Using lies to find out the truth about who suppresses sexuality and manipulates the price of sex? (#116)
Biological theories of parental investment successfully explain much of the observable variation among species and some within-species variation in sexual dimorphism and sex-dependent behaviour. While Parental Investment Theory and its various derivations have some predictive power concerning human sex differences in behaviour, they fail to account for the variety of human sexual behaviour in relation to ecological, economic and cultural circumstances. ‘Sexual Economics’, as put forward by Baumeister, Vohs and Twenge combines differences in reproductive investment with the dynamics of a mating market to generate more context-dependent predictions about human behaviour. One of the more controversial predictions out of sexual economics implicates women in the suppression of female sexuality as a way of raising the exchange price of sex on the mating market. Here we use the lies people tell about their sexual histories as an indirect measure of who is doing the suppression of female sexuality. By asking people what they would reveal about their sexual past to their parents, and same- or opposite-sex contemporaries, we exposed differences in the lies that people tell to different audiences. These lies suggest that the suppression of sex is not as simple as sexual economics would have us believe.