With most women his manner was a mixture of taciturnity and passion. The lengthy approaches to a seduction bored him almost as much as the subsequent mess of disentanglement. He found something grisly in the inevitability of the pattern of each affair. The conventional parabola – sentiment, the touch of the hand, the kiss, the passionate kiss, the feel of the body, the climax in the bed, then more bed, then less bed, then the boredom, the tears and the final bitterness – was to him shameful and hypocritical. Even more he shunned the mise en scène for each of these acts in the play –the meeting at a party, the restaurant, the taxi, his flat, her flat, the weekend by the sea, then the flats again, then the furtive alibis and the final angry farewell on some doorstep in the rain.

– Ian Fleming, Casino Royale (1953)



The James Bond or Don Juan legends would be much less interesting if these famous Lotharios had sex with literally any woman they meet. But James Bond and Don Juan are sexual “heroes,” that is, fulfillments of male sexual fantasy, because they are successful with many of the most attractive women, not just any women. […] In contrast to humans, all other male apes exhibit an open-ended sexual appetite that does not refuse any fertile sexual opportunity. Gorilla, chimp, and orangutan males will pursue every sexual liaison available to them. Men are conspicuously different. The sexual pickiness of human males is a derived feature that arose on the exclusively human branch of the ape family tree. So, contrary to the evolutionary psychologists’ eagerness to supply a reason for male sexual profligacy, we actually need an evolutionary explanation for the opposite quality.

– Richard O. Prum, The Evolution of Beauty: How Darwin’s Forgotten Theory of Mate Choice Shapes the Animal World – and Us (2017)


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