The First Sex

The Natural Talents of Women

And How They are Changing the World



Helen Fisher



Chapter 10

Peer Marriage

The Reformation of Matrimony





Presented by:

Cory Jones, Rita Koch, and Kristin Trutanich






Marriage is defined as human attachment that is composed of happiness and grief.  A marriage consists of common goals and interests, shared memories and secrets.  It contains humor, patience, compromise, and dogged determination. The marriage of today is undergoing historic reformation.  As new family forms take shape as women rise in economic power.  For example, single women used to place children in orphanages.  Women now raise them on their own until they marry.  In addition, “more households are temporarily headed by women”(p. 255).  Women are not only keeping family networks intact but are building “intentional”(p. 255) families of unrelated friends.  Matriliny –which traces one’s descents through the female line, is becoming more wide spread.  When women do marry there are more weddings between equals or what is called “peer marriages”(p. 255).  In addition, intimacy is being redefined in feminine terms.  Our culture is returning to “ancient patterns of frequent divorce and remarriage” (p. 255). Women’s desire for sexual expression or adultery is no longer judged by harsher standards than male conduct.


In contradiction to the ideas of  “romantic love” or “euphoric madness” as defined by the author, “love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking together in the same direction”(p. 255). The author indicates that attachment is a “universal human emotion” that is “embedded in the biology of the human brain and is here to stay”(p. 255).


Statistics show that “3% of all mammals pair up to rear their young including humans”(p. 255).  On the average “90% of women marry by age of 50 in almost all countries”(p. 255).  In addition, “in 1994, 91% of all American women had married at least once by age 45”(p. 255).


However, Americans are marrying later than they did a hundred years ago.  In 1890, the median age of a first marriage for women was 22 years and is now 24.5 years. In 1890, the median age of a first marriage for men was 26.1 years and is now 26.7 years.  Additionally, 93% of the baby boomers of the 1960’s wed even though they were anti-establishment.  A male that was interviewed married even though he thought marriage did not suit him.  His reasons for not wanting to marry were financial strain, constraints on time, loss of freedom, and responsibilities of parenting. His reasons for eventually marrying were “nice soft wife on a sofa and a fear of being a neuter bee” (p. 256).  The Author, however, believes that men do want to marry and do not “seek autonomy and adventure”(p. 256).  In addition, the author believes that there is a drive for attachment which is a “biological craving deeply embedded in brains of both sexes”(p. 256).           


According to psychoanalyst John Bowlby, “humans have evolved an innate attachment system consisting of specific behaviors and physiological responses”(p. 256).  There are two brain substances that appear to be involved in the emotion of attachment and are produced in the hypothalamus.  These substances are vasopressin and oxytocin.  An example of how these substances affect the brain’s desire for a lifelong single partner are the prairie voles.  They are monogamous by nature and 90% mate for life.  By observing the voles that mate some fifty times in two days, scientists found that after copulation the male begins acting like a husband doing such things as building a nest, guarding his mate and protecting the young.  Scientists notice that after the male vole ejaculates his levels of vasopressin increase in his brain triggering spousal and parenting urges.


The brain chemical oxytocin is important in creating attachment in mammals – especially females.  It is produced in female ovaries & male testes as well as in the hypothalamus.  Oxtocin is released in women & other female mammals during birth at which time it “initiates contractions of the uterus” and “stimulates the mammary glands” (p. 257). In addition, scientists believe that oxtocin “stimulates the bonding process between a mother and her offspring as well as between the mating partners”(p. 257).  Oxytocin also increases in women after orgasm whereas; vasopressin increases in men after orgasm.   The intense closeness and attachment couples feel just after making love is probably due to heightened levels of these attachment drugs.


Whereas the brain chemicals, vasopressin and oxytocin appear to create attachment, testosterone plays a negative role in attachment.  Single men have higher levels of testosterone than married men do.  In addition men who have “high baseline levels of testosterone”(p. 258), do not marry as often, are more likely to be abusive while married, and are more likely to divorce.  However, “as a man becomes more attached to family, levels of testosterone can fall”(p. 258).  According to psychologist David Gubernick “testosterone levels of nine expectant human fathers plunged after their child was born”(p. 258).  In addition, cardinals and blue jays have high levels of testosterone and do not parent their young.  Male sparrows pumped with testosterone by scientists abandoned their nests and spouses to court other females.  “Enduring attachment between human spouses seem to be associated with high levels of vasopressin and oxytocin and low levels of testosterone”(p. 258).  This may “explain why couples often engage in less sex as they become more attached to each other”(p. 258).  The author suggests that attachment through human brain chemistry evolved millions of years ago.


