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The casanova complex

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Why men are such womanisers.

The cost is prohibitive, the position ridiculous and the pleasure transitory. Lord Chesterfield's summary pronouncement on sex could be an apt postcoital-script on the expose of Tiger Woods's compulsive promiscuity, which created a sensation in the global media and raised the eternal question: Why are men impelled to promiscuity? Why was this sports icon of millions, married to a beautiful woman, so sexually promiscuous? Why do men do it?

In Norman Jewison's film Moonstruck, a woman character answers that age-old question by observing that men are frightened of dying, far more so than women. Sociobiology, an offshoot of Darwinism pioneered in 1975 by Edward O Wilson, provides a less poetic but more precise answer.

According to sociobiology - the study of human behaviour as determined by genetic programming - in evolution, success literally breeds success. The hidden ghost in the biological machine, the selfperpetuating gene, has dictated this message through evolutionary history. Reproductive success is the compulsion that shapes our ends, rough-hew them or gloss them over how we will. This, according to sociobiologists, is the root cause of the schism between the sexes. In The Evolution of Human Sexuality, David Symons writes "Men and women differ in their sexual natures because throughout the immensely long hunting and gathering phase of human evolutionary history, the sexual desires and dispositions that were adaptive for either sex were for the other tickets to reproductive oblivion."

Sexual desire, Bernard Shaw remarked, was a biological gambit devised to keep the species alive. Sociobiologists go further and say that sex is the individual gene's way of making more genes in its own image. Or, since it takes two to mate, half in its image. Multiplication is the name of the game for both sexes, but the arithmetic of genetic investment is very different. Since the female ovum is much rarer (and hence more "costly" ) than super-abundant (and therefore "cheap" ) male sperm cells, and also because the female and not the male has to carry and nourish the child, a female's "parental investment" is much greater that that of the male. The average female can reproduce only about 6 to 12 times during her lifetime, whereas a male can sow literally thousands of wild oats, be he a sultan with a harem or the leader of a monkey pack. So it makes good genetic sense for a female to be a "careful shopper" in selecting her sexual partner and to concentrate on quality rather than quantity. All she really needs to ensure her genetic continuum is one child, male or female, who in turn will be the most likely to succeed in the reproductive rat race.

For males, on the other hand, genetic success lies in covering as many bets as possible, especially since there is always the nagging anxiety that a male can never have the biological certitude a female does that a particular child is really his. Each mother is a Madonna, though without the attribute of immaculate conception;each father is at best a presumptive father, doomed Don Juan in futile quest for the assurance of genetic immortality.

In order to mate extensively, a male has to enter into competition with other males to display that he is more powerful and more capable of looking after his sexual partner and their common genetic investment than others of his sex. This is why, say sociobiologists, females are - supposedly - more demure, faithful and home-oriented than males, and less liable to indiscriminate sexual stimulation. And why males are aggressive, outgoing and sexually promiscuous. David Symons has observed that in homosexual relationships, male homosexuals tend to have a more rapid change in partners than lesbians, though both are in a genetic cul de sac.

Sociobiologists claim that the genetic investment hypothesis explains why women keep the home fires burning while men go out to war, why adultery in a woman is considered far more "sinful" than in a man, why rape is almost exclusively a male crime, and why mother love is a deeper, more common concept than father love.

Like its once ancestor, classical Darwinism, sociobiology has come under attack for presenting a reductionist, brutish image of human relationships. It has been rebutted by feminists who argue, justifiably, that it reinforces gender stereotypes. The most serious problem sociobiology faces, however, is that its central thesis is overtly incompatible with a world threatened with the shock waves of the population explosion. In an overcrowded, increasingly unstable environment, the instinctual programming for genetic success is dangerously outmoded.

Sociobiology argues that the gene in the machine is oblivious to such extraneous consequences, seeking to replicate itself all the more prolifically in the face of threatened extinction. From the gene's point of view, so-called carnal knowledge is beyond questions of good or ill, being no more and no less than a robotic groping in the dark of carnal ignorance.

Why do men do it? The answer - according to sociobiology - is that they don't : their genes do it for them.

Reader's opinion (11)

Lalit ChaudharyAug 7th, 2012 at 15:39 PM

very bad

Sandeep AmberkarJun 14th, 2011 at 15:53 PM

For All the commentators,
Please watch the BBC documentary which explains the above points in details and with experiments on real people.The article neither favors nor outs down any view, it tries to explain an observation.

Anthony SaldanhaDec 6th, 2010 at 12:06 PM

Very absurd theory surely not acceptable. Any man who is spiritual and is aware of himself and respectfully loves himself will surely will not drop his pants to every woman in his life. He'll learn respect for women as his (if) mother would teach and father would respect his mother as a family.

Ashish DashNov 2nd, 2010 at 14:52 PM

"Cry no more ladies,cry no more,

for men were deceivrs ever

1 foot in sea,1 foot on shore

to 1 thing constant never."

and d only thing d scientists can do is just blame our gene 2 hide our character.

Shivkumar AshokkumarNov 2nd, 2010 at 09:25 AM

Men with no purpose in life spend their time in such pursuits. Research is the last thing on their mind. Gaining knowledge without any purpose or benefit to mankind is wasteful and carnal. If women are doing it nowadays then they give other women a bad name.

Saket Kumar SinghNov 1st, 2010 at 23:06 PM

I do not agree with these argument. My sexual behavior has changed considerably after moving from a small village to Delhi. Being only Male or Female does not determine the ultimate behavior. Many other parameters should also be taken into consideration.

Nov 1st, 2010 at 12:47 PM

Both Casanova and Don Duan, the Legendary womanizers belonged to Italy. But the women of that country also do not lag behind.Think of Bruno and Albero Moravia's Woman of Rome. Bernard Shaw was right in likening woman as a spider trying to entangle man in her web for purpose of procreation.

Sanjay FuloriaNov 1st, 2010 at 09:48 AM

If this is true, then why are women going for multiple partners these days? Are they not thinking of the genetic investment? I think more research has to be done in order to prove this conjecture.

Varun Oct 31st, 2010 at 14:02 PM

Definitely written by a man.. :)

Jyoti NairOct 31st, 2010 at 13:38 PM

How convenienet! More Tiger Woods to come! Once again in the name of knowledge we devise 'control mechanisms' for women! Construction of knowledge itself is gendered!

Rohan BhaleraoNov 2nd, 2010 at 02:38 AM

Well said Ma'am..!

 
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