies as more attractive when not fertile either. Only male physical strength, age and (low) BMI predicted higher levels of sexual attractiveness.
The authors concluded that they did not find a cycle-specific preference for short term, nor for masculine, men. Instead, women rated the same bodies as more or less attractive based on fertility. Imagine: if a woman rates you as a 5/10 during her luteal phase, now you are a 6/10 during her fertile phase. If you were a 7, now you are an 8. You get a little bump up when she is fertile, but ultimately your attractiveness stays relative to where it was.
This is consistent with a motivated priority shift (Roney & Simmons, 2017, as cited in Jünger et al., 2018). Women are simply more motivated to risk sex when they are fertile, but they don’t seek out new or qualitatively different partners.
Stein et al. (2019)
Stein et al. (2019) determined fertility using an LH test. Similar to Jünger et al., women reported greater sexual desire across multiple measures during their fertile phase. However, they did not detect any relationship between a desire for “Good Gene Traits” and the fertile period. The traits women preferred appeared similarly attractive across the cycle. Here are the only variables that correlated with the fertile phase:
Interestingly, the only shift in partner perception was that their own actual partner appeared more “well-toned” to them during their fertile phase.
We see a similar outcome here as we did with Jünger et al.; partner preferences don’t change but sexual desire does. Women even view their actual partner in a physically more favorable way, at least with this single variable of body composition.
Jünger et al. (2018) (Second Study)
A second paper consisting of two studies by Jünger et al. (2018) looked at the potential relationship between masculine voices and ovulatory shift. Masculine voices are one of the most dimorphic human traits; there is more difference between a male and a female voice than many other physical features. Additionally, masculine voices closely reflect developmental (Butler et al., 1989; Harries et al., 1997, 1998; Hodges- Simeon et al., 2015, as cited in Jünger et al., 2018) and adult (Dabbs and Mallinger, 1999; Evans et al., 2008; Puts et al., 2012, 2016, as cited in Jünger et al., 2018) testosterone levels. Consequently, we should expect a preference for masculine voices as they are “true signals” of masculine “good genes.”
No relationship was found between cycle shifts and attractiveness ratings. Similar to Jünger et al.’s previous paper, women reported more attraction to all male voices in general during the fertile period of their cycle. Masculine voices were preferred over feminine voices, but to the same degree over all periods of the cycle.
Stern et al. (2020)
Stern et al. (2020) examined masculine behavior, specifically masculine competitive and courtship behavior, to determine if a relationship existed with female fertility.
LH tests were administered and precise hormone measurements were controlled for, down to the hour. Assessments of male bodies and voices were administered, as were indications of preference for short-term and long-term mate selection.
Actual dyadic (male-female) interactions were used. The interactions were rated for masculine short-term and long-term mate pursual behavior, as well as a list of masculine behavioral characteristics. The gaze of the men was analyzed with computer software to indicate which men sustained face-eye contact.
Just like the previous studies, women rated male sexual attractiveness higher during their fertile phases, although the effect was small. Women also rated male flirting attempts as more desirable during fertile phases. Women rated long-term relationship desirability the same across cycle phases.
All measures of masculine behavior predicted long-term relationship desirability across the cycle. Men who were more confident, dominant and assertive in their interactions were rated both more sexually attractive and more attractive as long-term partners, regardless of the cycle phase.
Relationship status additionally did not have any interaction with the cycle phase.
Return to the legendary “Alpha Bucks”
Gangestad and Dinh (2021) recently reviewed data from Arslan et al. (2018) on how male physical attractiveness might interact with a potential ovulatory shift. The original paper by Arslan et al. found no effect, but a rerun of the data by Gangestad and Dinh found effects — fairly large sized effects for psychology.
Female partners of less attractive men were more sensitive to ovulatory shifts and indicated more preference for extra-pair partners. However, if the monogamous male partners of women were attractive the effect sizes approached zero. In essence, the ovulatory shift only appeared when the long-term male partner was less attractive.
The previous research I covered did not account for a partner attractiveness interaction. If you wanted to know about what’s going on with our legendary Alpha Bucks Male, the ideal male hybrid of provider and stud, this is likely your best current source. The methodology of this study (pre-registration, large sample, many behavioral variables accounted for) was also generally good.
