Social Question

MrGrimm888's avatar

(NSFW,not for the easily offended)Does evolution /Mother Nature favor rape? (Details )

Asked by MrGrimm888 (14396points) February 27th, 2017

Obviously this is a very inflammatory q. I am not trying to be a troll here though. And I think rape in some cases is worse than murder. And should be punished similarly litigiously.
I want to make it crystal clear that I am asking about biology,and evolution,and in NO way are seeking a sort of condoning for the act.

So… Hard facts time… Science… Ethics aside. Is a species “evolutionarily” advanced by rape,or non consented procreation?

Women are,in most cases, physically inferior to men.

One on one, a woman has a tactical disadvantage to most men.

Evolution is ,in some ways accident = rewards. Evolution also favors the ability to reproduce. (See Cockroaches)

A woman’s inability to fight off a male’s attempt to rape her is unfortunately a way she may reproduce. Reproduction is favored by evolution (right?)
I think it’s possible that most people on Earth had an ancestor that was raped. And that’s why they are here (in a morbid way.)

Most species have a larger,more powerful male. That male, sometimes takes advantage of the difference. In fact,(what we would call) rape seems quite often in nature.

I guess I’m asking that if females (of most species) were more capable of defending themselves against the males of their specific species , would that species be negatively impacted? As far as reproduction.

Otherwise, it seems like females would have a turtle shell,or armor, or something that nature provided most everything else.

I advise women to run from a potential rapist,in hopes that they ,because they are smaller, can outrun a larger human/male. I am a big fan of every female/human carrying pepper spray /mace.

I have read that G. Kong (Mongolian) is related to something like 11% of people in Asia. All from rape.

Mother Nature is indeed cruel. Is she so cruel that rape is an evolutionary advantage?

Rape has been going on for a LONG time in many different species. But it has not been driven away by evolution.


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64 Answers

Soubresaut's avatar

I don’t think that evolution favors rape, now that I’m thinking about it. I think it might be one way for a creature can pass on its genetic code, but it doesn’t seem like the path of least resistance—precisely because, in rape, one party is resisting, which makes it harder. Because, well, it “takes two to tango,” and all that jazz.

Many species have elaborate mating rituals—calls, songs, dances, and other behaviors—designed to entice a mate. They’re sending out invitations and then trying to convince the would-be partner of their worth. These rituals can be elaborate—perhaps more elaborate than “simply” forcing the point—but getting a willing partner would seem to be easier and more likely successful in the long run.

Ducks have a bit of a notoriously vicious mating pattern. This link: will give you all the gory details… The upshot, though, is that for as aggressive and rape-y as the male ducks tend to be, the female ducks develop increasing countermeasures against such assaults. (Countermeasures which female ducks do not employ when they willingly invite a male to mate with them.) Evolution, once again, is resisting rape culture—not favoring it, despite the male ducks’ best efforts. So, not “shell” or “armor,” but a complex and resistant vagina.

Turning to humans…. I can’t see how evolution could favor rape here—we’re a deeply social species. Men and women both invest huge amounts of time and energy into the rearing of children—which would seem to favor cooperation and amicability, rather than one party aggressively pursuing intercourse as the other continues to fight it—and if that weren’t enough alone, we have a tendency of defending each other from the unwanted behaviors of others, so even if one person was strong enough to reliably overpower individuals, they wouldn’t be strong enough to reliably overpower the group.

Of course, rape still persists, I would guess, because even if it is not the most successful strategy, it is still sometimes successful… And I’m sure there are examples of species where rape would seem to be the main mating MO… but I don’t think that means evolution prefers it. We don’t see it with ubiquity the same way we see, for example, eyes or ears or limbs.

Zaku's avatar

Maybe it’s part of Mother Nature’s to get rid of it’s toxic human infestation. Human’s inability to cope with and heal its own tendencies to sexual abuse their own kind, leads to its industrial cultures behaving in insane selfish ways, leading to us accelerating our use of our technologies in ways that are rapidly creating conditions in which we won’t be able to survive. Problem solved. A great triumph for the evolution of the species who survive us, whose descendants may be able to learn from our mistakes.

