Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Evolution Of Desire: Strategies of Human Mating” as Want to Read:
The Evolution Of Desire: Strategies of Human Mating
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Evolution Of Desire: Strategies of Human Mating

3.99  ·  Rating Details ·  939 Ratings  ·  48 Reviews
If we all want love, why is there so much conflict in our most cherished relationships? To answer this question, says noted psychologist David Buss, we must look into our evolutionary past. Based on the most massive study of human mating ever undertaken, encompassing more than 10,000 people of all ages from thirty-seven cultures worldwide, The Evolution of Desire is the fi ...more
Paperback, 354 pages
Published June 26th 2003 by Basic Books (first published 1994)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Evolution Of Desire, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Evolution Of Desire

The Selfish Gene by Richard DawkinsThe Blank Slate by Steven PinkerThe Evolution Of Desire by David M. BussDarwin's Dangerous Idea by Daniel C. DennettThe Language Instinct by Steven Pinker
Evolutionary Psychology
3rd out of 55 books — 24 voters
Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria RilkeDemian. Die Geschichte von Emil Sinclairs Jugend by Hermann HesseSteppenwolf by Hermann HesseConfessions by Jean-Jacques RousseauThus Spoke Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche
books to base your life on
14th out of 42 books — 15 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Augusts Bautra
Jul 28, 2012 Augusts Bautra rated it it was amazing
Feminists hate this book, the politically correct call it chauvinistic - both indicators of a book a thinking person should read. And it is, a must-read by my standards.

Buss spells it out for all of us - we are biological sex machines; genes making us have pre-programmed us to prefer certain things in mates no matter people feel about these preferences.
I personally felt no vibe of bias in the book, Buss' arguments are straightforward, evolutionarily plausible and applicable to the vast majority
Feb 22, 2012 Dave rated it it was ok
I thought the conclusions Buss has drawn are presumptuous and a bit unfair against women. For instance, he argues that due to the large history of violence against women, women are born with risk-associative behaviors to repel rape in correlation with their ovulation periods. He also contests several theories regarding the functionality of the female orgasm (A husband selection device?). Although evolution has answered plenty of questions biologically, I find that some of the insights it has giv ...more
Jun 17, 2012 Marianne rated it really liked it
The Evolution of Desire is indeed quite interesting. Data shows that in the sexual selection process, humans choose between temporary (casual) and long-term (co-parenting) and use many strategies to attract and keep a mate. For the most part, men want casual sex with a young, beautiful child- bearing female. Women want an older, dependable man with resources in committed relationships. Feminists hated this book, and I can certainly see why, but I can see how applying this type of science to most ...more
Oct 25, 2009 Emily rated it really liked it
I read this book a few years ago and just flipped through it again before lending it to a friend. It's an excellent primer in evolutionary psychology, but be warned--Buss's tone comes across as insanely chauvinistic. The most ignorant people will use a book like this to justify the worst gender stereotypes; more open-minded readers will understand that the studies Buss discusses reveal insights about the environment our evolutionary ancestors adapted to, tens of thousands of years ago, and are N ...more
Looking at the author's picture, pretty nice genetic package there. Sure I'd do him, provided he makes six figures and is five+ years older than me. Also, since neither of us would be interested in marriage, I'd require a hefty mistress fee via lots of expensive presents. /sarcasm

I'm not sure how much, if anything, I should take away from this book. Certainly interesting reading. The entire book can be summarized: Men and Women make use of sexual strategies and these strategies can be more typic
May 26, 2009 Morgan rated it it was amazing
This book was amazing. Buss is a great writer, he is very eloquent and yet simple. People with no knowledge of the field could easily read and enjoy this book. He is clearly very passionate about his subject, the book is very indepth. He is aware of the vast implications of his research but remains positive and thoughtful about human behavior and our evoled psychological mechanisms. Knowledge is power, the truths revealed in this book may indeed be disturbing to some, enlightening to others, but ...more
Bob Nichols
Buss gives a comprehensive account of our sexual behavior from the perspective of evolutionary psychology. He takes a good part of human behavior and then narrows it downward, to its base: The need to reproduce and move genes into the next generation.

