How Females Choose Their Mates

Author, Mary Batten

Excerpts from Sexual Strategies:

"Human mate choice is one of the oldest, coldest business deals known."

"Female choice functions to screen males and select those of highest value."

"Female choice may have influenced the shape and size of penises."

"Male sexual jealousy plays a major role in human violence."

"We may teach our children that honesty is the best policy, but natural selection favors the skillful lie."

"In a very real sense, female mammals subsidize males' reproductive success with their time, energy, and sometimes their lives."

"Evolutionary biology is as necessary in the curriculum as language. Without a knowledge of evolutionary biology, we cannot hope to understand the human animal or the problems we face."

"The kind of large military-industrial complex that contributed to the economic collapse of the former Soviet Union and which continues to dominate the U.S. economy represents a dangerous social investment in violent forms of male-male competition."

"Modern warfare no less than ancient warfare expresses the male drive to expand men's power and resources to achieve reproductive success. Today that drive is rhetorically called national security, but the ancient dynamics of male-male competition for resources underlie all militarism."

"As the population gap between the rich industrial nations and the poor developing nations continues to widen, resource wars among nations of competing males may become more frequent unless greater intelligence intervenes to radically alter policies and transform economies."

is back
in a new updated edition

Long out of print, Mary Batten's classic book, Sexual Strategies: How Females Choose Their Mates, is out in a new edition.

What Reviewers Say About Sexual Strategies

"Fun and delightful to read, offering an abundance of fascinating facts."
The New York Times Book Review

"Sexual Strategies is a little gem: a beautifully researched and concise introduction to animal mating systems and the clearest available account on the biology of female choice."
Sarah Blaffer Hrdy, Ph.D.
Emeritus Professor of Anthropology
University of California, Davis
Author: Mother Nature: A History of
Mothers, Infants, and Natural Selection

"Mary Batten has done more to educate and convince the public than most scientists will ever do. Sexual Strategies is one of the best pieces of science writing I have ever seen."
Napoleon A. Chagnon, Ph.D.
Emeritus Professor of Sociobiology
University of California, Santa Barbara
Author: Yanomamo: The Last Days of Eden

"Sexual Strategies is one of the best guides I have seen to the players, the rules, and the likely outcomes of one of evolution's longest playing games."
Jack W. Bradbury, Ph.D.
Professor of Biology
Cornell University

"This broad look at human and animal sociosexual behavior will speed up the demise of the myth that females evolved to be passive. Mary Batten has rendered the complex topic of the evolution of reproductive strategies understandable to the nonscientist."
Frederick S. vom Saal, Ph.D.
Curators' Professor of Biology
University of Missouri

"In the tradition of fine science journalism, Mary Batten untangles the theoretical complexities and allows the nonscientist a peek into the world of animal mating. This book takes us one more step toward understanding our own often inexplicable mate choices."
Meredith F. Small, Ph.D.
Associate professor of anthropology, Cornell University
and author of What's Love Got to Do With It? The Evolution of Human Mating

"A compelling read,full of 'Oh, yeahs,' and "I see, I see.' Also, it is an empowering book for women and a validating book for what men have suspected all along."
Dana Peach
The Authoritative Matchmaker

Selected Reading

Batten, Mary. Sexual Strategies: How Females Choose Their Mates. An Authors Guild Edition by 1992, 2004.
Betzig, Laura. Despotism and Differential Reproduction. New York, Aldine Publishing 1986.
Birkhead, Tim. Promiscuity: An Evolutionary History of Sperm Competition and Sexual Conflict. London, Faber & Faber 2000.
Borgerhoff Mulder, Monique. Kipsigis women prefer wealthy men: evidence for female choice in mammals. Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology, 27:255-264, 1990.
Buss, David M. Sex differences in human mate preferences: evolutionary hypothesis tested in 37 cultures. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 12:1-14, 1989.
Chagnon, Napoleon A., and William Irons, eds. Evolutionary Biology and Human Social Behavior. North Scituate, MA: Duxbury Press, 1979.
Daly, Martin, and Margo Wilson. Sex, Evolution, and Behavior, 2nd edition. Boston: Willard Grant Press, 1983.
______________________________. Homicide. New York: Aldine, 1988.
Dawkins, Richard. The Selfish Gene. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976.
Eberhard, William G. Sexual Selection and Animal Genitalia. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1985.
________________. Animal genitalia and female choice. American Scientist 78:243-41, 1990.
Hilts, Philip J. Birth-control backlash. New York Times Magazine, Dec. 16, 1990; pp. 41-74.
Hrdy, Sarah Blaffer. The Woman That Never Evolved. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1981. (New edition published in 1999.)
__________________. Mother Nature: A History of Mothers, Infants, and Natural Selection. New York: Pantheon Books, 1999.
_________________. Mothers and Others: The Evolutionary Origins of Mutual Understanding. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2009.
Kevles, Bettyann. Females of the Species. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1986.
Miller, Geoffrey F. The Mating Mind: How Sexual Choice Shapes the Evolution of Human Nature. New York: Doubleday, 2000.
Small, Meredith. Female Choices. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1994.
Trivers, Robert. Parental Investment and Sexual Selection. In Sexual Selection and the Descent of Man, 1871-1971, B. Campbell, ed., 136-79. Chicago: Aldine, 1972.
______________. Social Evolution. Menlo Park, CA: Benjamin/​Cummings Publishing.