The evolution of desire: strategies of human mating

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BasicBooks, 1994 - Health & Fitness - 262 pages
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How we choose - and lose - our mates has always been a source of fascination. This controversial book is the first to present a unified theory of human mating behavior. The Evolution of Desire is based on the most massive study of human mating ever undertaken, encompassing more than 10,000 people of all ages from thirty-seven cultures worldwide. If we all want love, why is there so much conflict in our most cherished relationships? To answer this question, we must look into our evolutionary past, according to David M. Buss. For in attracting, keeping, or even breaking up with our mates, we are closer to our ancestral forebears than many of us think. With examples ranging from "love bugs" to elephant seals, from the Yanomamo tribe of Venezuela to the characters in A Streetcar Named Desire and contemporary men and women at singles bars, the author tells what women want, what men want, and then explains why their desire differ radically. The book discusses casual sex and long-term relationships, sexual conflict, the elusive quest for harmony between the sexes, and much more. Buss's findings - which have been widely reported in both academia and the popular press - are provocative. He reveals, for example, why men lower their standards for short-term relationships but women maintain high standards for both casual sex partners and potential husbands. He explains why men worldwide prefer physical cues such as smooth skin and a particular waist-hip ratio. He demonstrates that women everywhere, regardless of their own status, prefer ambitious and successful men who will invest in them and their children. He shows that infidelity is deeply rooted in our sexual strategies. And he offers evidencethat divorce is a powerful and adaptive response remarkably consistent over time and cultures. Buss's research leads to a radical shift from the standard view of men's and women's sexual psychology. "Much of what I discovered about human mating is not nice", he writes. "In the ruthless pursuit of sexual goals, for example, men and women derogate their rivals, deceive members of the opposite sex, and even subvert their own mates". Ultimately we must confront the disturbing side of human mating in order to attain our goals of love and harmony.

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THE EVOLUTION OF DESIRE: Strategies of Human Mating

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

In a study involving over 10,000 people from 37 cultures, Buss (Psychology/Univ. of Michigan) uses evolutionary theory to explain the psychological mechanisms behind how and why people choose, keep ... Read full review

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User Review  - MissLizzy - LibraryThing

I read this book at a fairly busy point in life, so it took me about two months to get through it. I was glad to finish the last page, but at the same time I wanted to know more. I know that by taking ... Read full review



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About the author (1994)

David M. Buss is Professor of Psychology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

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