Walking erect was humankind’s most fundamental innovation and happened by four million years ago.  This however, created a crisis for females because they had to carry their offspring in their arms instead of on their back.  Because of this, females “began to need a mate to help them protect and feed their young”(p. 259).  Thus, pair-bonding became essential.   It became important for men to pair off as well because it was too difficult to protect and provide for a harem when civilization began moving.  Natural selection over time favored the tendency to form pair-bonds and the human brain chemistry for attachment gradually evolved.  The author believes that “attachment is the foundation stone of human social life”(p. 259) and what we expect in marital relationships changes with time.  The author believes that because women are gaining economic power, the institution of marriage is undergoing a transformation.


Unhappy marriages and dysfunctional families seem to have much in common according to the author.  The common themes are alcoholism, drug abuse, adultery, bickering about money and arguing over how to rear children.  In addition, “good marriages and happy families seem to be unique.”  “Each marriage seems to be a novel mesh, an original collage pieced together by two busy, independent yet deeply attached human beings.”


Contemporary marriages are one of three types.  First is the traditional marriage in which the husband and wife play conventional roles where the woman stays home and the man is the breadwinner.  Second is the “near-peer” marriages where both spouses work but the wife still manages the household.  In this type of relationship, both partners support equal rights but don’t know how to apply it in the home.   The husband makes the majority of the financial decisions in this type of marriage.  The author believes that nearly all marriages are of this type today.    The third type is “peer-marriages” or equal ranking relationships.  Both individuals “are equally responsible for the emotional and economic will being of the household.  The wife may have a more influential career and larger salary than does her husband or she may stay at home full time.  But both feel that they have an equal say in making crucial financial decisions”(p. 260).  The couple splits the household work jointly even if the woman does the man’s “normal” work and vice versa. The couple feels that they are in an equal and satisfying partnership that is unique.  They feel that their partner is their companion and this is sometimes referred to as “companionate” marriages, which consists of attachment, attentiveness, companionship, equality, and a bonding of like minds.  “Companionate” marriages are on the rise due to women’s increasing economic power and independence, because income providers gain status in the family, and women that are financially independent seek relationships “based only on social and emotional equality.”  Because of “companionate” marriages there is new interest in intimacy but of the feminine type.


“You can be intimate only with your equal,” it has been said” (p. 261).  However, intimacy means different things to females than it does to males.  For men intimacy is derived from doing things side by side.  Men are also more “talkative and relaxed when cannot see their companion directly”(p. 261).  This may be due to our ancestors because they played side by side with their friends but looked at their enemies.  For women talking face-to-face may also be due to our ancestors because women looked at their babies to console and amuse them.  In females, emotional or small talk begins as a child.  During courtship, each sex takes advantage of the other’s form of intimacy.   In courtship, men woo women with intimate talk, love letters and pillow talk whereas women woo men by doing things together such as sports or adventures.


However, after marriage both revert back to their norms and both complain.  Expressions of intimacy for men are by “doing” such things as buying flowers, dinners or large presents.  “Men are four times more likely to relate coitus with intimacy”(p. 262) as they feel they have communicated with their partner after they have made love.  “Men’s tendency to equate sexual intercourse with intimacy has a genetic logic.”(p. 262).  According to the author, “sex is the single greatest gift a woman can give a man: coitus is his opportunity to spread his DNA into posterity.”(p. 262).  However, women “dress up to look attractive for a man.  Women are more likely than men to regard sexual fidelity as a loving act.  And in the bedroom women derive more intimacy from talking to a partner – generally just before making love”(p. 263).  The genetic logic for women, is that chatting before sex reassures them that “their partner can listen, communicate, and demonstrate more than pure lust at important moments”(p. 263).


“The desire for intimacy has not always been regarded as central to marriage” (p. 263).  In the past for example: in eighteenth-century America, marital duty and mutual help were considered expressions of closeness.  With the migration to cities, near-peer and peer marriages emerged.  Intimacy gradually became an important part of marital happiness.  The type of intimacy that is in vogue today is female intimacy “involving intense emotionality and verbal disclosure” (p. 263).

