An Evolutionary Account of Cyclic Shifts in Women’s Mate Preferences

Seungbae Park


According to some psychological studies, women approaching ovulation feel the increased desire to have short-term sexual affairs with “sexy cads” while they are in long-term relations with “good dads.” I argue that this psychological property is a vestige of our evolutionary history. Early hominid females occasionally acquired good genes from top-ranking males while they were in long-term relations with low-ranking males. The Paleolithic living conditions indicate that women with the foregoing psychological trait were more likely to have viable children than those without it. Sexy cads are the descendents of the top-ranking males, and good dads are the descendents of the low-ranking males. Sexy cads and good dads will continue to coexist in the future, developing better methods to detect cheaters and to escape detection.

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