As they relate to sex, our cultural values and biology advocate different things – culturalvalues promote monogamous, private sexual relationships, with neither men nor women openlyvoicing their carnal desires, while our biology promotes both men and women to engage inpromiscuity for the sake of passing on their genes to posterity (Small, 1995, p. 44).Current western cultural values about sex stem from the Victorian period. Under theserigid principles, proper women were not supposed to gain any pleasure from sex, or evenunderstand it much in the first place (Small, p. 64). Sex was a dirty, embarrassing topic,something that only prostitutes and other vulgar members of society dealt in. Men, meanwhile,were not held to such strict standards of purity, and yet their sexual desires were still restrictedby moral expectations, such as that they hold only one sexual partner at a time (Small, p. 64).These cultural values – still visible today in the way that sexual desire continues to be consideredto be a private, personal subject matter – conflict with our biological evolution that points ustoward unfettered sensuality.Biological evolution favors traits and behaviors that enhance a person’s ability to pass ontheir genes to future generations. The method that humans use to pass on their genes is, ofcourse, sex, so it follows that biological evolution has shaped humans to desire sex. It is not, asculture sometimes asserts, unnatural or wrong for a man or a woman to have sexual desires; infact, healthy men and women should have “a basic instinct to have sex, an inner voice thatdesires sex as a part of healthy life pushed by genes that compel them to procreate” (Small, p.44). One hypothesis posits that women, far from the Victorian ideal that they shun their eroticinclinations, have been selected for promiscuity, and have developed biological defenses such asmenstruation to protect themselves from the consequences of an active sex life (Small, p. 93).Men too are promiscuous creatures, as, with their ability to “produce many sperm andMeilin Scanish Small Book Report Scanish 2Introduction to Anthropologytheoretically conceive with any number of fertile females, males should be interested in sex withanyone, at any time” (Small, p. 65). Thus, neither men nor women are, by nature, the chaste,monogamous creatures that culture calls them to be, and while “sexuality surrounds us…it is notnecessarily part of us in an easy way” (Small, p. 4).2. Mating is synonymous with sex – it is simply an act of genital contact encouraged bybiological evolution for the purpose of passing on one’s genes, meaning it occurs in manyspecies (Sexual intercourse, n.d.). Marriage, the union establishing familial relationship, is amuch more cultural concept, and is thus, exclusively human (Small, p. 12). In other words,biology pushes humans to mate, but culture pushes them to marry. In fact, marriage likelyevolved out of mating, as human babies, born neurologically immature and highly dependent,required more care and attention than what just its mother could provide in order to survive(Small, p. 14). Thus, the father remained with the mother to ensure survival of their offspring,creating the concept of the pair-bond marriage seen in many cultures today (Small, p. 14).Marriage is a human universal, meaning that, in all cultures around the world, males andfemales establish a pair-bond for the purpose of formalizing the system in which children areraised, joining extended families, forming political alliances, and establishing sexual access forboth partners (Small, p. 12). However, while marriage is found in all cultures around the world,marriages differ in their courting practices, marriage ceremonies, social acceptability of divorce,social acceptability of gay marriage, average length, expectation of sexual loyalty, role of thespouses’ parents, and more – in other words, marriages play out in vastly different ways.Marriages also differ in the presence or absence of love in them. Love does not have tobe involved in every marriage – for example, there are arranged marriages, which sometimesresult in love and sometimes do not (Small, p. 138). Furthermore, not every marriage that isMeilin Scanish Small Book Report Scanish 3Introduction to Anthropologyfounded in love lasts in love, as 40 to 50 percent of American marriages end in divorce(American Psychological Association). This suggests that love is a fluid concept, capable ofblossoming, dying, and evolving; love is no more a requirement for marriage than it is for sex.Additionally, human beings are not naturally monogamous, or at least not wholly – menwant to have sex with any fertile females possible in order to spread their sperm and increasetheir chances of having a baby, and women want to find the best male possible to fulfill hersexual needs and contribute to raising her children (Small, p. 94). Thus, today’s “humans are amildly polygynous species that have evolved from a highly polygynous species” (Small, p. 19).In other words, we are, due to our cultural focus upon loyal pair-bond marriages, lesspromiscuous than we used to be, but we have not yet rid ourselves of our biological desire formultiple partners. Even within the confines of the cultural ideal of monogamy, human beingshave found a way to continue with more polygamous ways. This may be seen in the concept ofserial monogamy, where humans mate with one at a time but with more than one over time. Inthis way, men and women are able to maintain their virtues while still fulfilling their biologicaldesire to mate with multiple people (Small, p. 20).3. Prior to the sexual revolution, the prevailing theory about the origins and development ofhomosexuality was that it was a mental disorder brought about by a traumatic childhood.Psychoanalysts who followed the work of Sigmund Freud believed that due to an overbearingmother and an aloof father, a young boy could come to be repulsed by the female sex and turntowards other males (Small, p. 166). This belief was seemingly supported by an extensive studydone in the 1960s that showed that homosexual men had a secret fear of women (Small, p. 167).However, in the 1970s, thoughts were changing, and scientists began to look for a morebiological cause for homosexuality. Under this school of thought, scientists suggested thatMeilin Scanish Small Book Report Scanish 4Introduction to Anthropologyhomosexuality arose from a person’s chemical or even physical makeup. Perhaps it is due tohormones, with