Why Men and Women Do What They Do

Why do men and women seem to have such different goals, interests, and behaviors?

Both men and women often get mad or frustrated because they don’t get what they want from the other. They also get mad or frustrated with themselves for making choices that do not get them what they want.

The anger, frustration, and stupid choices men and women make are the source of most of our comedy and drama because, after thousands of years of recorded history, we still don’t seem to understand why men and women behave the way they do.

The reason men and women behave the way they do is really simple. It is evolution.

We are not the product of everyone before us. We are the product of only those before us who’s genes caused the most copies of themselves to make it into our generation. We are thus the product of those whose genes caused them to employ the most effective reproductive strategy, and the most successful reproductive strategy for men is different than for women because:

A woman can have about 10 kids, and a man can have about a hundred kids. The genetically programmed male strategy thus focuses on quantity, and the genetically programmed female strategy thus focuses on quality. Quality in this context means “most successful at reproduction”. This is the root all of the interesting differences between men and women.

The men who had the most kids in future generations were those who were able to impregnate as many women as possible – regardless of how or why they were able to impregnate more women. The women who had the most kids in future generations were therefore those who tried to reproduce with those men who were best at impregnating as many women as possible – regardless of how or why those women tried. We are thus the offspring of those men and women, and have the same impulses that got more of their genes into future generations.

It is true that a man’s offspring were more likely to survive and reproduce themselves if he stuck around and helped raise them, but some men also impregnated additional women and thereby tricked other men into raising their offspring, so they had far more offspring in future generations than the men they had tricked. We are thus not only the offspring of those men who tricked (cuckolded) other men, but we are also the offspring of women who favored those men – regardless of their reasons – and thereby got more of their offspring into future generations too.

It gets even more interesting than that. A woman needed a man to provide food and protection for her and her kids, but not every woman could have the biggest, strongest, smartest man. So the best reproductive strategy for a woman was to be as loyal, helpful, and sexually available as possible for her husband, and then once per month, she would try to put herself into a situation where an alpha male could impregnate her. Therefore, we are the offspring of those women who loved their husbands but still tried to get impregnated by an alpha male. Therefore, women today have the same genetically programmed impulses as those women.

Just as the female reproductive strategy was shaped by the male strategy, the male strategy adapted to the female strategy by optimizing for both the husband role and the alpha male role.

Both the husband role and the alpha male role had reproductive advantages. We are thus the offspring of those women who tried to have some children by men who excel at the husband role as well as some children by men who excel at the alpha male role.

This is a self reinforcing cycle that would only get stronger as we evolved.

Let’s look at some specific consequences.

A husband who let his woman be impregnated by an alpha male or a better husband would get fewer of his genes into future generations than a man who took measures to prevent his woman from being impregnated by other men. Therefore, we are the offspring of those men who took measures to prevent their woman from being impregnated by other men. Therefore, men today have the same genetically programmed impulses as those men.

Being a husband might seem like a good strategy because a prehistoric husband had 24/7 access to his woman, but evolution can be pretty sneaky. For example, an anti-husband mutation caused women to be more likely to get pregnant if they have an orgasm, which obviously was an advantage for alpha males who got fewer opportunities to impregnate any given woman but whose one try was more likely to induce an orgasm than any of the husbands’ multiple tries.

Another anti-husband mutation has enabled men to produce sperm that would form a rear guard and thus block other men’s sperm from reaching the egg. Therefore, when a woman became fertile each month, if she let the alpha male try first, then his sperm might successfully block the husband’s sperm for the period in which the woman was fertile that month.

Although some men are alpha males and some are husbands, both have the same strategy. The difference is that alpha males are more successful at implementing the male strategy, which is why we are the offspring alpha males and of those women who were most successful at being impregnated by an alpha male instead of their husbands.

Clearly, a woman must be one heck of an actor to pull off the female strategy. Therefore, the descendants of those women are good actors, but the women before us were more than just great actors. The most successful women would have been those who really did love their husbands but who still tried to be impregnated by an alpha male. Therefore, the descendants of those women really do love their husbands – and – they are good actors.

