Richard Dawkins’ Theory of Sexual Evolution

Richard Dawkins is an internationally acclaimed scientist whose work in the field of genetic evolution changed the way we think. His brilliant first book The Selfish Gene has forever changed popular notions of evolution and compelled us to look at it with another view – a gene’s eye view. So, what does getting girls have to do with Richard Dawkins? Well, everything, if you consider the workings of the female mind – why she wants a high status male and ruthlessly rejects a male demonstrating low status, and also why she insists on a long courtship before having sex with a guy.

A brief look at the sexual evolution of the female mind -

The female member of every species has been genetically programmed to choose as her mating partner, a male that is the healthiest and strongest of the lot available to her. By doing this, she is following the most basic rule of sexual evolution- she is ensuring the survival of her genes. If the father of her children is the strongest and healthiest male around, it naturally follows that he will have the first pick of the food and shelter available. Thus he can best ensure the safety and security of the children through his resources and strength. If the children survive, it means that through their survival, the female has a greater likelihood of her genes successfully surviving and reproducing.

This ordain is true for the animal kingdom but it was truer in the case of human beings living in the caveman era because they had to survive in an environment fraught with highly dangerous elements like wild animals, disease and vagaries of unfavorable weather. It made perfect sense for a female to copulate and produce babies with the male best-equipped to guarantee their safety- a mentally and physically strong male.

Although all those dangers are no longer applicable to the life of the modern human being, sexual and genetic evolution has deemed it necessary for the female brain to continue evaluating a potential sexual partner in terms of the resources or ‘survival value’ he can provide. Thus, if a woman wants a rich and sexy guy as a sexual partner, it’s not because she is plain materialistic. It’s just her genes making her do so.

Richard Dawkins, in his book The Selfish Gene, has also categorically explained why a female insists on a long courtship period and, relative to men, doesn’t tend jump into bed with the male on the first date itself. This phenomenon is also decreed by her ‘selfish’ genes. According to Dawkins, to ensure the survival of their genes, every individual wants as many surviving offspring as possible, regardless of that individual being male or female. A male can impregnate as many females as he wants courtesy the limitless supply of sperm he has. Other than his sperm, he is not obliged to invest much of his resources in any children that he has with those females.

A female on the other hand, can have a child only once in a year and has to invest a lot of her resources in taking care of that baby, as in carrying it in her womb for 9 months, breastfeeding it for a year after birth and then caring for it for some time. It makes sense for the female to engage the male in the caretaking so that she too is free to have more offspring. A long courtship process helps her to screen and to weed out the males that are more likely to make her pregnant and then split for greener pastures. A male that will stick it out for the long courtship proves his fidelity and perseverance by doing so. That’s why a female will often have sex with a male only after a long courtship.

Another phenomenon, seemingly contradictory of the above, is the distinction between ‘lover’ and ‘provider’. At certain points in their monthly cycle, women are more attracted to raw, unadulterated masculinity, at the same time as their ‘biological clock’ is most likely to conceive. The lover/provider theory states that, ideally, if a woman’s selfish genes cannot get a high status male to stick around, she might simply have sex with him, at the same time as being pairbonded to another male, who will think the baby is his! This poor sucker is known as the ‘provider’, and it makes sense, if you think about it: High status (high survival value) genes, not just those of high reproductive value (e.g. looks) will be passed on to the next generation, thus benefitting the woman’s genes. If the lover (the more attractive, masculine man) is unwilling to commit, the woman can only have the best she can get take care of her kid. This, in the real world, is what happens, far more often than one would think: around 10% of newborns have fathers other than the guy on his/her birth certificate!

Richard Dawkins has thus unlocked the key to the female sexual genetic code and provided very useful explanations for the idiosyncrasies that females are prone to and that have guys tearing out their hair in frustration. His book The Selfish Gene is a must read for all those people that want to understand the crux of human relationships, selfishness and altruism in general, as well as guys who just want to get girls! Indeed, it is one of the first books on the reading list of the budding PUA.

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