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Mating Matters Podcast “Troubling Testosterone”

In this episode of Mating Matters, Dr. Wendy Walsh discusses how the level of a man’s testosterone can impact a man’s ability to fall in love, can affect his health, and could even make him a better Dad. But what is the optimal level? Can a nose spray of oxytocin knock out testosterone and make men kinder?

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Dr. Wendy Walsh:         Why is it that some men are so monogamous and others are complete players? I’m Dr. Wendy Walsh. I think it has to do with testosterone. This hormone can affect a man’s ability to fall in love. It might even increase his death rate.

This is Mating Matters!

[Ken Turner Singing 00:00:19 to 00:00:30]

A sound of a deep baritone. That was Ken Turner of the Crystal River Boys. I’m Dr. Wendy Walsh. Welcome to the Mating Matters Podcast.

On this episode, the trouble with testosterone. How does the amount of this male hormone make men more attractive, less likely to fall in love, and sometimes better fathers.

[Man Singing 00:00:52 00:00:58]

That’s the voice of a man who according to YouTube, has the deepest singing voice ever. His baritone makes women shiver. And here’s the speaking voice of Red Pepper, a voiceover artist with over 100 movie trailers under his belt.

[Redd Pepper Voiceover 00:01:13 to 00:01:25]

All of these men carry a male vocal trait that can be a big indicator of high testosterone. Testosterone, a hormone found in both men and women is responsible for creating long vocal chords that produce deep sounds.

Male:               Hello, I’m a human male.

Dr. Wendy Walsh:         One way to tell if a man has high or low or medium testosterone is to listen to the pitch of his voice.

Male:               Hello, I’m a human male.

Male:               Hello, I’m a human male.

Male:               Hello, I’m a human male.

Male:               Hello, I’m a human male.

Male:               Hello. I’m a human male.

Dr. Wendy Walsh:         Did you spot the dude with high testosterone? If you’re a woman, you probably had no problem. Women always find lower voices attractive because it indicates a higher sex drive and greater sperm production.

[Video Playing 00:02:09 to 00:02:25]

But testosterone does much more than that. Testosterone develops masculine traits such as sex drive, sperm production. It creates a higher energy level. It can affect behavior. It grows larger muscle mass and bone size, and it grows hair. For the most part, testosterone is well, great. Men evolve to carry lots of it for reproductive survival. High testosterone men are like chick magnets. They tend to be taller, more muscular, brave, and they grow really great beards. Oh, and they have lots of energy. Think professional athlete and hunky action hero.

Besides vocal tone, there’s another pretty accurate way to tell how much testosterone a man has, the size of his testes. Think about it, we even use the term in common language. “He’s got big balls,” right? Well, obviously, it doesn’t make sense that we could ask the guests in our studio to show us their scrotum. Instead, I asked them to do an interesting experiment with their hand.

Can you hold your hand like this fingers together and looking at the back of your hand? If you look at your first finger, your pointer finger and your ring finger, describe which one is longer, shorter or are they the same?

Male:               They look almost the same. What would you say?

Dr. Wendy Walsh:         Yeah, they look almost exactly the same.

Men who have been exposed to a lot of testosterone in utero tend to have a ring finger that’s just slightly longer than their pointer finger.

Male:               Just hand to hand, both my ring fingers are much longer than my pointer finger.

Dr. Wendy Walsh:         Like almost an inch?

Male:               Yes.

Dr. Wendy Walsh:         Is one longer than the other? Even slightly?

Male:               Yeah. My pointer finger or my ring finger? My ring finger is a little longer.

Dr. Wendy Walsh:         It’s a lot longer.

There’s also been some interesting research that associates that longer ring finger with better music ability. Apparently, music was designed to attract women. And one study that asked a man to stand on the street in Paris and simply ask women for their telephone number had a terrible time, really bad odds. Then the researchers asked him to hold a guitar. And holding a guitar, he was able to collect far more female phone numbers. Thus, musicality and the testosterone that creates it were designed to attract women.

Male:               They’re pretty close. I would say my ring finger is a little bit larger. Singer? Not really anymore. I play guitar.

Male:               Yeah, I played alto sax for six years and then I played bass guitar for about eight.

Dr. Wendy Walsh:         Are you musical at all?

Male:               Absolutely.

Dr. Wendy Walsh:         What’d you play?

Male:               Guess?