The males version is “sharing of physical and intellectual activities, helping around house, giving practical advice, making love, teasing, and joking which is not regarded as genuine closeness today” (p. 263).  The aging of the population may have tempered the female form of intimacy.  Whereas, young women are more eager for “deep, open, intimate, conversations” (p. 264) middle aged women are more “interested in intense dialogues” (p. 264) and they become more realistic in their marital expectations.  Hormonal changes may be the reason for women’s decline in intense emotional conversation and why “middle age men seek more tenderness and closeness”(p. 264).  As couples age their “definitions of intimacy may converge”(p. 264) thus, playing a part in “strengthening near-peer and peer marriages”(p. 264).


The idea of the “roving eye” according to Fisher has to do with what she refers to as the “darker side” of marriage, that being adultery.  Fisher bases one theory of cheating on the fact that certain areas of the brain associated with feelings like attachment are not closely linked with the part of the brain that is then used for feelings such as lust.  This is what, according to Fisher, might be a major reason for peoples ability to want to be with more than one person at a time. “Humans are capable of feeling deep attachment to a long term partner, while they feel attraction for someone in the office or their social set, while they feel lust when they see a stranger on the street” (p. 264).  Humans are capable of loving more than one person at a time, and Fisher sees this as being due to the set up of the human brain.  Members of both sexes do this not only men.  The results of many national poles vary but it is thought that roughly thirty to fifty percent of either sex strays during a marriage.  Adultery is not seen in particular groups (societies), it is seen through out all of history and in all societies.  Every society has rules and penalties that deal with the idea of adultery.  Not only do these societies have rules about adultery but they also have punishments that will result as a consequence of the people committing these acts.  Some cultures such as the Mehinaku of the Amazonian jungles call extra marital sex delicious.  The question we are left to think about at the end of this section is will the rise of women economically change this situation.


            Fisher then goes on to discuss the programmed in idea, the unconscious drive of, carpe diem; seizing the day.  This has to do with any gender from any species being an individual that will take an opportunity if it presents it self at the right time.  “Under favorable conditions, almost all living seizes mating opportunities” (p. 265).  Philandering, the act of adultery is seen in many types of socially monogamous species, such as many types of birds.  This is seen in the birds when the male and the female copulate until she begins to incubate her eggs, then he goes off to find other females to copulate with.  There is an advantage to the males who philander during a monogamous relationship; they have the opportunity to pass more genes on in the gene pool.  There is also a pay off for women if they are able to get a man with “better” genes to copulate with her, her offspring will have a those better genes and a better chance to succeed, and become prime candidates for copulating with women in the future.  Fisher discusses many reasons why people tend to commit adultery during marriage.  These responses range for wanting to supplement a good marriage, to just wanting more sex, to looking for a way out of their current marriage. 


            Men are more likely to engage in an affair simply for sexual pleasure, while women are more likely to cheat on a mate because they are looking for greater emotional support.  “In one study of 205 adulterous married Americans, 72 percent of women as opposed to 51 percent of men said they sought a deep emotional connection-instead of just carnal satisfaction” (p. 267).  In co-ordination with this fact it is also seen that women who cheat on their husbands are more likely to admit that they are caught up in a bad marriage or that their marriage is in a bad position.  Fisher also discusses the risk a woman presents herself each time she gets into bed with a man other than her husband.  This risk being that she might get pregnant and might end up spending a lot of energy rearing this child.  Fisher then goes into the fact that men have a tendency to become much more upset when they are cheated on; due to the idea that they might be “tricked” into raising a child that isn’t their own.  Women on the other hand are more effected when they find out that their husband has been faithful and become involved in a long running emotional relationship with another women; such as providing for the other family. 


            With the rise of economically empowered women comes the idea of women engaging in affairs earlier in married life.  The way female adultery is being looked at now days are dramatically different from how it was once looked at.  Women, in history, have been punished in a more dramatic manner than a man who commits adultery.  With the rise of women’s status in our society has brought a much different viewpoint on women committing adultery.  When people think about women who commit adultery now they think about how horrible her marriage must be that she had to go out and do something as bad as cheating on her husband.  Some see it as a feminist movement, for greater sexual freedom, which was only seen as permitted among males in the past.  This double standard that was once held in high regard among all societies is surely disappearing.  Fisher uses the example of Princess Diana’s affair, which was seen by the majority to be “an act of despair in a loveless marriage”.  While Prince Charles’ affair at the same time was seen as “unmanly”, according to Fisher.  Also the concept of the more economically empowered woman is being much less tolerant of a cheating mate.  Now that women have the ability to provide for themselves and for their children, a husband who is philandering can be disposed of.  Also the rise of economically empowered women is also causing a higher number of peer marriages.


