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Thread: Why is sexual ornamentation used by women not men in humans?

  1. #1 Why is sexual ornamentation used by women not men in humans? 
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    Looking to nature it is the peacock who uses sexual ornamentation to attract the female so she is the choosy one.

    It is also the case case for humans that women are the choosy ones and men are the 'indiscriminate' ones due to the usual sexual selection reasons although why is it that women use sexual ornamentation and not men?

    For men we still have to put on a 'show' but the things which count as ornamentation for us would be things that show high survival value namely confidence, and indirectly (and wholly overblown by marketers)- signs of wealth etc.

    Now I write this it makes sense that as men go for replication value aka looks primarily then women will want to boost their value and thus use ornaments to boost the value as high as they can- high heels, fake nails, boobs, eyelashes and on and on.

    So I guess that was an open and shut case!

    Anything else of relevance to add here?


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  3. #2  
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    As I do more reading I have a problem with what most researchers say on the matter.

    They seem to disregard male choosiness COMPLETELY from the equation. Males are certainly less discriminate but not totally indiscriminate- i.e. most men may be happy to shag a less attractive female but not one with severe deformities for example.

    Everything I've read so far they say- women go for quality men go for quantity implying men are absolutely indiscriminate.

    I think it's a case we are both (men and women) discriminate (while males still being less so due to the child reduced rearing investments/sperm size etc.) it's just that we discriminate for different things. Men for replication value aka looks and women for survival attributes.


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  4. #3  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    Women are looking for two things in a male partner.

    1. Superior genetics. This could be called the 'hunk effect'. When two women look at a guy and say "What a hunk!" This comes from two kinds of qualities. a. Physical - what he looks like. Signs of high testosterone such as good chin, musculature, athletic appearance, bilateral symmetry.
    b. Social - which covers such things as his status, his wealth or earning capacity, ability to make her laugh, degree of power and influence he has, fame etc.

    2. Willingness to care for the woman. This could be called the 'romance effect'. Women like a romantic guy - someone who will love her and express that love. This means the guy is willing to stay with her, and care for her and her offspring.

    If she can end up in a stable relationship with a guy who has both qualities, it means reproduction is more likely to be successful, with offspring surviving till they are, in turn, reproducing. A guy with good genes passes them on to her children, making them more likely to survive and find good mates.

    Women also have the need to reject unsuitable mates. Thus, if a guy carries bad genes, or is unlikely to stick around, it is to the interest's of the woman to get rid of him. This makes women more choosey than guys are. Reproduction for a woman is more 'expensive' than it is for a guy who can leave his sperm and run. Thus, she has to get it right.

    The ideal strategy is for the woman to attract men, but be able to reject unwanted advances. For this, she makes herself sexually attractive, but is ready to fend off the wrong person.
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    If a man's genes are good enough, i.e he is really high status, then the romance effect is negated and even very choosy women will want to shag him even if they know they will leave her for the validation of it- ie the rockstar and his groupies. I am told the book sperm wars is all about this- how women will seek a high value alpha man for the good genes even though he will leave then seek a provider beta to rear the alpha's child unbeknownst to him. I have yet to read it but it's quite high on my reading list.

    What is your take on male choosiness?

    I know I don't care much for having a connection as being an essential thing like it is for a woman but I know when I have made a connection with a woman it 'feels' more 'romantic' but what are the evolutionary benefits for the man to enjoy an emotional connection aka (ultimately-) love ?

    Isn't 'love' for the man (rather than pump and dump strategy) an evolutionarily bad choice? As such why does it still feel better when I have a connection with a girl vs. when I don't as on the paradigm of men go for quantity women go for quality this doesn't make sense...
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  6. #5  
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    synergy

    The question is : Why does a man fall in love an commit to a woman long term?

    The reason is because, mostly, he cannot otherwise reproduce. Sure, the rock star who can have sex with many women is onto a winner, reproductively speaking. However, for most of us, this is not possible. Thus, for the average man to be successful in reproduction, he has to go along with what a woman wants, or else she will reject him. What she wants is romance and a long term committment. ie. falling in love.

