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By Bunmi Sofola

What do women who relish hopping from one bed to the other have in common?  They all enjoy the company of men and know how to get it too!  They see a man they fancy and they go for him, with no messing around. 

But they’re not after a lasting relationship – their goal is sex.  Ladies like these often get a reputation.  But experts now believe that, far from being abnormal or out of control, they are doing what nature intended!

It’s women, not men, who are naturally promiscuous, the new research suggests.  But unlike the obviously promiscuous ones, most of us have been keeping our urges under control.  Or have we?  In a recent survey, 100 women were questioned about their sexual behaviour. 

More than two-thirds admitted they’d had one-night stand at least once, and more than half had cheated on their men.  Despite this kind of evidence, we’ve all come to accept the notion that men who play around simply can’t help it – that they’re biologically programmed in some way to be unfaithful.  It’s an excuse men have been using for years. 

Ever since the days of Casanova, serial philanderers have been explaining away their behaviour by saying that it’s just the way men are, that it’s part of their nature to make conquest after conquest.  Scientists have always believed males were eager to mate with as many partners as possible because they’d have more chances of reproducing.

The female, on the other hand, needed just one good male to reproduce successfully – so she was choosy, saving herself for the strongest suitor.  This explained why men like to sleep around and women stayed faithful – and the notion of the ardent male and coy female was born.  But that idea has now been turned on its head.  Women who go for variety may be doing what comes naturally. 

Researchers have uncovered many examples in both the animal world and in human societies where the female is a sexual go-getter.  “You only have to look at chimps or baboons.  A female of these species will mate with many males over a short period of time,” says Professor Hardy of the University of California.  “Female prairie dogs, sand lizards and field crickets also mate many times. 

In addition, biologists have discovered that in species where the females are larger, more brightly coloured, and more aggressive than males, the females are in charge breeding with harems of males.  A similar picture has been discovered among humans. 

Many societies such as the Ban people of South America believe that several men can share in a child’s parentage and will help in rearing such a boy or girl.  So when a woman gets pregnant, she has sex with as many men as possible in order to maximize the number who can share in parenthood and provide for the child.  There is nothing particularly coy about her behaviour.

“There are also clues that men aren’t designed to put it about.  In species in which the males are known to be highly promiscuous they develop very large testes to maximize sperm production; explains the professor.

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