Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who has covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

January 22, 2009


Margaret Davis, Independent, UK - Mathematicians have proved what women have been counseling their friends for years: a woman increases her chances of getting a "good" man by not sleeping with a partner straight away. They used a numerical model to show that better partners were willing to date for a longer time before having sex, but "bad" men were more reluctant to hang around.

Professor Robert Seymour, of University College London, said: "Longer courtship is a way for the female to acquire information about the male. By delaying mating, the female is able to reduce the chance she will mate with a bad male. A male's willingness to court for a long time is a signal that he is likely to be a good male.

"Long courtship is a price paid for increasing the chance that mating, if it occurs, will be a harmonious match which benefits both sexes. This may help to explain the commonly held belief that a woman is best advised not to sleep with a man on a first date."The research is published in this month's Journal of Theoretical Biology. Dr Peter Sozou, of Warwick Medical School and the LSE Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science, said: "The strategic problem a female faces is how to screen out bad males, and this is where long courtship comes into play. A male is assumed to always want to mate with a female, but a good male is more willing to pay the cost of a long courtship to claim the prize of mating."


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