men who, like women, possess lower levels of testosterone having sexual drivesthat attract them to males (Small, p. 177). Another theory is that the hypothalamus ofhomosexual men is structurally similar to women’s, causing them to be attracted to men (Small,p. 181). Finally, it has also been posited that homosexuality is a genetic trait that is tied to one’sDNA and can be passed on through familial lines (Small, p. 171). The true cause is yet unknown.The obvious difference between heterosexual and homosexual men is, of course, whichgender they find themselves consistently attracted to. As discussed in the previous paragraph,they may also have different hormones, brain structures, or genes, but on the whole, they arebiologically much the same.As for the statement, being gay is a lifestyle choice – it both is and is not. Such a view is”based on the assumption that a person can physically and psychologically choose what turnsthem on and whom they fall in love with” (Small, p. 169). In many ways, we can – we areallowed some say in whom we mate with and marry, we can choose to value particular traits overothers, and we can even choose to ignore certain sexual desires if we deem them inappropriate.(Small, p. 169) However, “it’s highly unlikely that we can consciously control our sexualimpulses toward one sex or the other; falling in love is exactly that, a fall, not a conscious step”(Small, p. 169). Thus, homosexuality must be, like other sexual preferences, in some part abiological feature of our species.4. The primary evolutionary motivation for both men and women to have sex is thepotential of the act resulting in the birth of a child. However, beyond this simple desire to pass onone’s genes, men and women have evolved, both culturally and biologically, to have differentsexual interests.Meilin Scanish Small Book Report Scanish 5Introduction to AnthropologyAccording to Small, a male’s life goal is to avoid predators, and use every otheropportunity to have sex (Small, p. 10). As men produce large amounts of sperm and can matewith any available females at a given time, it is in their best interest to mate with whomeverpossible to increase the chances of sperm fertilizing an egg (Small, p. 65). When it comes toactually finding females to mate with, men want a fertile, healthy woman who shows no signs ofhaving sex with other men, as other men mean more competition for whose sperm can fertilizethe woman’s egg (Small, p. 128). Thus, when a man finds himself attracted to the image of ayoung, pretty model on the cover of a magazine who displays signs of physical health such asclear skin and shiny hair, it is both because cultural standards of beauty influence what he findsattractive and because men have been selected over generations to pay attention to observablecues of a woman’s health and fertility (Small, p. 147).A woman’s life goal, on the other land, is to avoid predators and get enough food tonourish and raise an infant (Small, p. 11). If “males are more biologically designed to throw theirprimary effort into mating rather than parenting,” females are just the opposite – their energies gointo raising the children they birth (Small, p. 105). However, as human babies are bornneurologically immature, requiring years of care and nurture to ensure their survival, and aswomen “produce only a few eggs that can be fertilized and turn into offspring…Females thenshould be choosy about their mates; they should carefully select a good male and mate onlyenough to conceive” (Small, p. 65). However, this does not mean women are less desirous of sexthan men; it only means that their desires for sex are related to their changing biological patterns.Women are capable and can be interested in sex whenever, but some studies have shown thatfemales tend to want sex more mid-menstruation cycle, which coincides with ovulation. ThisMeilin Scanish Small Book Report Scanish 6Introduction to Anthropologysuggests that female bodies have evolved to want sex when it is useful to them: when it is morelikely to result in the fertilization of an egg (Small, p. 80)As for ideal male mate traits, women, who have historically been barred from rising topositions of power on their own, want “someone of high socioeconomic status, someone with alot of resources, someone with a rosy future” (Small, p. 128). This is to do with a woman’s needto find someone to help her raise her dependent infants – if her culture prevents her fromacquiring the resources needed to ensure the best life for her children by herself, then she willfind a way by marrying someone who can (Small, p. 147).5. Much of how men and women choose their mates can be traced back to evolutionary andbiological reasons, but that does not mean that each individual who falls in love and gets marrieddid not have some autonomy in that decision. Love, defined by the Oxford Dictionary as “anintense feeling of deep affection,” is something that all humans experience, and plays just aslarge a role in one’s mate choice and sexual desires as the desire to pass on one’s genes. AsSmall puts it, “everyone reading this book has felt love for someone else, and perhaps has hadsex with that person…sex, in that sense, can be a significant part of a loving relationship” (Small,p. 208). In other words, sex, which is a biological process with evolutionary roots, is often a partof love, which is a more personal, emotional experience. It may not be a necessary part, but itdoes add to the richness of life (Small, 209).Thus, when Small says that love has something to do with it, she means that our matechoices are both a “product of selective pressures that have evolved over generations,” and “theresult of more whimsical cultural and psychological options” (Small, p. 127). Though there aremany evolutionary motivations behind human choices such as whom to mate with and whom toMeilin Scanish Small Book Report Scanish 7Introduction to Anthropologymarry, one must not forget that, in the end, it is the human who makes the decision, not theirevolution.Meilin Scanish Small Book Report Scanish 8Introduction to AnthropologyWorks CitedAmerican Psychological Association. (n.d.). Divorce. Retrieved November 23, 2017, from Def. 1. (n.d.). In Oxford Dictionary Online. Retrieved November 13, 2017, from intercourse Def. 1. (n.d.). In Oxford Dictionary Online. Retrieved November 13, 2017,from, M. (1995). What’s Love Got To Do With It?. Anchor Books, New York: New York.


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