Sneki95's avatar

I think rape is a social concept akin to humans, rather than a biological concept akin to all animals. There may be some biological causes of it.

As pointed above, animals don’t usually rape each other. That may be because animals, unlike humans, have only specific times for breeding. I, at least, have that feel that animals don’t have sex urges outside the mating season, and thus, don’t seek for any sex either. In mating season, both males and females are quite willing to copulate, so there’s way less room for rape.

Humans, on the other hand, don’t have “mating seasons”. We can reproduce with each other throughout the whole year. There is way more chance that A is not as horny as B in the same moment. Include the position genders/sexes in society (for most of history) and there you have it.

Nature may not have done nothing to prevent rape simply because rape may not have been a biological issue in the first place (except for ducks. The hell, ducks?)

Sneki95's avatar

^Lapsus: replace “akin” with “known among”.

Seek's avatar

Genghis Khan.

Not Kong. That’s the big gorilla that raped Fay Wray.

Cruiser's avatar

Anyone who stayed awake in biology class knows that survival of a species demands a diverse gene pool. Most people would be surprised about their genetic diversity if they took a DNA test today. Sadly a rape by a man outside the immediate familial circle would achieve this end provided she got pregnant and had the child, incestual rape would not.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Mother Nature doesn’t care. Not one little bit.

marinelife's avatar

Any excuse will do? Even evolution? J’accuse.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Here’s the thing: if the act of sexual reproduction leaves the female so damaged that she can’t reproduce, then obviously, from an evolutionary standpoint, it’s useless.
Same thing for a woman who is raped, and becomes pregnant, then is left to raise the child all by herself. In nature there is a good chance one or both will die due to malnutrition and disease and exposure.
Neither of those have any evolutionary advantage, obviously.

If, however, the mother is raped and produces a healthy baby in a secure environment, and especially if the rapist comes from different genetic stock, that is a good thing.

But, you know. The more humans “evolved” the more likely they were to throw the hussy out of the tribe, along with her offspring.

rojo's avatar

A couple of things for consideration.

It is not just the passing on of genetic material that is important but that the recipient of the genes also live long enough to pass it on; thus the different success strategies of the male and female of the species.

Males can impregnate many, many more females than females can bear children. This means that success for the male can mean that the more he spreads his material around, the more chance some of his offspring will reach maturity. Whereas the female needs to maximize the survival rate of individual offspring in order for her genetic material to be passed on.

This could lead a male to take more partners, willingly or unwillingly, which could make rape a viable option in his mind. But a strategy such as this means he is totally relying on the ability or suitability of the female. Also, since not all rapes lead to pregnancy (I think the research indicates only 5% of rapes lead to pregnancy) coupled with the stress and trauma of enduring rape making a woman physiologically more likely to miscarry would indicate that it is certainly not the best option.

It could also give him the opportunity to join with the female in raising individual young this ensuring the survival of his genetic makeup and not relying on chance or solely on the female for success.

Finally, the act of rape is not for or about procreation, although that can be a result. Rape is about power, control, subjugation and domination.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Somewhere along the line something somehow curtailed a homo sapien’s biological determination to have sex with as many partners as he could. It isn’t the best situatioin for the females, who are responsible to caring for the offspring into adulthood.

I wonder if that was the beginning of societal awareness. Most animals are not instinctively monogamous, and I think that includes male humans. As well as some females.

rojo's avatar

Another question would be does nature favor adultery for the female.

If I female can find a male willing to help raise children to maturity that is the best strategy for her genes but what if the male is sub-par? Would she not be better off finding a male with more suitable or superior genetic makeup, getting pregnant by him and then convincing her live-in male partner that the offspring is his? By the time he becomes aware of the deceit, if he ever does, the child will be well advanced on it way to maturity, assuming the female is smart enough to pick a male with physical attributes comparable to those of her partner.

