Addendum – Why not the Coolidge Effect?

In the post before I introduced two behavioral patterns widely exploited by religions to enhance fecundity. These are upholding of mutual trust and the generation micro alpha males. An other behavioral pattern also common in humans is the Coolidge effect. (I highly recommend to read the wiki entry for the origin of this term’s name). The Coolidge effect evolved in animals, including primates, in which males can inseminate more than one female, in which the number of male sperm cells abundantly outnumbers the number of female eggs, in which a female’s capability to produce progeny is more than exhausted by a single shower of sperm, and in which fitness can be increased only by males copulating with as much as possible females. In these species, males soon get tired of a female after copulation but immediately rejuvenate by an new female.

The Coolidge effect would demand societies/religions that would encourage men to have many women. In fact, such societies/religions exist, which proves the impact of this effect in men, but these societies are rare, failed to gain great importance, and are rather dying out. Why? What are the evolutionary disadvantages of religions that rely on the Coolidge effect?

  1. The Coolidge effect reduces allelic variability. Societies that allow harems are characterized by consanguinity and hereditary disorders. Such behavior produces genetic bottle necks that hinder evolution in the long term. This explains why even in apes with strong hierarchical social compounds alpha males do not sire all the children in a troop.
  2. As human sex ratio is nearly 1:1, some men maintaining harems would leave others without any chance to find a mating partner. These unsatisfied men constitute a permanent thread of social unrest which turns the master fauceir, the society, unstable. Witnessing this, successful societies rather discourage men to indulge in their Coolidge effect.
  3. Finally,  overall fitness of a human society is limited by the number of children per female and not the number of females inseminated per man. The latter may have a bearing on the biological evolution of favorable traits, as observed in primate societies, but in human societies this is no longer the case when social status is inherited along with the whole harem.

Coolidge or not the net effect on both biological and social fitness is just the same. Human’s biological capabilities involve and social capabilities remain unchanged.

Creative Commons License

This work by Paul Netman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Fauceir theory is developed and © by Mato Nagel and available at


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