Women With Male Friends Get Laid Way More

Illustration for article titled Women With Male Friends Get Laid Way More

A new study has found that one way to get more dick in you is to surround yourself with more dicks. Translation: The more male friends you have, the more likely your boyfriend will want to have sex with you. For "evolutionary reasons."


Every time you read something is for "evolutionary reasons," I think it's a good idea to switch that phrase out with "for sex reasons." Because that's what it is always about. Our worst behaviors are always about sex, and the procuring of the sex. Fact.

Published in the Journal of Comparative Psychology, the study found that:

Nonhuman males attend to the number of potential sexual rivals in the local environment to assess sperm competition risk. Males of these species sometimes perform more frequent in-pair copulations to increase the likelihood of success in sperm competition. Here, we extend this research to humans, Homo sapiens. We secured self-report data from 393 men in a committed, sexual, heterosexual relationship. The results indicate that men whose in-pair partner has more male coworkers and friends (i.e., potential sexual rivals) also perform more frequent in-pair copulations, but only among men who perceive their partner to be particularly attractive relative to assessments of partners by other men in the sample. This research is the first to empirically investigate the number of potential male rivals in the local environment as a cue to sperm competition risk in humans. Discussion addresses limitations of the current research and highlights directions for future research.

So, OK — it's not just that you have to get yourself some male friends to make your boyfriend feel knowingly or unknowingly threatened and then in turn attempt sex more, it's that you need to be considered good looking by all those other men. Simple enough!

In a piece at HuffPo looking at the study, Rebecca Adams writes:

This is a result of what evolutionary psychologists call sperm competition, which simply means that a man will try harder to inseminate his partner if he thinks he has competition from potential sexual rivals. These men may be feeling romantic jealousy when they draw closer to their partners, but there's also at least one other force at work — a subconscious desire to ensure that their sperm produces the most offspring.

There's another force at work, too, hopefully — a woman's willingness to have all this extra sperm-reassuring sex. Assuming we can believe these self-reporting men about their sex lives. Assuming these men do actually objectively know how attractive their partner is considered by others (did they conduct an informal poll? Cuz that's not weird at all).

Adams notes:

It's worth noting that this sample showed a skewed distribution, where, on average, men thought their partners were physically and sexually attractive to others as well as themselves. The study was also limited in that the researchers didn't know which partner actually initiated sex — they just knew that these couples had sex more frequently. (Female-initiated sex, obviously, isn't a male sperm competition tactic.)


Who knows, maybe everyone in these crazy relationships is all hopped up on attraction and their own hotness and everyone is just going to town all the time because they all know they are so hot and competitive. Or maybe women who have a lot of male friends are more flirtatious in general? Maybe women with more male friends are more into initiating sex? Maybe women with more male friends have higher testosterone?

Maybe everyone gets confused when a woman is friends with a lot of dudes because they can't tell if they are just friends or more, and that makes the guy confused but horny. Confusion is good for horniness. Right? Seems like that should be a new porn category. A guy is like, Huh, what's happening? And gets a boner. And the woman is probably like, I guess, I'm so hot, so yeah. Don't you think I'm really good at imagining what these people are all actually thinking?


How much more sex are they having anyway? Like, compared to women who don't have many male friends? Do these male colleagues and friends (aka, rivals) have to even show interest? Or just think the woman is hot?

Adams spoke with a co-author of the study, who said this:

"The reason we specifically predicted this is because there's a huge amount of nonhuman literature showing that male animals, for example mice or rats, become very interested in having sex with their partner when they see their partner interacting with other males," Todd K. Shackelford, professor and chair of psychology at Oakland University and a co-author of the study, told The Huffington Post. "They don't even have to see them having sex with other males. It's just the presence."


Eeeek! Shackleford notes that this whole evolutionary business is not really about actual baby making, just the psychological satisfaction of getting up in a woman when a dude feels like another dude might want up in there, too, probably whether he really even does or not. What's real cool is that it doesn't seem like it even matters what women think or want in any of this. They are just a thing to get up into.

What's even cooler is that the men don't even know they are up to this bizness, they're all just trying to get up in there, somehow, some way, together, apart, whatever it takes.

According to Shackelford, it's highly unlikely men even know they're acting out of Darwinian jealousy when they initiate sex as a result of sperm competition.


So dumb! Those dudes. With their jealous Darwinian dicks. Shackleford said he doesn't know what this could mean for women in relationships. It's possible, he told Adams, that the men in the study are just initiating more sex to make sure their lady is satisfied and won't stray, because they are already the jealous type.

But there is one big benefit to this research, according to Shackleford: It most definitely and quantifiably will help medical fertility researchers get more sperm out of dudes, because if researchers show them porn where a bunch of guys are having sex with a woman instead of only one man having sex with a woman, they will produce a bigger load. For science.



Really that is what will happen.


Ok then.

Thanks, science.



Someone please get a science writer up in here. This was definitely not the best science reporting I've seen on Jezebel.

I study sperm competition in insects.

This study is describing a behaviour, not making proscriptions about how we should disregard "what women think or want in any of this".

And of COURSE people aren't consciously aware of the evolutionarily adaptive nature of their behaviour. That is not how evolution works. Please read up on ultimate vs. proximate evolutionary causes and then get back to me.

I'm honestly not even sure what your main criticism of this study is. You've given us a collection of snarky comments here but I'm just not clear what the problem really is. I'd honestly prefer to read science critiques here from a real scientist.