There is an implication here for some manosphere ideology as well: specifically the claim that you should fear your monogamous partner leaving you for “Chad.” The most nihilistic depths of the manosphere — the so-called “blackpill” — might tell you that women are always on the sharp lookout for a marginally superior man. You’re a 6.8/10 and as soon as they find a 6.9/10 you are toast.
What we actually see here is that women are generally content with a partner who meets some threshold, even assuming the ovulatory shift is real. We can quantify that threshold as well:
By the time that a man is one standard deviation above the mean — about 25% of men — the size of the effect of their partner showing interest in men outside of the relationship is close to zero. It is only when we see men who are below one standard deviation — the bottom 25% of men — that we really begin to see an effect size creep above medium-large.
Remember how I said that this was data rerun by Gangestad and Dinh from Arslan et al.’s paper? Arslan et al (2021) also responded and contested the robustness of the effects in this analysis.
Again, this is not so that you can pick a side in the debate. Rather, it is to show that these topics are being actively debated and researched. The point is that you should not view any of this as completely settled.
Extra-pair parenting and illegitimate children
The dual mate hypothesis asserts that women seek good genes by having affairs during their most fertile phase. They carry the child of the affair partner while using the long-term partner for resources.
To the extent that this could be true, we can estimate the frequency by looking at genetic research.
Larmuseau et al. (2016) conducted a recent review entitled Cuckolded Fathers Rare in Human Population and concluded, “The observed low EPP [extra-pair paternity] rates challenge the idea that women routinely ‘shop around’ for good genes by engaging in extra-pair copulations” and that “human EPP rates have stayed near constant at around 1% across several human societies over the past several hundred years.”
If you are interested in this topic you should start with this paper, as I believe it is the most current review of the literature on this topic.
Population-wide research of modern Europeans shows very low rates of extra-pair paternity, between 1-2% (Anderson, 2006 & Wolf et al., 2012, as cited in Larmuseau). Y-chromosome research indicating historical trends shows a similarly low rate between 1-2% for non-Western populations (Strassmann et al., 2012, as cited in Larmuseau) and for historical Western populations (Larmuseau, 2012; Greef & Erasmus, 2015; Boattini et al., 2015; Solé-Morata et al., 2015, as cited in Larmuseau 2016).
Assuming the dual mate strategy is real, very few men and women seem to be using it.
- Recent attempts have failed to replicate findings that support the dual mate hypothesis of ovulatory shift.
- Recent failures of replication are likely due to better methodology in measuring ovulation.
- Women experience more sexual desire and rate men as more attractive during the fertile phase of the cycle, but do not show a cycle-specific preference for more masculine traits, relationship styles or individuals.
- The same masculine traits are seen as more attractive across the cycle.
- Physical attractiveness may moderate cycle shift preferences; more attractive men probably have nothing to worry about.
- Extra-pair paternity rates do not support the dual-mate hypothesis; extra-pair paternity is very rare in modern society and rare in human genetic history.
Arslan, R. C., Driebe, J. C., Stern, J., Gerlach, T. M., & Penke, L. (2021). The evidence for good genes ovulatory shifts in Arslan et al.(2018) is mixed and uncertain.
Gangestad, S. W., & Dinh, T. (2022). Women’s Estrus and Extended Sexuality: Reflections on Empirical Patterns and Fundamental Theoretical Issues. Frontiers in Psychology, 3240.
Gangestad, S. W., & Dinh, T. (2021). Robust evidence for moderation of ovulatory shifts by partner attractiveness in Arslan et al.’s (2020) data.
Gildersleeve, K., Haselton, M. G., & Fales, M. R. (2014). Do women’s mate preferences change across the ovulatory cycle? A meta-analytic review. Psychological bulletin, 140(5), 1205.
Jünger, J., Kordsmeyer, T. L., Gerlach, T. M., & Penke, L. (2018). Fertile women evaluate male bodies as more attractive, regardless of masculinity. Evolution and Human Behavior, 39(4), 412-423.
Jünger, J., Motta-Mena, N. V., Cardenas, R., Bailey, D., Rosenfield, K. A., Schild, C., … & Puts, D. A. (2018). Do women’s preferences for masculine voices shift across the ovulatory cycle?. Hormones and Behavior, 106, 122-134.
