A consequence of cuckoldry: More (and better) sex?
This line of research is controversial
but important because it may help us
better understand — and prevent — sexual
Humans seem to have evolved to be primarily
monogamous, with occasional cheating, said
University of Michigan psychology professor
William McKibbin, PhD, at APA’s 2011
Annual Convention. As a result, about 4
percent of children worldwide are fathered
by someone other than the man who believes
he is the father, according to a meta-analysis
published in the Journal of Epidemiological
Community Health (Vol. 59, No. 9). That
tendency allows females to have more genetic
variety among their offspring, but for the
cuckolded male’s genes, it’s bad news.
“It’s a double whammy,” McKibbin said.
coercion and rape, McKibbin said. One
“Not only are you not having your own
offspring, you’re devoting your time, energy
and resources to another male’s offspring.”
To defend against cuckoldry, men have
developed a variety of behavioral and
biological defenses, McKibbin said. In one
study, in press in Comparative Psychology,
McKibbin and his colleagues found that men
at greater risk for cuckoldry (as measured
by the proportion of time they’d spent away
from their partners) became more interested
in having sex with their partners. They also
found their partners more attractive and
engaged in more “mate guarding” behavior
— for example, monopolizing their partners’
time at a party. This effect was independent
of the amount of time since the couple last
had sex, so it wasn’t just the result of built-up
desire — and it was moderated by how much
a man trusted his mate not to cheat, McKibbin
such finding, in McKibbin’s Comparative
About 4 percent of children worldwide are fathered by someone other than the
man who believes he is the father, finds research.
Psychology study: Men at risk for cuckoldry
were later more likely to pressure their
partners into having sex.
These findings, in combination with past research showing
that men at risk for cuckoldry produce more sperm, thrust
more vigorously and are more interested in their partners’
orgasms than males whose partners’ haven’t had a chance
to cheat, suggest that sperm competition has been common
throughout human history, said McKibbin.
“Cheating has been around for a very long time,” he said.