            Divorce is another big part of marriage, or a big problem that is seen in marriage.  Marriage is not an easy thing and requires a lot of work, and if it doesn’t work out it can end in divorce.  Every society allows for some type of divorce, since all societies realize how hard it can be to engage in a relationship.  As with most topics, the issue of divorce also involves a gender difference; men and women have a tendency to get divorced for different reasons.  “Men, consciously or not, tend to marry to reproduce their genes-and divorce when this aim is thwarted” (p. 270).  Thus when a man finds out that he has been cheated on he is very likely to leave his wife, resulting in divorce.  Women on the other hand, according to Fisher, are more likely to leave and divorce her husband when he exhibits cruel and sterile behavior, if he fails in economic responsibility or if they threaten ability for the woman to bare young.  Of course there is some common reasons why both sexes will divorce their significant other.  Such reasons, as given by Fisher, are that they feel they can find a better partner, due to there current partner being lazy, disrespectful, nagging and so on.  Fisher proposes the idea of the “four year itch,” people have a tendency to divorce during the fourth year.  Fisher believes that this has been bread into us from our ancestors.  Fisher proposes that our ancestors formed relationships to produce a child and they stayed together to raise the child until it was old enough to join other groups of children.  At this time the parents did not have to stay together to raise the child further so they would go their separate ways.  Fisher discusses many social forces that help to contribute to divorce.  These “social forces”, according to Fisher range from the couple being from different backgrounds, to having different interests, if they are very young, and perhaps the most significant issue that arises is that of working women.


Divorce was not always as prevalent as it is in today’s society.  The emergence of today’s divorce patterns began with the industrial society.  In preindustrial America and Western Europe divorce rates were low.  Men and women of this time worked the land. In such farming cultures, “husbands and wives were tied to the soil and to each other; no one could dig up half the farm and cart it off” (p. 274). The only exception to this was the rich where able to pay to have unwanted marriages annulled.  However, for the greater portion of the population “till death to us part,” meant exactly that.


            As women began entering the work force they had their own money and freedom in a sense.  With movable assets “not coincidentally, divorce rates began their slow but steady climb” (p. 274).  Women’s participation in the labor force is not predicted to decline any time soon, therefore divorce rates should continue to rise. In fact, “some demographers predict that in the near future some two thirds of all first marriages in the United States will end in divorce” (p. 275) and most likely everywhere else.


In relationships women are usually the first to notice problems.  It is thought that this because women are more sensitive and receptive to interpersonal conflicts that may lead to divorce. Men, on the other hand, are usually “confused about why the relationship ended” (p. 275).  In addition, men do not give the same reasons for the relationship ending as women do.  Men often give more concrete reasons rather than abstract interpersonal reasons.  For example, men might say, “we just had different daily schedules.”


Men and women also deal with divorce differently.  Women are more likely to cry and look for support from their friends.  Men, on the other hand, suppress their feelings and deny that they feel depressed, sad or empty.  “Men tend to run from loss, hoping to separate themselves form their despair” (p.275).  Men are known to become workaholics, drive like maniacs, play nostalgic tunes, commit crimes, obsess over sports, womanize or even kill their wives or themselves.


It is easy to see why this behavior can take place when you look at a man’s support group from childhood to adulthood.  “Men have few same-sex confidants” (p. 275) unlike women.  As boys men are emotionally dependent on their girlfriends and as adults this trend continues.  In fact, “being married adds more years to a man’s life than to a women’s and men are at a greater risk of dying after being widowed” (p.275).  Men claim they are more satisfied with their relationships or marriages than women.  Even more surprising is far fewer men initiate divorce than women do.


Remarrying is a crazy phenomenon when you look at all the pain, suffering, fighting and money that goes in to getting a divorce, however human beings continue to dive right in to new relationships and new marriages after divorce.  Although, younger women (women under 30 years) are more that twice as likely to remarry than older women (women over 40).  It has been noted that “72% of divorced women remarry and 80% of men tie the knot again- patterns that are similar to those of Japan” (p. 276). 


