Friday, November 9, 2012

Suddenly, Young Ladies Everywhere Have Decided That They Are Bi

In 2008 Katy Perry 'Kissed a Girl' and she liked it.  Four years later, young women everywhere, in unprecedented numbers, are kissing girls and liking it.  According to a 2010 Psychology Today article, the number of women who self-identify as bi or lesbian has increased from its traditional 1% to 2% to 15%.  Other studies have found that 50% of women report that they have been attracted to another woman.  Another longitudinal study found that, rather than being a 'phase', for a significant percentage of women bisexuality is a persistent pattern of behavior.  It is not readily apparent, but this is a matter of very great cultural, social and political significance.

In the mid-nineties I developed what I called PaleoSociology and it will be included in my book, 'The Cultures of Affluence.'  To put it very briefly, I speculated that all of human social impulses must have emerged because they were adaptive within the social environment in which they evolved.  In other words, if one could just properly describe the PaleoSociology, all of the perplexing human behavior would suddenly make sense.  I tried; I succeeded and then, because I recognized that society was not ready to be receptive to many of the conclusions,  I moved on to the next project.

A lot has changed in the subsequent twenty years and, as a result, I will soon describe it as a portion of the aforementioned book.  However, for now, this newly discovered female bisexuality was anticipated by my PaleoSociology.  It is not a fad; it is the discovery of a fundamental element of female sexuality.  As soon as we encouraged our young people to explore their sexuality without guilt, it was inevitable that a rise in female bisexuality would take place.  It wasn't a matter of if, it was only a matter of when.  So, historically high levels of female bisexuality will, as the research suggests, persist and it will likely rock our powerfully pair-bond oriented Western civilization to its very foundations. 

There is some disagreement whether during our evolution breeding populations suffered more regularly from female or male shortages.  However, there is no doubt that the size of the next generation's population is determined by the number of women, not the number of men.  However, if there are more women than men, at least some women are going to need to share.  In the primitive world where survival of breeding populations was far from a foregone conclusion the option of placing monogamy above reproductive maximization was simply not practical.  We are not descended from genetic pools that made that decision because they became extinct because of it.  Consequently, by one mechanism or another, when there were more women than men, some men got an extra wife, or two, or more.

Given that, then, the Paleosociology had the difficult problem of keeping every woman making babies without fomenting disruptive behavior among the men as they tried to become the one who got the extra girl.  That is why we generally find that in primitive societies the decision making process is very rigid.  In some cases the widow went to a brother of her deceased husband.  In other societies, the tribal chief got all the extra women.  This ostensibly had the added benefit of giving the best genes to the extra women.  That is true, assuming that the king selecting process was efficient.  At any rate, in nearly every case the community was not disrupted by competition for extra females because the selection was already made by rule. 

For several reasons that I will explain in 'The Cultures of Affluence', humans needed to be one of the few animals that pair bond.  There is a piece of doggerel that explains the dynamic that maintains the need for opportunistic polygamy within the context of a primarily monogamous species.  It goes
Higamous Hogamous
Women are monogamous
Hogamous Higamous
Men are polygamous.

Much is made of how men have little investment in a pregnancy and therefore casual encounters have upside without much downside.  Women end up investing a great deal of energy in the results of a pregnancy and consequently have loads of downside.  They have a strong incentive to hold out on sex until the man makes the commitment to assist in child rearing.

As attractive as that logic may be, it isn't right.  The real reason is the need to create a dynamic where men are amenable to multiple partners when there is a man shortage, but are willing to allow women to force the situation back to pair bonding as soon as the shortage is over.

Now back to the bisexuality.  We are almost home.  As just about everyone would agree, it is very difficult to get two heterosexual wives to create a stable and collegial polygamous home.  The likely competition for attention, support, etc. is obvious.  Sufficient socialization can get it done, but it is not easy.  However, if the two wives are also lovers the dynamic changes dramatically and generally for the better.  Rather than competing for male attention they may view their relationship as one in which they share a man.  The difficulty, if any, rests with the a sense of marginalization that may be felt by the husband.

