Just don't call it cuddling.

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Women have sex when they feel loved. Men feel loved when they have sex. Or, so I've been told. Treating sexually compulsive men, I'm often treated to a discourse on the biological reasons men need to have sex with multiple partners. It's the women's fault if they can't understand this, and accept it. It's the way we have evolved, to spread our seed far and wide, thus ensuring the continuation of the species.

Women are different. From an evolutionary perspective, a man will have sex with pretty much any woman who is young and healthy enough to have a child. A woman, on the other hand, needs some information about a man. Is he skilled enough to be able to hunt successfully, strong enough to defend his catch from others, generous enough to share the kill, caring enough to protect a woman and child?

It's more complicated for women.

The researchers Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam analyzed mountains of data gleaned from internet searches. Their book, A Billion Wicked Thoughts, offers a clear picture of the differences between male and female sexuality. They sum it up like this: Men have the power of “Or”. Women have the power of “And”. A man will think; Cute butt. OK. Or, nice breasts, OK. Or, she looks sweet. OK. Or simply she's available and willing. OK. A woman needs more. Cute butt, and strong arms, and kind face, and likes my kid, and asks how my day went, and he treats his mother well, and he looks me in the eye...

Evolution is a good place to look when trying to understand aspects of human behavior, but you have to look at the whole picture. Neanderthals died out around 45,000 years ago while inhabiting the same areas of Northern Europe as Homo Sapiens. Why did Neanderthals go extinct and Homo Sapiens (That's us.) survive? There are a number of theories about this; superior weaponry, domestication of wolves, differing ability to survive severe climate change and others. The consensus is that it was not one thing, but rather a combination of things that gave us the advantage we needed to survive. Among those things are community, language, culture, ritual and other more “civilized” traits. If we had not developed these higher conceptions, we would likely not be around today.

Our modern image of the Neanderthal is a brute who will whack a woman on the head with a club to have sex with her. This might be a good strategy, short-term, to get laid, but it does not work too well for sustaining relationships or species survival for that matter. Darwin's original “survival of the fittest” notion had to be revised to accommodate the distinct advantages derived from community, sharing, communicating and cooperation. These “softer” attributes of our society are the very things that gave us a comparative advantage back in the day. They are the same qualities which allow us today to have successful lives and fulfilling relationships.

This is obviously more of a stretch for men than for women. It flies in the face of our societal delusions around our gender roles. It challenges our male dominance. But our own personal goals as well as the greater good, are better served by us men adopting these more “feminine” attributes of our culture – community, cooperation, music, art and touch - non-sexual touch of course. Hugging is good. Plenty of data on that. So is hand-holding and good clean massage. Lying skin-to-skin calms our autonomic nervous system. It's very healthful. Just don't call it cuddling.

© Tim 2015