Science Advice Goddess: Buddy Heat
I'm dating an awesome woman I see a future with. However, there's a hurdle: She doesn't want to have sex until we're committed, but I don't feel right about committing without knowing we have sexual chemistry. A previous relationship ended because the sex was subpar, and I don't want to go through that again.
Sexual chemistry is pretty important. You don't want to get all emotionally attached and then find that sexually, you go together like peanut butter and a repeating saw.
Men and women are alike in countless ways. (Both have two legs; men don't randomly have six like an insect.) However, we differ psychologically per the physical differences we do have; namely, how sex can leave a woman "with child" and a man "with a teaspoon less sperm."
These differences drive men's and women's conflicting "sexual strategies," explains evolutionary psychologist David Buss. For men, a casual sex-centric "short-term sexual strategy" -- hit and run...sex and shun -- has the most "reproductive benefits," increasing men's chances of passing on their genes. Women benefit most from a commitment-centric "long-term sexual strategy" and look for signs a man is emotionally attached, making him more likely to stick around and provide for any, um, sex biscuits they might create.
Where there are deep-seated desires, there's often deception. Buss calls this "strategic interference," describing sneaky tactics used to get the opposite sex to go against their evolutionary best interest. Men, for example, feign commitment to get sex, while women feign sexual interest to get commitment -- either long-term or enough to enjoy an evening of free fine dining. However, we have a defense against this: "negative" emotions -- like a woman's fear of getting humptied and dumptied and a man's fear that all a woman really wants to "ride like a pony" is his American Express black card.
As for what you should do, Buss' research might be helpful. Buss finds that men will shift to a "long-term sexual strategy" when that's what it takes to land a woman of especially high "mate value." If she doesn't seem worth the risk of waiting for, it's probably breakup o'clock. No, sex isn't everything in a relationship. However, if you like to have sex twice a day and your partner's up for twice every never, it's a little hard to meet in the middle -- though the less libidinous partner might come up with some, uh, helpful ideas, such as: "Do we really have to have sex when I'm conscious?"
Last Manchild Standing
I'm dating a new guy. When we're alone, he's sweet and a complete gentleman. However, whenever we're around his guy friends, he comments about how attractive he finds other women, rants about sports, and farts in front of me. I've hinted that this makes me unhappy, but nothing changes.
Love can be transformative -- turning men into emotional marshmallows -- which can lead a 20-something lovestruck dudebro to want to make it known to his posse: "I will not be waking up on Tuesday all Harry Styles in a dress on the cover of Vogue."
Your boyfriend's loutish behavior -- talking about other girls and farting in front of you -- sounds like a "costly signal," a form of advertising used by both animals and humans. A costly signal is a trait or behavior that's so wasteful, extravagant, and threatening to one's evolutionary interests (mating and survival) that it's likely to be a truthful indicator of an organism's financial, social, or physical mojo.
The peacock's tail is an example. As evolutionary psychologist Steve Stewart-Williams points out, it's like "a giant billboard": a huge electric blue and green yoohoo! to peacock-eating predators. This big bunch of buttfeathers also seriously slows the peacock's escape. However, the larger and more lush a Mr. Peacock's tail, the more the peahens (the lady peacocks) go for him. (The fact that he avoids becoming lunch while lugging around this massive feathery impediment suggests he must be a particularly buff and genetically superior example of peacockhood.)
Chances are your boyfriend is rude-vertising to the guys: Sure, he has love in his life, but he hasn't gone all bought, sold, and girlfriend-controlled. The costly signal in this? He's so secure in his sexual magnetism (like, the hot chicks are lined up and begging) that he can afford to act like a turd to his girlfriend.
Um, no. Or at least, that's what you need to put out there. In words, not hints. Tell him it's humiliating when he comments on other women when you're right there, plus the farting thing is a sexual turnoff. In short, he's transforming you into an unhappy girlfriend who won't want to have sex. Assuming he cares about you, you should see an abrupt end to the show he's been putting on for his dudebros: "No, I Haven't Become A Love Muppet Colonized By The Enemy."
Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave., #280, Santa Monica, CA 90405, or email AdviceAmy@aol.com (www.advicegoddess.com). Follow her on Twitter @amyalkon. Order her latest "science-help" book, "Unf*ckology: A Field Guide to Living with Guts and Confidence."