Larmuseau, M. H., Matthijs, K., & Wenseleers, T. (2016). Cuckolded fathers rare in human populations. Trends in ecology & evolution, 31(5), 327-329.
Stern, J., Gerlach, T. M., & Penke, L. (2020). Probing ovulatory-cycle shifts in women’s preferences for men’s behaviors. Psychological Science, 31(4), 424-436.
Van Stein, K. R., Strauß, B., & Brenk-Franz, K. (2019). Ovulatory shifts in sexual desire but not mate preferences: An LH-test-confirmed, longitudinal study. Evolutionary Psychology, 17(2), 1474704919848116.
Wood, W., Kressel, L., Joshi, P. D., & Louie, B. (2014). Meta-analysis of menstrual cycle effects on women’s mate preferences. Emotion Review, 6(3), 229-249.
Even as a layman, in the last couple of years I had started to hear and read that this was at best, a hypothesis still being debated. When you first encounter it, it does sound very intuitive though.
Thank you for this accessible and nuanced article.
The best takeaway for me is that as a young guy, I should just try and improve myself by getting in the gym, become interesting through continued learning and develop skills that make me valuable in the world.
Thanks for your comment! Yep as far as applicable dating advice for a young guy, hit the gym and try to build a good life for yourself. Probably good advice even for people uninterested in dating. The things that make us better, or make our lives better, also tend to make us more valuable mates.
where I live, I’ve seen all types of couples, girls with short guys, girls with nerdy guys, it was never one guy over the other, I seriously hate the manosphere on the internet brainwashing people.
This over analysis misses a simply observable truth:
Women have immediate one night stands with hot Alpha guys (tall, handsome, muscular) while making the Beta guys with resources (but lesser physical attributes) pay for dates, slow courtship and relationships to maximally extract as much value as they can in exchange for sexual access. This is one of the meanings of AF/BB – Alphas get sex straight away for free, while Betas have to provide resources for restricted access. Whether the one-night stand guys are Alpha Bucks is irrelevant, it’s their physical Alpha that gets them the one night stand and they don’t commit resources because they don’t need to. If you’ve been living under a rock all your life and haven’t seen this on nights out, a real world example was also given by the dating coach Alan Roger Currie in his book The Beta Male Revolution.
Similarly, women will have kids with a “bad boy”, and then when they’re single mothers seek out the “nice guy” Beta Male to give her a relationship with emotional and financial support for her and her offspring from another man. Another easy example of dual mating strategy that anybody with much experience should have seen in real life. You only have to spend a little time on Tinder reading bios to see this for yourself even if you don’t have much personal experience of single mothers and their back stories in real life.
I don’t believe the Black Pill guys would compare a 6.8 male to a 6.9 – this is a straw man argument. If you’re a 6/10 and she is propositioned for a one night stand by a 9 or 10/10 without much chance of being caught because she’s on Girl’s Night Out or a trip home to visit her family… then there is a good chance she will as there is no downside for her. Once women realize they don’t often get caught, they may increase infidelity over time (again, seen it in real life). The books Sperm Wars and The Evolution of Desire are worth a read.
If science is based on observations, you should not forget to include real world observed behaviours that are reported by real people.
“This over analysis misses a simply observable truth”
Tell me you know nothing about science without telling me you know nothing about science.
The fact that you call a literature review on replication attempts on a controversial hypothesis as “over analysis” and claim that all of the subjective, bias ridden observations that are not supported by any scientific evidence is an “observable truth” shows that you don’t know the difference between subjective, anecdotal experiences and objective, scientific observation used by the scientific method:
“The scientific method is an empirical method for acquiring knowledge that has characterized the development of science since at least the 17th century (with notable practitioners in previous centuries; see the article history of scientific method for additional detail.) It involves careful observation, applying rigorous skepticism about what is observed, given that cognitive assumptions can distort how one interprets the observation. ”
As mentioned above, scientific observation relies on careful observation that is free from cognitive biases and assumptions. All of the observations you present in your comment are the exact opposite of scientific observation. In fact, your observations suffer from four issues: Anecdotal fallacy, Confirmation bias, Cherry picking fallacy and Observer bias
Observations are very limited in the reliability and validity as a method of collecting data and evidence:
In short, observations are unreliable and have questionable validity when it comes to validating and providing evidence for a claim (This effect is stronger when using personal, subjective observation the way you did in your comment). There’s a reason why observational studies use multiple methods apart from observation and why observations are never used to validate evidence and at most propose hypotheses.