    And so, in order to successfully reproduce, men fall in love, and commit long term to a woman and to the family they will raise.
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    That argument sounds flawed to me.

    If you are implying the pleasurable feeling of having a conneciton with a girl is due to men being worried they won't get another girl I'd say it isn't correct.

    You explanation doesn't explain why rockstars also have girlfriends.

    The way you put it men are 'settling' cos they can't get anything else rather than for some other adaptive reason. As you say the rockstar is on to a winner then they would never get girlfriends if just sex were the best but clearly they settle down too despite the choice of many females so it must be something more than mere desperation.

    I know it's not due to desperation why I develop a connection for a girl.

    I know it can and mostly is the case with most guys but I don't think that is necessarily the case, which you are suggesting.

    On your reckoning they would be 'faking' love just so they would get to stay with the woman for fear of not being able to get another chance.

    A better possibility which I read today in the mating mind is that males are not choosy for short term encounters however they become choosy once it comes to rear a child.

    As such, not due to desperation, but due to discriminating a good woman who would have good qualities in the longer term they form a connection with the one/s who they deem worthy aka they are choosy and those who they chose they form connections for longer terms relationships- Miller's reasoning behind this is that to have successful offspring, males should mate with the female for at least a couple of months to ensure success due to the hidden ovulation in humans.

    This still wouldn't explain why men still like shorter encounters though so I'm not saying it's definitive. I still enjoy casual sex and am not looking for a long term relationship and don't see any benefit in doing so -benefit here being good emotions which have evolved to tell me to do X action over Y action.

    Women also enjoy casual sex too though it's just they are more choosy before 'giving it up'.

    As miller says women are more choosy upfront whereas men are the choosy ones when it comes to settling down and commitment.
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  8. #7  
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    My explanation makes more sense in evolutionary terms. My apology for not making that clearer. Males have evolved the capability to fall in love. It is not a conscious decision. It is simply the result of the genetic makeup that results from millions of years of evolution.

    The reason rock stars have girl friends and also fall in love is because, apart from being rock stars, they are also normal males, and have the same capability.

    Just to change the subject slightly, and only out of interest. I read of a study recently about guys and gals getting together. As a male, you will be well aware of the 1 to 10 scale of attractiveness for females. It is also possible for women to create a 1 to 10 scale of attractiveness for males.

    The researchers selected a large number of women and a large number of men, all in long term relationships, who were all videoed on their own, and the videos shown to a whole bunch of people. Each of the people videoed was rated on the 1 to 10 scale by a whole lot of people of the opposite gender.

    The interesting thing is that the long term relationships were mostly between people who rated similarly on the attractiveness scale. The guy who was a 4 would be in a relationship with a gal who was a 3, 4, or 5. This was, apparently, almost inevitable.

    A moral of the story for guys is to find out where they rate. If you are a 3, then there is little point chasing gals who rate 7 to 10. A guy who is a 3 should look to women who are rated 2 to 5. Chances of success are much greater.
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    A moral of the story for guys is to find out where they rate. If you are a 3, then there is little point chasing gals who rate 7 to 10. A guy who is a 3 should look to women who are rated 2 to 5. Chances of success are much greater.
    What an awful fatalist's attitude!

    Clearly you have never heard of something called having 'game'.

    You are more expressing rationalisations for your own defeatist attitude towards women (i.e. don;t go for women above your station) than offering an empirical basis to your argument.
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  10. #9  
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    synergy

    I suspect that your "game" quality is one of those social characteristics that raises a guy from a lower rating to a higher one.

    Anyway, I was merely reporting results from research. It appears that your rating ultimately determines your results. A logical conclusion is that if you try for a female partner well above your own rating, you will probably fail. Don't let me get in your way, though.

