College of Psychology: Faculty Articles

Title

Absence makes the adaptations grow fonder: Proportion of time apart from partner, male sexual psychology, and sperm competition in humans (Homo sapiens)

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-1-2007

Publication Title

Journal of Comparative Psychology

ISSN

0735-7036

Volume

121

Abstract

Sperm competition occurs when the sperm of multiple males concurrently occupy the reproductive tract of a female and compete to fertilize an egg. We used a questionnaire to investigate psychological responses to the risk of sperm competition for 237 men in committed, sexual relationships. As predicted, a man who spends a greater (relative to a man who spends a lesser) proportion of time apart from his partner since the couple's last copulation reported (a) greater sexual interest in his partner, (b) greater distress in response to his partner's sexual rejection, and (c) greater sexual persistence in response to his partner's sexual rejection. All effects were independent of total time since the couple's last copulation and the man's relationship satisfaction. Discussion addresses limitations of the current research and situates the current results within the broader comparative literature on adaptation to sperm competition.

DOI

10.1037/0735-7036.121.2.214

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