Here’s a head-scratcher. Why do so many heterosexual men get off on pornography featuring groups of guys having sex with just one woman? It doesn’t add up, if you think about it. It’s more cone than ice cream. And the suggestive strangeness doesn’t end with the counterintuitive male-to-female ratio; it’s male ejaculate that puts the money in the money shot.
Researchers have confirmed what most men already know: men tend to get turned on by images depicting an environment in which sperm competition is clearly at play (though few, we imagine, think of it in quite these terms). Images and videos showing one woman with multiple males are far more popular on the Internet and in commercial pornography than those depicting one male with multiple females. A quick peek at the online offerings at Adult Video Universe lists over nine hundred titles in the Gangbang genre, but only twenty-seven listed under Reverse Gangbang. You do the math. Why would the males in a species that’s been wearing the shackles of monogamy for million years be sexually excited by scenes of groups of men ejaculating with one or two women?
Skeptics may argue that this arousal could reflect nothing more than commercial interests or a passing fashion. Fair enough, but what to make of experimental evidence that men viewing erotic material suggestive of sperm competition (two men with one woman) produce ejaculates containing a higher percentage of motile sperm than men viewing explicit images of only three women? And why does being cuckolded consistently appear at or near the top of married men’s sexual fantasies, according to experts ranging from Alfred Kinsey to Dan Savage?
As far as we know, there is no corresponding taste among women for erotica featuring multiple overweight middle-aged ladies with cheap tattoos, bad haircuts, and black socks having sex with one hot guy. Go figure.
Could this male appetite for multimale scenes be an echo of the porn of the Pleistocene? Keep in mind the variety of societies discussed previously in which women assist and inspire teams of workers or hunters by making themselves sexually available. The same dynamic is enacted on any given Sunday with fluttering pom-poms, the shortest of shorts, and the highest of kicks ending with sexy young legs spread right down to the Astroturf. While there are other conceivable explanations for such oddities of contemporary life, they certainly align well with a prehistory characterized by sperm competition.