The dual nature of the genetically programmed female strategy is one of the reasons men think that women send mixed signals and play games, and why women will often agree and not be able to explain their behavior, but it is not a game or mixed signals. It makes perfect sense once you understand its evolutionary underpinnings.

Another reason men think that women send mixed signals and play games is actually a real game.

Consider that in prehistoric times, if a man was able to chase a woman, catch her, and impregnate her without letting her injure him with her feeble blows, and without injuring her, then that man must have had good genes, and good genes was exactly what she wanted. It would have been a good reproductive strategy for women to put themselves into a situation where a man she was certain had good genes would attempt to prove himself in this manor. Obviously, when the game went as planned by both parties, it was quite mutual in spite of the woman running and fighting. Women today are thus the offspring of women who employed such a strategy and thus feel the impulse to engage in this strategy themselves.

Now the game would have been great fun for both the alpha male and the woman, but what if the woman was wrong and the man was weaker than she thought and he failed to block some of her feeble blows. The woman might then suddenly decide that the game was over because she could do better in this menstruation cycle, although she would have reserved the right to change her mind later that day – just in case there were no better males available.  Therefore, given that a woman can only have a few kids, and so every one must count, a mutation would thus have succeeded in pre-historic women so that when they were already trying to get pregnant by a given man, they might suddenly think that being impregnated by that man was horrible based on any one of many possible ques.

Hence, a woman today might really change her mind at the last minute for any one of many reasons that may be mostly subconscious, but which are real from a previously evolutionarily optimum perspective. Of course, this would seem really insulting to a man as well as making him think the woman was shallow and irrational, but if both parties understood the evolutionary forces at work, then they would be more likely to enjoy themselves as well as being more likely to part amicably if evolution throws them a curve ball at the last minute – and more likely to try again later.

The political elite use our genetic programming to manipulate us all the time. Just one of those manipulations relies on the fact that evolution has caused women to feel like they need a husband more than just about anything else. For many women, a priest has subconsciously served as a surrogate husband, and now politicians like Obama are also subconsciously seen as a surrogate husband by many women. Now that women are in the workforce, their boss and/or company can serve as a surrogate husband. Of course, government itself can serve as a surrogate husband too.

Religious and political surrogates, in addition to trying increase their own competitiveness with real husbands by playing a role or sometimes actually giving stuff to women, also try to reduce the competitiveness of real husbands. One way priests and politicians manipulate women is by raising women’s expectations for real husbands, so that women will be perpetually disappointed. Another way they manipulate women is by reducing the effectiveness of real husbands – consider how many black men are in jail.

Never forget that we each have a brain, which can override any genetic programming – especially if we are aware of that programming. Also, remember there is certainly no reason to get mad about our genetic programming.


Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 22 comments
Dennis Gorelik - April 14, 2013

How about much simpler explanation:
if your sexual partner has sex with other people, you have much greater chance to die from STD.
All these alpha-male considerations pale in comparison.

Dennis Gorelik - April 14, 2013

Another thing you forgot to consider is that men are often angry with men and women are often angry with women, and it often has nothing to do with sex.

Anonymous - May 18, 2013

Let's remember that the male and female members of the species were each made to COMPLEMENT (not necessarily "compliment") one another. Males have unique talents and traits which differ from females and females have unique talents and traits different from males. Each member of the species needs the other in order to to become whole. In order to carry on. To survive. True melding of the male and the female only creates GOOD and BETTERMENT of our society. And humans have a lot to learn from many of our fellow animals. Wolves, geese, a multitude of others are totally loyal and dedicated to their mates and to their off-spring. No matter what our other 'beliefs' may be, we need to believe in ourselves and in each other. We need to bring back the responsibilities we are capable of acquiring and maintaining. The truthfulness and honesty and universal love that is unconditional and real. We are not aliens independent of each other. We are each one half of a whole. If we respect ourselves and believe in ourselves and trust ourselves, we can make the perfect, complementary half of another perfect, complementary half. It would be such a wonderful world if everyone worked together – each in their own way – to create good wherever they are. This is the concept of the true human being no matter where they live, no matter what their background. May we all adopt the appropriate, loving attitude and respect towards all life on this Earth … in this Universe.

