Pedophilia pp 122-149 | Cite as

The Phylogeny of Male/Female Differences in Sexual Behavior

  • Gerhard Medicus
  • Sigrid Hopf


In order to understand human behavior, including adult human sexual behavior with children and adolescents, one cannot neglect humans’ phylogenetic1 heritage, part of which is the result of the evolution of behavior through natural selection. This chapter examines the phylogenetic bases of differences in sexual behavior between the sexes. Especially in the Introduction, it is intended to familiarize readers from other disciplines with some of the fundamental evolutionary-biology principles of male/female differences in sexual behavior. Also, it is necessary to consider the phylogenetic reciprocal causes of male and of female sexual behavior in order to better understand adult human sexual behavior with children and adolescents, the topic of this edited volume. Many social scientists attribute most behavioral differences between males and females to the differing processes and influences that each sex experiences during socialization (for further references, see, e.g., Maccoby and Jacklin, 1974). Although it is true that males and females are raised differently by their parents and are treated differently by society, certain basic biology-related differences in behavior between the sexes do exist, and these differences can best be understood through a phylogenetic approach.


Sexual Behavior Germ Cell Sexual Reproduction Sexual Arousal Behavioral Trait 
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© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gerhard Medicus
    • 1
    • 2
  • Sigrid Hopf
    • 3
  1. 1.Forschungsstelle für Humanethologie in derMax-Planck-GesellschaftAndechsFederal Republic of Germany
  2. 2.Landes-Nervenkrankenhaus Hall in TirolHall in TirolAustria
  3. 3.Max-Planck-Institut für PsychiatrieMünchen 40Federal Republic of Germany

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