Dr. David Barash

Zoologist

David Barash knows the biological ins and outs of attraction. He's maintained a successful marriage even after co-writing The Myth of Monogamy with his wife, so this "bona fide old-timer" of the UW psychology department must be onto something. His tips, below, are sure to bring out the love animal in you.

How to make love stay: Biologically, we're not wired for monogamous relationships. "Generally, a biological payoff is derived from having a diversity of sexual partners," Barash says. But we can "fool biology" by avoiding the "same ol', same ol'." Have sex in different places, at different times of day; even dress up in different costumes "if you want to be hokey about it."

Know the animal within: Although we're genetically closest to chimps, our social habits more closely resemble those of perching birds, such as sparrows. Like our feathered friends, humans often aim for "social monogamy": They put on a "social show" of an exclusive relationship, while secretly getting around on the side. Also, like all animals, people "get an image of their preferred mate based on early experiences." This phenomenon, termed "sexual imprinting," may explain the notion that we choose mates who resemble our moms or dads.

When to mate: Today, Barash says. "One thing remarkable about human beings is that mating season is now!" In fact, it's every day, because unlike most species, humans like to do it all year long.

 
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