Looking for sex partners
"Men's preference for intelligence in short-term mates drops off the scale," Schmitt says.
"If you look at what men want in a short-term mating partner, a sexual partner as opposed to a marriage partner, they prefer below-average intelligence." These different desires hold true regardless of whether women or men are married or single, heterosexual or homosexual. Schmitt's findings also support basic differences between men and women in what they want in a marriage partner.
"It is perfectly legitimate for people to be clear about what they do and do not want in a partner." Williams agrees with Schmitt and Fisher that men and women have innate desires wired deep into the brain.
But he stresses the importance of other brain wiring -- that which gives us reason.
"Human beings' sexual behavior has an awful lot to do with our ability to think and imagine," Williams says.
"There are some primitive brain structures that operate, but our sex behavior is not seasonally driven or hormone driven -- we don't mate only in the spring, or only when the female is in heat.
We can use reason in our sex lives." Just because men and women are programmed for promiscuity doesn't make it impossible -- or unnatural -- to have faithful, monogamous, long-term relationships.
"I tell people to honor their values," Williams says.
"The main difference is in short-term mating strategies, or how men and women go about being promiscuous." "We don't say men and women always opt for short-term strategies," Schmitt says.
Both can choose short-term or long-term sex strategies.
Paradoxically, both men and women are also programmed to mate for life.
What men want, however, differs from what women want. According to evolutionary psychology, men and women each evolved their own strategies for seeking sex partners.
The theory that men's and women's sexual desires are hard-wired isn't new. Now a central tenet of evolutionary psychology, the theory holds that our sexual behavior evolved over millennia and is encoded in our brains. If that's true, men's sexual desires should be the same for men everywhere.