Mating is instinctive, but how does this instinct affect us? The answer is complex. It can be a powerful force on a subconscious level, causing outrage in otherwise righteous people. It can also lead to indecent proposals and the search for one’s soul mate. Luckily, there are psychological countermeasures that can help keep our current relationship strong. Let’s take a closer look. Here are three key steps to making the most of your love life.
First, consider the environment you live in. Many animals have bizarre mating rituals. Some are able to reproduce in the rainforest’s interior, on parched deserts, and even on frozen poles. Others require elaborate rituals to attract a mate. And some will kill their mate once they get it. In most cases, though, they will survive and even thrive once they have the perfect mate. So, what drives our sexual preference?
Social exclusion and social interaction are tools that girls and women use for intrasexual competition. The Sociosexual Orientation Inventory (SOI) can identify individual differences in mating strategy. The SOI contains items measuring past sexual behavior, predicted sexual behavior, and openness to casual sex. For instance, higher SOI scores are indicative of a more relaxed attitude towards sexuality, while lower SOI scores indicate a more rigid approach to sexual intercourse.
Individuals’ mate values are determined by their sex, age, and gender. High mate values are more attractive to their potential mates, and therefore more likely to reproduce. The biological differences between the sexes also play a role in this, and the sex-specific mate preferences of the opposite sex are highly correlated. So, mate value is a powerful indicator of reproductive success. That’s why we see such extreme differences between men and women.