Anonymous - January 10, 2014

Your article totally ignores the fact in more recent time (not now) marriages were arranged. As well offspring were raised to be the labor force of the family till they could be sold to a better family for better family connections. You and I are victims of this scenario more than your prehistoric version.

Anonymous - January 10, 2014

I would argue a different point: we are the product of two different reproductive strategies altogether:

In one case, women seek out virile, alpha males and reproduce with them (either married to them or through adultery) or are impregnated against their will by conquerors. This most likely leads to physically stronger offspring if the pattern continues.

The other method, however, is one which does not pursue the physically strong but rather the mentally strong. In this case, nerds seek out nerds and produce mentally strong offspring.

Method number one breeds you Vikings. Method number two breeds bankers. Method one prevails by strength, method two by cunning. It is the genetic equivalent of the pen versus the sword. To my mind, the jury is still out as to which will ultimately prevail. Right now the pen is winning, but time will tell.

Jim - January 11, 2014

For millions of years, since before we were human, a male could potentially have ten times as many offspring as a female. The resulting genetic programming would not be significantly altered by the cultural practices of a few societies over several hundred years. Most cultural practices have been compatible with our natural genetic programming, and thus would not change our programming anyway.

Jim - January 11, 2014

Don't women seek a man who both strong AND smart?

Anonymous - January 11, 2014

Well, women picking their men is a very new phenomenon. At one time, it was men, namely fathers, who chose their daughter's mate, and usually chose them from within the family's professional field. A warrior like/physically strong father would favor a warrior like man for his daughter. A blacksmith, for example, would NOT be recruiting a bard to marry his daughter.

A bookish or business man would seek out the same for his daughter. Merchants don't tend to favor brawn. It's a nice plus, but the real asset is brains, and a lack of brawn can be overlooked if sufficient shrewdness and intellect exists.

It all depends on the ideals of the society. Jewish society, for example, has long favored men who are intellectual and family oriented, and they have been very, very successful with this model. Anglo-Saxons, on the other hand, created a society that favored brawn (think knights in shining armor) and relegated their intellectuals to celebate monastic life. And ultimately they were conquered by the moneychangers and live under their thumb today.

America has long favored brawn over brains. We worship football players and soldiers, not accountants. "Smart kids" are scorned and picked on while those that can throw a ball well are school heroes. And as we idolize brawn, brains has utterly stolen the show. Joe Sixpack works for nerdy lawyer guy, and it's much more likely that nerdy lawyer is screwing Joe Sixpack's wife than the other way around.

I think that it is a myth that alpha traits involve physical strength. Physical strength is good for clearing forests and fighting foes. But the army is only as good as the general leading it and there is only so much need for tree cutting before a city emerges. Whether we like it or not, humans with superior intellect tend to gravitate upwards while superior strength is no such guarantee. And for that reason, I think that women are more likely to favor brains over brawn. And less likely to risk losing the brain over a piece of brawn on the side.

Jim - January 11, 2014

It is even more about height than brawn. When asked who a women would rather date, they choose the taller man – period. The shorter man could be a rich doctor and the taller man could be a mechanic, and they will choose the taller man. Of course, dating is not marriage, dating is more about who a woman finds appealing – in other words who she would want to impregnate her. Women only prefer the shorter man if told the taller man is a child molester or murderer.

Being on a stage is also appealing. It represents superiority over those in the audience – just like a chief on an elevated platform.

Anonymous - January 11, 2014

True. but what women date and what they mate with are very different things, as you say. And dating is a VERY new concept in the human scene, so new as to not really be relevant.

In reality I think it ends up being an inverse relationship: the brainiest men are able to attract/buy the most desirable women and then use their money/power to isolate those women from access to the physically strongest men they might prefer. Take harems, for example. A completely nerdy and puny man could have as many gorgeous women as he wanted in a harem if he could afford them. And then he would hire/buy big strong men, castrate them and use them as guards. Brains win.

