Sociobiology

Despite strong evidence attesting to cultural variability, there is a large literature that presumes that human males are sexual aggressors and human females are by nature sexually passive or very selective in their mating choices. Sociobiology is the perspective that widespread social behaviors are the result of natural selection and are to some degree genetically controlled. Sociobiologists do not suggest specific genes for rape, but do argue that genetic factors contribute to sexual aggression. Basing their theories on aggression in other species and the belief that evolutionarily ancient behaviors are embedded in our genes, they point to acts of forced copulation by male animals (Ellis, 1989, p. 45). Forced sex is not typical in most species, however, with young males more likely to try to copulate with resisting females. In Men in Groups, Tiger (1969) argued that males are genetically wired to bond with other males and to exhibit aggression and that females tend to be excluded from aggressive organizations and kept separate in subordinate relationships with adult males who protect them when the group is attacked. Tiger (p. 190) believe that it is the lonely deviant individual who rapes. Crucial to a sociobiological approach is the notion that males enhance their reproductive success by copulating with many females and preventing other males from copulating with those same females. Females are thought to enhance their reproductive success by selecting the strongest male protector and engaging in an exclusive relationship with that male. Such arguments do not account for cultural diversity, the facts of rape, or the sexual behavior of female primates. Feminist critics remind us that for a genetic propensity for forced sex to have evolved, there must be a high probability that rapists impregnate their victims. Reviewing evidence on the risk of pregnancy from rape, Ellis (1989, pp. 46-49) found that 3% of rapes are reported to result in pregnancy. Rapes involving several rapists or child-abuse cases where there are repeat copulations over extended periods of time do result in higher incidences of pregnancy, 6.3% and 11.6% respectively. Data are lacking on whether or not such pregnancies might be aborted or result in increased infanticide in cultures where those options are available, and it is unclear what advantages accrue to rapist-fathers in cultures where a women's children belong to their "husbands" regardless of biological origin and where sexual predators are ostracized or executed for their acts. In Female Choices, the anthropologist Small (1993) shows that females and males are not that different in sexuality and mate choice, and there are variations among primates that make simple sociobiological arguments incapable of explaining human behavior. Small (p. 202) cites studies showing that nonhuman female primates are neither passive nor choosy when males do not restrict their behavior, and that over three-quarters of the world's cultures believe both male and female sex drives are strong. She also cites the Kinsey studies and Playboy and Cosmopolitan surveys showing that American women are sexually active, with their sexual interest increasing with age and their rates of extramarital sex approaching those of men. Small (p. 208) argues that it is male power that compromises female choices, with males convincing women that they are less sexual as a means of controlling female sexuality for their own ends.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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