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The Evolution Of Desire: Strategies of Human Mating

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  2,702 ratings  ·  214 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)
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Augusts Bautra
Jul 28, 2012 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
Jun 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Super interesting book. TL/DR: Men love hot women. Women love rich men. Not, but seriously.

My favorite part was the end where he talks about how understanding our wiring does not mean that we are slaves to it. He makes a super interesting observation too about the roots of patriarchy. I have been puzzling over this since I read Yuval Harari's Sapiens book where he makes a comment about how it wasn't strength, but cooperation and that stayed with me. Buss would say that Harari had it partly righ
Jun 17, 2012 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
Dave Nichols
Feb 21, 2012 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
Scott Lerch
Dec 10, 2007 rated it it was ok
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... ...more
Oct 25, 2009 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
Jurgen Dhaese
This is an absolutely groundbreaking and mind-blowing book that will change the way you think about dating, love and sex for good.

Backed up by solid scientific research David Buss sheds light on why we act the way we do in love, sex and dating, why that behavior has evolved and what purpose it serves. Going beyond empty platitudes of chaste morality, he gives us the truth: what sexual strategies do we have available to us, why do we use them, and how have they evolved?

Plain and simple, to unders
Arjun Ravichandran
Aug 30, 2012 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
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 25, 2009 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
William Baresel
The entire book is premised on the belief that people will be honest with themselves when answering questions about relationships. It is very depressing. Most of the book is persons making excuses for bad relationship choices based on a child's understanding of evolution. ...more
Megan Walsh
Nov 30, 2013 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
This one was interesting. Evolutionary psychology is a controversial field so this book in particular will offend some women, alienate some men, and be dismissed by hopeless romantics. In a nutshell:

-Buss describes evolutionary psychology as the theoretical lens to understand the human mind
-Human psychological traits are evolved adaptions as a result of causal processes through evolution by natural selection
-Nature designed the rules of the ‘mating game’ primarily due to differences in our repro
Alex Zakharov
Jul 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A quick primer on sexual selection, by one the founders of evolutionary psychology. Buss covers evolved sex differences in human mating behavior (mate selection, attraction, retention, replacement, conflict). Within ev psych, and in comparison to say Geoffrey Miller and Bret Weinstein, Buss’s is the orthodox mainstream line. As such there aren’t too many surprises here, unless you surf the world on the oppressor-oppressed axis of intersectionality.

Some overarching themes:
- What is remarkable is
Mikhail Gavrilec
Feb 24, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The book contains a lot of contradictory information. Facts just don’t go along together. Book has overly bad structure and if I am not interested in subject I wouldn't read it at all.
I have doubts about almost every sentence in it.
But here is some of my concerns about content:
This book talks about resources but doesn’t even contain definition of it. I guess author afraid to say word “money” to have even more doubts and controversials about this book. But I will use word money since everybody kn
Dec 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
"Everything in the world is about sex, except sex. Sex is about power." - Oscar Wilde

Almost a century ago, it was believed that human males and females do not differ much in their sexual strategies. Human sexual psychology was not studied extensively nor the evolutionary psychology behind it.

David M. Buss pioneered the field of evolutionary psychology. This book gives the evolutionary perspective behind human sexual desires. Analogously, he compared the mating strategies of humans and other spe
Oct 26, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfic-science
An excellent explanation and encapsulation of current thinking on the topic of human mating strategies. Relatively short but chock full of details. There's some speculation here but it is informed by the data and it all made sense to me. I'll be including this book on my suggested reading list for my Evolutionary Psychology class. ...more
Feb 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I enjoy reading evolutionary psychology books,because I admire the way they explain human behaviour in dating markets.This book kept me engaged despite its content being somewhat known to me before.

This book is comprehensive without being lengthy, and manages to keep the reader interested throughout its entirety.The author has relied heavily on empirical research, but does not hesitate to make informed guesses where conclusions cannot be readily drawn.

Women have higher standards because they bea
Julia Gorning
Nov 14, 2012 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. ...more
Nasos Psarrakos
Jul 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book!!

Very good coverage of the subject.

Loved the final chapter@!
Feb 24, 2015 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.
Hadeel Elbitar
Oct 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-have
Women marry thinking their husbands will change, men marry thinking their wives will change, they are both wrong.
Joao Fonseca
Sep 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science

"In western society, lifelong monogamy is often held up to be the ideal. Anyone who does not conform to this practise is regarded as deviant, immature, sinful, or a failure. Such a judgement may turn out to be the manifestation of the underlying sexual strategies of the person who upholds it. It is often in the best interest of a women, for example, to convince others of the ideal of lifelong love. Promiscuous women can pose a threat to monogamous women, siphoning off the resources, atten
Brian Sachetta
Mar 13, 2022 rated it it was amazing
I find evolutionary psychology fascinating, which is one of the main reasons I picked up this book. The other is that I listened to its author on the “Huberman Lab” podcast and found his arguments really intriguing.

I’m very glad I purchased this one, as I found it to be one of the more comprehensive, interesting, and logical treatises on evolution-based mating preferences I've ever come across. Its arguments all make a great deal of sense, even if you wouldn’t necessarily draw such conclusions s
Carlos Henrique
Key points: study book(not opinion); science; physcology; human sexual behavior; what women/men want in a relationship, what they dislike, what tatics they use, etc;

Women see man either as "alpha genes casual mate, please cum on my pussy (there is even an scientific explanation on why women tend to orgasm more with masculine men rather then with cucks-feminine-traits-men)" or "beta genes cuckolds aka longterm husbands (men who try to persuade women through money and status)

Women have pussy (hig
Anas Saad
Mar 11, 2021 rated it really liked it
This books describes how human mating evolved over thousands of years and how mating have shaped human beings' behavior. Today, these evolutionary effects are still practiced by both men and women, with or without realizing it, despite, in many cases, the absence of the factors that led to their development.
Many people may not agree or like what the book says for many reasons. Some will not like that things like love or emotions were shaped and affected by evolution. Others may not agr
Jul 22, 2011 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.
Jun 10, 2019 rated it it was ok
Not every thing is correct women like rich old man because they imagine it in their head handsome men with suits like in classic movies but in reality she will be supposed old fat yellow teeth and ugly so she will get what she want and try to run away from him as fast as she can then later she will suffer to settle down poor girl
Aug 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is an evolutionary psychology take on relationships across many years and geographical context. The life's work of the authors, the read can be dense at times thus reinforcing the academic nature of the research that inspired the book. ...more
Feb 04, 2011 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.
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David M. Buss is a professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, known for his evolutionary psychology research on human sex differences in mate selection.
Buss earned his PhD in psychology at University of California, Berkeley in 1981. Before becoming a professor at the University of Texas, he was assistant professor for four years at Harvard University, and he was a professor at t

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