Horny Genes: are we genetically wired to be promiscuous?

Updated: Jun 25


I was in my early 20's and had just ended a period of sweet yet oppressive girlfriendment rule that lasted four years. I lived in Latin America and she moved back to Asia. I was too young and dumb to appreciate and love the right people in the right way. They say “all endings are beginnings we just don’t know at the time”; so, with my face towards the sun and a breeze blowing my hair, I plunged into an era of sexual freedom like a General leading an army of desires into the forest of good smelling women.


Horny tortoise Diego saves his species.

During the mid-1960’s when the tortoise species Chelonoidis hoodensis were down to a dozen females and two males a breeding program was established. Giant tortoise Diego was flown from San Diego zoo to the Galapagos in hopes of boosting the population. After fathering more than 800 tortoises, the giant tortoise retired in 2020. A true hero who single handedly banged his species out of extinction.

I started dating different girls. Being single is like a fat kid with money in a candy shop. I was not particularly good with women. Gifting flowers is something that I still don't fully understand: "here, I like you, so I cut these roses and now you can see them die slowly". I guess the secret to date more was to hang out with uglier friends, lower your bar and widen your taste. A taxi driver once told me: “there are no ugly women, there is only being not drunk enough”. Sometimes the dates lasted a few days, other times a few weeks. The shallow and juvenile nature of the relationships was evident for all parties involved, so I thought. Then I met a young girl with beautiful, curly, dark hair, a Latino-Asian mix with almond blue eyes. She wanted a stable relationship: “You broke my heart in pieces. But I put the pieces back together in a different way. I am a different person now and I don’t like you anymore”. LEGO girl was right. I had nothing to say. I was a selfish superficial person. I felt guilt for the instincts to spread my seed to the world. I thought I must've learned this behavior from the misogynist, patriarchal society. But it is deeper, it turns out we are genetically wired to be hedonistic promiscuous animals.


Horny ancestors kept human species going

During the Paleolithic era, the average life expectancy was around 33 years. To increase the species chances of survival and reproduction, as Darwin mandates, the caveman had to bang a lot to keep us in the game. They were too ignorant to be conscious of this fact. There was no organized banging or weekly performance reviews: “Hey, One-Tooth John, you are not fucking enough. At this pace we will disappear in 40 moons time”. The urge of constant indiscriminate mating had to be ingrained genetically. After a day of mammoth hunting and possibly losing an arm to hungry wolves, the caveman will return home exhausted yet still wanting sex. The cave-woman was also promiscuous. Christopher Ryan, in Sex at Dawn states that because of women's ability to have multiple orgasms and kept wanting more it increased the chances of pregnancy. She had to be horny for the numbers to add up. I bet the Neanderthals disappeared for not humping enough. In fact today with DNA research we know homo sapiens mated with them and probably just out-banged them to extinction and merged them into the homo sapiens sapiens subspecies. Our ancestors were polygamous. DNA studies suggest monogamy likely started as recent as 10,000 years ago and became the norm as recent as 1000 years ago. Maybe that is the reason behind men's subconscious fear to marriage. After all, only 3 to 5 percent of roughly 5000 species of mammals are known to practice lifelong monogamy.


Horny evidence: the genetic on-switch

Laura Pereira Ph.D., a researcher at Columbia University has been working to show that a handful of genes act like a genetic on-switch in the brain, specifically in males. This genetic traits are found across almost all species. Pereira found that young worms express a gene called Lin-41. But when they reach a certain age, that gene is repressed and some neurons begin expressing a different gene called Lin-29A. Once their neurons started expressing this new gene, male worms started seeking out mates. I suppose we can call it the Horny Gene. Next time you feel disgusted by Jude Law cheating his hot fiancée Sienna Miller with the average looking nanny, remember this incomprehensible sex drive is what helped us getting here in the first place.


One of them is the Nanny

Horny apocalypses? Or maybe not

Things started to make sense. I was a product of a horny evolutionary process. The humans that weren't horny enough did not reproduce enough and the ones that made love more passed on their horny genes, generations after generations, hornier and hornier and now that we have 7.5 billion enough copies we are trying to repressed our instincts. Is the entire world getting hornier and the only thing stopping us bunny humping each other all the time are the cultural restrains? Maybe. Or maybe there was a reversal and balance of the hornyvolution. Perhaps at some point in history women started to select less promiscuous and loyal men to mate and build families. After all we were no longer struggling for the species survival. A deeper concept called love took center stage and sex played second fiddle. Colombian novelist Márquez said, "sex is the consolation you have when you can't have love".

The novelty of the ever changing dates had waned off. It gave me frenzied nights but often lonely mornings. The superficial laughs and touches fed the material body but not the soul. Fucking around is like travelling. You want to visit different places, experience other cultures, but it doesn't mean that you want to move permanently into Cuba. At the end, you want to stay in somewhere that makes you happy precisely because of the familiarity: where you can go around without a map as you had memorized her streets and alleys by heart. The views of ever changing landscape had lost its allure. Instead, I wanted to see the sunset repeatedly in the same place, calmly and not worrying about missing any of it; because, the next day, when the sun starts setting, I was going to be in the very same spot. Here I was again, with my face towards the sun and a breeze blowing my hair, like a General leading an army of lonely feelings into the forest of interesting women. I marched forward in search of love. Yes, I too was young and naive and I also fell in that fox trap.



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