Evolutionary Theory and Crime – Sexual Deviance And Sexual Coercion

The explanations of Charles Darwin on evolution give the various aspects of the development of the biological characteristics among different species of animals and plants as essential to their survival over time. The evolution theory extends to give relevance to human social behavior and criminal behavior –as the evolutionary psychologists argue that this theory presents explanations for a number of anti-social behaviors including murder and rape (Durrant & Ward, 2015). The evolutionary psychologists note that in some social environments, such aggressive behaviors could be perceived as being advantageous to survival, which constitute the indicative of survival-of-the fittest or natural selection theories.

This research paper looks at two specific crimes in which evolutionary theory can be applied. That is it gives explanation and a reflection on the aspects of characteristics of criminals and the criminal behaviors explained in the evolutionary theory of the crime of sexual coercion and sexual deviance.

Sexual coercion

The evolutionary approaches to the explanations of male sexual coercion can be found in Thornhill and Palmer (2000). An evolutionary view of heterosexual relationships give the suggestion that women and men both compete and compromise with each other due to the fact their reproductive interests are not always the same. The concern of divergence of the reproductive interests of women and men is best shown by male sexual coercion, which circumvents the female choice by definition.

Sexual coercion is considered to be historically and cross-culturally universal, though its frequency varies over societies. Rape is more common form of sexual coercion for example in warfare (usually for the purpose of acquiring women), where men are organized in fraternal interest groups, and where women are perceived to have low status.

From the evolutionary perspective, men would be indifferent to female mating preferences when the cost of engaging in such are very low (for instance, among soldiers occupying conquered territory) when women are viewed as adversaries at the time when are intoxicated to calculate possible delayed costs of sexual aggression in dating situations, and in a situation where men attract multiple partners and are correspondingly unconcerned about their future relationship with a specific woman (Kubrin, Stucky & Krohn, 2009). Men who are preferentially aroused by coercive sex are expected to be more likely to rape since its benefits are viewed as higher relative to its costs.

Sexual deviance

The notion of sexual deviance in itself is implicitly Darwinian. Sexual interest that focus  on reproductively irrelevant features of partners, such as feet, or even partners that are not reproductively appropriate since they are too young, the same sex, dead, or the wrong species are most likely to be considered sexually deviant or anomalous. As expected from the Darwinian account, sexual preference for members of non-human species is extremely infrequent (as opposed to sexual behaviors focused toward non-human species which are no that uncommon).

How evolutionary theory accounts for criminal behavior

Criminal behavior is one way, albeit one which most in the society find abhorrent, for the achievement of reproductively-relevant goals or attaining reproductively-relevant resources (Baumeister & Vohs, 2004). The aspect of the status attainment is a key concern in the evolutionary theory and crime. All the human groups are a subject of status hierarchies. Position within the status hierarchies heavily determines the access to reproductively-related resources, for instance, food, material possessions, desirable mates and territory. Humans have evolved status-striving motives that loom larger in men’s drives than in women’s drive. The evolutionary psychology gives heuristic value in guiding criminologists to the domains in which criminals will deploy exploitative strategies. The evolutionary psychology gives similar heuristic value into crimes such as male-male violent assault, theft, sexual harassment, homicide and prostitution (Rafter, 2008).

Furthermore, the evolutionary aspects of life results to overstraining of the available natural and economic resources thereby making humans to develop strategies to acquire resources. These strategies include individual or solo resource acquisition, cooperative resource acquisition strategies and the exploitative resource acquisition. Exploitative resource acquisition encompasses procuring resources by taking them from other people through tactics of threat, force, coercion, deception, murder, violence and manipulation.

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