Evolutionary Theory and Mate Selection
Evolutionary theory explains a wide range of common human behaviors, such as mate selection. The process of human evolution describes the gradual change in human traits to what they are currently. Mate selection is one of the most widely studied facets of evolution because of the perceived attachment to human well-being in finding the right sexual partner (Buss & Schmitt, 1993). Current studies show that traditional dating has changed, and there are newer methods of mate selection. Dating has evolved due to the increase in sexuality and changing perceptions of the sexual roles of men and women (Eaton & Rose, 2011). In past cultures, men would have multiple sexual partners while women were restricted to one. However, with the availability of online dating sites, changing gender roles, and accepting the LGBTQ community, dating has become more egalitarian across all genders.
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Egalitarian Contemporary Dating
In the 21st century, women have tried to ensure that men do not control their dating strategies. Nowadays, they use power strategies to get the men to commit, instead of having a brief sexual encounter that will hurt them (Hamilton & Armstrong, 2009). In the modern dating scene, women will withhold sex with their partners for as long as possible to ensure that they commit. On the other hand, men try to gratify themselves using the women they like. It is a delicate balance that both genders have to manipulate to ensure that their needs are met (Eaton & Rose, 2011). Women want emotional attachment during mate selection, while men often want gratification first and emotional attachment later. Either way, it has become a struggle of the sexes to ensure dating fulfills both partners’ needs.
Another factor that has changed mate selection is the availability of online dating sites. Most young people currently are tech-savvy, but they lack sufficient skills to approach a suitable potential mate face-to-face (Finkel et al., 2012). They prefer the emotional security that dating sites such as Tinder and OkCupid offer. There are thousands of other options around if single people get rejected by a prospective date (Sales, 2015). Women have kept up with the pace of sexual activity because, in their twenties, they prefer to advance their education and develop their careers before settling down in marriage. It is becoming increasingly common for women to approach men without fear of judgment nowadays (Hamilton & Armstrong, 2009). Therefore, they will also turn to date sites to get quick sexual escapades when they need them.
Finally, despite the challenges that the LGBTQ community has faced over the years, they are becoming more visible online and offline. Stigmatization is still an issue, but they have their support groups to find solace in each other (Rupp et al., 2014). The community members are actively participating in mass action to ensure that they get equal treatment in society as their heterosexual counterparts. The increasing boldness of LGBTQ people embodies the egalitarian nature of the contemporary dating scene.
Given the evolution of human mate selection, there is increasing egalitarianism between men, women, and members of the LGBTQ community in finding suitable sexual partners. If someone is too shy to approach a potential mate face-to-face, he/she can do it discreetly by registering on an online dating site. Women, who have traditionally been handed subdued sexual roles, are now bolder and more active, showing that they can find people to meet their sexual and dating needs.
Buss, D. M. & Schmitt, D. P. (1993). Sexual strategies theory: An evolutionary perspective on human mating. Psychological Review, 100, 204- 232. Web.
Eaton, A. A., & Rose, S. (2011). Has dating become more egalitarian? A 35-year review using sex roles. Sex Roles, 64, 843-862. Web.
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Finkel, E. J., Eastwick, P. W., Karney, B. R., Reis, H. T., & Sprecher, S. (2012). Online dating: A critical analysis from the perspective of psychological science. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 13, 3-66. Web.
Hamilton, L., & Armstrong, E. A. (2009). Gendered sexuality in young adulthood: Double blinds and flawed options. Gender & Society, 23, 589-616. Web.
Rupp, L. J., Taylor, V. Regev-Messalem, S., Fogarty, A. C. K., England, P. (2014). Queer women in the hookup scene: Beyond the closet? Gender & Society, 28, 212-235. Web.
Sales, N. J. (2015). Tinder and the dawn of the “dating apocalypse”. Vanity Fair. Web.