Dr. Wendy Walsh:         But testosterone also has a few downsides. It can affect personality, can actually make men selfish and even affect a man’s ability to fall in love. And in long-term monogamy, a natural lowering of testosterone can turn a perfectly good husband into a couch potato.

Stick with me until the end of this podcast because I’ll tell you how women can actually help men maintain just the right levels of testosterone to create happier relationships, all without pharmaceuticals.

But let’s start at the beginning. Around the world, slightly more male babies are born than female. That’s because boy babies don’t always get to grow up to be men. Young males are biologically weaker (sorry guys) and more susceptible to diseases and premature death. And then there’s that pesky testosterone that makes young men more likely to die from violent causes than women.

Male:               Won a lot of fights because I knew if I didn’t, then they would come back. Bullies tend to want to pick on only kids. But my dad had taught me a long time ago as an only child, that I would have to stand up for myself. And he never ever wanted to see me start a fight. But he never ever wanted to see me hightail and away from a fight, because if that happened, then I’d have to fight him. And I certainly did not want to fight him.

Dr. Wendy Walsh:         This is how men teach masculinity.

Male:               Yeah. But it wasn’t about exerting dominance, it was just a function of responding to bullying, self-protection. Sometimes, trouble finds you even though you’re not looking for it.

Dr. Wendy Walsh:         During puberty, when testosterone levels rise suddenly, well, boys become men. And for many, this is a shocking transformation.

Male:               It’s a little strange. It’s a little strange. I remember seeing my female classmates a little bit differently.

Male:               Well, I remember it as a time of a lot of confusion. I don’t think I was prepared for it. I don’t think I was warned about just how weird puberty would feel.

Male:               It hit when I was in middle school. Seventh to eighth grade, probably, if I can remember correctly. And the biggest thing I remember was the desire to be closer to girls more than ever.

Male:               Kind of noticed little girls a little bit more. Didn’t want to punch them as much. Probably wanted to spend more time hugging on them.

Male:               I noticed a girl in my sixth grade class, she had breasts and she was far more mature, if you will. I noticed that I was having erections every five minutes and I didn’t understand what was going on with my body.

Male:               A lot of it is mental. You started thinking about sex a lot, which feels weird or even feels like a little bit dirty.

Male:               I don’t remember exactly how old I was. I felt like I was older than a lot of those around me. I remember getting, like feeling like I got armpit hair later on than everyone else did and being like, kind of self-conscious about that.

Male:               Probably around 12 or so, my voice started to change. I started picking up a little bit more weight. I started seeing more definition in my arms and in my neck, my back, even my friends joked with me about it.

Dr. Wendy Walsh:         Research shows that it’s advantageous to be an early maturing boy. They have better social lives and even better grades. And that effect of high testosterone can be lifelong. Here’s the really good news about having high testosterone. Men with it have better health. But is there health related to the amounts of testosterone circulating in their system or the increased energy caused by testosterone that makes them workout so much?

Take, for example, clearly high testosterone, Dwayne the Rock Johnson named by Muscle and Fitness Magazine as man of the century.

[Dwayne Johnson Talking 00:09:26 to 00:09:42]

Men with higher levels of testosterone are 45% less likely to have high blood pressure. 72% less likely to have experienced a heart attack. 8% less likely to have three or more colds in a year, and 45% less likely to rate their health as fair or poor. Oh, and by the way, men with high testosterone may also be smarter, at least in terms of nonverbal intelligence, spatial reasoning, hand-eye coordination, art and music.

Male:               I don’t like to ask for directions. I like to reroute and I would call it improvising.

Dr. Wendy Walsh:         Do you know why men don’t ask for directions? Well, partly it’s male ego, but a big piece has to do with vicio spatial reasoning.

Male:               We carry a map around in our heads.

Dr. Wendy Walsh:         Men are natural mapmakers. In fact, words don’t help them as much as reading a map or spotting a landmark. In one study, lower testosterone men showed deficits in this mapping ability compared with a control group. This seems to point to the fact that testosterone helps men see and move more fluidly within the world. The researchers also found that testosterone affected intelligence. And when healthy men were given testosterone cream as a treatment, their verbal abilities increased. But get this, their spatial abilities declined.

What does this mean? Well, it means that the relationship between testosterone and intelligence isn’t straightforward. Whether it’s spatial reasoning or verbal ability, an optimal level of hormone is vital. But what’s an optimal level? We’ll talk about that later in the podcast.

