Samstag, 21. April 2018

Human Male Mating Strategies: I. Courtship Tactics of the "Quality" and "Quantity" Alternatives

Human Male Mating Strategies: I. Courtship Tactics of the "Quality" and "Quantity" Alternatives
Linda R. Hirsch and Luci Paul


Human males may adopt the "quality" strategy, a long-term pair bond with considerable paternal investment, or the "quantity" reproductive strategy, short-term pair bonds with little paternal investment. We hypothesized that (1) the two strategies require different courtship tactics, which can be derived from their different goals, and (2) the behavior used by quality courters is perceived as honest while the quantity strategist is of. ten exploitative. Act nominations of 79 subjects and the investigators generated a set of 71 dating behaviors. Sixty-four other subjects classified each behavior by the theoretically derived tactics. Fifty-four males rated the likelihood of usage of each behavior by a man interested in marriage (quality courter) and by men interested in sexual relationships (quantity courters) who typically deceive, manipulate, or coerce women. Fiftythree other males rated each behavior on ethical scales of honesty, deception, manipulation, and coercion. Both kinds of ratings indicated that (1) tactics of quality courtship involve honest advertisement through mutual assessment, resource expenditure, and a delay in sexual relations, and (2) tactics of quantity courtship involve indirect or direct threats, psychological pressure, and talking about sex. Ethical ratings and the range of behaviors likely to be used by quality and quantity courters confirmed the hypothesis about ethical perceptions of the two strategies and suggested that quantity courters are opportunistic as well as exploitative.


Tactics of the quality strategy:

As hypothesized, the tactics associated with the quality strategy permit mutual evaluation and thus probably involve honest advertisement. Interacting on dates with family and friends was most clearly associated with quality courtship. All five instances of this tactic were judged as highly honest, not at all exploitative, and more likely to be used by a man interested in marriage. Discussing values and goals was also a quality tactic. Four of the twelve behaviors in this tactic were judged as highly honest, not exploitative, and more likely to be used by the quality courter. Three of them, asking if she wants children, talking about plans and goals, and talking about the meaning of life, allow self-disclosure and mutual evaluation of expectations for long term. The other behavior, wanting a friendship before sex, expresses a willingness to wait before having sexual relations. In addition, five relatively honest behaviors belonged to this tactic. Some instances were not associated with the quality strategy. They do not appear to provide strong proof that the man is, in fact, a quality courter. For example, "saying he wants to marry her" on just the second date expresses a proximate goal of the quality courter but conflicts with the slow pace required of the quality courter if he is to evaluate her and allow her to evaluate him. Resource expenditure was associated with the quality strategy, as predicted. Expenditures of time, energy, or money are costly signals that tend to be used only by high-quality individuals (e.g., Grafen 1990; Zahavi 1975). In the human context, they help to validate commitment to the relationship. Instances of this tactic were attributed to quality courters and were considered categorically or relatively honest. No instance of resource expenditure was attributed to the quantity courter, and no instance qualified as either categorically or relatively exploitative. Other work associates material resource display with male quality strategists (Cashdan 1993; Shields and Shields 1983). However, effort and time appeared as prominently in quality courter behaviors as did monetary expenditure. Indeed, Draper (1989) has suggested that the desire to expend resources, rather than the absolute amount expended, may be more important to a woman's choice. One might not expect resource expenditure to so strongly differentiate the two strategies. By definition, quantity strategists expend resources in mating effort; quality strategists expend resources after courtship in parental investment. However, the quality courter needs to provide costly signals to indicate that they are reliable while the quantity strategist needs to minimize the cost of mating. In addition, their different goals suggest that the quantity strategist should make his expenditures contingent on sexual relations while the quality strategist should not expect an immediate return on his expenditures. Indeed, quality strategists may be reluctant to begin sexual relations quickly. No behavior that referred to sex, except "wants a friendship before sex" was perceived as likely to be used by the man interested in marriage. Of course, such reluctance behooves any organism planning considerable parental investment (Trivers 1972). Reluctance could be advantageous to the quality courter in several ways. It would promote assessing the female's quality as mate and mother. For a male who is psychologically ready to form a pair bond, rushing into sexual relations might cement an inappropriate pair bond. Second, male reluctance might serve to test female fidelity, a crucial characteristic for males contemplating paternal investment (e.g., Daly et al., 1982). If a woman did not reciprocate the quality courter's reluctance, he should question her choosiness and, therefore, her fidelity and his certainty of paternity. Third, reluctance would promote producing offspring at an optimal time.

