Biosociology: An Emerging Paradigm

By Anthony Walsh | Go to book overview
Save to active project

Chapter 7
Human Sexuality and Evolution

Bear in mind that some day all our provisional formulations in psychology will have to be based on an organic foundation. . . . It will then probably be seen that it is special chemical substances and processes which achieve the effects of sexuality.

-- Sigmund Freud

Underlying the human species' great cultural diversity is our common humanity, our human nature. Perhaps no other species-specific behavior is more predictable across cultures and across time than are patterns of human sexuality ( Symons 1979, 1992; Buss, 1989; Ellis, 1992; Wilson & Daly, 1992). It is recognized that there are many different patterns of sexual behavior reflecting different cultural conditions and which, therefore, require cultural or proximate explanations. However, I wish to emphasize the more fundamental and distal phylogenetic causes underlying the superficially different patterns anthropologists observe, while again emphasizing that distal and proximate explanations are no more conflicting explanations than phylogeny and ontogeny are conflicting processes.

All human beings share the same evolutionary history and, therefore, share common mechanisms in our genes and brains that direct the desire to reproduce. Culture is a human adaptation that allows humanity to adapt quickly to changing environments, including those changes we ourselves produce. But let us not forget that culture does not proceed in a biological vacuum. Current patterns of behavior are always informed by our evolutionary history. An understanding of this history provides a framework for an enhanced understanding of the currently pressing social problems of marriage and divorce, sexual violence, illegitimacy, crime rates, and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Biosociology: An Emerging Paradigm


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 276

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?