However, remarriages are not the happy ending we are looking for.  In fact second and third marriages are more likely than first marriages to end in divorce.  The statistics say the “54% of American women and 61% of American men who wed a second time eventually go through divorce again” (p. 276).  In addition, about 40% of third marriages fail.  We shouldn’t lose all hope because 50% of American marriages don’t end in divorce.  Today we have the option of getting out of bad marriages, whereas in preindustrial societies for the majority of the population it wasn’t even an option.


The preindustrial society’s family structure was much different than that of today’s family.  With more and more women entering the work place and divorce rates rising we are seeing a dramatic shift from the traditional male-headed patriarchal family to more of a women-centered household.  The statistics show that “in 1960, American women headed only 7% of all families with children.  In 1992, 25% of all American families with children were headed by a woman” (p. 277).  These statistics are not just consistent with American society but are indicative of countries all around the world.  For example, in Thailand and Brazil 20% of households are headed by women; in the Dominican Republic and Hong Kong women head 26% of the households; and in Ghana it is 29%.  However, “female households are usually temporary” (p. 277).  In fact, the estimated time for a child to spend in such a family is only 5 years and then the mother remarries.  The female-centered household is increasing while “the traditional patriarchal family, headed by a man, is declining in America and around the world” (p. 277).


In addition, the percentages of women giving birth out of wedlock is increasing and further weakening father-centered households.  “Between 1960 and 1993 the percentage of births to unmarried American women rose from 5% to an astonishing 31%” (p. 277).  In the past, when women became pregnant the majority would have shotgun marriages or put their babies in orphanages.  Today most women chose to raise their children by themselves if the father abandons them or they simply do not want to wed.  Surprisingly, many American women have found that it is a struggle, “but they reason that it is a safer solution than depending on a man” (p. 278).


If this seems a little dismal to you it is important to keep in mind women’s choices in “the good old days.”  Women were expected to obey their husbands.  Its was “widely considered to be ordained by God” (p.278).  Fisher is not claiming that female-centered households with unwed mothers is the best solution, however “many Americans are caught up in what historian Stephanie Coontz of Evergreen State in Washington calls the nostalgia trap” (p. 278).  Fisher believes that with rising amounts of peer marriages and a new emphasis on intimacy between partners, there is a chance that happy couples will be more prevalent. 


Fisher notes a study done by Alice and Peter Rossi in 1980, which found that although today’s family members are disbursed, unlike in preindustrial societies, they still keep in touch.  More and more families are staying in touch through letters, emails and phone.  Grandparents are living longer, which makes it easier to develop multi-generational relationships.  Fisher states that women are at the center of what she calls kinship webs.  Mothers are the comforters; the caregivers and they visit more often.  “In the United States, mothers, daughters, sisters, and grandmothers build and maintain the social and emotional links among blood relatives” (p. 279).  However, these women favor maternal kin. 


When divorce occurs women are more likely to make a stronger connection with their nuclear family due to financial problems and emotional support that these blood relatives provide.  Rossi and Rossi sum up their study by concluding, “the American kinship system has an asymmetrical tilt to the maternal side of the family” (p. 280).  This is also noticeable with the increasing number of women choosing to keep their maiden name after they marry.  A survey conducted by Bride’s magazine in 1997 found that 22% of the women who responded said they planned to keep their birth name as a last name, a hyphenated last name, or a middle name.  Another factor is that many “career women who need to keep their professional identity” (p. 280) do not change their name. 


Fisher tells us that women are also creating new kinds of families.  Such families are called “psychological kin” and “intentional families.”  These families are chosen by the women, they consist of friends, neighbors or colleagues.  They take the place of what extended families did for each other in the past.  For example, celebrating holidays, bring you food when you are sick, pick each other’s children up from school and be there for events like birthdays and weddings.  Judith Viorst writes in her essay Necessary Losses, “I have come to define family as the people who act like it” (p. 281).


In today’s society where families are isolated from the extended family and mothers and fathers are all children have to be dependent on.  Unfortunately, with divorce rates so high, too often children and parents feel as if they have no one.  Single parent homes and isolated nuclear families are insufficient was to raise children, according to Fisher.  Support is essential to human growth and life.  An example of this is an African proverb “it takes a village to raise a child” (p. 281).  These intentional families are like a social web of support “in which their DNA can thrive” (p. 281).


