Are our genes really this selfish?

Submitted by Zlarp on
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This is a post I just put on the nofap reddit and I thought I might share it here as well:

I just had a thought.

From things like yourbrainonporn and reuniting.info I've come to see how porn works in the primitive brain: it's like your own personal harem, which you keep fertilizing and fertilizing.

Those sites put up your biological conditioning as a sort of supervillain that has to be fought. They say us males are programmed to fertilize as many receptive females as possible to spread our genes.

And, you know, that sounds reasonable at first, until you think about the possible ramifications of this: What would happen if you were actually to fertilize hundreds of receptive women? Think about it.

They would, of course, all get your children. Now, even if these women could somehow take care of these kids without you, there'd be a problem: you're now stuck with hundreds of children that have your genes. In small communities - the kind that used to be common - that's not a very good thing. In fact, it's a really really bad thing. These kids would be more likely to have incestuous relationships, simply because there'd be no other choice of partners.

So I think evolution built a mechanism into us to prevent this kind of thing. It's not obvious because it happens subconsciously: our genes actually make us less attractive to the opposite sex if we orgasm a lot, because the primitive part of us actually needs genetic diversity so that our own genes have a bigger chance of survival. I think by exhausting ourselves sexually all the time, we voluntarily let other men have a go at it so that our own kids will then have a better chance at finding suitable, genetically diverse mates.
And this, my friends, is where I think the nofap benefits really come from.

Here are a couple more pieces of the puzzle

First, until recently, a lot of progeny didn't survive to reproductive age. Look how many seeds a tree makes...to keep its species at status quo.

Second, in all primates, either the females or males leave the troop at maturity. That's what discourages in-breeding. My guess is that in our ancestors, males left...until we got the idea of trading women to make alliances with neighboring tribes. But it's possible it was already usually the young females who left. Dunno. Either way, number of offspring probably didn't have to be regulated to prevent in-breeding.

That said, I think we "get turned off" for a closely related reason...to urge us to mix genes with new partners. Evolution frowns on monogamy. Genetic diversity serves it much better.

That is not what I'm saying

I don't think I got my idea across just now. Let me try and rephrase: If my genes really wanted me to have sex with hundreds of women, why would they make me less and less attractive to the opposite gender with each ejaculation? Why would having a lot of orgasms turn me into a wreck of a person full of social anxiety if I were functioning as intended? Should my body not be making me more confident and attractive so I can have more sex with more females, according to your theory?

But that's not what's happening. My genes don't want me to ejaculate this often, even if I consciously will it - they just take my opportunity away by making me completely unattractive to women until I've recovered some.

Maybe so that

you occasionally turn your attention to other vital activities, like hunting and gathering??

We evolved with some degree of balance, too. As we point out in our book, there's not just one underlying program that affects our sex lives. We're pair bonders (because that must have improved the survival of our offspring, even if it meant fewer offspring for men), and we still have the tension caused by the Coolidge effect (rewarding feelings for connecting with novel mates).

It's not one or the other. Today's focus on constant erotic novelty and switching partners (and lack of focus on bonding behaviors) is skewing the balance we evolved with, but there was probably always some tension.

genes for attraction

I learned of a study a while ago where a female's attraction to males was carefully observed before and during pregnancy. An unfertilized female was attracted to males with non-family genetic makeup. Once pregnant, a female preferred the company of related males. The experiment was on rats, I believe.

The survival logic is pretty straight forward. Once fertilized, a female preferred the company of related males for "family" security. Prior to fertilization, a female preferred the company of unrelated males for genetic diversity.

Now for the kicker...

When the females were put on the hormone which is commonly used for "birth control", their male company preference was switched. They became attracted to related males.

The implication for the human race is nothing short of astounding. If a single woman is on "the pill", her natural attraction to males is going to be incorrect for good genetics, and is going to prefer "related" males, which diminishes genetic diversity.

Now for a personal story related to this. I met my lovely wife in college. I was immediately smitten by her, and set about a "courtship" of sorts. We became friends immediately. She was on "the pill" at the time. I fell madly in love with her, while she was just in "like" with me. We would spend most every morning over her coffee and my tea, sometimes with breakfast, and had become so known around the college that others just assumed we were married. Long story short, her circumstances had her stop the pill, and she fell in love with me. It will be 24 years of marriage this coming January, presuming the success of my reboot and our Karezza progress.

That's really interesting

I noticed that the pill made some of my friends a bit...placid. I refused to take it, with the result that I retained my stormy emotions (not such a great benefit) and ultimately had to start digging deeper for answers, which has led to a fascinating journey.

Human sexuality: So much still to learn!

stormy emotions

are what caught my eye with her to begin with...

I had gotten into the habit of playing pool at the college student union between classes with her boyfriend (didn't know her at the time). She was "storming" out of the pool room after giving him a good earful for standing her up when I decided to follow her instead of play pool. I jokingly say that I "won her playing pool with her boyfriend". Truth be known, he was a bit better than I at pool.

Love/Like

Yup. And to be honest, she wasn't really "into" me during her pregnancies (we've had two children together).

Often you hear of a couple where she's really horny when pregnant. A study might be interesting. How many of the couples where she's horny when pregnant met when she was on the pill?

Well, the honeymoon neurochemicals

only last a year, or two, at most anyway. Then we get a honeymoon period with our babies (or at least I did), and that floats you a while longer. But sooner or later, that honeymoon high is gone, and the nature of the love changes, for better or worse. Some of us maybe less affected by the hormonal changes. I wasn't so lucky.

There's also evidence that BC pills alter our tastes in men:
http://www.academia.edu/327208/Does_the_Contraceptive_Pill_Alter_Mate_Ch...
.

Quizure

Thanks

The only thing that makes me squeamish about this account is that "chimpanzees have sex for pleasure." Basically chimp sex is very violent, with males punching out females to make them submissive because there's so much competition from other males that they need the female to "cooperate." Blech. Bonobos are different in this regard, but a lot of their sex is "sex" - social bonding through genital rubbing...not pursuit of climax.

The reason I guess we evolved from primates where the males left is that male adolescents are notoriously more reckless and impulsive than females (on the whole). Those are the qualities that propel adolescents to do the scary thing of leaving the troop, herd, whatever.

I have had similar experience

I have had similar experience with having sex with my ex,gf when I was in a destructive relationship we seemed to have sex alot, which I liked but I just wanted more and the question is that healthy? I needed it craved sex the sensitive Touching my gf has her skin so soft everything as mentioned set me off. I look back as it was and is natural thou formed into addiction desperate lust a
nd so on.

The question is,

are you going to try something different next time, or do what I did and think you're just continually picking the wrong people? Wink We're bringing a lot of these "destructive relationships" on ourselves it seems.

Well hope I have learned from

Well hope I have learned from that. While ago so I have a more broader perspective and idea on sex than before. She had bad problem s and in turn I caused a lot of problems in the relationship so I feel I have learnt a great deal from all wrong choices I've made in my life:) so Marnia I was a stupid head then but now IM a wiser young man for real!