Sexual Fluidity in Women: An Evolutionary Adaptive Trait
Co-sponsored with the The Equality Project
March 24, 2014
Academic Building A G008, 5:00 PM
Sexual fluidity is context dependent sexual behavior where a person may self-report a sexual orientation of heterosexuality, but in fact engage in some same-sex behavior. As will be reviewed, sexual fluidity is different from bisexuality and lesbianism, which tend to be more static orientations and less about fleeting behavior. Further, sexual fluidity is apparent in women to a much larger extent than men. Thus, to begin, I will review several theories of sexual fluidity and then present an evolutionary explanation for the behavior. Then, I will present two recent studies on sexual fluidity, the first of which documents prevalence rates of sexual fluidity, while the second compares rates of sexual fluidity in women and men for the dimensions of physical attraction, emotional attraction, and fantasy. The results revealed that women, but not men, are more sexually fluid suggesting that it is indeed a sex specific behavior. I argue that sexual fluidity is an evolutionary adaptive trait and will present the allomothering hypothesis (Hrdy, 2008). Allomothering is when any animal other than the genetic parents help in caring for offspring. Unlike the other theories that have been used to explain sexual fluidity, the allomothering hypothesis is the one that offers the most adaptive potential. That is, it can be used to argue that condition dependent same sex behavior is adaptive and not a byproduct, a learned behavior, or a mechanism of attachment style that spills over into romantic situations. The final part of this talk will deal with testing this link between the allomothering hypothesis and sexual fluidity. In sum, I argue that allomothering is adaptive and can be triggered by condition dependent circumstances, which leads to sexual fluidity in women.
Reading will be posted to the EvoS blackboard group. Anyone with a Binghamton University email address can request to be added to the blackboard group by emailing EvoS[at]binghamton[dot]edu.
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