[NFL Video Clip Playing 00:11:29 to 00:11:42]

Dr. Wendy Walsh:         Testosterone makes men both aggressive and protective. Ever heard of the home team advantage? It used to be only connected to referee bias, home crowd support, greater familiarity with the venue and maybe less travel fatigue. But new research links it to the fact that men are just more territorial.

In animals, territorial behaviors are common and the acquisition of and defense of territories is often accompanied by big surges in testosterone. Two separate studies on humans found that soccer players do indeed show a testosterone surge right before a home game, much more when compared with just a training session or a game away. But this home surge is particularly apparent when the opposing team is considered a bitter rival.

So, testosterone is all well and good. It may make men smarter, more masculine, more protective, healthier and more sexual. But there are some downsides to having high testosterone. In case you were wondering, it’s a myth that high testosterone men lose their hair. Men with male pattern balding may actually have lower circulating levels of testosterone, but higher levels of an enzyme that converts testosterone to DHT. That can cause baldness.

Men with higher levels of testosterone are more inclined to have bad health behaviors. That means they’re more likely to spoke, to drink alcohol excessively and to indulge in risky behavior that leads to injury or death. Because of behaviors that are driven by high testosterone, homicide, warfare, driving motorcycles too fast, the sex ratio tends to reduce as humans age. And by the time we land in a retirement community, there are far greater proportion of females. It’s the lucky older man with a bottle of Viagra in an old folks’ home.

So, those delicious high testosterone men, the ones with the big muscles, the deep voice, the beards, are they nice guys too? A group of researchers set out to answer this question. How do human beings decide when to be selfish and when to be selfless? In this study, they gave testosterone to 25 men looking to see if it had an impact on their pro social behaviors. They also had a control group as well, and they confirmed the participants’ testosterone levels before and after treatment. They used a behavioral economics gain commonly used by psychologists, and what they found was pretty startling.

Men with artificially raised testosterone compared with those on a placebo were 27% less generous towards strangers. But get this, men in the lowest group of testosterone were 560% more generous than men in the highest group.

Basically, what they found is that men with elevated testosterone tend to behave antisocially. And to underscore that, they also found that this group of men were more likely to use their money in the game to punish those who were ungenerous towards them.

But testosterone isn’t exactly the be all and end all in the hormonal universe. It lives in a world with lots of other hormones that compete for dominance. My favorite hormone even has its own nickname, the “cuddle hormone” – oxytocin. It facilitates bonding, feelings of closeness, empathy and compassion.

In one study, they gave a group of men a nasal spray containing oxytocin. Another control group just had salt water. Then they were asked to play a game that involved generosity. And you guessed it, the ones who had the oxytocin nasal spray, were 80% more generous compared to the placebo group.

Oxytocin plays a very high role in how people fall in love. Not surprisingly, when women have sex, their oxytocin levels rise. In fact, during female orgasm, they have huge surges of oxytocin. The only other time in a woman’s life where she has that much oxytocin, is when she’s breastfeeding to help her bond with her baby.

When men have sex, they have a surge of oxytocin too. Except, they have a much higher surge of testosterone. The testosterone blunts the effect of oxytocin. That’s why men don’t fall in love through sex. A man can have casual sex with a woman for weeks or months and not fall in love. Whereas if a woman does the same thing with the same partner, all that oxytocin means that she has a very high chance of falling in love.

But what’s an optimal level of testosterone for a man? You know, if he has too much, he’s more likely to be a cheater. And if he has too little, he might lose his libido and his energy. If you believe the marketing of some pharmaceutical companies, “Low T is a common condition that must be treated immediately.”

Male:               I have low testosterone. There I said it. How did I know? Well, I didn’t really. See, I figured low testosterone would decrease my sex drive, but when I started losing energy and became moody, that’s when I had an honest conversation with my doctor.

Dr. Wendy Walsh:         There’s a lot of controversy about a diagnosis of low T. I personally think it was invented by pharmaceutical companies. There’s plenty of evidence to suggest that testosterone cream can restore sexual functioning in young and middle-aged men who already have lower testosterone levels. But it has no influence on sexual behavior when hormone levels are about normal.

You know, Mother Nature is a perfect programmer. She knows when to dip down those levels of testosterone to protect women and children. One research study showed that husbands of pregnant women, had a big dip in testosterone during her third trimester. This phenomenon, according to evolutionary psychologists, likely was designed to divert sexual energy and convert it into protecting and providing for, and monogamy can make men’s testosterone levels drop.

One study found that men in long-term relationships for more than a year tested lower in testosterone than single men or men in new relationships. This could be evolutionary, because men with lower testosterone are more likely to be better caregivers and less likely to pursue additional sex partners.

