Quick Definition: An evolutionary biologist’s hypothesis that females tend to choose males that will most likely yield a male offspring with great reproductive success, despite conflict of interest in her sexual mating strategies.
Richard Dawkins notes in The Selfish Gene:
In a society where males compete with each other to be chosen as he-men by females, one of the best things a mother can do for her genes is to make a son who will turn out in his turn to be an attractive he-man. If she can ensure that her son is one of the fortunate few males who win most of the copulations in the society when he grows up, she will have an enormous number of grandchildren. The result of this is that one of the most desirable qualities a male can have in the eyes of a female is, quite simply, sexual attractiveness itself.
This is one of those theories that is disturbing and cannot be put into context in a black and white style. Human behavior is much more complex than our evolutionary brains. That being said, the sexy son hypothesis has garnered from evidence in evolutionary studies.
David Buss described in The Evolution of Desire that, in general, that women are more attracted to men of higher physical attractiveness during the most fertile times of their menstrual cycles, and more attracted to “dad” or caregiver types during the remainder of the cycle. Conflicting studies exist, including a study that shows women prefer men who are slightly more “alpha” and “dominant” in general during all phases of her menstrual cycle.
At least on an unconscious, evolutionary basis, these observations have led to the conclusion that infidelity is a natural occurrence in women and advantageous from a genetic standpoint, and that women sleep with men who are players because their sons are more likely to pass on their genes as well. The sexy son hypothesis is further supported by men who are well above average looking usually having a fairly easier time obtaining sex than their less attractive counterparts.
n/a – theory