As we have seen throughout this chapter, family is changing in many ways.  Fisher mentions that there is a shift from the traditional patriarchal family to a matriliny family in the Western world.  Unlike matriarchy, matriliny is the “kinship system in which individuals trace their descent through the mother, through the female line” (p. 281).  Although in the past Western societies have had “a long history of patriliny, the kinship system in which property and titles were largely passes through the father’s line” (p. 282), this has changed. 

Fisher tells us that a backlash has begun in Western society.  However, Southern Baptists, America’s largest Protestant denomination have changed their statement of beliefs declaring “that all of its almost sixteen million members should adhere to a literal interpretation of scriptures which require a wife to ‘submit herself graciously’ to her husband’s leadership; in exchange, a husband must ‘provide for, protect and lead his family” (p. 282).  Unfortunately, there are some who want to curtail the progress of the power of women, but Fisher is confident that “women will prevail” (p. 282). 


After all the information given in this chapter the question which we are faced with is “can the family survive?”  According to Fisher, the human emotion of attachment “evolved in the hominid brain millions of years ago; it is part of the bedrock of humanity” (p.282).  In other words, no force, whether political or social, will ever stop men and women from coming together.  “If we survive as a species, marriage and the family will be with us a million years from now” (p. 282).






















Critical Review Questions:


A.     Interesting:


  1. I found that having brain chemicals that create attachment to be an interesting finding.

2.        The explanation of how the areas of the brain in control of attachment and lust are        not closely linked allowing a person to love more than one person.

3.      Women-centered homes, in other words homes where women are the dominant or only adult figure, are statistically rising and it is statistically similar all over the world.


B.  Weak case or confusing:


1.      I think the author made a weak case about women not wanting the same level of emotional responses when they age.  I find that women still want that same emotional intimacy but have added to that a desire for intellectual knowledge and that it is not an either or situation.

2.      The author sites a survey conducted by Bride’s magazine on women who are planning to keep their birth name or change it.  However, using the statistics found by this survey as an argument for changing times constitutes a very weak case due to the sample size of such a survey.

3.      The author’s explanation supporting her idea that the brains physiology can explain why divorces occur, and perhaps why divorces run in families.





B.     Questions:


1.      The author could have gone into more depth about the feminization of intimacy.  For example, if there truly has been the feminization of intimacy then why does the author state that women who are middle-aged seek “intense dialogues”?

2.      The author mentions “intential families” as having risen, but in his next section he discusses the “rise of matriliny” and discusses the long family bond that women have.  If both of these claims are true which family setting is more common in today’s society and which will be more common in the future.

3.      The author could have gone more in depth about exactly how women rising in economic status will change situations like Adultery and Divorce.








Team Members:   Rita Koch, Kristin Trutanich, Cory Jones


Title:                                      The First Sex

Author:                  Helen Fisher


Review of:                              Chapter 10

                                                Peer Marriage

                                                The Reformation of Matrimony




I.                     Introduction – Marriage – defined as human attachment

A.        undergoing historic reformation-new family forms as women rise in economic power

1.             more households headed temporarily by women

2.             matriliny – tracing one’s descent through the female line

B.            more weddings between equals  = “peer marriages”

C.            intimacy is being redefined in feminine terms

D.            embedded in biology of the human brain and here to stay


II.                   Marriage

A.            90% of women marry by age of 50 in almost all countries

B.            Americans marrying later than they did a 100 years ago

1.             1890 – median age of first marriage was 22 for women now 24.5 

2.             1890 – median age of first marriage was 26.1 for men now 26.7

3.             93% of baby boomers of the 1960’s wed even though they were anti-establishment

C.            Interviewed male’s reasons for and against marriage:

1.             reasons for not marrying:  financial strain, constraints on time, loss of freedom, responsibilities of parenting

2.             reasons for marrying: “nice soft wife on a sofa” and fear of being a “neuter bee”

D.            Author believes because humans have a biological craving deeply embedded in brains of both sexes  so that men want to marry             


III.                 The Chemistry of Attachment

A.            Humans have evolved an innate attachment system consisting of specific behaviors and physiological responses

B.            two brain substances involved and are produced in the hypothalamus

1.             vasopressin 

2.             oxytocin

C.            Example – of a lifelong unison with single partner:  prairie voles after ejaculates, levels of vasopressin increase in brain triggering spousal and parenting urges