Male:               Well, I think it depends on what stage in your life you are too. I think when my girlfriend and I broke up, I was definitely on the higher end of that scale. But you know, after a while, you kind of miss that camaraderie I think a little bit and start to understand the benefits of monogamy. Feeling of having a partner to take on this thing that we call life.

Dr. Wendy Walsh:         Finally, low testosterone guys are great fathers. A study in 2013 found that slightly smaller testicles were associated with a more nurturing quality among fathers. Reduced testosterone levels and testes volume were associated with higher levels of paternal caregiving.

Male:               I love kids.

Male:               I just wanted to be married with a family.

Dr. Wendy Walsh:         So, what’s a woman to do if she chooses a high testosterone mate? She may have a gorgeous, protective cheater on her hands. And if she chooses a low testosterone guy, she’ll have plenty of help in the daddy department. But what about the bedroom? Well, there are two factors that temper cheating behavior in high testosterone men; religion and intelligence. Men who faithfully follow religious doctrine tend to override their high testosterone urges with good impulse control.

Male:               In my family history, faith was really important. I just didn’t have an interest in spending a lot of time or sleeping with a bunch of women, because it wasn’t the way that I was brought up.

Male:               One’s slightly longer than the other.

Dr. Wendy Walsh:         Which one is that?

Male:               The ring finger.

Dr. Wendy Walsh:         That’s high testosterone. Were you raised with a religion?

Male:               I was raised as a Christian. My wife comes from a religious background as well. We met when we were in high school and dated and got married and had our first kids when we were in the early 20’s.

Dr. Wendy Walsh:         And some research shows that high intelligence men can be better at committing to family over fun.

Male:               The whole everyone dreams of like high school and college and like dating around and all these girls and stuff, and I was just ready to be like a married dad and like have my life in middle school.

Dr. Wendy Walsh:         And for those who choose the good guy, stable daddy, there are ways to increase a man’s testosterone. Again, enter my favorite hormone, oxytocin. It’s called the bonding hormone because it helps make people feel connected. Couples who have been given oxytocin nose spray reported more love making, trust and caregiving. But short of an oxytocin lace nose spray, the other way women raise their own oxytocin is through sex. The problem is when a woman’s oxytocin is low, her sex drive goes down. She just doesn’t want to have sex.

As for her husband, his naturally lowered testosterone to divert sexual energy toward providing and caregiving, may make him a low energy couch potato. Or if he’s looking for a way to spike his testosterone, he may be prone to cheating. So, how does a woman raise her husband’s testosterone just enough? And how does a man raise his wife’s oxytocin so she’ll have sex with him?

Couples can keep her oxytocin high by doing lots of bonding behaviors that don’t involve sex, communicating more, cuddling, kissing, having date nights, touch without the pressure of sex can raise her oxytocin enough to make her eventually want to have sex. And that (the sex) will really raise her oxytocin.

How about how to raise his testosterone? Well, to do that, he needs a win and he needs to feel territorial. Even watching his team win can give him a boost of testosterone. So can playing sports, hanging out with his guy friends or achieving at work. And there’s another way that your husband can psychologically have a win – when he feels good about himself. When you compliment him. Yes, when women say nice things to their husbands, their testosterone goes up. As for feeling territorial, when his partner practices good grooming and looks appealing to other men, he’ll naturally want to keep her closer to him.

Is there trouble with testosterone? Hardly. Like all other hormones, they work in concert with a party of hormones, many who temper their effect. And when we look at the nature versus nurture debate, it’s important to remember that thinking and beliefs have as much to do with human behavior as biology.

I’m Dr. Wendy Walsh. Thanks for listening to Mating Matters. On our next episode, the God that clubs how religions make rules around sexuality to increase reproductive advantage.

 

FOR WOMEN: Six Sexuality Facts That May Surprise MEN

Couple having sex - woman on topThe study of women’s sexuality is relatively new in the grand scale of research history, but now science is finding statistics about women’s sexuality that make most women say, “Duh.” Here are a few recent studies that might surprise some men:

1. Women tend to become aroused by erotica involving men, men and women, and just women, indicating a bisexual arousal pattern. This doesn’t mean women all behave in a bisexual manner. It simply means they can be turned on by both thoughts or images of both genders. This is different from most straight men who only become aroused by heterosexual erotica, and gay men who mostly become aroused by homosexual material.

