Dating mating and marriage by martin king whyte
A female appears to have little problem having sex with males .
It is with respect to female choice that mate-guarding seems 'inefficient'.
In thus contradicting the standard biological model of male mate-guarding as preventing partner defection, its function instead appears to be to displace social/sexual access to the female by lower (but not by higher) mate-value males; thereby indirectly facilitating the female partner's extra-pair sex with males of her choice or acceptance (males of higher mate-value than the pair-bond partner).
Furthermore, by producing successive offspring with the same male, the pair-bond in effect allows the female to project forwards in time her early peak in fertility (her own mate-value).
The conflicting theories are two inter-related major assumptions usually made about the function of the pair-bond (generically across species, humans included): that it is male proprietorial control of the female's fertility, so as to provide paternity confidence; and that this serves to facilitate the resourcing of offspring.
The latter would appear to entail the former, in that proprietorial control ensures the male's investment of provisioning is to his own genetic offspring and not to those of another male.
“ The most likely answer to this question is that the 'inefficiency' is apparent rather than real, owing to the actual nature of mate-guarding not being understood.
With pair-bonding primarily of benefit to the female, the requirement to mate-guard as hitherto understood, to prevent partner defection, is not performed by the male but by the female.
This explains the findings of predominantly female 'control' within intimate-partnerships, and indirect measures showing women value and invest in the pair-bond more than do men.
A short duration hardly calls into question the existence of pair-bonding, but it does inform the debate as to the basis of its being adaptive.
Theorising as to the basis of pair-bonding is summed up by Quinlan [Quinlan 2008] as two apparently conflicting theories of male mating competition and male provisioning of the female (henceforth 'male provisioning'), between which it is not possible to decide, with human pair-bonding appearing to have an ecologically varied complexity.
The facility to pair-bond is accepted as a human universal, with even its cultural manifestation in marriage ascribed a long evolutionary history [Walker et al 2011].