Sexual Motivation in Mateships and Sexual Conflict

Dietrich Klusmann and Wolfgang Berner

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

 Sexual Motivation in Mateships and Sexual Conflict

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The most frequent conflict within human mateships is the conflict between male sexual persistence and female sexual resistance. This conflict is nearly absent in the formation phase of a mateship and intensifies with time. It is rooted in sex-specific evolved programs encountering each other: a female program to secure male assistance and simultaneously remain open to new matings and a male program to guard paternity and to seek frequent copulation as a precaution against sperm competition. Mate value, the threat of infidelity, and attachment moderate the conflict. Attachment motivation can be seen as a part of mating strategy or as a motivational system of its own, conflicting with demands of strategic flexibility. The theoretical framework of mating strategy accommodates many observations about sexual motivation within human mateships. However, sexual therapy has not yet taken much advantage of this body of knowledge. This might result from the different traditions of the respective scientific communities. It may also reflect a more substantial role of attachment than of mating strategy for the sexual life of a couple, since sexual therapy often focuses on issues of attachment.

Keywords: sexual motivation; sexual conflict; dual mating strategy; mate value; attachment

Article.  18281 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Social Psychology ; Clinical Psychology

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