2. Women’s brains can separate mental arousal from genital arousal. For instance, even if she is not mentally stimulated, a woman’s body can have a physiological reaction to sex. (Thus the confusion of some rape victims who experience a spontaneous orgasm during the trauma.) And women can sometimes be mentally aroused and have trouble becoming wet and wild down below.

3. Body image is connected to sexuality for women. Women who feel more positively about their own genitals find it easier to orgasm and are more likely to engage in sexual health promoting behaviors, such as having regular gynecological exams or performing self-examinations.

4. For women, physicality grows out of emotionality. Emotional availability activates their physical sexuality. Women are more apt to show up physically and sexually when their partner is emotionally present, while men tend more to just show up.

5. Women fear emotional infidelity more than physical infidelity and men fear the opposite. In one study women preferred that their husband see a prostitute once per week rather than have platonic, though intimate, lunches with a co-worker. This points to the fact that women fear a diversion of resources that might come with an emotional connection.

6. Women have less ability to have a stand alone physical relationship because their body releases oxytocin during orgasm. Oxytocin, the female bonding hormone, is also released during breastfeeding. For that reason women sometimes become bonded through sex even when they don’t mean to.

Watch my YOUTUBE Video on:

Five Sex Myths That Keep Women Single

FOR SINGLES: Ten Rules for Using Technology to Date

Guy texting girl madText, Email, Facebook, Twitter give the appearance of instant access to your lover. A way to stay connected. But it’s a clever trick. The very things that are designed to keep us closer, if used incorrectly, can brutally tear us apart.

To understand what I mean, let’s think about the things that keep a low-tech relationship sharp — plenty of face-to-face time, long conversations, great sex (with foreplay and after-play), and intimate activities like Sunday morning toe-touching in bed with the New York Times. These practices are the workhorse of intimacy, and they are irreplaceable.

Now let’s consider a modern “high-tech” relationship. A few texts or emails sent during the week to firm up weekend plans. A rendezvous on the weekend that may or may not involve sex (or may involve only sex and no date) and then a Facebook status report on Monday that confirms that your partner is indeed “in a relationship.” You think I’m exaggerating, don’t you? Not a bit. People write to me all the time with questions about the meaning and protocol of Facebook’s “In a Relationship” descriptor. And during the week, those same people hang onto their electronic device like it is a life-line to love. They reread the texts. They count the texts. They interpret the texts. They depend on a string of impulsive digital communications to determine how secure their relationship is!

Sadly, this isn’t compassionate love. It’s a crazy mind game. And it is not communication. It is a poor replacement for healthy communication.

I used the example of text because most people are oblivious to how dangerous a weapon it can be. With text’s brevity and it’s inability to gage the mood of the receiver, those 140 characters can be packed with a power to inflict great pain if taken the wrong way, and read at the wrong time. Of course, email has it’s on list of transgressions. A longer format and a safer place to express feelings, email is still void of eye contact, touch, body language, and voice tone. Could you imagine listening to a recording of your favorite band, with most of the instruments missing? That’s what email is to human communication.

With all that said, in the busy world of convenience and multi-taking, is there, in fact, a way to use technology to grow love verses extinguish it? Well, thank you for asking! Yes, there certainly is. Here’s Dr. Walsh’s list of Do’s and Don’ts for high Tech love:

Ten Rules for Using Technology to Grow Love:

1. Make sure phone calls outnumber emails. Emails are not a substitute for voice-to-voice communication. They are just a side dish.

2. Send texts regularly, every other day or so. If you are dating and growing a relationship, a short, brief text can help you stay in his or her mind. If you are married and/or living together a text every now and then can help keep love alive.

3. Don’t bombard them with texts! (or emails) That’s stalker behavior.

4. Only say positive things in a text. 140 characters is no room to criticize, complain, offer advice, or explain your complicated life. Stick to greeting card slogans: “Thinking of You” and “Wish Your Were Here.”

5. Use tech to schedule a more intimate phone call. This is what all boys and girls like to read in a text or email: “Missing You! What time can we chat?”

6. If you are on Facebook and see that your date or mate is also online, it is always polite to send a IM of hello. In the real world if you both turned up at the same party, you wouldn’t ignore them, right?

7. Tech is meant to be a two-way conversation. If anyone you care about sends you an email or a text, and you are swamped, you still must respond! Even the most busy of us can find a second to send at least a happy face. Keep the line of communication going and the next phone call will be a happy one.

8. Even if you have a good excuse, do not flirt with anyone on Facebook if your status reads “In a Relationship.” That’s a bonehead move.