    Actually, just to add to this, there was another research report of interest. It appears that women, more than men, are influenced by the assessments of their peers. In other words, if another woman considers a guy to be attractive, she will likely influence her peers to consider that guy as being more attractive than otherwise. So if you want to raise your rating, bribe the target woman's friends to praise your attractiveness.
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  11. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    As a male, you will be well aware of the 1 to 10 scale of attractiveness for females. It is also possible for women to create a 1 to 10 scale of attractiveness for males.
    Wait, it really exists??
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  12. #11  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    To twit

    Does it exist? Maybe.
    All women rate male attractiveness in their own way. The 1 to 10 scale was used in the research project I spoke of, but how any specific woman does it is up to her.
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  13. #12  
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    To twit

    Does it exist? Maybe.
    All women rate male attractiveness in their own way. The 1 to 10 scale was used in the research project I spoke of, but how any specific woman does it is up to her.
    I mean both, male or female.
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  14. #13  
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    Have you never heard of a Prince Albert, OP?
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    lol sex.

    this topic is funny.
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  16. #15  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard_Bacat
    lol sex.

    this topic is funny.
    If this is going to get silly, then I'm going to go into overbearing moderator mode.
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  17. #16  
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    synergy

    The question is : Why does a man fall in love an commit to a woman long term?

    The reason is because, mostly, he cannot otherwise reproduce. Sure, the rock star who can have sex with many women is onto a winner, reproductively speaking. However, for most of us, this is not possible. Thus, for the average man to be successful in reproduction, he has to go along with what a woman wants, or else she will reject him. What she wants is romance and a long term committment. ie. falling in love.

    And so, in order to successfully reproduce, men fall in love, and commit long term to a woman and to the family they will raise.

    In fairness, staying around to raise the offspring also increases the likelihood that they will have power and status, thus increasing their options for breeding, and extending his own genome accross more generations.

    Also, in midevil times you needed an heir, or else people would only treat you with respect until you were too old to defend yourself.

    Quote Originally Posted by Synergy
    If a man's genes are good enough, i.e he is really high status, then the romance effect is negated and even very choosy women will want to shag him even if they know they will leave her for the validation of it- ie the rockstar and his groupies. I am told the book sperm wars is all about this- how women will seek a high value alpha man for the good genes even though he will leave then seek a provider beta to rear the alpha's child unbeknownst to him. I have yet to read it but it's quite high on my reading list.

    I can see this happening too. In some cases, the woman probably perceives that the child will be so fit he/she doesnt' even need a father.

    What is your take on male choosiness?

    I know I don't care much for having a connection as being an essential thing like it is for a woman but I know when I have made a connection with a woman it 'feels' more 'romantic' but what are the evolutionary benefits for the man to enjoy an emotional connection aka (ultimately-) love ?
    If you want your children to care about you, you had better have a strong connection to their mother, because that's the parent they're more likely to love.
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    Getting back to the original question, as to why women but so much effort into their looks...someone mentioned hidden ovulation!

    I would say there is your reason! In all other species females advertise the fact that they are ovulating, which causes males to pursue them.

    As we do not obviously give of signs to advertise that' now would be a good time', we manage to attract males at all time during the month and as you boys don't know when we are at our most fertile, it makes you possibly hang around a bit longer!

    We are the only species with permanent breast as well, I would say that is another way to continually attract attention!

    It has been shown that women actually 'fake' facial symmetry during ovulation, which makes them appear more attractive than they normally are, paired soft tissue(nose, ears, eyes) become more symmetrical, which increases facial attractiveness!

    We are sneaky little things
    Evil or divine, we are the last in line!
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  19. #18  
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    In terms of evolution, the reason human females have developed the strong desire to look good, and the willingness to invest heaps of time, money, effort and even pain, into looking good, is that it enables them to win better partners.

    While we can all have sex with lots of partners (assuming said partners are willing), the truth is that in the end, we all tend to wind up with one partner. Most reproduction is done with that one special partner.

    For a guy, that one partner should be fertile, and males have evolved the desire for females who show all the signs of fertility - also called beauty. It is no coincidence, for example, that a woman's most fertile age (around 20 years plus or minus a few) is also the age at which she has the greatest sexual beauty.

    For a gal, the partner should have good genes and be willing to look after her and her offspring.