And unfortunately for men, women are not as sexually driven as men. Their motivations in seeking and appeasing mates are not so much sexual as they are comfort oriented. Eighty year old billionaires attract more blondes than a hot construction worker.

The strongest, toughest men are usually relegated to social positions where it is unlikely they would have any contact with the most desirable women, much less enough contact to mate with them. Soldiers/sailors/builders/farmers were not exactly sitting down to tea at the high table. In fact, in many cultures, the only men with access to desirable alpha women (such as guardsmen) were castrated, eliminating the possibility altogether. The least desirable women (less attractive physically or mentally) were then left for the lower classes or less successful men. The only saving grace there is that powerful men favor physically attractive men but not necessarily intelligent women, leaving women with good heads on their shoulders up for grabs for less powerful men. In truth, a brawny soldier would be more successful in choosing a less attractive but brainy wife than a brainless knockout. The latter might keep him happy in bed, but the former will triple his pension (so that he can buy the knockout on the side if he is that kind of man) and still keep him warm enough at night.

Anonymous - January 11, 2014

sorry, it should read:" The only saving grace there is that powerful men favor physically attractive WOMEN but not necessarily intelligent women"


Anonymous - January 12, 2014

How many fatal STDs existed in ancient times?

Anonymous - January 12, 2014

The author was talking about a much longer lineage than just the past 500 years or so.

Besides, Vikings prized cunning and surprise much more than brute strength. A bit of reading on the subject would make that abundantly clear.

I do like your point about conquerors. That is valid but I do think it can be fit into the author's theory. Conquerors were the ultimate alpha males.

Jim - January 12, 2014

You're still talking about short time spans from an evolutionary perspective.

You're still talking about small percentages of the human population.

Jim - January 12, 2014

If Jewish women pick a man who is richer smarter rather than physically stronger, then they are still picking the alpha males (the ones they feel have more power) because they can only have about ten kids each; whereas men can have about 100 kids each.

Jim - January 12, 2014

Conquerors proved that were more likely to get their genes into future generations, and thus were kind of welcome by most women.

The whole reason men have the motivation to conquer is because those who did have the genetic motivation to conquer got more of those genes into future generations, which was possible because a man can have hundreds of kids.

Jim - August 3, 2014

I thought the main flaw in Anonymous' argument was self-evident, but apparently not.

Anonymous is not only engaged in wishful thinking, but is insulting women by claiming they they are not capable of making themselves available to alpha males for a few minutes here and there each year.

Anonymous - March 2, 2015

What strange strategy are westerm women using, birth rates have collapsed, in UK or Scotland for example between 30 and 40 % of graduate women above 40 yaears old have no children, seems like a good startegy to perpetuate and spread their genes, ;-))

Economic factors are more decisive than genes, if children become a burden well ……. it seems muslim countries with islamic family law are doing quite well, much better than societies with feminazi law systems, you know: no custody, child support – forced into slave labor for having children -, having one home and assets stolen if one gets married.

Alpha male, beta male, provider, …………. irrelevant, countries were fatherhood is criminalized, were having children not a burden but a disgrace are going the way of the dodo, by the way the best it can happen such repugnant societies must dissapear the ASAP.

Jim - March 3, 2015

As I already explained, women are genetically programmed to value getting a man about as much as they value having kids. Now consider that having kids interfere with keeping a man and a job and with getting another man. Having a job helps a woman get a better man, while creating pressure to postpone kids. A job is also appealing to women because it is a proxy for getting a man, just as a government, a priest, or even Obama is a proxy for getting a man. They are unsatisfying proxies though.

You are correct that government makes marriage and kids a bigger liability,

Anonymous - January 26, 2016

Not only fatal STD's but STD's that kill you before you are able to breed new children. As evolution does not 'care' what happens after the genes have spread(*).

And you know what, those STDs are very rare.

Of course, STDs that make you infertile are more common.

I seem to recall the most common STD's are not those that make you infertile nor dead.

*: This isn't totally true, but ageing mechanics are not really relevant for this STD remark.

Jim - January 27, 2016

If STDs affect men and women equally, then they would not be very relevant to the differences between male and female behavior.


Leave a Reply: