Home Featured-Spot-2 Gender Economics: Monogamy is Costly, Female Competition is Fierce, Humanistic Values are...

Gender Economics: Monogamy is Costly, Female Competition is Fierce, Humanistic Values are Biological

The task of any living unit is to maximize reproduction to maximize its own genetic future.

Genetic future can be secured in different ways, but here I will be referring to sexual reproduction with an evolutionarily determined number of genes transferred by each partner being 50%. That is, under sexual reproduction, the only way to pass genes into the future is to do so with a partner of the other sex and to divide the genetic inheritance strictly in half. All individuals compete with each other to maximize their own genetic heritage, but choose sexual cooperation as one of the best ways to multiply that heritage when both are evenly and evenly genetically successful, whereas they will not achieve such efficiency separately, given the complexity of organisms and their interactions with the environment.

Males compete for the opportunity to mate because there are fewer female egg carriers than male sperm carriers. That is, males compete for the resource of genetic expansion: the fewer the resource, the higher the competition. This is the basic idea of the Gender Conflict Theory.

Females compete for males with each other because their own resource is small: they compete for the maximum efficiency of an egg whose reproductive resource is very limited. This concept was not taken into account in classical theory.

Competition between the sexes is caused by the relative scarcity of resources for genetic expansion: for males, females with eggs, and for females, eggs and their maximum productivity and preservation of offspring as a genetic product. Thus, the basis of competition is eggs: for males there are few eggs themselves, and for females their productive resource is small and fragile.

Female polygamy, an issue that has significantly changed the classical Gender Conflict Theory, is explained by the same reasons as male polygamy: the desire to maximize their own genetic continuation, but, unlike males, not through quantitative expansion, but through qualitative improvement.

Once again, the classical Gender Conflict Theory is based on only one factor: there are more sperm than eggs: for example, a human has tens of millions of sperm in a male and only 400 eggs in a female. This means that sperm carriers, males, will compete for access to egg carriers, females, as a resource necessary for genetic expansion.

It should not be forgotten that females put significantly more effort into reproduction than males, in accordance with Robert Trivers’ concept of parental contribution. Pregnancy and lactation are extremely energy-consuming processes involving also mother-fetus competition, and rearing the offspring carries significant risks for the female.

Thus, the original asymmetry is postulated: there are always many males and always few females, because it is cheaper to be a male than to be a female. This means that it is males who compete for females, i.e. one resource for genetic expansion is plentiful and the other is scarce.

Accordingly, the genetic success of the male depends on the number of females: he is able to give his genetic material to any number of females and thus maximize his genetic heritage. But for females the number of offspring does not depend on the number of partners (as a rule): she can give her genetic material to only one generation of a limited number of offspring. Therefore males compete for the quantity of genetic expansion resource, i.e. for the quantity of females, and females compete for the quality of such resource and for the survivability of transferred genes, i.e. for the quality of males.

According to this concept, male needs to maximize his reproductive success by maximizing the number of females he can mate with, so it is unprofitable for him to stay with one female. Reproductive success of females does not depend on the number of males, but on the survival of offspring and their own safety. So, females have to be choosy and diligent, while males simply don’t need these qualities.

However, competition between males for access to eggs is not the only kind of competition. Females also compete, and this modifies the basics of the classical Gender Conflict Theory.

Eggs compete for the highest quality sperm (these are the ones that increase genetic survival) and/or to maximize caring as a factor in the survival of their offspring. Which means that females may try to mate with different males in search of the best option and compete to keep the best male for the duration of their offspring. Females may also compete to reduce the cost of procreation, that is, to keep the male around all the time of his reproductive activity, as a constant source of spermatozoa, that is, a tool of their personal genetic expansion. Hence, among other things, the roots of polyandry and monogamy grow from here.

Female egg carriers choose different strategies: holding one partner or expanding the range of partners, sometimes on a permanent basis. Both strategies are aimed at maximizing genetic continuation. One strategy involves regular reproduction at the expense of one partner and contingent insurance for future reproduction, the other strategy involves reproduction at the expense of a variety of partners of varying quality in the hope of maximizing quality.

Thus, females of different species choose genetic expansion strategies that are suitable for them.

Females that choose to be as vivid and sexy as possible are committed to male retention: they display maximum sexuality and constant sexual behavior in order to be the best all the time for the male and keep him from cheating or, at least, to encourage him to return all the time, and to reduce the cost of access to the sperm resource (maximizing reproduction frequency) and increase the survival of their progeny through protection and care by the male in one way or another.

Besides, these females choose more or less aggressive behavior toward other females, related to what is called female meanness, female treachery or indirect aggression quite adequately measured by the bitches score – the “bitchiness” scale for females.

Females who choose to be unsightly do so with good reason: they usually have potentially many partners and count on a high number of males willing to mate. Then in the process of competition one way or another such a female will get someone: the female is one, and there are many males, so there is no point in being bright and competing for the quality of males, one can choose. The task of males is to get the maximum number of mating possible with different females, which are few and do not need to be bright in order to get male attention. But this means that protection of offspring of a particular female will be lower than offspring of a female who is always taken care of by a male or several males, and this dictates the necessity to maximize the number of offspring.

The convergence of sexual dimorphism (external differences between males and females) means reduced competition and lower variability of sexual partners. Males of species preferring monogamy have no need for constant competition for females, so they are not as large, bright and aggressive as tournament species striving to maximize genetic expansion under conditions of high competition and a small genetic resource, i.e. females. Monogamous species have a female at their side, always have a resource for genetic expansion, and their main task is not to compete for a female, but to ensure the protection of offspring and the female as a resource. In males of such species, their testes are reduced, their aggressive appearance is reduced, and their brains are enlarged, for obvious reasons. They have no need to compete with other males, no need to be constantly ready to impregnate someone as soon as the opportunity arises. But it is necessary to constantly take care of the offspring and the female, to remember them and recognize them, which requires many tasks and makes the brain grow.

Tournament species have few females, the competition for fertilization is high, and genetic expansion is only possible through constant struggle for access to the appropriate resource. The result of this competition is a constant search and fight for a new female or polygyny, when a male competes with other males to keep the harem.

Both males and females compete for a reproductive resource, i.e. the opposite sex, and there are two basic factors here: the amount of resource and access to the resource. For example, in a bullfrog population, when there are more females in the tank, it is the females that compete more, they are more aggressive and grow in size. And when there are fewer of them and more males – they are less aggressive and bright, but obviously more aggressive and visible males. 

In species whose populations have fewer males and more females, there is less competition between males and more competition between females. In these species, females tend to keep males as long as possible, i.e. to monogamy or polyandry. In such species, females are bright or similar to males in brightness of appearance, since they compete for males among themselves, or males are similar to females, since there is no need for high competition

For example, an experiment with a magazine and fake articles about the difficulty of finding a partner vividly illustrates sexual competition. Those who read fake articles about the ease of finding a partner reacted extremely calmly to reports that their lover was flirting with someone at a party. At the same time, those who read articles about the difficulty of finding a partner reacted extremely jealously and aggressively to the same reports. Thus, one must understand that jealousy is simply a conflict tool for maintaining a reproductive resource and an actual identification of an individual’s difficulty finding a sexual partner, which may reflect objective conditions or subjective evaluation.

Objective conditions are significant if the sex ratio is not in favor of the jealous person. Subjective evaluation is if the jealous person thinks so himself, for example, due to physical unattractiveness, personal complexes, and insecurity (I am too unattractive, my chances are not good).  According to the results of this experiment, the more time women or men spent with their friends of the opposite sex, the more often their regular partners wanted sex with them, were more angry about possible “innocent” contacts with members of the opposite sex and were more upset if they refused sex. Nevertheless, all of these points became less critical if they had previously been told how “cool” they were and how it was generally easy to find a good partner now, and especially for them.  

So, in species whose populations always lack females, males will compete for females and will inevitably be bigger and brighter.

In this regard, the sociality of many animals with many males and few females is conditioned by polygyny with the retention of a few females as a resource for genetic expansion. And this is the first sub-strategy. The second sub-strategy is monogamy and pairing. Both sub-strategies are caused by the desire of males to retain a rare resource and reduce reproductive costs.

In those species where males are few and females are numerous, females seek polyandry in some form or monogamy as two sub-strategies to maintain a stable and low-cost reproductive resource.  A third sub-strategy may be polygyny, since there will always be a male who can fertilize an egg. However, in this case, the female will have to compete with other nearby females. 

We should mention so-called stretched sexuality, i.e. female sexuality outside the receptive period, when sex cannot lead to fertilization. Prolonged sexuality is the most important way to keep the male for the constant obtaining of material benefits from him and her own protection and defense of her offspring as well as to reduce her aggressiveness. This mechanism is very characteristic of a variety of warm-blooded animals from birds to humans.