Sneki95's avatar

^ I may be wrong, but most males among animals don’t take care of the offspring. The only one that I know are penguins.
If a male doesn’t raise the young, why would the female care? Adultery would exist only if there is a life relationship, like a marriage. Animals that are monogamous don’t really cheat, but simply choose a mate very carefully. Adultery may as well be a social isuue rather than biological, again.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I would say it does not, @rojo. I mean, if we had our babies grown and gone in six weeks, then it would make sense. But it’s possible for a woman to become pregnant once a year. So (assuming she lived) she ends up with 25 kids by 25 different father, which assumes about 15 kids at any given time to care for (assuming they’re out in 13–16 years, which is probably more likely than the man-made concept of 18 years.)

I think it’s both @Sneki95.

tinyfaery's avatar

Even if you can make the argument, so what. Humans are way passed doing things that are evolutionary sound. We don’t act on the biological imperative alone, or even mostly. Any attempt to justify rape is cultural and says a whole lot about a person.

Berserker's avatar

Don’t underestimate a woman’s abilities to go completely apeshit when attacked, even if she is physically inferior to most men. While random dudes jumping out of bushes to rape random women definitely happen, I think most rape cases happen between people who have known one another for a long time, and who’s lives are already deeply rooted in routine and familiarity.

I also don’t understamd why evolution would need rape as a resort when millions of people copulate every day. Even in cultures or eras gone by where incest was said to preserve family lines, there were, or are, enough other people banging to maintain a steady flow of humans.

flutherother's avatar

Mother Nature is a mother. Why would she favour rape?

janbb's avatar

Since it frequently takes more than one episode to impregnate a woman, I would think her pleasure and welcoming of the act would be beneficial to evolution thus eliminating the “advantage” of rape.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Mother nature isn’t a gender of any kind. It isn’t anything but but a term we use, for some reason, to explain the randomness of natural things.

Cruiser's avatar

@janbb Studies show that 5% of women who are raped wind up pregnant.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@janbb Well, since rape is about power and force and control I don’t think her pleasure and welcoming of the act has a thing to do with it. A rapist is a monster. Welcoming it isn’t going to change that.

janbb's avatar

@Dutchess_III You totally misunderstood my point. I was addressing the OP’s question about whether there were evolutionary advantages to rape.

To spell it out, if a woman is raped she is not going to want to have sex again with that man. If she enjoys sex with the man, she will want it again thus increasing the chances he may impregnate her.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Your confusing evolution with law and morality. If we didn’t have laws, a rapist could go around raping at will and father a lot of children that way. He could rape the same woman any time he wants to. He’d have more offspring than a man who practices monogamy. From an evolutionary POV.

Seek's avatar

Guys, guys…

both ways work.

Humans have gone the “sex for pleasure” route, as evidenced by the fact that females can enjoy sex.

Other animals, like the bedbug, have sexual reproduction occur through traumatic insemination.

The paper nautilus rips off its own penis, throws it at a potential mate, and says “Hey, go fuck yourself”.

Evolution doesn’t really care how it happens, so long as it does.

Cruiser's avatar

@Seek You left out the Praying Mantis. Her lucky partner gets his head bit off during the act.

ucme's avatar

I tried to parp the wife’s tits this evening, as she was using hair straighteners, I now have a very flat, very red penis…just sayin :(

Brian1946's avatar


”...if the act of sexual reproduction leaves the female so damaged that she can’t reproduce, then obviously, from an evolutionary standpoint, it’s useless.”

Good point.

Also, I’d say more pregnancies resulting from rape are aborted, especially compared to when reproduction is the goal of an impregnation.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yes, now a days they are. But we’re talking evolutionary history.