IV.                 The “Cuddle” Chemical:  Oxytocin

A.            important in creating attachment in mammals – especially females

B.            produced in ovaries & testes as well as in hypothalamus

C.            released in women & other female mammals during birth

D.            vasopressin increase in men just after orgasm and oxytocin rise in women at orgasm and attachment felt afterwards is probably due to heightened levels of these attachment drugs


V.                   Testosterone and Attachment

A.            testosterone negative role in attachment

B.            single men higher levels than married men

C.            high baseline levels of testosterone

1.             marry less frequently

2.             more likely to be abusive during marriage

3.             divorce more often

D.            as a man becomes more attached to family levels of testosterone can fall 

E.             Enduring attachment between human spouses seem to be associated with high levels of vasopressin and oxytocin and low levels of testosterone


VI.                 The Evolution of Human Marital AttachmenT

A.            four million years ago most fundamental innovation –walk erect

B.            females began to need a mate to help them protect and feed their young –  pair-bonding became important

C.            important for men to pair off  because too difficult to protect and provide for a harem 

D.            natural selection over time favored tendency to form pair-bonds and human brain chemistry for attachment gradually evolved


VII.               Peer Marriage:  A wedding of Like Minds

A.            Unhappy marriages and dysfunctional families seem to have much in common such as alcoholism, drug abuse and adultery

B.            Contemporary marriages

1.             traditional – husband and wife play conventional roles

2.             near-peer marriages – both spouses have jobs but wife still does most of household chores

3.             peer-marriages - equally responsible for emotional and economic will being of the household -sometimes called “companionate” marriages on the rise


VIII.             The Intimacy Gap

A.            “You can be intimate only with your equal”

B.            Intimacy means different things to men and women

1.             for men  doing things side by side-may be due to ancestors because faced their enemies but worked and played side by side with friends

2.             for women talking face-to-face may be due to ancestors because faced their babies to console educate and amuse them with words

C.            Men four times more likely to relate coitus with intimacy

1.             men’s tendency to equate sexual intercourse with intimacy has a genetic logic

2.             sex is the single greatest gift a woman can give a man- it is his opportunity to spread his DNA

D.            Women regard sexual fidelity as a loving act

1.             genetic logic – chat reassures them their partner can listen, and demonstrate more than pure lust at important moments

2.             derive intimacy from talking to a partner


IX.                The Feminization of Intimacy – Female type in vogue

A.            female intimacy involves intense emotionality and verbal disclosure

B.            male intimacy is sharing of physical and intellectual activities,–not regarded as closeness today

C.            middle aged women more interested in intense

D.            middle age men seek more tenderness and closeness – levels of testosterone begin to decline and estrogen actually increases

E.             As couples age their definitions of intimacy may converge


X.                  Adultry

A.            Either sex is capable of loving more than one person at a time.

1.             25% of men admit to straying

2.             15% of women admit to straying

3.             Other poles have calculated between 30-50% of either sex admitting straying

B.            Adultry is noted in every society every recorded.

1.             Mehinaku of the Amazon call it awirintya meaning “delicious”

2.             Every society has rules about what is considered adultery and rules for punishing those who partake in it. 

C.            People have done it for ages no matter what was at risk.

1.             Even though it was thought to be immoral

2.             Even if they risked friends and family

3.             Even if they risked their job and money

4.             Even if they were putting their health and even life at risk


XI.                “Seizing the day”, Taking advantage of a copulation opportunity

A.            Under favorable conditions all living creatures seize opportunities to copulate.

B.            There are many reasons why people cheat on there husbands or wives

1.             Some do it to supplement a good, but not perfect marriage.

2.             Some are looking for a way out of a bad marriage

3.             Others hope to get caught to revitalize their marriage

4.             They get lonely or bored when the spouse is away

a.             Some want more sex, or to solve sex problems.

b.             Some like to have secrets, or enjoy variety


XII.              Gender Differences in adultery

A.            Men

1.             More likely to engage in it merely for sex

2.             Fifty one percent sought deep emotional connection.

B.            Women

1.             More likely to do it to seek emotional intimacy and commitment

2.             Seventy two percent sought deep emotional connection

3.             More likely to believe marriages are in trouble when they cheat

C.            These differences are seen all over the world


XIII.            Mate Guarding by males

A.            Men go to greater lengths to guard their mate

B.            Get more upset when wife has an affair

C.            Men commit vast majority of spousal homicides

D.            More likely to divorce over infidelity


XIV.            The double standard for adultery is disappearing

A.            Women are starting affairs earlier in marriage

1.             9% wives in 1950’s admitted to affairs before the age of 25.