Some species may have different strategies within different populations, from monogamous to promiscuity, from polygyny to polyandry. (e.g., the wood curlew or yellow-cheeked lizard).

However, it should be taken into account that the volume of offspring is determined not only by the protection and stability of care on the part of the parents, but also by external factors. If parents are monogamous and environmental conditions are favorable, the number of offspring will decrease and the survival rate will increase: every offspring survives and there is no point in increasing efforts to maximize the number of offspring in order “someone will survive”. If the environment is dangerous or the risks of not surviving are high, parents will produce more offspring, because the probability of survival of each offspring is lower.

In a dangerous environment, parents may ensure their genetic inheritance through promiscuity or through polygamy – polygyny or polyandry – which somehow increase the probabilities of genetic success in the face of high external risks. Maximum number of fertilized females for a male and maximum number of offspring in each reproductive cycle for a female may be an optimal strategy when all efforts are directed to maximize the number of offspring rather than to protect the offspring in a dangerous environment to maximize survival.

Monogamy or polygamy does not determine strategy r or strategy k – putting maximal effort into survival and rearing one or more offspring or putting maximal effort into producing maximal number of offspring. Regardless of the environment, monogamy is simply a strategy to maximize offspring survival and/or reproduction.

Monogamous rather than polygamous (promiscuity, polynytic or polyandrous) relations are formed when social extraction of life-sustaining resources is not optimal: either the resource is scarce and it is better to extract it separately, or vice versa, so much that there is no point in social cooperation. In addition, monogamy, i.e., pairing, is affected by environmental threats: sometimes it makes sense to stay together and live in a community to increase the probability of survival, or on the contrary, it makes sense to disperse and be invisible.

Thus, the 4 types of sex interactions – promiscuity, polygyny, polyandry, and monogamy – are influenced by population density and structure, determined by how few or many males or females there are in the population. Accordingly, the emerging competition within and between the sexes, the distribution of and access to life-supporting resources, as well as environmental threats and their peculiarities. 

This allows us to represent the variation in the relationships between the sexes in the following nominal model:


Females/Males >1 = Polyandry^x/Monogamy^y

Females/Males =1 = Promiscuity^x/Poligamy^y

The degree of x and y depends on population density and structure, access to resources, and environmental threats.

It is important to note that all of the options presented for sex relationships have been considered here from a nominal point of view.  In practice and in nature, each of these types is quite conditional and elastic and can change from one to the other, etc.

For example, a very large number of warm-blooded species are monogamous only for the period of breeding. At the same time their monogamy is quite conditional, because while maintaining social monogamy, the partners are quite promiscuous in the sexual sense and in more than 50% of cases they have relations on the side.

Polyandry, as a type of long-term relationship, is not too common in its pure form, but is quite common in a sexual sense, where a female mates with several males to obtain the best genetic legacy for her offspring or to achieve the greatest genetic variation. For example, some turtle species are capable of laying eggs with multiple paternity, which is possible due to long-term sperm accumulation.  Long-term social polyandry is observed in a number of mammalian species, such as monkeys, some marsupials, most all social insects, some birds, like the jacana, etc.

Polygyny in general is a more common type of sexual relationships in many social species, primarily mammals. However, there are cases when the social and functional role of the male is absolutely decorative and he acts only as a genetic donor for the females around him.

Finally, promiscuity, the most ancient and frequent method of reproduction. However, it is present in one form or another in relationships of any sexual groups, from couples to harems, where partners are quite eager to maximize the volume and quality of their genetic inheritance through maximal genetic variability, which is possible only with the expansion of partner diversity. 

Summarizing the review of sexual interaction patterns, we can assume that competition is individualized and aimed at maximizing the efficiency of personal genetic expansion, which determines the invariance of human behavior formats. At the same time, the variability of specific behavioral responses depends both on the stability of specific innate and learned traits and on the elastic adaptive skills of adaptation to the environment. 

In general, we can say that aggression, empathy, loyalty, jealousy, caring, sex, and affection are tools or mechanisms for achieving personal genetic advantage applied by individuals, among other things, in gender relations.

Obviously, this once again illustrates the absolute biologicality of any anthropocentric “human” values.

All human values and behaviors have evolutionary and biological foundations that have changed little since the time of the proconsuls.

The invariance of the biological foundations of human behavior must be taken into account in the analysis of all specific sociocultural, political, economic and other processes of human society.