Human Nature

, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 283–300 | Cite as

Sperm competition and female procurement of male resources

As explanations for a sex-specific time course in the sexual motivation of couples
  • Dietrich Klusmann


This study investigates changes in sexual motivation over the duration of a partnership in a population sample stratified by age. The results replicate and extend the findings of a previous study that was based on a sample of college students. In the samples of 30- and 45-year-olds, male sexual motivation remains constant regardless of the duration of the partnership. Female sexual motivation matches male sexual motivation in the first years of the partnership and then steadily decreases. In the sample of 60-year-olds, male sexual motivation always exceeds female sexual motivation, and both are little affected by duration of the partnership. This pattern is clearly evident for some measures of sexual motivation and less so or not at all for others. Interpretations of the current results from social constructivism or from mainstream psychology are difficult to conceive. The results seem more intelligible from an evolutionary perspective as reflections of evolved design for sexual motivation, fine-tuned to the different conditions governing the reproductive success of males and females. In this view male sexual motivation promotes a constant frequency of copulation in order to guard against cuckoldry. Female sexual motivation, in contrast, promotes copulation to solve the adaptive problem of procuring male resources by establishing and maintaining a pair bond.

Key words

Gender differences Pair bond Reproductive strategies Sex differences Sexual motivation Sperm competition Time course 


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Copyright information

© Transaction Publishers 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Universitätsklinikum Hamburg EppendorfHamburgGermany

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