What is striking is just how comprehensive these behaviors are in our lives. The way Buss tells the story, we have our “regular” lives, yet underneath we have a sexual life that is always there, permeating our regular life. This way of looking at s
Alejandro Ramirez
Sep 15, 2016 Alejandro Ramirez rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Los hombres buscan mujeres jóvenes y bellas. Las mujeres buscan hombres con poder, fuertes, saludabes y que estén dispuestos a comprometerse. Le tomó décadas de investigación y 300 páginas a este tipo legar a esta conlusión. el estilo es árido, pero es interesante ver estadísticas y números detrás de todas estas teorías. Pero bueno, me introdujo al tema de la psicología evolutiva. Algunas notas:

"The media images we are bombarded with daily have a potentially pernicious consequence. In one study,
Dec 10, 2007 Scott rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: evolionary biologists
Kind of boring. Keeps repeating the same thing over and over a million different ways: men and women use different (and not so surprising) strategies to maximize their own resources (be it sex, social status, wealth, etc.). Sometimes draws too many conclusions from crappy college student surveys. Since I've participated in some of those studies before I know how much college student really care to be accurate...
May 06, 2014 Sam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Evolution of Desire was apparently controversial & surprising when first published some 15 years ago. Now it seems pretty obvious. A man can pass his genes to many more children than can a woman; this difference causes certain behaviors to be more reproductively successful for either men or women; these behavioral traits are passed to future generations as instincts.
Matt Holmes
Mar 10, 2015 Matt Holmes rated it liked it
An informative and thorough, if dry and utterly humorless, collection of alarming factoids pertaining to our evolutionary tendencies toward superficiality, gold-digging, infidelity, and violence, interspersed with excellent theories with zany names like "sexy son hypothesis" and "Coolidge Effect".

I'm going to say that 35% of this book was rote recital of percentages garnered from studies done either by Kinsey's labs or by the author, Buss, himself. This isn't a complaint. Percentages indicate
Julia Gorning
Nov 14, 2012 Julia Gorning rated it it was amazing
Although I disagree with many of Buss' hypotheses, I still enjoyed this book a great amount and found it insanely fun to discuss with friends and classmates in the Psychology field.
Feb 27, 2015 Melissa rated it liked it
I read the first one hundred pages or so and then skimmed the rest. Interesting topic but written in such a dry and boring manner.
Feb 04, 2011 Erick rated it really liked it
A very interesting book concerning evolutionary psychology. It explains in many ways why we are the way we are and act the way we do.
Nasos Psarrakos
Jan 27, 2015 Nasos Psarrakos rated it it was amazing
Excellent book!!

Very good coverage of the subject.

Loved the final chapter@!
Oct 13, 2016 Krishnaraj rated it really liked it
An interesting take on the mating strategies. I find the author was quite honest in expressing his opinion, however, they may not be always correct. The attempt to be accurate is appreciated when the author cites variety of statistical studies. Nevertheless, what inferences can be drawn from them is something the author may have to look into and the readers too.

I advise readers to look at this with a hint of caution and read more carefully. As it goes without saying, opinions need not be formula
Dec 24, 2014 Goran rated it really liked it
One of the books that goes deep on the human mating strategies.
Offering a lot of studies and empirical data, this book covers all aspects of human mating, from meeting, preferences, casual sex, staying together, breaking up and sexual conflicts and strategies to controversial topics such as what women and men want. And existence of some mechanisms (like competitive, conflictual, and manipulative) is rather disturbing, but nonetheless author doesn't shy from bringing the to attention.
Author heavi
Anssi Mustonen
Apr 12, 2015 Anssi Mustonen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ketäpä ei seksi kiinnostaisi? Ihmiset harrastavat sitä, ajattelevat sitä, tuntevat mustasukkaisuutta, inhoa tai kiihottumista kun jattelevat toisten harrastavan sitä. Halun evoluutiossa David Buss selvittää miksi tunnemme ja ajattelemme tietyllä tavalla. Kirja on täynnä viimeisimpien tutkimusten oivalluksia, yllätyksiä ja selityksiä rakkauden ja seksitieteestä.

Halun evoluution kertoo ensimmäisenä kirjana yhtenäisen teorian ihmisten pariutumiskäyttäymisestä. Kirja perustuu alan laajimpaan tutkimu
The Evolution of Desire : Strategies of Human Mating by David M. Buss

Dr. Buss tries to demystify our mating choices, behaviours and sexual preferences on the basis of the mating strategies that our ancestors might have pursued in the context of the social and environmental conditions in which they survived. The exchanges that individuals make are broken down into currency of sex and resources, both tangible and intangible. Women and men place different values to different outcomes and hence the
Feb 18, 2008 Summer rated it really liked it
David M. Buss's Evolution of Desire outlines the results of a study, "the largest ever undertaken on human mating desires." Here is the scope of the study, as the author says it:

