For most of human evolution, a secure pair bond such as the married couple in this 15 th century painting has helped a woman give her children their best chance to succeed. So, evolutionary psychologists wonder, what drives women to sometimes engage in short-lived sexual liaisons? After a certain age, most adults settle into long-term partnerships that remain relatively stable for years, even a lifetime. This poses something of a problem for evolutionary psychologists, who seek to explain much of human behavior as inherited adaptations that have arisen over tens of thousands of years. After all, a promiscuous man could potentially sire dozens, even hundreds of children, thus contributing more of his genes to the next generation — a win, in evolutionary terms.
A funny, fresh, and moving antidote to conventional attitudes about sex and the single woman. Emily Witt is single and in her thirties. But, as many of us have found, things are more complicated than that. Love is rare and frequently unreciprocated.