Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Sexual behavior and number of kids

From Half Sigma:


What Roissy calls “beta behavior” evolved because it’s the most successful reproductive strategy in a civilized society. When pre-marital and extra-marital sex was very strongly discouraged by society, being able to talk a girl into bed didn’t mean spreading your genes as much as it meant being forced to marry her at the end of a shotgun (or crossbow or sword or whatever weapon was used back then), or even worse, killed by her angry relatives, put in jail for the crime of adultery, etc.

Modern society is now reverting to a more primitive form, and the beta behavior bred into humanity over many thousands of years will much more quickly be bred out.

Good stuff, but it looks like the data don't really support the idea that, compared to, say, 50 years ago, promiscuous men are producing more babies, while more monogamous men are failing to reproduce. Audacious has shown that men with only one lifetime sexual partner have the largest families. This is true for all races, and the correlation across categories is strong (.57).

How many female sexual partners you've had since 18 was asked on the General Social Survey twelve different years from 1989 to 2008. Men of all ages were asked the question, so a skeptic like Whiskey might argue that the sample is loaded with old men whose prime reproductive years were during an earlier era where sexuality operated differently. So let's look at men ages 30 to 39 from this decade. (We need to choose men who are old enough to have demonstrated their sexual pattern). I focus on white men since the black sample size is insufficient.




The pattern is the same as that observed by Audacious: the group with the most kids are men who've only had one sex partner since age 18. And these men were in their teens in the 80s and in their twenties during the 1990s, so they do not come from an era where out-of-wedlock births were uncommon.

Next, we'll look at trends to get a sense of the future.

6 comments:

Jokah Macpherson said...

Birth control acts as a self-eugenicization (?) mechanism. The libertines have fewer kids that would interfere with their lifestyle and consequently fewer people tend to follow in their footsteps. It's ironic that the "shotgun wedding" HS describes has the opposite of its intended effect - it forces the promiscuous into a situation where they are more likely to reproduce again. I eagerly await the trend analysis.

On a related, but tangential note, I find it strange that the GSS has no variables for sex frequency, only partners.

silly girl said...

"The libertines have fewer kids that would interfere with their lifestyle and consequently fewer people tend to follow in their footsteps."


According to the census, 29% of women produce 55% of the kids. 20% of women have no children.

Also more than half of all children have two or more siblings.

What remains to be seen is what these kids will choose for themselves.

Jokah makes a great point. Now that people can actually choose, what will they choose? I am a fan of natural processes. I think mother nature will win this one. Those ladies who have the mothering instinct will have more kids and pass on their mothering instinct. Natural selection chooses the most successful. It works even when we think we have a way around it.

Jason said...

Mean number of children... that they know about.

Or will admit to.

Audacious Epigone said...

Great post. I'm eagerly awaiting the follow-ups.

I am frustrated by how self-described HBD realists so easily presume that hundreds of thousands of years of pressures on human detection of sexually desirable traits could be neutralized by acting more self-assured and memorizing some conversational negs. Roissy is thought-provoking, but the data aren't there. Instead, the evidence shows that sexual patterns have been pretty ho-hum over the last several decades, changing very little over time.

Jokah,

The GSS does have a variable dealing with sex frequency over the past year--SEXFREQ--although it is by range, not specific number of times.

Richard Hoste said...

The most direct way to see if the IQ is dropping is by looking at whether the dumber are having more kids than the smarter or vice versa, not by looking at a proxy for responsibility like sexual behavior.

Self-reports on sexual partners is probably the least reliable social science evidence there is anyway.

Dysgenics seems to be a universal trend when looking at social class and TFR.

Just looking at racial birth rates in the US should be enough to convince you that we're headed in the wrong direction. Hispanic women average 50% more children than white women.

roissy said...

"I am frustrated by how self-described HBD realists so easily presume that hundreds of thousands of years of pressures on human detection of sexually desirable traits could be neutralized by acting more self-assured and memorizing some conversational negs."

hey, plastic surgery is a fairly recent cultural change that is doing a serviceable runaround the male detection systems. there are a lot of women with nose jobs who have probably scored themselves a man a point higher in sexual market value than they would have otherwise.
anyhow, game is a bit more than memorizing a few negs. even still, once you've dropped a neg on a woman i guarantee you'll be amazed at just how effective it is at lighting up a hot chick's eyes with attraction.

"Roissy is thought-provoking, but the data aren't there."

this depends on what kind of data you're looking at. in matters sexual, where our core self-conception resides, blunt tools like the GSS will always come up short at giving us the real picture. frex: sluttitude. there is too much incentive for people to lie or forget on these sorts of questions. now, that's not to say the GSS doesn't hint at something true, but i wouldn't take it as the be all and end all of sexual behavior data. i've met too many women who won't count "vacation flings" or BJs as a notch on their partner belt.
and then there is the distinction between sluttiness and hypergamy. for instance, what limited self-reported data we have shows that the slut factor (# of partners) for women has only gone up about 1 over the last 40 years, but this tells us nothing about which men
are reaping the pussy bounty. a modern urban woman, delaying marriage and childbirth, may opt to forsake betas for long strectches of celibacy, or partake of "fuck buddy" status with one or two alphas shared by multiple women. her partner count won't go up much, but that's no consolation to the betas who wait at the sidelines for her to age into attainability.

"Instead, the evidence shows that sexual patterns have been pretty ho-hum over the last several decades, changing very little over time."

it could be the case that blue state urban babes are slutting it up big time while red state religious girls have gotten more chaste, resulting in a fairly stable partner number over the past few generations.