Following the work of E. O. Wilson, Desmond Morris, and David Buss, What Women WantWhat Men Want offers compelling new evidence about the real reasons behind men's and women's differing sexual psychologies and sheds new light on what men and women look for in a mate, the predicament of marriage in the modern world, the relation between sex and emotion, and many other hotly debated questions.
Drawing upon 2000 questionnaires and 200 intimate interviews that show how our sexual psychologies affect everyday decisions, John Townsend argues against the prevailing ideologically correct belief that differences in sexual behavior are "culturally constructed." Townsend shows there are deep-seated desires inherited from our evolutionary past that guide our actions. In a fascinating series of experiments, men and women were asked to indicate preferences for potential mates based on their attractiveness and apparent economic status. Women overwhelmingly preferred expensively dressed men to more attractive but apparently less successful men, and men were clearly inclined to choose more attractive women regardless of their professional status. Townsend's studies also indicate that men are predisposed to value casual sex, whereas women cannot easily separate sexual relations from the need for emotional attachment and economic security. Indeed, wherever men possess sexual alternatives to marriage, and women possess economic alternatives, divorce rates will be high. In the concluding chapter, Townsend draws upon the advice of couples who have maintained their marriages over the years to suggest ways to survive our evolutionary predicament.
Lucidly and accessibly written, What Women WantWhat Men Want shows us why we are the way we are and brings new clarity to one of the most intractable debates of our time.
In this book, Townsend makes years of scholarly research accessible to the general public. The research, including 2000 questionnaires, 200 interviews, and an extensive bibliography, indicates that men and women across many cultures have evolved a psychobiological response to sexual relationships. Men want young, beautiful women and casual sexual relationships; women look for committed relationships with men of wealth and status. Even among "liberated" individuals, these statements hold true. Townsend, a professor of anthropology who has published many scholarly articles, explores why this hasn't changed despite the changing sex roles and economies of modern American society. A well-written, well-researched, and fascinating read; recommended.Elizabeth Caulfield Felt, Holland Lib., Washington State Univ., Pullman