THE COOLIDGE EFFECT: An Evolutionary Account of Human Sexuality by Glenn Wilson

THE COOLIDGE EFFECT: An Evolutionary Account of Human Sexuality

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Remember the one about President and Mrs. Coolidge visiting a farm? She wanted him to know that the rooster performed sexually several times a day; he retorted that the rooster had more than one partner. Hence, the ""Coolidge effect"": the view of human sexuality which posits that men are disposed toward promiscuity by evolution, while women are similarly inclined toward security with one partner. That is, we all have a natural instinct to do that which is most likely to ensure the ""survival"" of our genes. For men, with their virtually unlimited reserves of sperm, this means mating as often as possible with as many women as possible--while women, with only a few hundred eggs to a lifetime, choose a mate who will ensure the best possible offspring and the best possible protection and care during the offsprings' youth. British psychiatrist Wilson recognizes modifications implicit in the increasing sophistication of civilization (morality, birth control, etc.), but he maintains that these do not cancel out our basic instinctual drives. Though there may be occasional feminist exceptions to the rule, male aggression and female ""coyness"" are natural and proper to the sexual arena. (Such topics as ""The animal evidence"" and ""Possible disadvantages of female orgasm"" virtually wave a red flag in the face of feminists.) Few laypersons may respond to Wilson's highly theoretical approach and tone--after all, surviving biological instincts that no longer jibe with birth control and other new factors may find their days justifiably numbered. But as an alternative to more fashionable viewpoints, this line of thinking does have its interesting aspects.

Pub Date: May 13th, 1982
Publisher: Morrow