Arranged marriage and Forced marriage In many cultural traditions, a date may be arranged by a third party, who may be a family member, acquaintance, or professional matchmaker.
In some cultures, a marriage may be arranged by the couple's parents or an outside party. Recently, internet dating has become popular. Theoretical background[ edit ] Research on human mating strategies is guided by the theory of sexual selection , and in particular, Robert Trivers ' concept of parental investment. In humans, females make a larger parental investment than males i. While human males invest heavily in their offspring as well, their minimum parental investment is still lower than that of females.
Hence, evolutionary psychologists have predicted a number of sex differences in human mating strategies. Sexual desire[ edit ] One theory states that because of their lower minimum parental investment, men can achieve greater reproductive success by mating with multiple women than women can achieve by mating with multiple men.
Ancestral women, by contrast, would have maximized reproductive success not by mating with as many men as possible, but by selectively mating with those men who were most able and willing to invest resources in their offspring. Gradually in a bid to compete in order to obtain resources from potential men, women have evolved to show extended sexuality.
Men are often depicted as wanting numerous female sexual partners in order to maximise their reproductive success. Mate-guarding behaviours and sexual jealousy point to an evolutionary history in which sexual relations with multiple partners became a recurrent adaptive problem,  while the willingness of modern-day men to have sex with attractive strangers,  and the prevalence of extramarital affairs in similar frequencies cross-culturally, are evidence of an ancestral past in which polygamous mating strategies were adopted.
Every time a man has a new sexual partner, the woman also has a new sexual partner. It has been proposed, therefore, that casual sex and numerous sexual partners may also confer some benefit to females.
That is, they would produce more genetically diverse offspring as a result, which would increase their chances of successfully rearing children to adolescence, or independence. Youth is associated with reproductive value in women, and features that men find physically attractive in women are thought to signal health and fertility. Women who preferentially mated with men capable of investing resources in their offspring, thereby ensuring their offsprings' survival, would have left more descendants than women who did not.
Evolutionary psychologists have tested these predictions across cultures, confirming that men tend to report a greater preference for youth and physical attractiveness in a mate than do women, and that women tend to report a greater preference for ambition and social status in a mate than do men. For example, as women gain more access to resources their mate preferences change. Finding a mate with resources becomes less of a priority and a mate with domestic skills is more important.
Less clear, however, are the evolutionary benefits that women might have received from pursuing short-term mating strategies. One prominent hypothesis is that ancestral women selectively engaged in short-term mating with men capable of transmitting genetic benefits to their offspring such as health, disease resistance, or attractiveness see good genes theory and sexy son hypothesis. Since women cannot inspect men's genes directly, they may have evolved to infer genetic quality from certain observable characteristics see indicator traits.
One prominent candidate for a "good genes" indicator includes fluctuating asymmetry, or the degree to which men deviate from perfect bodily symmetry. Other candidates include masculine facial features,  behavioral dominance,  and low vocal pitch.
Indeed, research indicates that self-perceived physical attractiveness,  fluctuating asymmetry,  and low vocal pitch  are positively related to short-term mating success in men but not in women. Mating strategy plasticity[ edit ] Research on the conditional nature of mating strategies has revealed that long-term and short-term mating preferences can be fairly plastic. Following exposure to cues which would have been affected mating in the ancestral past, both men and women appear to adjust their mating preferences in ways which would have historically enhanced their fitness.
Such cues include the need to care for young, danger from animals and other humans, and resource availability. One way in which the more numerous sex might compete is by displaying the attributes that are most desired by the scarcer sex.
Since men have a greater desire for casual sex see above , societies with more women relative to men were predicted to exhibit higher scores on the SOI than societies with more balanced or male-biased sex ratios.
This prediction was confirmed: In societies where extensive care from both parents is needed to ensure offspring survival, the costs of having sex with an uncommitted partner are much higher. Schmitt found significant negative correlations between several indices of need for biparental care e. Another important societal variable for mating strategies is the threat of infectious disease or pathogen prevalence.
Since physical attractiveness is thought to signal health and disease resistance, evolutionary psychologists have predicted that, in societies high in pathogen prevalence, people will value attractiveness more in a mate.
Indeed, research has confirmed that pathogen prevalence is associated with preferences for attractiveness across nations. Consistent with this reasoning, higher pathogen prevalence is associated with lower national SOI scores. According to this perspective, different mating strategies are in direct strategic conflict. For instance, the stability of long-term partnerships may be threatened by the availability of short-term sexual opportunities.
Therefore, public policy measures that impose costs on casual sex may benefit people pursuing long-term mating strategies by reducing the availability of short-term mating opportunities outside of committed relationships. One public policy measure that imposes costs on people pursuing short-term mating strategies, and may thereby appeal to sexually restricted individuals, is the banning of abortion. In an influential doctoral dissertation, the psychologist Jason Weeden conducted statistical analyses on public and undergraduate datasets supporting the hypothesis that attitudes towards abortion are more strongly predicted by mating-relevant variables than by variables related to views on the sanctity of life.
Insofar as sexually restricted individuals associate recreational drug use with promiscuity, they may be motivated to oppose drug legalization. Consistent with this, one study found that the strongest predictor of attitudes towards drug legalization was scores on the SOI. By contrast, nonsexual variables typically associated with attitudes towards drug legalization were strongly attenuated or eliminated when controlling for SOI and other sexuality-related measures. These findings were replicated in Belgium, Japan, and the Netherlands.