MrGrimm888's avatar

First off, I’d like to thank everyone for not taking this personal. It’s a subject I’m very strongly opinionated about. (Against )

I was watching a “nature” show once. It was about tigers. I.don’t know if it was the primary way they reproduce, but a tiger raped another tiger. He waited by the water hole. When the female approached,and bent down to drink,the male jumped on her,and held her down while bitting her ears and being generally unpleasant.

I think there are many great points made here. But if rape is about power,or abuse,why does rape have it’s roots in the animal kingdom? I don’t think that the tiger was getting a weird “mental” thrill out of the act. Nor do I think the tiger had any understanding that the act could potentially result in offspring… He just did it… The female seemed to be OK with it after a while. SO weird…

Another point I’d like to touch on is that the males of most species only desire sex in certain seasons, or times of year. While that is generally true, there are many exceptions. Certain males will kill even their own offspring, so that the female will be more accepting of his sexual advances.

It’s very odd too me. The whole rape thing seems like it would be a disadvantage, evolutionarily speaking. In other words, it is counterproductive. As mentioned above, the raped female would potentially not reproduce, and /or be rendered infertile. In that light,could it be a form of “the strongest survive? ”

A form of “natural selection? ”

As I mentioned, animals have been raping each other for much longer than human beings have existed. So,it didn’t originate from human “evil,” or perversion…

Evolution has “allowed” it to happen for a VERY long time…

This question was along the same lines as the one I asked about why childbirth is SO painful for females. It seems like evolution has odd checks and balances…

Hell, the POTUS is a rapist. It didn’t hurt him,or his gene pool.

Thanks to all for your measured ,thoughtful responses.

And I’ll never look at ducks the same again….

rojo's avatar

Another point I’d like to touch on is that the males of most species only desire sex in certain seasons, or times of year. Is this true? Or is it that females in most species are only receptive at certain times of the year and so the male would be wasting time and effort to attempt mating any other time? This is different from not desiring sex.

Not sure if you can answer this but in your tiger example was the female in heat?

rojo's avatar

I want to touch on this ^^ some more.

Are males (of species other than homo) ready for sex ONLY whenever the females are obliging or are they always ready and just awaiting the opportunity?

Do males also have, for lack of a better term, and estrus and an anestrus cycle and if so how is it tied into the females cycle?

I recall somewhere in my education learning that human females are the only primate that do not exhibit obvious external indicators of sexual receptivity. One theory was that it was to be able to confuse or deceive the male of the species into sticking around to mate and thereby helping with the child rearing. Kind of a “If you don’t know when she is receptive, you have to try multiple times to be sure of producing progeny” strategy. Seems like this would negate the rape and run scenario.

MrGrimm888's avatar

^I don’t know if the tiger was in heat. She was restrained by the larger male. Usually when a mammal is in heat,they produce more pheromones, which when smelled,will increase the males sex drive.

I know of many women who want to be restrained during sex. They like hair pulling,bitting, scratching,pain ,or to be held down. I don’t know where I’m going with that information, but it seems like some primal instinct. My ex was a big fan. We watched the tiger show together. And from that moment on,she and I enjoyed a sexual position we called “tiger style.”

I would think that women would be turned off by violence. But that isn’t the case. Maybe it makes the man seem more masculine, no clue.

Strange world….

Stranger women….

Clueless men….

MrGrimm888's avatar

@rojo . The more I think about it, I think that what we call “rape.” Is simply an odd byproduct of the way we (animals ) are wired. The male sex drive is SO powerful,that less developed animals cannot fight the urge to force(if need be) themselves on an attractive other animal.

Interestingly, it doesn’t seem to matter ,in all cases, if the other animal is the same species. Reproduction with another species is mostly impossible. It seems like another “glitch” in evolution. Why would the drive have survived so many generations, with little or no evolutionary advantage?

In a morbid way, rape is a decent “strategy,” for spreading the males seed. Again though,with the low “success” rates of procreation, and the worsened circumstances of the offspring surviving /thriving, it seems to fly in the face of how evolution works…

I’m starting to see it as I mentioned above, as a way to cull the weaker animals from the heard. That’s the only “advantage” that I can decipher, in evolutionary terms.

