Meanwhile women must husbandto those males who exhibit the greatest level of genetic and sociable desirability: that is, men who not only exhibit exterior signs of health and fitness but who are also sufficiently “alpha”.
However, because of the need for protection as well as supporting the child until it reaches maturity, a woman may choose to pair up with a “beta” for material gain while sneaking off to have sex with the more desirable alpha males.
It’s an appealing idea in many ways; it provides the gloss of an appeal to nature- it nicely coincides with the macro perception of human sexual interaction and provides justification for promiscuous male behavior and an explanation for hypergamous females. The narrative that men are naturally promiscuous (the better to ensure the survival of their genetic line) while women are naturally monogamous is the result of a cultural fallacy dating back as far as Charles Darwin; scientists and anthropologists of the time tended to use Western cultural morality as the prism through which they viewed natural discoveries – a problem that occasionally crops up today, as a matter of fact.
Amongst primates that live in social groups (baboons, chimpanzees, gorillas), the largest, strongest of the male apes is the alpha male; the others are betas.
The alpha rules the pack by dint of his strength and furious violence; he gets the greatest amount of food and unlimited sexual access to the females.
Up until about 10,000 years ago (a not even a blink of the eye, evolutionarily speaking), humans lived in small disparate communal groups with no real concept of individual ownership or even parentage.
Sexual relationships weren’t a question of monogamy or harem-like structures but polygynous and polyandrous.
(Worth noting: this narrative also doesn’t account for homosexuality.