A male professor at the University of Texas has vindicated cuckolded men everywhere with his latest theory: women are cheaters, because evolution.
David Buss introduced the "mate-switching hypothesis" in a new paper, which explains the reason why women without kids are so gosh darn eager to hop from one bed to the next.
According to Buss, the theory that women look for good genes when selecting sex partners does not go far enough. It does not explain the findings from a decades-old study he cites, which found women are overwhelmingly likely to fall in love with their side guys, whereas men are able to separate sex from emotional connection.
If women are just in it for the good genes, why would they keep falling in love with their bedmates? Women must be looking for back-up baby daddies — not just sexual satisfaction.
"My hunch is that people have these low-level assessment mechanisms going on all the time," Buss told Broadly. "So they meet someone new and question whether they, as an alternative, would be more attractive than their existing partner."
This, Buss alleges, is the result of the early woman's pragmatism. It would have been wise to keep her options open in a harsh world where husbands were easy to off.
"From an ancestral woman's perspective, hazards from the environment, other species, and importantly, other humans, could render her mate debilitated or dead," Buss wrote in the study. "A bite from a poisonous snake, an incapacitating disease, or an attack from a warring group could decrease her partner's mate value."
It's also possible, Buss argued, that the woman herself experienced an uptick in "mate value," which increased her sex options. There was also a "cost-benefit calculus of decisions to stay or switch." If the benefits of ensnaring a new mate outweighed the costs of an affair — being slut-shamed by one's village or bringing dishonor upon one's family — then it would be in the woman's interests to trade up.
Basically, early women were opportunistic: When they saw a better specimen, they pounced, because it was to their evolutionary advantage.
It's important to note that evolutionary psychology is used for slippery means; it's difficult to disprove but also patently suspect. It's often dismissed as an excuse for men to explain "some stereotypical sex difference," as Laura Helmuth wrote for Slate. Helmuth also called Buss "the worst," in this respect. This paper is one in a series of works that push his rather sexist theories as science.
Plus, the study kicks off with a Jennifer Love-Hewitt quote — "Husbands are like pancakes. There's no shame in throwing the first one out." — so how legitimate a piece of scholarship can this be?