It’s why dog’s instinctively kill smaller, or weaker dogs. A sick tool to keep only the strongest animals here,competing for resources….

If we assume that dinosaurs,and /or other early creatures also exhibited this “rape” behavior, then the behavior has survived several extinction level events, hundres of millions of years,and risen from the ashes each time. Therfore, evolution values it as a tool…

Seek's avatar

Rape is a conscious choice. It requires the ability to make the choice to rape.

Tigers are not sapient life forms. They have no concept of sexual consent, and thus no concept of rape.

A human could, theoretically, rape a tiger, because the human would be having sexual contact with something that couldn’t consent, but a tiger could not rape a tiger because tigers lack the conceptual understanding of consent.

Likewise, if a tiger kills you it isn’t a murder, because tigers lack the concept of murder.

Stop anthropomorphising things that don’t have ventrolateral frontal cortex.

Dutchess_III's avatar

You guys…I’m fairly certain that when a female dog, for example, or mare goes into heat, they come from miles and miles around. A stallion will break down his corral. Same with cats. I think the males are “always ready,” but sensing a female in heat drives them mad.

I’ve often wondered if humans can sense when a female is ovulating? It certainly isn’t as obvious as it is with other species, but do they sense it subconsciously?

tinyfaery's avatar

Plenty of men like to be submissive.

rojo's avatar

Stop anthropomorphising things that don’t have ventrolateral frontal Kellyanne Conway?

Dutchess_III's avatar

What does submissive have to do with anything?

tinyfaery's avatar

OP wrote

“I know of many women who want to be restrained during sex. They like hair pulling,bitting, scratching,pain ,or to be held down. I don’t know where I’m going with that information, but it seems like some primal instinct. My ex was a big fan. We watched the tiger show together. And from that moment on,she and I enjoyed a sexual position we called “tiger style.”

Dutchess_III's avatar

Oh, I see. Well, that’s just another layer of something that humans had to put on yet another totally natural, and instinctive act. We just have brains that do that shit. I don’t think tigers or starfishes discuss bondage or how the other would like it, on top on on bottom? Like they have any choice anyway.

rojo's avatar

you don’t think starfish have a “safe” word?

janbb's avatar

@rojo Get off my fucking arm. No the other ones!

tinyfaery's avatar


Dutchess_III's avatar

NOT MY EAR, IDIOT!!! <<Dog I used to know, when trying to mate with our dog.

MrGrimm888's avatar

@Seek . If a man raised in a country where consent isn’t a law,or isn’t known about, he can force himself on whomever he wants? Because he has no concept of consent?

There’s more to it than that. If the tiger didn’t think that the female would resist him,he wouldn’t have snuck up on her at the water hole. He didn’t have a complex understanding of consent,but he knew was stealing,or taking something he desired by force. The female also understood that, and attempted to get away.

Now they share a condo in Laos. Have 3 cubs,and the father tiger feels overworked, and the mom feels under-appreciated,and less desirable. She longs for the passion of those water hole days.~ But she’s taking yoga, and they are in marriage counseling. And father tiger is on the way home with flowers and strawberry wine.~

Just as Mother Nature intended….

Dutchess_III's avatar

Here is something to think about.

“It has been noted that behavior resembling rape in humans is observed in the animal kingdom, including ducks and geese, bottlenose dolphins,[1] and chimpanzees.[2] Indeed, in orangutans, close human relatives, copulations of this nature may account for up to half of all observed matings.[3] Such behaviours, referred to as ‘forced copulations’, involve an animal being approached and sexually penetrated as it struggles or attempts to escape. These observations of forced sex among animals are not controversial. What is controversial is the interpretation of these observations and the extension of theories based on them to humans. “Thornhill introduces this theory by describing the sexual behavior of scorpionflies. In which the male may gain sex from the female either by presenting a gift of food during courtship or without a nuptial offering, in which case force is necessary to restrain her.”[4]”

MrGrimm888's avatar

^Isn’t the Internet amazing? Nice link.

rojo's avatar

Still gonna go with Nature does not favor rape as an effective method of reproduction.