With that out of the way, let’s take a look at the three cherry picked instances of observation you use to “debunk” criticism against the dual mating strategy (which seems to be a foundational pillar of MRA/Red-pill ideology):
“Women have immediate one night stands with hot Alpha guys (tall, handsome, muscular) while making the Beta guys with resources (but lesser physical attributes) pay for dates, slow courtship and relationships to maximally extract as much value as they can in exchange for sexual access. This is one of the meanings of AF/BB – Alphas get sex straight away for free, while Betas have to provide resources for restricted access. Whether the one-night stand guys are Alpha Bucks is irrelevant, it’s their physical Alpha that gets them the one night stand and they don’t commit resources because they don’t need to. If you’ve been living under a rock all your life and haven’t seen this on nights out, a real world example was also given by the dating coach Alan Roger Currie in his book The Beta Male Revolution.”
I’m sorry, but I can’t help but notice that you are asserting many claims without providing relevant scientific evidence, or should I say the evidence you use is “Trust my superior observation bro”. Right off the bat, I can say with certainty that there exists no scientific evidence that supports the assertations made here. I’d suggest you go through this article written by the same author on the manosphere’s lack of definition for alphas and betas:
Here’s research that confirms that alpha males are a myth:
The fact that you cited a book written by a dating coach who clearly knows nothing about evolutionary science is not surprising, since you clearly value anecdotes and observations that confirm your bias(Observer bias, Confirmation Bias) rather than trusting replicated, scientific evidence. Dating coaches are snake oil salesmen who take advantage of impressionable young men and make money by distorting said men’s worldviews on dating using debunked and questionable science and claims.
Here’s the trick to being successful with women: Develop social and emotional intelligence. Its really that simple and I can attest to this as I would be considered a “beta” by the manosphere community, yet my experiences with women match those of “alphas” in the sense that I didn’t need to spend a lot of money to have sex. Dating coaches cannot make money by claiming this, hence they created a narrative that is not supported by any research or facts.
“Similarly, women will have kids with a “bad boy”, and then when they’re single mothers seek out the “nice guy” Beta Male to give her a relationship with emotional and financial support for her and her offspring from another man. Another easy example of dual mating strategy that anybody with much experience should have seen in real life. You only have to spend a little time on Tinder reading bios to see this for yourself even if you don’t have much personal experience of single mothers and their back stories in real life.”
Again, you are asserting a lot of claims without providing relevant scientific evidence to support your claims. As of today, there exists 0 studies that provide evidence for this claim. You also seem to forget the fact that people who use dating apps are not representative of the general population:
“Being a SBDA user was significantly associated with having psychological distress (OR = 2.51,95%CI (1.32–4.77)), p = 0.001), and depression (OR = 1.91,95%CI (1.04–3.52), p = 0.037) in the multivariable logistic regression models, adjusting for age, gender and sexual orientation. When the four MH scores were analysed together there was a significant difference (p =0.037) between being a user or non-user, with SDBA users having significantly higher mean scores for distress (p = 0.001), anxiety (p = 0.015) and depression (p = 0.005). Increased frequency of use and longer duration of use were both associated with greater psychological distress and depression (p < 0.05)."
All of these studies have reported a common finding : You can't learn anything useful about the general population by asking people on hookup-sites; because the people who are registered there are not in any way shape or form representative for the population at large. Dating app users differ significantly from non-users on many variables, which leads to a self selected sample that is created as a result of dating app usage.
You also ignore the very important fact that the gender distribution on dating apps like Tinder are skewed in favor of men. This is important because there is a shortage of women on these apps, which provides women with an advantage in partner choice since they are highly sought after (due to gender imbalance). Here are the stats on the gender distribution of Tinder:
"The men and women gender ratio on Tinder is almost nine to one, while even the "female-friendly" apps like Bumble have fewer than 20% of Bumble users, which indicates the men to women rate's seven to three."
Imagine, if we had a dating app that had a male to female ratio of 1:9, who do you think these men would swipe right on? Exactly, women who are 9/10 or 10/10 because the gender ratio is skewed towards women, which gives men the advantage since they are in demand in this hypothetical scenario. You would never see this level of complexity if you solely relied on your oversimplified, subjective, biased observations. In fact, this is one of the major drawbacks of using observation to collect data: It oversimplifies by hiding complexities.
