According to David Buss's evolutionary theory of sex differences in sexual strategies men prefer short term, promiscuous sexual encounters because each encounter may result in the conception of a child and the perpetuation of the man's genes. On the other hand, women prefer long term, committed relationships. Only having sex with a man with resources who is willing to commit those resources to the woman and their child is a much more adaptive strategy with respect to perpetuating the woman's genes than promiscuous sex. As a result of these different strategies men and women desire different things in a mate. Men desire youth and beauty because these are indices of a woman's fertility; women desire status, resources, and commitment. Both men and women value desirable personalities. Applying social exchange theory to the desires of men and women it was theorized that women exchange physical attractiveness for men with status, resources, commitment, and desirable personalities. Women of varying degrees of attractiveness were asked to rate their romantic partners, past and present, with respect to resource potential, commitment, and desirable personality. It was hypothesized that the attractive women would have romantic partners with greater resource potential and commitment, and more desirable personalities. The hypothesis was supported.
The current investigation was undertaken to examine the possible role of life history (LH) strategy in the correspondence between being a victim of sexual coercion and being a perpetrator. Although victimhood was associated with LH strategies for males, and LH strategy was associated with perpetration for both sexes, mediation by LH strategy between victimhood and perpetrating was not supported. Support was found for life history strategy as a moderator, but only for females. Females with a fast life history strategy coupled with high levels of victimhood exhibited the highest levels of perpetration. The results were found while controlling for individual differences in age, aggression and self-control. While a correspondence between general (not sex specific) victimhood and perpetration was found, the relationship was not moderated by life history strategy. The role of LH strategy in accounting for individual difference in sexual coercion is discussed. It is speculated that greater plasticity in sexuality is a LH characteristic in females.