If men are hardwired to want more than one partner, can the same be said for women?
Hi Rosie, if men are hardwired to want more than one partner, can the same be said for women?
I received this question a few weeks ago via my site, and until now, it’s been buzzing around on my to-do list. I keep trying unsuccessfully to answer it as a reel on my social media. I say unsuccessfully because it’s a topic that deserves more than a 90-second snapshot answer. I tried to answer, but I didn’t even scratch the surface.
Instead, I decided that the only way I could do it justice was to give it my time and attention in the form of a nitty-gritty, let’s get honest, about human nature article that reduces us to nothing but sperm givers and egg bearers.
Let’s see if I can make a reel after finishing this article.
Buckle up; things are about to get uncomfortable.
For this article to ‘work’ or be fully appreciated, you need to understand that I come from an evolutionary standpoint when discussing men and women. I’m talking about our DNA, our human story, our evolution, and I’m not talking about sexual orientation, race or religion but males and females as a whole, the world over. Us stripped back to basics. Although today we are males and females who live in a modern society, we lived in troupes and were hunter-gatherers not that long ago.
Seriously, it’s scary how quickly we have forgotten our origins.
Why are men hardwired to want more than one partner?
Men are indeed hardwired to pass on their genes; however, whether they want more than one ‘partner’ is up for debate. Before I answer this question, I want to introduce to you a concept that you probably haven’t thought of before, or, like many of us, (and I include my former self in this), failed to recognise.
We have been evolving for millions of years, slowly, steadily, and gradually. Progress has been slow in evolutionary terms, and we are still responding to our evolutionary responses despite living in a society that largely disregards them.
Now, we all agree that evolution has been, and is a slow process, and it has taken thousands of years for us to go from ‘caveman’ to ‘man about town’.
However, in contrast to this, society, as we know it today, has only really been a relevant factor in our lives for the last few 100 years.
Call it family, call it home, call it what you like; the act is still exactly the same as it was 1000’s of years ago.
We are, essentially, moving at a far too fast-paced pace for us mere humans to keep up with. And yes, although living in our wonderful, modern world has many amazing benefits, we have unfortunately imposed many unnatural and unachievable demands on ourselves. Essentially, our bodies are moving at one pace, whilst society is moving at another, which is one reason why we as humans struggle so much when we are placed in situations where our biology has to fight with our moral compass and societal expectations.
In no way am I condoning unlawful behaviour, as we can’t all be out physically beating our competitors and running off with women over our shoulders, but what we can do is recognise why we respond in the ways that we do and understand why this is, and maybe just maybe find a solution.
The roles men play in procreation.
These days, the modern man is nothing like his predecessors (thank god). He procreates with his wife, makes a baby, works to raise that baby, and supports his wife; financially, physically, emotionally. He becomes a father and nurtures his child through being a protector, carer and wisdom offerer. He provides shelter, food and support for both his child and its mother. It’s what men do. It’s called fatherhood, and it’s something men have been doing and doing amazingly well at for 100s of years. This demonstration of modern fatherhood goes to show how the society that we live in is supportive of ensuring that our genes are passed on and also given the best chance possible of survival.
But, just because men are great at playing the role of provider, it doesn’t mean they have stopped responding to their instincts. To pass on their genes and, thus, beat entropy, it’s just what men do. It’s nothing out of the ordinary. Call it family, call it home, call it what you like; the act is still exactly the same as it was 1000’s of years ago. If they make another mini-them, the mini-them can keep the fire going (genes), long after they have gone.
Men, being sperm givers, have the drive to pass on their genes as frequently as possible. Even if they don’t actively seek other women out, their instincts are more prevalent. It is not their fault; it merely is a natural way of ensuring a man spreads his sperm with as many different women as he possibly can.
for many women, it’s less about the physical and more about the emotional enhancement they feel within their own relationship.
But there’s more to it than that.
I want you to consider the roles we play in procreation and pregnancy. Again, I’m looking at the human species as a whole and looking at instincts. Did our ancestors procreate with one another and then stick around monogamously for the next 16 years? A pair of loving and committed parents raising that baby?
