Why Women are Hottest in Countries With Too Few Dudes

September 4, 2009


Latvian Women Strut Their Stuff

Recently, the economics blog Marginal Revolution ran a piece called  A Theory For Why Latvian Women are Beautiful, after a colleague returned from Latvia astounded by the beauty of the women there. This would hardly surprise Latvian women, 500 of whom marched in a Blonde Weekend parade last May to cheer people up during the global economic downturn.

Alex Tabarrok offers a theory, based on a study by David Schmitt. Basically, it says these women are horny as hell, and implies that they’re getting all dolled up and strutting their stuff to snag a shag. The study was called Sociosexuality from Argentina to Zimbabwe: A 48-nation study of sex, culture, and strategies of human mating (2005). It looks at why women’s attitudes towards casual sex might differ among countries.

First, Marginal Revolution’s definition of sociosexuality:

Sociosexuality is a concept in social psychology that refers to how favorable people are to sex outside of commitment. It can be measured by answers to questions such as “I can imagine myself being comfortable and enjoying “casual” sex with different partners” (agree strongly to disagree strongly) or “Sex without love is ok,” as well as with objective measures such as the number of sexual partners a person has had. A low score indicates subjects who favor monogamous, long-term, high-investment relationships. A high score indicates subjects more favorable to sex for pleasure’s sake alone. with less regard to commitment. On average, males have higher sociosexuality scores than females but sociosexuality scores for females vary widely across countries.

Schmitt hypothesized that women in countries with a low ratio of marriageable men to marriageable women would be more friendly to the idea of commitment-free sex. This theory explores the flipside of a study done by Pedersen (1991), which found that when the sex ratio is high, an oversupply of men leads to greater fidelity, stronger commitment to career, and an increased male willingness to engage in child care. It’s also interesting to note that in the United States, every study has shown that men report higher sociosexual scores than women. (Did that knock you off your chair? I didn’t think so.) Those findings are confirmed in this study across all the countries.

Here’s what Schmitt found:

Female Sociosexuality in 48 Nations

You can see that Latvian women are indeed quite friendly to the idea of bumping just for fun. They are outdone only by my kinswomen in Lithuania, women in Austria, Slovenia, New Zealand and Finland. Estonian chicks also look pretty eager, so if I were a single guy I would book my next vacay to the Baltics.

(It turns out the Baltic nations have a low sex ratio due to the high rates of male suicides and deaths from accidents within these nations. That sounds very strange, doesn’t it? I suspect diabolical plots on the part of the Russian Mafia.)

Another interesting finding of the study is that in cultures where women possess more political, economic, and relational power to make their own sexual decisions, women appear to preferentially choose a more unrestricted form of sociosexual expression. This refutes the idea that women are solely designed for long-term monogamy.

The bottom line? Sex is a commodity that reflects the laws of supply and demand. Go crazy in Latvia, Taiwan’s a bust.

Guy wants it badly, girl grants access according to market conditions. The number of guys in line determines her price.

  • RT Wolf

    Have you read Myth of Monogamy? It’s got some things that are relevant to your idea of supply and demand.

    Females tend to go for a dual strategy rather than the one we generally think: they’re not just looking for good long term relationship partners but also seeking opportunities to have access to the genes of an attractive male (however that’s defined across species). The best strategy is to have access to the genes of the attractie male (so have him impregnate her) and then the sweet, caring guy raise the kids…thinking they’re his. And historically females of most species pursue this strategy.

    Rates of cuckoldry among humans, even in westernized nations with our preponderance of birth control (you’d think they’d use a condom/pill for an affair, no?) START at 10% at the low end. This is data since the 50s and has been pretty consistent. That means that about one in ten guys out there is running around raising a kid who they think is theirs but isn’t.

    Like you pointed out in another post: men have thus a desire to make sure the kid they’re goint to invest a ton of time and energy in raising are theirs (and men do have this motivation–most men are not the love ’em and leave ’em type…cause it may lead to their kids dying). Things like seeking women of sexual inexperience (a virgin means by definition the kid will be yours…as long as she doesn’t have sex again with someone else very soon…which is surprisingly common). Ever notice why the woman’s family tells the guy and his family “the baby looks like the father”? Seems to be about the same mechanism of reassuring the man of his parentage.I recall at least one study which did indicate that newborns do indeed look a bit more like fathers.

    Point is: it’s not just men who’re promiscuis and may thus be interested in short-term relationships. Women are motivated to do the same and that’s often something I’ve noticed is swept under the rug when you analyse some article or other. But then, you have a particular goal–you’re not trying to be impartial–so that’s fair enough.

  • Animut

    I need to marry Latvian lady.

  • It’s hardly an insult for it to be said that Latvian women like sex. Congratulations to them. I’m from Eastern European origin and it good to see that the women of my ancestry like sex. Supply and demand have always driven everything, but this solely doesn’t explain all sexuality. There are countries on this chart that are more sexual than the chart shows. Religion beliefs can override supply and demand.