The evolution of human mating: Trade-offs and strategic pluralism

Steven W. Gangestad, Jeffry A. Simpson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1046 Scopus citations


During human evolutionary history, there were 'trade-offs' between expending time and energy on child-rearing and mating, so both men and women evolved conditional mating strategies guided by cues signaling the circumstances. Many short-term matings might be successful for some men; others might try to find and keep a single mate, investing their effort in rearing her offspring. Recent evidence suggests that men with features signaling genetic benefits to offspring should be preferred by women as short-term mates, but there are trade-offs between a mate's genetic fitness and his willingness to help in child-rearing. It is these circumstances and the cues that signal them that underlie the variation in short- and long-term mating strategies between and within the sexes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)573-587
Number of pages15
JournalBehavioral and Brain Sciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 4 2000


  • Conditional strategies
  • Evolutionary psychology
  • Fluctuating asymmetry
  • Mating
  • Reproductive strategies
  • Sexual selection


Dive into the research topics of 'The evolution of human mating: Trade-offs and strategic pluralism'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this