Episode 40: Sexual Deception, Jealousy, and the Dark Side of Relationships

June 25, 2021 by Justin Lehmiller

Although sex, dating, and relationships can bring us great joy, they also have a very dark side. For example, people sometimes lie or deceive others in order to have sex. And in dating and relationships, jealousy sometimes turns into violence. So why do these things happen in the first place? And what can we do to prevent them?

I interviewed Dr. David Buss, a Professor of Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. He is considered the world’s leading scientific expert on strategies of human mating and is one of the founders of the field of evolutionary psychology. His latest book is titled When Men Behave Badly: The Hidden Roots of Sexual Deception, Harassment, and Assault.

Some of the topics we explore in this episode include:

  • Why is sexual deception so common in the world of dating? What are the deeper roots behind this behavior, and what can we do about it?
  • How many people in relationships cultivate “back-up mates” in case things don’t work out with their current partner? Why is this behavior so common?
  • Why are we often drawn to partners with “dark” personality traits, such as narcissism?
  • Why is jealousy “the most dangerous emotion?” If jealousy causes so many negative effects, is it really an adaptive emotion?
  • Why is it important to consider evolutionary perspectives on human sexuality? Can adopting an evolutionary perspective help us to prevent sexual harassment and violence?

To learn more about David, visit his website and check out his new book When Men Behave Badly.


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Credits: LEGIT Audio (Podcast editing) and Shutterstock/Florian (Music). Image created with Canva; photos used with permission of guest.

Written by

Dr. Justin Lehmiller

Founder & Owner of Sex and Psychology

Dr. Justin Lehmiller is a social psychologist and Research Fellow at The Kinsey Institute. He runs the Sex and Psychology blog and podcast and is author of the popular book Tell Me What You Want. Dr. Lehmiller is an award-winning educator, and a prolific researcher who has published more than 50 academic works.

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