Yes, females have sex drives too. But only the most politically correct ignoramus would try to argue that the drives are the same. Women are also quite capable of making fools of themselves because of sex. But we big boys seem to have more problems controlling the effects of “The Drive.”
How did “The Drive” get wired into us? Simple biology. Evolution gave females the baby-making equipment. So our evolutionary ancestor had to visit the baby factory if he wanted to produce offspring. Males who planted their genetic information into as many females as possible had a better chance of passing their genes on to the next generation. Variety and frequency boosted the odds. The big boys with the strongest compulsion to pass on those genes survived the pressures of natural selection. They evolved into us, guys!
Females had different evolutionary pressures, which explain the general female attitude toward sex. They had the baby-making equipment on board. They just had to choose a partner. Frequency of sex conferred no advantages. Variety conferred no advantages. Her best bet for passing along her genes was to find the best quality of genetic material to blend with hers. So females who chose the best quality males produced the best quality offspring. This explains the importance of exclusivity. If her carefully selected male partner was planting his genetic material in every available baby-making factory, then her own offspring would lose their advantage. This explains the deep emotional attachments most females feel to their male partners. It explains how men can say about a sexual encounter “it didn’t mean a thing,” and why women do not understand how they can say that.
By the way, men also need exclusivity. They need to know the female(s) they have chosen are carrying their offspring, and not some other guy’s. But there is a paradox to "The Drive” that torments males, offering no easy solution. Men need their chosen females to be exclusive to them, but are also driven to choose as many females as possible. That built-in contradiction is one of the true dilemmas of “The Drive.” The God who put this together has a wicked sense of humor.
This also explains why men seem drawn to younger women, even as men get older, even when their daughters get older. It explains why guys are scrutinizing those young girls, the minute their shapes start to curve toward womanhood, even when guys know that scrutiny is not acceptable or moral. Big boys want to plant their genetic material in women who can produce offspring. Ladies just need a potent man. The age doesn’t matter, as long as the guy’s not too pooped to pop. This also explains why couples can grow stale with each other. Once the offspring are produced, “The Drive” is not needed for genetic survival. So the initial excitement wanes, and without other deep emotional commitments, the relationship will probably fall apart. Those wired-in aspects of “The Drive” mandate it.
Understanding how “The Drive” evolved and how it affects us does not necessarily help us cope with it. We need to take our analysis one step further. First, we need to recall that we do not live in the world we are evolved for. Our bodies, and basic drives, evolved for the hunting and gathering life-style. We lived most of our existence that way, in small bands, migrating from place to place, picking fruit, gathering grains, and hunting for occasional large animal kills. Our appetites and chronic obesity can be traced to the fight between our current mode of existence, and the creatures we are that evolution created. For migratory humans chasing a sometimes uncertain food supply, the ability to gorge in times of plenty was a distinct advantage. For sedentary humans with a steady supply of food, it is the path to high cholesterol and bulging waist-lines.
What did those hunting and gathering societies do with “The Drive?” Does anyone really know? Were there weirdos—exhibitionists, rapists, pedophiles—in those societies? We suspect there probably were, since the quirks and contradictions of “The Drive” discussed here wouldn’t cease to exist in pre-historic humans. Because they lived in smaller groups, and did not have the image-bombardment of the media, did they think less about sex? This seems unlikely. Our media attention on sex is probably the effect of our fundamental nature, not the cause. But I don’t think we’re going to get much help by going back to the hunter-gatherers for insights. There are few hunting and gathering humans left, and I don’t think they will enthusiastically discuss their sex lives with our drooling, prurient culture. Their fossils offer few clues. We will be on our own to deal with “The Drive.”
So, let’s try to apply common sense. Because monogamy is the most logical conduct for our society as it is now constituted, there is a lot of pressure to behave that way. But “The Drive” demands to be satiated. It is hard to stop gorging, even as our weights rise. And it is hard to ignore the insistent call of “The Drive.” So we can find ways to trick “The Drive.” We can buy videotapes or magazines to satisfy the compulsion for variety. If we have to, we can close our eyes and pretend we are with a different partner. We can even make deals with our female partners who are not as “driven.” She might say “Yes, monogamy is what we’re supposed to do, but if you’re discreet, do not reproduce, and do not embarrass me by flaunting your deviation from acceptable monogamy, you may satisfy ‘The Drive’ with someone else.”
Did Hillary and Bill Clinton make just such a deal? Is this why the Clintons keep reiterating their own rights to privacy with anger and indignation? Is this why she keeps standing behind him past all apparent bounds of toleration? If they have such a deal, then it is their private business, and even the comments in this essay are in questionable taste.
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