[LMB] OT: Gender Roles

Matthew George matt.msg at gmail.com
Fri Oct 1 19:07:59 BST 2021


On Thu, Sep 30, 2021 at 7:17 PM Elizabeth Holden <alzurite at gmail.com> wrote:

> Really? What does that mean? What are "different kinds of partners"?
> Different genders? Different personality types? Different pheromones? In
> the course of a month?
>

When women are fertile, whether they consciously realize it or not, they
tend to choose sexual partners that would be seen as better long-term
investments, whether emotionally or financially.  When they're not fertile,
they're more likely to choose superficial features:  'sexiness', basically.

Men who aren't certain whether they're the father of a child are more
likely to contribute something to its upkeep and less likely to harm it
than if they're sure it's not theirs (in the ancestral environment, it's
argued).  So it's believed that one evolutionary strategy is to sleep with
lots of men, and leave them all wondering.  But it's still desirable to try
for mates who are likely to feel responsibility for the child, rather than
just pass through the area or disregard the mother and child.

Birth control pills work by manipulating the hormones controlling
menstruation, making the uterus incapable of accepting implantation; put
another way, women aren't in the hormonal condition that normally permits
fertility.  Which doesn't just affect the uterus, but the brain - women
taking birth control pills don't manifest the unconscious difference in
mate preference, because as far as their bodies are concerned they're
always in their infertile period, and the trigger for preferring less
exciting mates is never activated.

The effect is subtle but real.  People have speculated as to the
consequences for dating and relationships in the affluent world, but to the
best of my knowledge no one's managed to demonstrate, or exclude, any
particular implication.  Research on that scale is difficult at best, and
there are so many conflicting factors that verifying a change in
infidelity, for example, is next to impossible.

Wasn't known by me, and I've taken birth control pills.
>

Known by psychologists.  Although again, real-world effects aren't known
with much degree of certainty.

Matt G.


More information about the Lois-Bujold mailing list