MrGrimm888's avatar

^I agree. As I said, I think it’s the opposite. I think it’s another cruel, and morbid way of mother nature making sure the strongest survive. And I hang loosely to that because I can’t see any other “benefits” to it.

And yet it has been a behavior that has passed the test of time.

It’s a fucked up world.

Cruiser's avatar

@rojo To use the word rape in the realm of Mother Nature IMO opinion seems a bit of a misuse of the term of rape as we employ it in the modern human world. That said I would like to point out in the animal kingdom, mammal species almost always has an Alpha male who has first dibs on his harem of females of which he provides protection from predators including other males who will compete with him for their chance to mate with these females. It is well documented that females seek out the Alpha male because they want to mate with the strongest male who has proven his ability to provide protection and food for her and her offspring. This means a good percentage of males are on the outside looking in and instinctively they are programmed to mate with a female to pass on their genes to help ensure survival of their species.

Now successful evolution and survival of a species demands a diverse gene pool to pretect that species from the constant mutation of viruses and the instance of other males forcibly “taking advantage” of unattended unwilling females when the Alpha male is preoccupied is what provides some of this diversity of the gene pool of mammal species. Some may choose to characterize this as rape, Darwin simply identified it as survival of the fittest.

Seek's avatar

Homework assignment:

Everyone go home and read The Selfish Gene, by Richard Dawkins.

Then we can all come back and discuss how pointless and misdirected this entire thread has been.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I agree @Seek. Rape is horrible. But for this discussion we have to set our morality aside. Morality has nothing to do with it in Mother Nature. If a female becomes pregnant, it’s successful. Done deal.

janbb's avatar

@Seek Who died and made you Not-God? :-)

Cruiser's avatar

@Seek Using Dawkins in a thread on rape IMO is an astoundingly poor choice.

”“Date rape is bad. Stranger rape at knifepoint is worse.””

Nice Tweet Mr. Dawkins….real nice! Dawkins is only second to Trump of people who should not have a Twitter account.

Dutchess_III's avatar

How the hell would he know which is worse???

Seek's avatar

The question isn’t about rape. It’s about evolution, which is literally his job.

Cruiser's avatar

@Seek I went searching Google and Dawkins fully expecting him to have addressed the role of rape in passing on the Genes of a mammal as many other researchers have and that Tweet and the firestorm that ensued was all I could find. Anyway, I read some summaries of that book and did not observe anything too earth shattering of new ideas from him. From what I gathered he simply reduces the role of an organism, mammal even human to the role of merely being a vessel for the genes it has with the only role of successfully reproducing and raising offspring to continue it’s already millions of years journey. Hence him coining the phrase “the selfish gene”.

Seek's avatar

Well in 1974 the ideas were shiny and new ..

Dutchess_III's avatar

And offensive to many people! Still is to some.

MrGrimm888's avatar

I know it’s offensive, and I have already apologized for that. The question is about evolution. ALL of us agree that rape is terrible, and offensive.

I was SO proud of the jellies who actually took their morality aside , and simply addressed the q.

I think I’ve said before, I think it’s worse than murder ,and should be punished thusly…

Inflammatory questions bring out people’s passion. And usually provides a better response from some who would otherwise sugar coat answers.
To me, that makes for more interesting debate.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Cruiser, @Seek and I were talking about Dawkins and evolution, and his ideas in the 70’s that humans are “merely vessels for the genes,” and that many people found it offensive to be reduced to the insignificant beings we are. We weren’t talking about rape, except as a side mention, @MrGrimm888.

I don’t think rape is worse than murder. Would you really rather be killed than raped?

MrGrimm888's avatar

I’ll answer on your thread, @Dutchess_III. My answer can have more context there. Good Q…

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