Science Fact of the Day

The Pincer Attack

One of the mostly commonly utilized conceptual weapons in the rhetorical attack on being a normal person is ‘sexual fluidity.’

In a nutshell: “Sexual fluidity is one or more changes in sexuality or sexual identity (sometimes known as sexual orientation identity).”  It’s a favorite concept among third wave feminists, especially those who argue against hetero-normativity (which is another way of saying, ‘reproductively viable intercourse’). It is especially important to these theorizers because sexual fluidity is allegedly very common among women and therefore central to female experience. I suspect it’s actually common due to the difficulty some feminist theorists have finding partners of the opposite sex. 

Anyway, recent findings contradict this notion. One finding inverts a major feminist theory, the other is more sobering.

In the first instance, it turns out that sexual fluidity, if it exists at all, may have evolved due to polygynous household arrangements. The idea is that sexually fluid women were less likely to be competitive if they found one another sexually attractive: 

“…women may have been evolutionarily designed to be sexually fluid in order to allow them to have sex with their cowives in polygynous marriage and thus reduce conflict and tension inherent in such marriage.”

And so women with such propensities supposedly remained in polygynous households longer (see Genesis 16:6), they had more children, and their children survived. Incidentally, unrestrained sexual behavior favors a small number of men in the modern world. So, on college campuses, a much smaller percentage of male students is sexually active with multiple partners from a significantly larger pool of female students who are active with multiple partners. And while this isn’t a polygnous marriage, it would be analogous to the circumstances under which alleged sexual fluidity evolved (multiple female cooperating for the opportunity to have children with resource/charisma rich males). In other words, sexual fluidity is just a way for the patriarchy to have multiple women and for women to have more children. It’s not actually a radical idea against the sexual order. 

In the second place, it appears to be much more rare than previously believed. “The present paper reviews longitudinal studies on sexual attraction which indicate that the great majority of women do not have a fluid sexuality, but have instead stable attractions over time.”

Haha, #science. And etc. 

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