The Sexy Child Hypothesis: Explaining Sexual Selection

What prompts a woman to choose a man among so many? since Richard Dawkins spoke about the selfish gene, several evolutionary scientists have attempted to explain how females choose their mates in most social species.

One of the theories proposed is the sexy son hypothesis, which hardly leaves anyone indifferent with his more than striking name. Let’s see how this explains the reproductive selection process and how it relates to evolution.

    The sexy child hypothesis

    The Hot Child Hypothesis is one of the best-known evolutionary theories, especially for its particular name. If its origins go back to Richard Fisher in 1930, as worded today, we owe it to Patrick J. Weatherhead and Raleigh J. Robertson from Queen’s University, which clarified its postulates in 1979.

    This hypothesis suggests that the selection of a potential breeding pair by the female take into account the attractiveness of children resulting from reproduction with a male or another. Thus, if the male descendants are attractive, they, when they grow up, will be chosen by other females, which will pass the genes of the first female from generation to generation.

    In the theoretical framework of the hypothesis, the sexy child is given more importance to an indirect factor, such as the aesthetic beauty of the potential partner, than to more direct aspects such as his territorial domination, his physical strength or its longevity. The female cares more about having many children than about having children and grandchildren who are better off in terms of strength.

    The female chooses, the species evolves

    Since the formulation of evolutionary biology, the idea has been argued that one of the fundamental factors in the survival and evolution of a species is how its females select the most desirable males.

    In this regard, Richard Dawkins, in his famous book The Selfish Gene (1976), has already defended the idea that in animal species, females choose males with the best genes. Men compete with each other for many women to choose them, and women choose one of them, whichever is best, to have children almost as desirable as their father.

    Regarding the sexy child hypothesis, if women choose physically attractive men, their offspring will also be physically attractive. This will cause their offspring to be chosen by other females as well once they reach adulthood. and, in turn, will ensure to have several grandchildren, which will make the genetic load survive and reproduce.

      Sexual conflict

      As we said, females try to choose the best male while males want to breed with as many females as possible. In other words, women are looking for quality while men are looking for quantity.

      Since males are not the ones in most species to give birth to their offspring, they can impregnate several females in a short time, having many descendants of very variable genetic quality. Some of these children will not reach adulthood, but since there are many of them, there will always be the possibility that several of them can reproduce, and thus pass on the male genes to the next generation.

      In contrast, females, also in most mammalian and social species, can only have one or two offspring at a time. It is for this reason that they choose to seek out the male with the best characteristics and, in the case of the sexy child, the one who is the most physically graceful. Its reproductive success directly depends on the attractiveness of its male offspring. If this does not attract other females, the genetic load of the mother will not pass to the next generation.

      It is for this reason that we can understand that the sexual conflict between women and between men is different. Males compete against each other to ensure that only one is the one who manages to have the right to reproduce or, in the more violent species, is the one who manages to survive and have sex with the females of the group. .

      Women, on the other hand, their competition is different, if at all. They may have to struggle to make sure males notice them, although as most of them tend to do so to the max, they are unlikely to forget to mate with either of them. between them.

      The theory of good genes

      Related to the sexy child hypothesis, we have the good genes theory, which is directly related to the fact that women select the best males, but without physical beauty being the only factor taken into account. Since they can often only have one or two offspring in a short period of time, females prefer the few offspring they will have to have good characteristics, which will give them developmental advantages.

      The theory of good genes, notably explained by the case of polyandry, proposes that females who find better males, lie down with nuts to make sure that the eggs or eggs they have are fertilized with the sperm of the male. male of the best quality.

      The hot child hypothesis and good gene theory are linked. As with good genes, the sexy offspring hypothesis assumes the existence of indirect genetic advantages that can outweigh any directly observable reproductive traits, such as physical strength and parental care, for reproductive success.

      The main difference between the good gene theory and the sexy child hypothesis is that in the sexy child, it is assumed that this indirect factor is due to asking how attractive children will be when they go to sleep with it. a certain man. Instead, in the theory of good genes reproductive success is taken into account on the basis of the survival of individuals to possess advantageous characteristics by the environment or context in which they find themselves.

      Hypothesis of the sexy child in men

      The sexy child hypothesis has been extrapolated to reproductive success in humans. Research points out that during the most fertile part of the menstrual cycle, women tend to feel more attracted to men with traditionally masculine characteristics, particularly being physically attractive and with characteristics attributable to exposure to levels of menstruation. higher testosterone during menstruation. Fetal development.

      On the other hand, when the menstrual cycle has already calmed down and women are less fertile, they tend to feel attracted to men with more feminine facial features. It should be noted that the studies that led to these conclusions are quite questionable and that these claims are still under discussion.

      Physical attractiveness and multiorgasm

      According to research conducted by Oakland University, published in the Journal of Personality and Individual Differences, it was found that the more attractive the man they are dating, the more women tend to have more orgasms. .

      Having multiple bedtime orgasms with an attractive person may be linked to the sexy child hypothesis. The woman is much more receptive to an attractive couple, This will ensure that, in case of having children with her, this offspring is also selectable and, in turn, will ensure the survival of the female genes.

      It has also been seen that the possibility of a woman reaching orgasm depends not only on her subjective judgment on the attractiveness of the couple with whom she is having sex, but also on the attractiveness of the male by the women of the region. .

      And why not hypothesize the sexy girl?

      So far, the sexy son hypothesis has been made from the male reproductive line.. By this we mean that, based on what this hypothesis postulates, the idea of ​​having sex with the most attractive man is to have children who are also attractive men and that these, when they reach age adult, manage to sleep with a man high number of women. However, not much has been said about having sexy girls.

      Are women also recipients of these genes that would make them desirable like their siblings, sexy children? Does it matter that females are attractive to males, if they also mate with one of them?

      According to Drs Raj Persaud and Peter Bruggen, and having given what we discussed earlier in this article, males, or males in most species, tend to care more about quantity than quality, Be much less selective in choosing a partner than compared to women or women.

      This is why the influence of the female genetic load seems less determining for the males and, consequently, it does not matter the attractiveness of the female for them.

      Bibliographical references:

      • Sela, Y. and Weekes-Shackelford, V. and Shackelford, T. and Pham, M. (2015). Attractive female male couple copulatory orgasm for their partner and other women. Personality and individual differences. 79. 10.1016 / j.paid.2015.02.008.
      • Huk, T., Winkel, W. (2008), Testing the sexy son hypothesis-a research framework for empirical approach, Behavioral Ecology, 19, (2) 456-461, https://doi.org/10.1093/beheco/ arm150
      • Weatherhead PJ, Robertson RJ (1979). “The quality of offspring and the threshold of polygamy:” the sexy child hypothesis. “The American Naturalist. 113 (2): 201-208. Doi: 10.1086 / 283379. JSTOR 2460199.

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