Sperm Competition and Sexual Conflict

William F. McKibbin

in The Oxford Handbook of Sexual Conflict in Humans

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780195396706
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Sperm Competition and Sexual Conflict

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Sexual conflict can take many forms and can even occur at the level of the gametes. Here I review classic and modern research on sperm competition: the competition within a single female’s reproductive tract between the sperm of multiple males for the fertilization of the ova. I begin by reviewing research on sperm competition in nonhuman species. I continue by reviewing classic and contemporary sperm competition research in humans. The research presented provides evidence of adaptation to sperm competition in humans in three broad categories, including physiological, anatomical, and psychological adaptations to sperm competition. I conclude by suggesting several possible areas for future research, with an emphasis on individual differences, as well as the need for experimental designs.

Keywords: sperm competition; sperm; sexual conflict; mating; evolutionary psychology

Article.  11155 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Social Psychology ; Clinical Psychology

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