2.             25% wives in 1980’s admitted to affairs by age 25

B.            Societies view of female adultery is changing

1.             Princess Diana’s affair was seen as an act of despair brought on by a loveless marriage

2.             Philandering women are often seen as  striking a blow for feminine sexual freedom

3.             Through history women have received much heavier punishment for cheating.

4.             Women committing adultery has even managed to take on a romantic, almost triumphant

C.            Economically empowered women are becoming less tolerant of cheating husbands.

1.             As women gain economic parity with men

2.             As peer marriages increase


XV.              Divorcing

A.            Making a relationship work takes a lot of work, and almost every society allows for divorce in some manner.

B.            Men’s reasons for seeking divorce

1.             Female philandering

2.             female barrenness

C.            Women’s reasons for divorce

1.             If husband is sterile or cruel

2.             If he is physically violent

3.             If the husband threatens their ability to bare or rear their young

D.            Common reasons among both sexes

1.             When they are giving more than they are getting

2.             Feel they can find a better partner

3.             If partner is lazy, disrespectful, nagging, boring, etc.


XVI.            The Evolution of Divorce

A.            Men and women around the world have a tendency to divorce around the fourth year of marriage, in their mid 20’s with zero to one children.

1.             Once a couple of children are born and marriage lasts past seven years couples are more likely to stay together for life.

2.             Most divorced individuals will remarry.

B.            The Four Year Itch

1.             Our ancestors paired, copulated, and raised a child till it was old enough to join friends or a group and then the couple would separate.

2.             It is probably a remnant of an ancestral human breeding season.


XVII.          Social Forces contribute to divorce

A.            Couples are more likely to divorce

1.             When individuals come from very different backgrounds

2.             When individuals have different interests and goals

3.             They are very young

4.             People of markedly different ages and physical attractiveness

5.             Couples who have a baby girl are more likely to break up then if they have a baby boy.

6.             High alcohol consumption and low church attendance

7.             Perhaps the most significant factor is working women

B.            Women who work are more capable of leaving a unhappy marriage and it is seen across the world

C.            Fifty percent of American marriages end in divorce

D.            Men are more likely to divorce from women who can survive by themselves rather than a dependent woman.


XVIII.     The Emergence of Modern Divorce Patterns

A.            Pre-industrial vs. industrial societies


XIV.        Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

A.                  Women & response to divorce        

B.                   Men & response to divorce

C.                   Psychological studies on men


XV.         Remarrying

A.                  Women’s percentages

B.                   Men’s percentages

C.                   Remarrying divorce rates

1.                    second and third marriages

D.                  Why are divorce rates so high?


XVI.        Women-Centered Home

A.                  A change from patriarchal family to female-centered households

B.                   Trend common around the world


XVII.       Women Producing Families by Themselves

A.                  Trend around the world

1.                    US – 31%, Sweden – 50%, Denmark – 46%, France – 33%, Britain – 31%, Canada – 23%, >20 in Botswana, Kenya & Tanzania

B.                   Decline in shotgun marriages & orphanages

C.                   “Safer than depending on a man.”


XVIII.     The “Good Old Days”

A.                  Women’s choices of the past

1.                    obeying your husband was believed to be ordained by God

2.                    women were men’s property

B.                   Women had little education or job training

C.                   “Nostalgia trap”

D.                  Future of marriages is teams


XIX.        The Kin Keepers

A.                  Rossi study

1.                    families stay close

B.                   Women are at the center of kinship web

1.                    build strong ties

C.                   Effects of divorce

1.                    women need support

D.                  Maiden names are more prevalent today


XX.         Intentional Families

A.                  “Psychological kin” or “intentional families” are families by choice

1.                    “I have come to define family as the people who act like it.”


XXI.        The Rise of Matriliny?

A.                  Shift from patriarchal to matrilineal

1.                    Southern Baptists


XXII.      Can Family Survive?

A.                  Attachment

B.                   Patriarchal family is not as great as Americans believe