9. Never Tweet or Facebook Post any information about your real-world relationships (Especially the one with your Ex!) To do so would be inviting a forum to enter your tender relationships. Intimacy must grow in privacy.

10. Never break up using technology. Period. If you were brave enough to enter the relationship with your voice (or any other body part) you can find the cojones to break up with grace and class. Use your words, people. And say it out loud.

For more watch my youtube:

Four Tech Mistakes Single Women Make

FOR SINGLES: The Economics of Sex

imagesIn the world of art and poetry, the price of sex is love. But seen through the lens of anthropology, sociology, and psychology, the price of sex has unseen cultural economic forces. In America today, an unprecedented rise of women has accidently created a high supply sexual economy where price of sex has dropped from the cost of three dates in the 1980’s to today’s barrel-bottom price of one well-worded text. One in five men obtain sex on a first date. That tells me that 80% of young women are smart enough not to expose their eggs and bloodstream to a guy they wouldn’t give the keys to their apartment to water their plants!

But obtaining sex may not be a man’s goal. One feature of a high-supply sexual economy is that it creates a narrow definition of male sexuality, that is, take-all-sex-at-any-cost, that is leaving the “good” guys confused and the “good” girls behaving in ways that wouldn’t otherwise.

Even when sex is in high supply and the price is low, there are smart women who understand female power and who control the supply side of sexual economics. These women close deals, trading sex for the highest market price of all — care and commitment. These savvy women carefully negotiate with men using specific modern courting rituals with anthropological underpinnings. They understand that human males have the widest range of paternal investment of any primate and use specific strategies to identify and negotiate with one who will invest in his offspring. You’ll see their wedding photos on Facebook soon after college graduation.

FOR WOMEN: Let’s Talk About Men, Mothers and Monogamy

000c0065-0000-0000-0000-000000000000_bfb9a6b8-b325-4a29-9532-ce499f73c0f6_20121112170419_111212_mothers_600x300Some people wonder why I am obsessed with human relationships, why I ravenously consume all the latest research on love, sex, and marriage. Some wonder if my motivation is to change men or help people have better sex lives. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, while I think adults are lovely people who certainly deserve to exchange care and commitment with each other, my motivation runs much deeper. I care about children. Period.

I believe the innocent lives that are spawned by our mating patterns deserve to be invested in by the two people responsible for their birth. But when a baby makes a debut in a co-habitation relationship, a dating relationship or, god forbid, a hook up, the statistics aren’t good.

We live in an era where sex is cheap, commitment is scarce and the number of single mothers grows every day. Fueled by celebrities with uber budgets who nanny-up and trick young women into thinking single motherhood is a glamorous cake-walk and a baby the latest accessory, too many young women face a different reality. Single mothers have worst mental and physical health than married mothers and their kids have worse outcomes in terms of grades, at risk behavior and earlier onset of sexual behavior. Even children that pop up in commitment-lite marriage (co-habitation) face the reality that most will be left with only one parent before they reach the age of twelve. Children who are produced by unhappily married couples have better chances than those raised by single parents.

And I laugh at how adults justify their taste for sex over gene supervision with the idea that somehow this is natural, that our hunter/gatherer ancestors were orgy loving, seed spreading, hook-up artists and single parents were the norm. In fact, if that were the case, our species would never have survived! In our ancestral past, there was plenty of monogamy. It may not have always been til-death-do-us-part monogamy, but it was certainly long enough to get children safely up and out of the nest. We are the species that requires the longest period of in arms care and longest term of brain development. Most other species are up and running with the pack within hours. But humans don’t join the village until the age of five and not permanently for another decade and a half.

Many women today instinctively know this and are desperately trying to find a guy to commit in the shrinking fertility window between education, a career jump-start and the demise of their eggs. Our current American birthrate is now below replacement. This means big economic consequences for the country. Too many dependant adults at the top and too few tax paying wage earners are a prescription for social ills. One in five women are losing the freedom to mother because they can’t get a guy to commit on time or because they believe the marketing myths of fertility clinics that tell women they can have a baby until age fifty. The height of female fertility hasn’t changed since our hunter/gatherer ancestor women so carefully selected a mate — it is the age of twenty.

The answer of course is two-fold: More cultural support for single parents and the practice of slow-love (delaying the onset of the sexual relationship) in order to create emotional intimacy that evolved as the glue for relationships. Love can conquer all. But only if love is allowed to grow.