"I don’t believe the Black Pill guys would compare a 6.8 male to a 6.9 – this is a straw man argument. If you’re a 6/10 and she is propositioned for a one night stand by a 9 or 10/10 without much chance of being caught because she’s on Girl’s Night Out or a trip home to visit her family… then there is a good chance she will as there is no downside for her. Once women realize they don’t often get caught, they may increase infidelity over time (again, seen it in real life). The books Sperm Wars and The Evolution of Desire are worth a read."
Yet again, we see more claims that are not supported by any proper evidence except "Trust my observation and experience bro" claims. Women's infidelity rates are 70% of men's infidelity rates and all nationally representative, longitudinal studies do not support the idea that women " increase infidelity over time ":
"Nine in 10 women and eight in 10 men currently in monogamous relationships say they have never cheated on their current partners"
We can actually trust what people say on sex surveys:
Sperm Wars is a pseudoscientific, sensationalistic nonsense that has been debunked by the latest research done by primatologists, reproductive biologists, geneticists and spermatologists:
tl;dr: The majority of replicated research and evidence debunks the claims made by Sperm Wars and its authors. Evolutionary psychologists also agree that their work is problematic and not considered to be valid:
Now here, I will agree with your assessment of The Evolution of Desire, although the book does use debunked research that echoes assertations made by MRA's and Red Pillers. One of them being dual mating strategy, which this article does a great job of debunking. Another one is the rates of extra pair paternity, which the latest research shows to be around 1-2%, debunking the MRA/Red pill claims that women cheat with "alphas/chads" while siphoning resources from their "beta/cuck" husbands:
Bellis, M.A.; Hughes, K.; Hughes, S.; Ashton, J.R. (2005). "Measuring paternal discrepancy and its public health consequences". Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. 59 (9): 749–754. doi:10.1136/jech.2005.036517. PMC 1733152. PMID 16100312.
Refer to studies in this article for more evidence supporting the low EPP rates claim.
tl;dr: The idea that AF/BB exists is challenged by the fact that EPP rates in humans are extremely low and genetic analyses continue to provide evidence for these low rates. The 10-30% nonsense was an estimate in suspected EPP from paternity testing labs. Steve Stewart-Williams, an evolutionary psychologist, provides nuance as to why the 10-30% EPP rate meme is false:
Read the heading "The 10 per cent myth"
The surprising thing is that David Buss published a study that flies in the face of MRA/Red Pill claims:
"Since the vast majority of women secure genes and direct benefits from the same man, however, most women will attempt to secure the best combination of all desired qualities from the same man."
Goodbye AF/BB. You will never be missed.
"If science is based on observations, you should not forget to include real world observed behaviours that are reported by real people."
Reread the definition of observation from the POV of scientific method that I provided above. Your claim that one " should not forget to include real world observed behaviours that are reported by real people." is unfortunately incorrect due to various biases and fallacies that exist in subjective reports of human behaviors observed by biased yet real people such as Observer bias, Anecdotal fallacy, Appeal to unqualified authority, cherry picking fallacy, confirmation bias, etc.
Whew, that was a very long response. Did not expect it to be this long, so I'll provide a tl;dr that covers the points I made in this response:
1. Please learn the difference between subjective, anecdotal observations and objective, scientific observation. Your entire comment uses the former. Your observations are, unfortunately, not the truth. In fact, your observations are extremely far from the truth.
2. You do not provide any scientific evidence to support the claims you make. As Carl Sagan stated: "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence".
3. Your observations ignore the underlying complexities and resorts to oversimplifying something extremely variable and complex: human behavior. Why do you think social sciences are hard to gather reliable results?
4. You resort to citing a pseudoscientific book to support your claims (Sperm Wars)
5. You cite a dating coach who knows nothing about science in order to support your claims. Cherry picking and Appeal to unqualified authority much?
6. The following biases exist in your comment: Anecdotal fallacy, Cherry picking fallacy, Observer bias, Confirmation bias, Appeal to unqualified authority.
7. Observation suffer from major limitations such as Observer bias, Recall bias, Lack of reliability and validity, Faulty perception, inadequate methodology, uncertainty, difficulty in interpretation, etc.
