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      Born Both Ways: The Alloparenting Hypothesis for Sexual Fluidity in Women

      Evolutionary Psychology
      SAGE Publications
      alloparenting, sexual fluidity, evolution, homoerotic behavior, homosexuality

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          Given the primacy of reproduction, same-sex sexual behavior poses an evolutionary puzzle. Why would selection fashion motivational mechanisms to engage in sexual behaviors with members of the same sex? We propose the alloparenting hypothesis, which posits that sexual fluidity in women is a contingent adaptation that increased ancestral women's ability to form pair bonds with female alloparents who helped them rear children to reproductive age. Ancestral women recurrently faced the adaptive problems of securing resources and care for their offspring, but were frequently confronted with either a dearth of paternal resources due to their mates' death, an absence of paternal investment due to rape, or a divestment of paternal resources due to their mates' extra-pair mating efforts. A fluid sexuality would have helped ancestral women secure resources and care for their offspring by promoting the acquisition of allomothering investment from unrelated women. Under this view, most heterosexual women are born with the capacity to form romantic bonds with both sexes. Sexual fluidity is a conditional reproductive strategy with pursuit of men as the default strategy and same-sex sexual responsiveness triggered when inadequate paternal investment occurs or when women with alloparenting capabilities are encountered. Discussion focuses on (a) evidence for alloparenting and sexual fluidity in humans and other primates; (b) alternative explanations for sexual fluidity in women; and (c) fourteen circumstances predicted to promote same-sex sexual behavior in women.

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          Most cited references100

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            Individual differences in sociosexuality: evidence for convergent and discriminant validity.

            Individual differences in willingness to engage in uncommitted sexual relations were investigated in 6 studies. In Study 1, a 5-item Sociosexual Orientation Inventory (SOI) was developed. Studies 2, 3, and 4 provided convergent validity evidence for the SOI, revealing that persons who have an unrestricted sociosexual orientation tend to (a) engage in sex at an earlier point in their relationships, (b) engage in sex with more than 1 partner at a time, and (c) be involved in relationships characterized by less investment, commitment, love, and dependency. Study 5 provided discriminant validity for the SOI, revealing that it does not covary appreciably with a good marker of sex drive. Study 6 demonstrated that the SOI correlates negligibly with measures of sexual satisfaction, anxiety, and guilt. The possible stability of, origins of, and motivational bases underlying individual differences in sociosexuality are discussed.
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              Timing of pubertal maturation in girls: an integrated life history approach.

              Life history theory provides a metatheoretical framework for the study of pubertal timing from an evolutionary-developmental perspective. The current article reviews 5 middle-level theories--energetics theory, stress-suppression theory, psychosocial acceleration theory, paternal investment theory, and child development theory--each of which applies the basic assumptions of life history theory to the question of environmental influences on timing of puberty in girls. These theories converge in their conceptualization of pubertal timing as responsive to ecological conditions but diverge in their conceptualization of (a) the nature, extent, and direction of environmental influences and (b) the effects of pubertal timing on other reproductive variables. Competing hypotheses derived from the 5 perspectives are evaluated. An extension of W. T. Boyce and B. J. Ellis's (in press) theory of stress reactivity is proposed to account for both inhibiting and accelerating effects of psychosocial stress on timing of pubertal development. This review highlights the multiplicity of (often unrecognized) perspectives guiding research, raises challenges to virtually all of these, and presents an alternative framework in an effort to move research forward in this arena of multidisciplinary inquiry.

                Author and article information

                Evol Psychol
                Evol Psychol
                Evolutionary Psychology
                SAGE Publications (Sage CA: Los Angeles, CA )
                1 April 2013
                April 2013
                : 11
                : 2
                : 304-323
                Department of Psychology, University of Scranton, Scranton, PA, USA
                Department of Psychology, Ryerson University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
                Author notes
                [*]Email: barrykuhle@ 123456gmail.com (Corresponding author).
                © 2013 SAGE Publications Inc.

                This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 License ( https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/) which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page( http://www.uk.sagepub.com/aboutus/openaccess.htm).

                : 18 November 2011
                : 13 March 2013
                Original Article
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                alloparenting,sexual fluidity,evolution,homoerotic behavior,homosexuality


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