Tweet the Monkey
Tweet the Monkey

Why It Takes Women Longer to Want to Get "Close"

UK researchers used game theory to model extended animal courtship. Their conclusion: If the courtship process takes longer, it gives the female more time to evaluate the male's potential as father of her offspring.

According to the Science Daily article,

The model assumes that the male is either a ‘‘good’’ or a ‘‘bad’’ type from the female’s point of view, according to his condition or willingness to care for the young after mating. The female gets a positive payoff from mating if the male is a ‘‘good’’ male but a negative payoff if he is ‘‘bad’’, so it is in her interest to gain information about the male’s type with the aim of avoiding mating with a “bad” male. In contrast, a male gets a positive payoff from mating with any female, though his payoff is higher if he is “good” than if he is “bad”.

This is another thing that may be moderated by the oxytocin response. Monogamous female mammals, like the prairie vole, need to spend time with a male before they'll mate. I call this rodent dating. Sue Carter has found that blocking oxytocin in a female prairie vole will eliminate her need for this dating period. In the wild, this period would allow the good/bad assessment the researchers are talking about, while allowing her to build social memory of the male via oxytocin -- before she invests in his offspring, and before she develops a monogamous bond.

The human parallel is sooo clear. As I say, anyone can pretend to be great for three dates; a lot of people can pretend to be okay for three months. After that, you see the warts.

And this is why, people, it's a bad idea to have sex on the first date.

Robert M Seymour and Peter D Sozou. Duration of courtship effort as a costly signal. Journal of Theoretical Biology, January 2009