"Over a period of 5 years, I expanded the study to include fifty collaborators from thirty-seven cultures located on six continents and five islands, from Australia to Zambia. Local residents administered the questionnaire about mating desires in their native language. We sampled large cities, such as Rio de Janeiro and
Good stuff. All makes sense, but i feel like the main points could be condensed into a twelve page essay. but so it is with much academic writing.
Still, there were some interesting anecdotes from human history and the animal kingdom along the way. And it definitely gives a frame of reference for why we have such shitty behaviors toward each other and ourselves
Arjun Ravichandran
Aug 29, 2013 Arjun Ravichandran rated it it was ok
Dry and unengaging overview of the basic evolutionary psychology position on sex, love and romance. This is one of the landmark texts that helped to kickstart the current dominance of evopsych in general thinking about humanity.
If you're looking for a basic introduction to this kind of thinking, and are also willing to have your perceptions on love challenged and shaken a little bit, then it's an adequate book. But, as with all evolutionary psychology books, one should enter warily and remember
George Schifini
Aug 21, 2016 George Schifini rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fairly and convincingly Buss presents the evidence against sex differences as social construct. Buss is not a flashy writer but this book is well worth the time if you are interested in an evolutionary perspective on human mating strategies.
Jun 20, 2016 Kayla rated it it was amazing
This book has changed the way I view male/female interaction. Interesting read for people interested in evolutionary psychology but could also be used as good book for dating/mating.
Sep 17, 2016 Eric rated it liked it
Good, but somewhat dated. I was annoyed slightly by his quoting survey results to 3 decimal places when the sample size didn't support that precision, and nary a standard deviation in sight. That aside, his insights are still good for the most part. Worth a slightly skeptical read.
Faye Zheng
Jan 30, 2015 Faye Zheng rated it it was ok
Sounds like a fascinating read, but isn't really. I read 100 pages before I learned anything novel or interesting, and I can't say that I finished the book feeling like I gained much more than surface insight into the book's topic. This is one of those non-fiction books where you read the intro and conclusion, and skip all the rest.
Gregg Bromgard
Dec 03, 2014 Gregg Bromgard rated it it was amazing
For a condensed version read the journal article. Buss rules!
Megan Walsh
Nov 30, 2013 Megan Walsh rated it did not like it
This book was awful. I chose to read this to complete a book review for my anthro seminar course for human reproduction. The ideas he presented were so old school, sexist, and idiotic. There was no modern interpretations of human reproduction and no assessment on mating choices/practices that are actually happening in the real world. His data collection method was flawed, the survey itself was biased. To think ANYONE can benefit from rape, or that rape can actually be justified is disgusting. Th ...more
Sep 26, 2016 Tonyb rated it really liked it
Balancing well the fine line between our fantasies and the factual, the book is both clinical, and fanciful in the study of this topic. A fun read overall, but some of the info hits like a sledgehammer.
Revealed for me, the cold hard facts of our sexual strategies, balanced with an infectious hope for our continued civilization & survival.
Feb 18, 2008 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first 70 or so pages I was thinking "yeah, yeah, I've watched PBS and was a bio major for 4 years, I know about behavioral/evolutionary biology" When we finally got away from the bower birds and elephant seals and into some very interesting statistics (yes I put interesting and statistics together) I couldn't stop reading. Great book to read and follow up with coffee shop discussion.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Mating Mind: How Sexual Choice Shaped the Evolution of Human Nature
  • Sperm Wars: Infidelity, Sexual Conflict, and Other Bedroom Battles
  • Anatomy of Love: A Natural History of Mating, Marriage, and Why We Stray
  • Sex on the Brain: The Biological Differences Between Men and Women
  • Why Women Have Sex: Understanding Sexual Motivations from Adventure to Revenge (and Everything in Between)
  • The Origins of Virtue: Human Instincts and the Evolution of Cooperation
  • The Myth of Monogamy: Fidelity and Infidelity in Animals and People
  • Why Sex Matters: A Darwinian Look at Human Behavior
  • Sex, Time, and Power: How Women's Sexuality Shaped Human Evolution
  • Evolution and Human Behavior
  • Do Gentlemen Really Prefer Blondes?: Bodies, Behavior, and Brains--the Science Behind Sex, Love, and Attraction
  • Moral Origins: The Evolution of Virtue, Altruism, and Shame
  • Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters: From Dating, Shopping, and Praying to Going to War and Becoming a Billionaire-- Two Evolutionary Psychologists Explain Why We Do What WeDo
  • Mean Genes: From Sex to Money to Food: Taming Our Primal Instincts
  • Primates and Philosophers: How Morality Evolved
  • Why Is Sex Fun? The Evolution of Human Sexuality (Science Masters)
  • America's War on Sex: The Attack on Law, Lust and Liberty
  • Psychopathia Sexualis: A Medico-Legal Study

Ph.D.University of California,Berkeley:1981

B.A.University of Texas, Austin: 1976

Academic Employment History:
1996-Present Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Texas, Austin.

1991-1996 Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Michigan.

1985-1991 Associate Professor: Department of Psychology, University of Michigan.

1981-1985 Assistant Professor, Department of Psycholog
More about David M. Buss...

Share This Book

“Sincerity in personal advertisements is a code word for commitment, used by women to screen out men seeking casual sex without any commitment.” 0 likes
More quotes…