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Monday, October 24, 2011

Male Sexual Satisfaction: The Glue That Binds...

What is the most common predictor of divorce in a marriage?

According to this study (summarized here) male sexual satisfaction.

I found this very interesting and raise the point with Mrs. Wolf. Over the last many years I have learned a lot by observing Mrs. Wolf and I respect her opinion, particularly in matters related to "the way things really work..."

But before delving into this topic, let me give an example...

For many, many years we would go shopping together at food and other large stores.  Mrs. Wolf would always wander off and I would find there going up and down the aisles.  What was she doing I wondered?  When I asked she would say "just looking."

As the years went by and we became more aware of the way things actually work in the world it dawned on me what Mrs. Wolf was up to: gathering.  Just like in the days before roads, domesticated animals, or any of that I reasoned that Mrs. Wolf was simply "scouting out" the territory so that, when the need arose, she could go directly to the item needed without having to search.

In prehistory how would an intelligent human woman find what was needed to keep a family alive?

Certainly she would have to have a good knowledge of where resources where located.  Resources like water, herbs, food sources like berries, roots, and so on.  This of course would be a learned behavior (mothers passing this to daughters) since there were no signs around to tell you where things were.

I had noticed that Mrs. Wolf always seemed to know where everything was in the store - even a Walmart Superstore with its acres of shelves.  I, on the other hand, shopped by organizing the store into areas, food, clothes, etc. and then broke these down into parts (food -> dairy, bread, etc.) and then went to find things in those areas.  I realized that her wandering about was actually building a map of were everything in the store was - and that subsequent wanderings were simply updates to the map.

Recently the topic of why some couples remain together longer came up.  The studies above provided some fuel for the discussion.

Basically researchers studied younger couples for a number of years and determined that the best predictor for a long relationship was male sexual satisfaction (a predictor is not a cause - more like a flag, that, if present, indicates a likely outcome).

You can read the links for their opinions regarding this.

So Mrs. Wolf and I, on the way to a recent event, discussed this.

I said, "don't you think its odd that male sexual satisfaction is the best predictor of a long term relationship?"

"Not at all," she replied.  She seemed confident of her answer.

"Well, why?" I asked, "clearly women can be unhappy with a situation just as easily as a male."

"No," she said, "you don't understand..."

"Okay," I said.

"Think of it this way," she said.

"Women have historically had to rely on males for resources and for high calorie foods like meat that they themselves could not acquire.  They also have had to rely on males to protect their children.  How are they going to do that?"

"Ummmm, sex?" I mumbled.

"That's right.  If the woman doesn't provide enough sex the man will wander off and find it elsewhere.  After all," she said, "men are pretty simple."

"But what about the woman, what if he's not given her what she needs?" I managed.

"Well, its simple, she said.  Women are managing a complex system of resources in order to raise their children.  She needs the resources he offers in order to do the best job she can for her children.  Without him she would need to leave the children alone to do things like hunt or collect water.  With him she can devote her full attention to raising the children.  This gives them the best chance of success later in life.

"Sex for the woman in this role is just like all the other resources she is managing.  Just like she might suggest that the family move from location A to B in order to take advantage of some particular food source.  Similarly, sex for her is a tool for managing the man.

I pondered this as we drove.

This made a lot of sense in what I had observed in life.

"So what about this 'are wives obligated to provide husbands sex' question you were talking about?" I was referring to a discussion between Mrs. Wolf and Emma Weylin.

"Well, that's simple in this context.  So long as the man is doing his job of providing resources the woman provides sex when he wants it - within reason of course," she added.  "Even if the woman isn't really interested she knows that she has to keep him interested: so sex becomes a tool for that purpose."

"Oh," I replied.

We drove a while...

"So today things are pretty screwed up," I ventured, "women now have full time jobs as well as raise the family - leaving the man as sort of a third wheel."

"Of course," she said.  "If the woman is providing the resources for her children without the man then she has no reason to provide sex for him - unless, of course, she wants too...," she added with a wink.

I though about our own children.  Those daughters that worked full time really had a lot to do.

As the days passed after our drive I gave all of this more thought.

It certainly made sense, this reasoning, and also addressed why men view women as so complex (see image above).  Taking the perspective that the woman is really managing a complex set of resources - only one of which is the man - it all made more sense.  Woman are always balancing twenty different competing resource issues at any given time.  Men, on the other hand, are more worried about "hunting" or "making money."  The men are not worried about all the other resource issues.

Men, being goal oriented, feel their job is done for the week when the paycheck hits the bank.  Time for a beer and a football game.

Women, being relationship oriented, realize that while hubby is passed out in the recliner the kiddies still need attention, mom is coming over for dinner, cookies are needed for tomorrows bake sale, and so on.  Without these functions there would be no relationships.


As long as the man's sexual needs are being met he's not likely to wander off and make children elsewhere and thus reduce his effectiveness as a provider.  The woman, busy with her own offspring, realizes that the simplest and easiest way to keep things that was is to address his needs - sometimes (often?) without regard to her own.

I asked Mrs. Wolf about this.

"I guess woman are whores with respect to their children and the resources they (the children) require." she said.  "Without this arrangement you'd have, well, er, what you see today.  Women without men doing all the work (job, family, housework, etc.) themselves.  I guess modern woman have traded their traditional role of balancing resources for the family, which includes taking care of the man sexually, with working a full time job as well as balancing resources for the entire family.  Basically this makes the man useless and puts all the burden on women."

"I never understood why a woman would do that," she said.  "Its not like us women don't like men - we do," she added with a wink.  "Its just that we see things differently because of our historical role in the family," she added.

All in all I'd have to say its biological and Mrs. Wolf's perspective makes perfect sense.

As for the premise to this post - it all makes sense.  A wise woman who effectively manages the man in her life keeps him happy.  If he's a decent sort and fulfills his role of providing and protecting the woman can raise her children in peace.  He sticks around and she is happy - even if her sexual needs are not always (or adequately) addressed by the male - because her model is one of managing resources for children.

On the other hand, if the man acts like one of the children and doesn't fulfill his role, he gets nothing and the relationship ends.

Without this mechanism we'd be like dogs or deer or cattle.  By hiding their fertile periods and using clever management techniques a woman can keep the male interested and productive year round - bringing food, warding off threats, etc.

All in all a pretty smart model.

I guess men are simpler than I thought.

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