Men's perceived partner commitment and mate guarding: The moderating role of partner's hormonal contraceptive use

Juliana E. French*, Andrea L. Meltzer, Jon K. Maner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Male jealousy is an adaptive interpersonal process that functions to maintain relationships by reducing the likelihood of partner sexual infidelity. Ancestral men would have been most reproductively successful to the extent that they responded to signs of low partner commitment with increased jealousy and mate guarding. The current research showed that, indeed, newlywed husbands who perceived relatively low commitment in their new wives displayed relatively high levels of mate guarding. However, this relationship was moderated by wives' use of hormonal contraceptives (HCs). HCs can unconsciously reduce women's sexual signaling behaviors and, therefore, may eliminate the extra-pair sexual signaling likely to promote male mate guarding. Consistent with predictions, among husbands with wives not using HCs, relatively low levels of perceived partner commitment were associated with relatively high levels of husbands' mate guarding. Among husbands with wives using HCs, in contrast, husbands' perceived partner commitment was unassociated with husbands' mate guarding. This finding joins others in suggesting that the use of HCs, often used in the context of long-term committed relationships, can unknowingly interrupt evolved relationship processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)173-186
Number of pages14
JournalEvolutionary Behavioral Sciences
Volume11
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2017

Keywords

  • Hormonal contraceptives
  • Marriage
  • Mate guarding
  • Partner commitment
  • Sexual signaling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Men's perceived partner commitment and mate guarding: The moderating role of partner's hormonal contraceptive use'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this