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date: 07 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Humans exhibit sexually coercive behaviors that also occur in other apes: forced copulation, aggressive mate guarding, and enforced proximity through sequestration. These human and nonhuman behaviors share important commonalities. Coercion is used most commonly within preexisting social and sexual relationships. Coercive tactics are not the domain of sexually disenfranchised males and may be used to greatest effect by socially dominant males. Finally, the sexual conflict underlying coercion most often centers on paternity confidence and restricting female access to other partners, rather than over the sexual access of the coercive male, per se. The potential for conflict to lead to coercion in humans is reduced by the limited promiscuous behavior of women and by the increased probability of sanctions by the female’s kin. Coercion is simultaneously enhanced by the high costs of cuckoldry to paternally investing human males and by the division of labor that reduces the male’s ability to directly observe female behavior.

Keywords: sexual conflict, sexual coercion, rape, claustration, apes, chimpanzees, orangutans, domestic violence

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