A few comments to your extensive and very documented response.
As has been pointed out to you in another reply, science is not the only source of true human knowledge; in daily life, human beings are guided by an enormous amount of practical, heuristic, tacit, non-formalizable, intersubjective, ancestral, sapiential, traditional, stereotyped, biased, prejudiced, etc. information. Of course, much of this non-scientific information or knowledge must be questioned and subjected to the test of science to confirm or refute its validity; in some cases, this will be relatively simple, and then we will speak of “urban legends”, “popular myths”, “unfounded stereotypes”, “baseless prejudices”, etc. However, in many cases it will not be possible to design an experiment that recreates the enormous complexities and variables involved required to falsify it; this would be an insurmountable methodological difficulty, a very common problem in the social sciences. Moreover, evolutionary psychology is a very young discipline, not exempt from controversy and questioning precisely because of problems of validation of some hypotheses, and a tendency to speculation or non-replicable results; there is an obvious methodological challenge. In addition, some professionals in the field (not necessarily researchers) may be pursuing a political or ideological agenda rather than seeking scientific truth.
In contrast, the views offered by MRAs/Red Pillers (which are quite heterogeneous, highly variable in quality and even contradictory at times) have a certain advantage:
1. It’s not science, but an ideological movement, so there’s no obligation to follow the scientific method, submit to rigorous methodologies, or develop falsifiable hypotheses.
2. Instead, it can partially and imperfectly incorporate the available scientific knowledge that best serves its objectives, systematically omitting contrary scientific evidence, feeding an echo chamber with confirmation bias but with a plausible scientific appeareance.
3. It may discredit dissenting scientific work on the grounds of methodological problems (sometimes rightly so), hidden ideological influences or goals (maybe not an unfair claim in some cases), contradictory findings or results (see my comment below: https://datepsychology.com/why-dual-mating-hypothesis-research-has-failed-to-replicate/#comment-263), or the mere fact that there are insufficient empirical observations to support the conclusions (almost always true).
4. Perhaps the most powerful advantage is that it arises as a predictable reaction to a problematic sociological, anthropological and political phenomenon, very real and largely global, whose negative impact on intersex dynamics and on the welfare of the population should not be underestimated; it is one of the few movements that has shaped and integrated an interpretation of this phenomenon, being able to capitalize on this great, universally recognized social unrest, by offering an elaborate, pseudo-intellectual response, based on premises that are not entirely wrong. It’s unrealistic to pretend to refute the bitter experience of thousands of men with an overwhelming list of scientific papers or with appeals to logical fallacies; the harsh reality that many men are bearing at first hand will almost always prevail over the conclusion of some questionable academic work. What gives the seductive framework of the MRA/Red Pill community the appearance of validity is that it constantly alludes to anecdotal facts (but also to undeniable, non-circumstantial facts) that most men can observe in their own lives, in their close family and social environment, in legislation, in political discourse, in the media and social networks, etc.; e.g. the realization that there is a widely shared intersubjective experience of certain patterns of female behavior that seem to be observed worldwide, with potentially devastating effects on men, has a powerful force of conviction. It’s no wonder that a large number of Red Pill popularizers have long since become self-help gurus who make a business out of this anguish and despair; as is to be expected, commoditization leads to further cheapening, vulgarization and negative selection of information to grow the business.
5. Due to its unscientific and ideological nature, it is susceptible to evolve, self-correct and integrate new socially perceived information quickly. Popularization and commoditization greatly favor innovation. For example, the marketization of new ad hoc archetypes, such as the so-called “Sigma male”, a kind of Alpha male surrogate basically aimed at giving illusory comfort to the growing number of community members frustrated by their inability to become alpha or “high-value” males.
Sagan was wrong, obviously. Claims of any sort require the same evidence of that of any other claim. To do otherwise would be prejudicial and unscientific. Who decides what is “extraordinary” or “ordinary”?
The scientific method is not the only way of acquiring knowledge. Very little is acquired this way. None of what you cite/quote invalidates what “H” (and everybody else that has been in a nightclub) observed about one night stands.
The anecdotal fallacy is itself a fallacy.
Thanks for your comment.
Yes, Sagan was indeed wrong and my usage of his standard was indeed wrong. Thanks for pointing this out.