Here’s what happened. Men evolved to be able to pass on their genes quickly and effectively to many different partners over a reasonably short space of time, and after that, their work was done. It was left for the female to rise that young, maybe with other females, whilst the males were busy passing on their genes. We have been doing this for 100s of 1000s of years, and the society thing for only a few 100 years. Which do you think is more deeply rooted in our DNA?
The role women play in procreation and pregnancy
The role women play is very different. The reason, is that women can only get pregnant at one time, give birth (perilous and potentially fatal) and then has to care for the offspring whilst she is in her most vulnerable state. Women only have one egg to release at one time and, unlike men who can impregnate ten different women over a week without any implications on their life, once that lady has conceived, she going to be in a highly precarious state within a few months and towards the end of her pregnancy, be pretty much incapacitated. So she has to be choosy about WHICH sperm giver she chooses. I understand that we have progressed a little since this, but our biology is essentially the same. I hope this highlights the differences in the roles humans play in procreation. A woman’s role is hugely different from a man’s. However, we as women are still very cautious about who we procreate with, as we know (even subconsciously) that ultimately, we could end up in a very vulnerable position.
Do women also want more than one partner?
Being Ethically non-monogamous is a different experience for women than for men. I believe it is much more a physical, carnal desire for men than for women. Men don’t always understand why they want sex with other women; they just know that they do, and if they can do it whilst keeping their existing relationship intact, then even better! They are responding to that desire to pass on their genes and procreate (regardless of whether they are in a position to do so or not).
Whereas women, in my experience, view their involvement in ethical non-monogamy as a journey of sexual exploration, the enjoyment of sharing desires with their partner, and many find themselves attracted to the fact that others desire them. Yes, they still may want to have sex with other people, but for many women, it’s less about the physical and more about the emotional enhancement they feel within their own relationship. Strange huh?
Although women will still get the niggling feeling to act upon their impulses, it is far less frequent than men. So, for men, the desire to procreate more often and with different individuals is more potent, whereas, for women, it still exists but not as strongly.
For many men, sex with a stranger is the ideal, as it becomes purely about the physical.
One of the most annoying things about the human body is that men will have these urges throughout the whole of their adult life, regardless of whether they are in an exclusive relationship or not. Women will also have the same desires, but not as strongly. Men can still become fathers at 60, whereas women go through menopause! It’s what we do with these urges that makes the difference. Understanding, accepting, and finding a solution is the healthiest and most ethical option.
Why do women want to know more about a man before they have sex with them?
We all know that men can have sex with women without any real investment in that ‘relationship’. For many men, sex with a stranger is the ideal, as it becomes purely about the physical. Many men I have worked with have shared with me that they have no desire to learn more about the women they swing with, and yes, they will make polite small talk and have their boundaries but aren’t really that interested.
However, many women require a certain level of ‘investment’ from a man. Even if a woman has all the emotional, physical and financial investment she requires (found in her partner), she still wants to know a little more about the man with whom she might be intimate.
But why Rosie? Why would a woman happily married for 20 years care what another man ‘offers her’?
Well, remember when I said that women can only get pregnant at one time? This insecurity still exists in a woman’s mind, and regardless of where she can or wants to get pregnant, a woman will still have the heightened sense of ‘if I put myself in a position where I am vulnerable with a man, what will he offer if I get pregnant? And by ‘offer’, she is referring to what traits he carries that will make sure the genes he passes on will be healthy.
At one time, we would have thought, is he a good hunter? Does he regularly provide food for the troup? Is he physically fit and healthy? Is getting pregnant with his baby going to be a good choice for me? And still today, we have a process that is a distant echo of this. Although we don’t act on it, the good news is we don’t leave our partners when we get the chance to have sex with a taller man or a man carrying a round of drinks, but we are still pre-disposed to have the thought process. This is why women need a little more ‘investment’, i.e. conversation than many men do. It doesn’t mean she will act on that human nature, but essentially, a woman wants to know who he is before anything goes anywhere.
Hmm, can I condense this 1844-word article down to a 90-second reel? Let’s see!