Fortunately, male sexuality comes prepared to accept, in fact relish, it.  The 'lesbian problem' has been one of the greatest in the study of human sexuality.  In this interpretation the paradox does not exist.  Especially because dominant and ostensibly genetically well endowed males tend to get the extra women, the sexual dynamic of the FFM triad (FMF denotes a triad where the women are not coupled and is generally not stable) doesn't just improve the stability of the household but, through several mechanisms, improves  the stability of the community in general.

OK, that is a thumbnail explanation.  In the book I will go into great detail and, consequently, the logic will be much more compelling.  But, hopefully, most readers will understand that this evolutionary innovation means that some relatively significant percentage of the female population has an inherent proclivity toward bisexuality that can be triggered by environmental conditions.  The creation of stable FFM triads within populations that experienced chronic male shortages created a more stable community.  They basically made the man shortage go away.

Now, is there currently a chronic man shortage?  Clearly not.  The recent dramatic uptick in triggered female bisexuality comes from changing social norms.  Katy Perry's song did probably play a role.  In essence, as an icon for the young people, she put a stamp of approval on it.  However, it only did so because the conditions were right for it.

It will persist for an interesting set of reasons.  Primarily, the evolutionary forces that caused humans to pair bond originally don't exist any more.  We are seeing evidence of that in the dramatic increase in single mothers.  That is a temporary expression of this evolutionary event.  However, beyond a doubt, in the realm of marriage, what we are going to get coming out the other side of the Transformation is not going to be anything like what we had going in.  The explanation for this resides primarily within the logic of female reproduction.

The probability of success in rearing a batch of children in a more primitive environment was greatly enhanced with the full attention of the father rather than half of his attention.  That is no longer the case.  Children benefit from an active and intimate involvement of a strong male role model, but it is no longer a full time requirement for the father.  A man can provide that service to the children of more than just one woman, especially since the number of children per woman has fallen.  So, the reproductive logic for women has changed.  Acquiring the very best male genetic contribution becomes relatively more important than the level of support in parenting responsibilities he is likely to provide.

So, now a new kind of genetic deal can and will be struck.  The man gets to double his reproductive potential by having two wives.  The wives are able to attract a higher genetic endowment for their children than they could have accomplished alone.  In other words the man is willing to trade a bit of quality for quantity.  For bisexual women there is another very significant benefit.  Surprisingly, according to current research, bisexual women are more inclined to form stable long term relationships than women in general. However, every time they choose to accept a couple relationship, they are making a commitment to denying half of their sexuality or, conversely, to cheating.  The FFM triad structure allows them to fully experience their sexuality within the rules of the marriage.  This logic is far from complex and young bisexual women are going to get that pretty quickly.

When I first studied this back in the middle nineties, the few FFM triads that formed generally began with a 'bicurious' wife asking her husband to allow her to add a second woman to the relationship.  The dynamics are all wrong and this route to an FFM triad is almost surely doomed to end in disaster.  However, with this sudden explosion in young openly bisexual women, they will be able to form the FF bond first and then go find their genetically well endowed and mutually acceptable fellow.  The dynamics for this route to an FFM triad has the potential for great stability - even more than traditional heterosexual couples.

So, the jury is out, but it appears very likely that this sudden revelation by many young ladies that they like to kiss girls can lead to a growing number of stable FFM triads.  As we slowly try to adjust to the idea of gay marriage, we will then get hit with demands for marriage rights for triads.  Why not?  It is going to be very difficult to formulate an argument that explains why gays can get married but bisexuals are denied their preferred marital structure.  There will be an attempt at a Feminist argument, but it won't fly.  The FFM triad exists not because the husband has a lesbian fantasy or wants to subjugate women.  That is the FMF model.  Rather, FFM triads exist because they facilitate the wives' needs.  It is quintessentially a Feminist institution, even though it will still anger many Feminists. 

There is so so much great stuff I left out of this.  But it is all for the book.  Hopefully, this will stimulate an interest in the book and Paleosociology that I will be able to satisfy in the near future.  The most important take away from this article is the very real probability that demands for triad marriage are likely to come right on the heels of gay marriage.  Furthermore, there will be far more triad marriages than gay marriages.  One might anticipate that they will constitute up to 10% of all marriages and involve 20% of women.  So, when you consider the latter, do not do so without considering the former.  They are displaced temporally, but they are almost surely a package deal.

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