The claim by evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa is that “men do everything they do in order to get laid”. Although Kanazawa is clearly going for some shock value with his claim, I must admit that I find his arguments compelling.
Kanazawa’s most recent in the series of blog posts supporting his claim is this post discussing the Tiger Woods sex scandal. Here are a few quotes that summarize the theory:
In the very short time since I have been a “blogger” at Psychology Today, since February 2008, there have been numerous sex scandals of politicians, athletes, and other celebrities: Eliot Spitzer; Silvio Berlusconi; David Paterson; John Edwards; Mark Sanford; David Letterman, and now Tiger Woods. This is nothing new. The only puzzle is that some of them had to pay for the sex. …
To recap everything I have said in the last two years on this blog, men do everything they do in order to get laid (Read Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI). This is mostly unconscious on the part of the men; they don’t necessarily know that they do everything they do in order to get laid. They consciously think that they want to attain the highest political office in the state or in the country; they want to become a successful businessman and make more money than anyone else; they want to practice and play hard so that they can become the best in their sport; they want to make America laugh so that they become the most successful entertainer. Men want to do these things because they are evolutionarily designed to compete and achieve, and, when they do, women seek them out as sexual partners.
Highly successful men have sexual affairs, not because they want to (if what men want mattered, all men would have a maximum number of affairs), but because women choose them. As I have said again and again, sex and mating among humans and other mammals is an entirely female choice, not a male choice; it happens whenever and with whomever women want, not whenever and with whomever men want. What men want doesn’t matter, because it’s a constant. What matters is what women want. …
Bill Clinton became the President of the United States, unconsciously, indirectly, and ultimately, so that he could get laid. David Letterman became America’s favorite entertainer, unconsciously, indirectly, and ultimately, so that he could get laid. Tiger Woods became the most successful golfer in history, unconsciously, indirectly, and ultimately, so that he could get laid. It would be a tremendous evolutionary puzzle if these men, after spending their entire lives attaining the status and resources they attained, then didn’t have affairs. And their wives married them because they were the kind of men who could cheat on them.
Now obviously I object to any claim that humans lack the free will to choose their own behavior. But in many way I think this basic idea, that males of our species are evolutionarily designed to socially succeed in order to convince females of the species to mate with them, actually is quite compatible with Mormonism. What I mean is that if we assume a spirit/body dualism in an evolutionary context then the idea that our bodies (aka “the natural man“) are evolutionarily designed to naturally behave in ways that aren’t compatible with the instructions of God regarding chastity fits quite nicely into a Mormon worldview.
And as I have mentioned in previous posts related to evolutionary psychology, there are other connections between EP theories and Mormonism. Most interesting of which is the EP claim that polygyny (one man marrying multiple women) is quite natural and to be expected based on our evolutionary past. Here are some interesting quotes related to that from another Kanazawa post:
All women have a vested reproductive interest to marry a man who is as desirable and attractive (physically and otherwise) as possible, but the more desirable and attractive the husband is, the greater the chances that other women would want him as well and thus the greater the chances that he would be unfaithful. There is a surefire way to guarantee that their husband will never cheat on them, and that is to marry the biggest loser that they can find so that nobody else would want him. But obviously no woman would want to do that.
There is an additional complication in the matter. Humans are naturally polygynous; humans have been mildly polygynous throughout evolutionary history. So it is natural for resourceful men of high status to mate with multiple women simultaneously. (But recall the dangers of naturalistic fallacy. Natural means neither good nor desirable. It just means is; it does not mean ought.) So polygyny – marriage of one man to more than one woman – is a deeply embedded part of male and female human nature. Men have always had multiple wives, and women have always been married to men who have had other wives.
It is true that, even under polygyny, many men still only have one wife while other men remain completely mateless. But we are disproportionately descended from polygynous men, because polygynous men invariably have more children than monogamous men. So most of us are descended from polygynous men (and, disproportionately, from highly successful polygynous men with a large number of wives), only a few of us are descended from monogamous men, and none of us are descended from mateless men. So polygyny remains a significant part of human nature.
Such is the dilemma faced by women, especially highly desirable women who are more likely to marry highly desirable men. The more desirable the woman is, the more desirable her husband is likely to be, and the more likely he is to cheat on her. The more likely her husband is to remain sexually faithful to her, the less desirable he is (and the greater the probability that perhaps she could have done much better than him).