With regards to your comment about scientific method, I’m afraid you are wrong here. Everything we know about our world and what it means to be human has mainly been obtained via scientific method, hence your claim that very little has been acquired via scientific method, to me, reeks of anti-science sentiments. Sure, its not the only way to gain knowledge, but it has proven itself to be very reliable and representative of what we do. On the other hand, anecdotes provided by H continue to suffer from reliability and validity issues due to biases clouding his perception.
All of the stats and studies I cite does in fact invalidate everything H says. Look up naïve realism and selective perception to learn more about this. Nightclubs are not representative of human behaviors because the people who go there are in no shape or form representative of a given population. Given that nightclubs are shutting down in droves due to people not going there anymore further reveals holes in your critique of my comment.
I agree that the anecdotal fallacy is itself a fallacy. Given that H uses a lot of anecdotes, combined with biased perception and to some extent, false consensus effect(which you have used as well). If you are claiming I used anecdotes, I’m afraid you are wrong there.
Thanks for the correction about Sagan standard.
According to Buss (“The Evolution of Desire: Strategies of Human Mating”, 1995), women seeking short-term sexual relationships tend to prefer men who exhibit the following traits:
1. Physical attractiveness: Women tend to prefer men who are physically attractive, with symmetrical facial features, a muscular build, and a deep voice.
2. Masculine traits: Women seeking short-term sexual relationships tend to prefer men who exhibit stereotypically masculine traits, such as dominance, assertiveness, and risk-taking.
3. Social status: Women may also be attracted to men who have high social status, such as wealth, power, or fame.
4. Creativity: Women may be attracted to men who exhibit creativity, such as musicians, artists, or writers.
5. Sense of humor: Women may also be attracted to men who have a good sense of humor, as this trait is often associated with intelligence and social skills.
Women shift their sexual preferences when seeking short-term sexual relationships by placing more emphasis on physical attractiveness and less emphasis on traits like financial stability and social status. This is because physical attractiveness is a cue to genetic quality, which is more important in short-term relationships where the goal is to produce healthy offspring.
Buss distinguishes between short- and long-term mating strategies; for women, in the short term, he mentions up to four empirically supported adaptive functions:
1. Immediate resources.
2. Good genes.
3. Evaluation of mates for the long-term.
4. Mate switching.
Thus, two of the four major “short-term” mating motivations for women are actually seeking long-term mates. Buss insists that these hypotheses are alternative and complementary, not mutually exclusive, and that they pursue different adaptive advantages.
Women’s mate preferences shift as a function of temporal context. In particular:
“Women found the following qualities to be more desirable in long-term marriage contexts than in short-term sexual contexts: “ambitious and career-oriented” (average rating of 2.45 in the long term versus 1.04 in the short term), “college graduate” (2.38 versus 1.05), “creative” (1.90 versus 1.29), “devoted to you” (2.80 versus 0.90), “fond of children” (2.93 versus 1.21), “kind” (2.88 versus 2.50), “understanding” (2.93 versus 2.10), “responsible” (2.75 versus 1.75), and “cooperative” (2.41 versus 1.47). These findings suggest that temporal context matters a great deal for women, causing shifts in their preferences depending on whether a marriage partner or a casual sex partner is sought (Schmitt & Buss 1996).”
(Buss D.M., Schmitt D.P. 2019. “Mate Preferences and Their Behavioral Manifestations”, p. 98)
It is important to note that these preferences may vary depending on the individual woman and the context in which she is seeking a short-term sexual relationship. Women’s repertoire of mating strategies responds to different adaptive challenges, depending on the type of relationship they pursue. These strategies are influenced by factors such as age, physical attractiveness, socioeconomic status and relationship status.
However, research had also shown women have similar “short-term” and “long-term” preferences for physical and behavioral traits; apparently, who they find attractive in a short-term partner would be also who they find attractive in a long-term partner (Greiling & Buss, 2000; Kenrick et al. 1990). How does this square with the fact that temporal context is very important for women in prioritizing desired qualities in their partner? Buss says that women change their preferences depending on whether they are looking for a marriage partner or a casual sex partner; at the same time, the qualities women look for in an affair would be very similar to those she looks for in a committed partner.
I find both assertions contradictory, as shifts in prioritization of qualities, de-prioritizing many of them quite substantially in the short term, is clearly a very substantial change in preferences.