Human Nature

, Volume 24, Issue 4, pp 476–485 | Cite as

The Relationship Between Objective Sperm Competition Risk and Men’s Copulatory Interest Is Moderated by Partner’s Time Spent with Other Men

  • Michael N. PhamEmail author
  • Todd K. Shackelford


Men who spend a greater proportion of time apart from their female partner since the couple’s last copulation are at greater “objective” sperm competition risk. We propose a novel cue to sperm competition risk: the time she spends with her male friends. Four hundred and twenty men in a committed, heterosexual, sexual relationship completed a questionnaire. The results indicate that men at greater objective sperm competition risk report less time desired until the couple’s next copulation, greater interest in copulating with their partner, and greater anger, frustration, and upset in response to their partner’s sexual rejection, but only among men whose partner spends more time with her male friends. These results remain after controlling statistically for the participant’s age and their partner’s age. We discuss limitations of the current research, and discuss how research in human sperm competition can inform social issues, including men’s partner-directed sexual coercion.


Evolutionary psychology Sperm competition Female infidelity Male friends 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyOakland UniversityRochesterUSA

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