What would cave woman do?

// 13 January 2011

Tags: ,

pants on floor.jpg

Oh how dull. Yet another commentator rolling out the “women are evolutionarylarily programmed not to have casual sex and that’s why we all secretly hate it so much” meme.

Ever stopped to wonder, Maura, before you cite your evo-pysh-led studies as evidence for your claims, whether all this harping on about “women behaving like men” and denying their deeply entrenched biological instincts – not to mention your equally worn assertion that women need to retain our “value” in the “sexual marketplace” – might have a wee something to do with female survey respondents saying they feel like they’ve “let themselves down” by having a one-night stand?

Or that not all women are even interested in having sex with men anyway?

No, didn’t think so.

Moving on…

Image by Micah Taylor, shared under a Creative Commons licence.

Comments From You

Emelyn // Posted 14 January 2011 at 1:28 pm

To quote the Breakfast Club:

“Well, if you say you haven’t, you’re a prude. If you say you have you’re a slut. It’s a trap. You want to but you can’t, and when you do you wish you didn’t, right? ”

I guess things haven’t changed as much since the eighties as we would have liked.

Mary Tracy // Posted 14 January 2011 at 2:35 pm

Oh, look at all the things that are intrinsic to human nature!

*Heterosexuality with no presence of homsexuality or asexuality


*Casual sex

*Human “Value”

And above all “the sexual marketplace”.

Somebody is deeply lacking in the imagination front. It’s been proven that all the things above exist only in a particular epoch, and are not unchanging human characteristics.

Perhaps if she found out that the “marketplace” has only been around since the 19th century, her head would explode.

coldharbour // Posted 15 January 2011 at 12:07 am

Another excellent, well-researched intellectually stimulating article from the Guardians online collection of philosophical gold. It’s good to know in ultra-competitive online environment where revenue is predicated on viewing figures the Guardian is not reducing itself to ‘controversial’ cheap tabloid drivel to get hits.

polly // Posted 15 January 2011 at 10:49 am

You missed out wanting to have as many babies as possible Mary Tracy. I wonder how these people who are convinced that our DNA mysteriously wants to reproduce itself (because it has a brain?) acccount for the existence of contraception.

Or indeed gay animals…..

Cycleboy // Posted 19 January 2011 at 4:05 pm

women are evolutionarylarily programmed not to have casual sex

The problem with that statement is that it is a theory that, as far as I can tell, has yet to be proven anyway. However, it has been so often quoted it’s assumed to be fact by many.

Many years ago I read another theory which suggested that, if a woman mated with many men, she might have many MORE protectors/carers for her child. As none of the men would know who was the father of the woman’s offspring, they would have to protect it, just in case.

No-one cites that theory when researching sexual behaviour? Odd that.

Maria // Posted 21 January 2011 at 10:51 am

Who can tell nowadays whether women fell bad about casual sex because society tells them they should or because of the nature of the actual experience? Some sex is better than others, right? You can feel pretty bad, maybe even used, lying next to a snoring lump who you happen to call your partner if the sex has been, ahem, underwhelming.

Also, has anyone bothered to check whether it is only women’s ‘happiness’ that has declined since the seventies? And by the by, who is measuring this happiness? I must say I feel pretty happy with free contraception, a (general) lack of judgement, free STI screening…I feel even happier since I made the decision that casual sex is not something I need to add to my list of worries. (because I’m unhappy enough as it is, right?)

Finally, since when do we need to use capitalist metaphors for everything?”It’s a market out there, not a set of independent relationships”. Funny, you could have fooled me on that one. And I thought I was having emotional connections with actual people; turns out they were business transactions.

Feminist Avatar // Posted 21 January 2011 at 10:03 pm

Until the mid-1700s, in the Britain, women were considered the more sexually agressive sex. The reference to ‘greensickness’ in Romeo and Juliet refers to the idea that women ‘needed’ sex for their health and became ill without it. Women were thought to desire sex more; needed it for their health and could be controlled by men who could satisfy them sexually (and equally would undermine and be unfaithful to husbands who couldn’t ‘perform’)- unlike men, who were able to control their sexual urges and had less need of sex due to their biological chemistry.

But, best not let a few historical precedents get in the way of evolutionary theory, eh?

Have Your say

To comment, you must be registered with The F-Word. Not a member? Register. Already a member? Use the sign in button below

Sign in to the F-Word

Further Reading

Has The F-Word whet your appetite? Check out our Resources section, for listings of feminist blogs, campaigns, feminist networks in the UK, mailing lists, international and national websites and charities of interest.

Write for us!

Got something to say? Something to review? News to discuss? Well we want to hear from you! Click here for more info

  • The F-Word on Twitter
  • The F-Word on Facebook
  • Our XML Feeds