The basic instincts needed regulating too. Copulation meant children, and of the two available models (monogamy or winner-takes-all), Christian Britain went heavily for the first, with a leavening of the second for princes and mighty lords.Laban's "2,000 years of British history in five paragraphs"
Laban's "Money, Men and Women"
So all of that culture and sex difference comes from our need to reproduce. And those novels and movies where the heroine prefers the bad lad to the steady guy, Heathcliffe to Linton, those complaints that 'women go for bastards' or that 'every woman loves a fascist' - there is or was some evolutionary truth there.
Laban's "It's Sick Bag Time Again"
In ancient days (the Golden Age that never was) the disciplines of work and marriage subdued man's natural tendencies to naughtiness of all kinds. No work meant no food - and perhaps more important for socialisation, no respect from your peers. It also meant no marriage - and no marriage meant no sex - unless you were wealthy, lucky or unusually desirable.
Now ... reliable contraception has removed the link between sex and childbearing.
If I understand these evolutionary biologist chappies aright, before the Great Cultural (and contraceptive) Revolution women really really wanted two things (from an evolutionary biology perspective ... remember we've only just come out of the trees ...)
a) a chap with top genes to father her children - a real alpha male to produce alpha babies
b) a chap who'd provide for said children and stick around to help raise them, or at a minimum to facilitate her raising them
and from the same evolutionary biology perspective men wanted
a) only one thing
the point of both approaches being to maximise the survival of your genes
Now you might have noticed a potential issue with the female strategy - that Mr Alpha and Mr Provider may not necessarily be the same chap. And even today scientists find that female infidelity is more likely during fertile periods - and that chaps find women more attractive (pdf - I bet they weren't short of volunteer researchers) when they're fertile, even though they have no conscious way of determining fertility. IIRC (I can't find a link), when university genetics courses started up, some used to get the students to bring in samples of parental DNA and compare with their own to show the common factors - but then had to stop after the occasional distressing finding.
So Mr Provider had a potential problem - he didn't want to spend the rest of his short life putting in a hard day's mammoth hunting to feed someone else's kids. Rigidly enforced monogamy was the solution which evolved over time - and it worked pretty well for the Mr Providers of this world.
(He's talking about historical illegitimacy and children produced by infidelity in history - before the numbers reached industrial scale)
"People often quote a figure of one in ten for the number of people born illegitimately," says Professor Jobling. "Our study shows that this is likely to be an exaggeration. The real figure is more likely to be less that one in twenty-five."
Then came the Great Cultural Revolution. This fascinating Charlotte Allen piece in the Weekly Standard describes what would appear to be a reversion to our primate days for young professional singles. Here's the theory bit :
Evolutionary psychologists postulate that the same physical and psychological drives prevail among modern humans: Men, eager for replication, are naturally polygamous, while women are naturally monogamous—but only until a man they perceive as of higher status than their current mate comes along. Hypergamy—marrying up, or, in the absence of any constrained linkage between sex and marriage, mating up—is a more accurate description of women’s natural inclinations. Long-term monogamy—one spouse for one person at one time—may be the most desirable condition for ensuring personal happiness, accumulating property, and raising children, but it is an artifact of civilization, Western civilization in particular. In the view of many evolutionary psychologists, long-term monogamy is natural for neither men nor women.And the practice bit :
All of this is obviously pure speculation, if imaginatively rendered and bolstered by anthropological observations of hunter-gatherer societies today... Yet evolutionary psychology offers a persuasive explanation for many things that we are supposed to pretend are culturally conditioned: that the natures of men and women are fundamentally different and that, pace Naomi Wolf and the cougar-empowerment movement, women don’t get sexier as they get older, at least not in the eyes of the man sitting on the next barstool. Youth and beauty are markers of fertility. As Mystery wrote in his book, it may be sexist to say out loud, but women are well aware “that their social value can be rated largely on their looks” or they wouldn’t devote so many hours to toning muscles and adjusting makeup.
Evolutionary psychology also provides support for a truth universally denied: Women crave dominant men. And it seems that where men are forbidden to dominate in a socially beneficial way—as husbands and fathers, for example—women will seek out assertive, self-confident men whose displays of power aren’t so socially beneficial. This game of sexual Whack-a-Mole is played regularly these days in a culture that, starting with children’s schoolbooks and moving up through films and television, targets as oppressors and mocks as bumblers the entire male sex.
You really need to read the whole thing - there's a lot in it. And the criticisms and comments at Steve Sailer's are (mostly) illuminating, especially on the vexed question of what constitutes an alpha male in todays society.
Late last September a college student who called herself Courtney A. posted a story on the feminist website Lemondrop: “I Slept With Tucker Max, the Internet’s Biggest Asshat” ...
Many of the commenters to Courtney’s tell-all expressed “disgust” at Max’s manifestly unchivalrous behavior. In a September op-ed for the Washington Post, feminist Jaclyn Friedman, who inexplicably blamed Max’s perverse success with females (half his fans, perhaps the more enthusiastic half, are female) on abstinence-only sex education, sniffed that she found his “antics revolting,” blasted his “unapologetic misogyny,” and accused him of contributing to a campus atmosphere that allows 150,000 young women to be raped every academic year. (Friedman derived that extraordinarily high figure by counting drunken sexual encounters between students as rape.) Amanda Marcotte, the feminist blogger briefly hired by John Edwards during his presidential campaign, chimed in, accusing Max of a “bone-deep hatred of sexual women”—and also of possible “sexual assault” because he had bragged on his website about sleeping with a drunk girl while a friend hidden in a closet filmed the encounter. In May, feminist picketers so disrupted an appearance by Max at Ohio State University that he needed a police escort to get away.
Yet it’s hard to believe that Courtney A. herself shared any of this dudgeon. Next to her story she posted a photograph of her with Max that she had a friend take at the bar. The photo shows a rosy-cheeked strawberry blonde who, although no Scarlett Johansson, is no Ugly Betty either (her C-cup bustline, much in evidence both underneath and spilling over her strapless top, doesn’t hurt). She is also grinning from ear to ear, her smile as wide as a cantaloupe slice. Max, mugging for the camera, has his arm draped proprietarily, if not exactly affectionately, around her shoulder as she leans into his chest. No disapproving peers, either. When Courtney left her apartment to meet Max at the bar, her roommates called after her, “Make sure to bring him back.” She and Max rode off to the inn “with everyone at the bar waving and giving the thumbs up.”Welcome to the New Paleolithic.