Sexual Selection: Fact or Fiction
Darwin's theory of sexual selection is an intriguing one because it offers an explanation of human striving and cultural value systems. The theory is that humans who are more sexually desirable will have more offspring and thus their traits will be passed on to future generations to a greater extent than those of less sexually desirable humans. As opposed to Darwin's other theory, natural selection, those who are the best adapted to their environment will be more likely to pass on their genes, or, "survival of the fittest", you might call sexual selection "survival of the sexiest." The theory is intended to in part explain why, when humans diverged from other primates, the human brain tripled in size in just two million years. At first glance, this theory also seems to explain much of the motivation behind human culture and achievement. Upon closer inspection, there are some fairly conspicuous problems with it, especially when it is extended to describe not only human evolution in the distant past but it the present, but it may still be the most plausible explanation available to explain why humans mental capacities have expanded so far beyond those of our primate relatives.
It makes complete sense that we would be biologically driven to prove our sexiness. At the most basic level, this could explain the plenitude and popularity of fashion magazines for young women and the emphasis on being good at sports in school for both genders. Beyond this, it could also explain why men and women are driven to succeed at their various careers, or to be perceived to be successful, smart, witty, fun-loving, good-looking, responsible, or any of a number of things that human aspire to be which are also sexually attractive. The drive for achievement could be rooted in their biology - and their desire to be considered sexually desirable.
What is interesting is that while it seems logical that the desire to succeed is rooted in the desire to appear sexually desirable, (and by that standard, many people are trying very hard to be sexually desirable), in this day and age, sexual desirability bares little or no direct correlation with the number of offspring one produces. In fact extremely sexually desirable people, supermodels, billionaires, sports stars, and affluent people in general, tend to have fewer children than those who are less sexually desirable by this definition. Even so, many of us are highly motivated to prove our sexual desirability, but the purpose of doing so, if it ever existed, seems to have been lost or distorted.
Was it ever really true that the more sexually desirable people had more offspring, or is this theory only speculation? According to Geoffrey A. Miller, a senior research fellow and University College London, anthropological data show that in our hunter/gatherer days good hunters had more extra-pair copulations than poor hunters, but that is hardly concrete evidence that good hunters...