Tactics of the quantity strategy:

The quantity strategy was strongly identified with two tactics, threats and sex talk. Some threat behaviors were not obviously coercive. Examples are "saying that everyone else is doing it" and "telling her that he can't control himself and he needs sex or it will hurt him." These behaviors represent a manipulative ploy that imposes psychological costs on the female for rejecting him. Ridicule from her peers or guilt over not fulfilling his need might be more aversive to the female than rejecting him, despite her reluctance. The other tactic, talking about sex, as suggested earlier, may produce sexual arousal. Women are readily aroused by verbal erotic material (Heiman 1975; Kinsey et al. 1953; Steinman et al., 1981), and quantity courters appear to be aware of the fact. Contrary to prediction, the tactics of getting her alone and physical contact were only weakly associated with the quantity strategy. Also, contrary to the prediction that they would be shared tactics, one instance of flattery and a number of instances of promises were attributed to quantity courters. The possibility that promises characterize the courtship of quantity strategists is intriguing. However, there are alternative interpretations. For example, promises made early in a dating relationship may be considered deceptive while promises made later might be considered legitimate. Clearly, more work is needed to fully describe the tactics of a quantity courter. The quantity strategy is probably characterized by opportunism. First, no behavior was eliminated from the repertoire of the exploitative courters. A comment from a subject, that men will do or say anything to get sex from a woman, illustrates the idea. It is similar to Thornhill and Thornhill's (1992) view that all men use a mixture of coercive and noncoercive tactics in courtship. However, this seems to be true of quantity courters but not of quality courters who were considered unlikely to use most of the quantity-courter behaviors. Perhaps, however, these data depend on the particular set of behaviors presented to subjects. For example, if the set had included a number of costly behaviors, they might have been rated as unlikely to be used by quantity courters. Nevertheless, other considerations strengthen the conclusion that quantity courters are opportunistic. First, we attempted to provide a wide range of commonly performed dating behaviors. Second, subjects did not make substantial distinctions between deceptive, manipulative, and coercive styles of quantity courtship. Probably, quantity courters match their behavior to characteristics of each situation and potential partner. Third, the data from the companion study also suggest that quality strategists do not use exploitative, quantity-strategy behaviors whereas quantity strategists may use quality-strategy behavior.


Indeed, when a long-term mate is sought, men are about as selective as women (Buss and Schmitt 1993; Kenrick et al., 1990 Kenrick et al., 1993; Simpson and Gangestad 1991, 1992). Accordingly, providing for mutual assessment should underlie the tactics of the quality courter. True mutual assessment requires openness and honesty, suggesting that tactics of quality courtship should be perceived as moral. In addition, overlapping interests, as in pair bonds, favor honest communication (e.g., Alexander 1987; Dawkins and Krebs 1978).


The quantity strategy, maximizing the number of females inseminated while minimizing costs, requires tactics that increase the probability of achieving sexual intercourse. Female reluctance conflicts with that goal. The choosy female who delays her choice or rejects him expends the quantity strategist's resources and limits his ability to mate with other females.

Deception, manipulation, or psychological coercion can gain a mating that, otherwise, the female would avoid. Quantity strategist may mimic high quality or lie about quality or intentions, especially those characteristics that are easy to fake and that can be produced cheaply (Daly and Wilson 1983; Shields and Shields 1983; Tooke and Camire 1991). Manipulative behavior may impair or distort the female's judgments ...


"choosiness" behooves any individual intending substantial parental investment (Trivers 1972). Thus, the quality courter should not attempt to rush into sexual relations, the quintessential proximate goal of the quantity courter. 

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