    In each case, there are potential partners that are better or worse. Each person is most attracted to the best partner. A gal who looks good can land a superior guy who meets her special needs. So she has this instinct to make herself look good.
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    Going back to the original question it is thought that female pubic hair was a beneficial evolutionary adaptation to act as a buffer to prevent things such as UTI's and other harmful things entering the vaginal cavity where as the male pubic hair was possibly originally intended to be used to present their reproductive organs like a male peacock uses it lavish feathers to attract a mate. Remember humans have walked around naked far longer than we have clothed. Although I could be completely wrong on this claim, just a thought.
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  21. #20  
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    Bam

    That is not the usual interpretation.

    Most scientists who are interested in human appearance evolution will tell you that a woman's pubic hair is designed to highlight her pubic area. After all, female genitalia are out of sight otherwise.

    As far as clothing is concerned, there is no way to tell at what stage in human development that clothing was invented, or when humanity lost its body hair. My own view is that clothing came before hairlessness, and was the major reason for the evolution of hairlessness. After all, being hairless with no clothing can lead to hypothermia, which is definitely counter-adaptive.
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  22. #21  
    Veracity Vigilante inow's Avatar
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    Pubic hair also is known to trap strong scent pheromones and magnify their effect and their wafting.
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  23. #22  
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    Ornamentation? Change that to "display" and I think you'll see men do too. Buying dinner is a display, etc.

    Men are also choosy. Will a man consider a mate 10 years older than himself? Or kinda ugly yet loyal? Romance novels present improbable men part cowboy part poet part businessman, but most women settle for a few strong points and overlook much.



    ***

    On hair. It's a smart strategy to armour the precious genitals against damage. Evolution can do this by thickening the skin (which invests a lot of tissue, makes it inflexible, and hampers heat dissipation because fewer surface blood vessels) or by shrouding the tenders with wirey, expendable hairs.



    Inow also had a good point about wafting. The structure of pubic hair is very good for evapourating moisture because the breeze flows though it.

    My less romantic explanation of that feature of pubic hair is sanitary. Various crud - in moistened state - tends to flow from the skin to the hair, where it dries and is shed off much more cheaply and rapidly than tissue renewal and flaking. Notice what the pubic hairs do best of all is hold themselves away from the body.
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  24. #23  
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    As horrible as it sounds, I think sexual ornamentation is a way for a woman to demonstrate how far up the social pyramid she is by taunting would-be rapists. If a woman of too low social class (too few friends willing to avenge her) starts acting all sexy, she instantly becomes a target for sexual predators.

    Flaunting her looks is a way to demonstrate how unafraid she is.
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  25. #24  
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    That's quite an interesting (and deeply unrealistic) perspective there, kojax.
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  26. #25  
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    Be careful not to allow cultural biases to effect your opinions.

    It should be noted that ornamentation through fancy clothes and makeup was largely practiced by wealthy men in many cultures. What you really get is a difference between how men and women display status and attractiveness, rather than women being more inclined to those displays. For European history, the boom of female beauty products only really comes about during the early 19th century.

    Just look at how wealthy men dressed in the early 18th century



    And here a 17th century painting of a pair of knights.

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  27. #26  
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    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    That's quite an interesting (and deeply unrealistic) perspective there, kojax.
    Maybe invoking the concept of rape is a little too extreme. In a lot of cultural settings, however (especially ancient ones) women didn't have a lot of rights. Whatever you want to call it, obligatory sex with some guy she really doesn't like very much happened to a lot of pretty girls.

    I don't care if it's because some self entitled town bully decides she ought to become his lover, the office manager she's doing secretarial work for gets lecherous and commits sexual harassment (a very recently named crime), or because a passing white slaver working for a distant brothel decides to target her for abduction, there are a lot of situations where attractive women find it is in their best interests not to call attention to their attractiveness.
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  28. #27 Depends on the culture 
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    I think it all depends on the culture. Med do adorn themselves with ornamentation. Most guys that have flashy cars are going to go race them. They don't need a fast car to get good times on the track, it's to impress women. We do use objects to make ourselves more attractive to the opposite sex. It just isn't as obvious as women putting on makeup.
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