1st Edition

The Evolution of Human Pair-Bonding, Friendship, and Sexual Attraction Love Bonds

By Michael R. Kauth Copyright 2021
    230 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    230 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The Evolution of Human Pair-Bonding, Friendship, and Sexual Attraction presents an evolutionary history of romantic love, male-female pair-bonding, same-sex friendship, and sexual attraction, drawing on sexuality research, gay and lesbian studies, history, literature, anthropology, and evolutionary science.

    Employing evolutionary theory as a framework, close same-sex friendship is examined as an adaptive trait that has harnessed love, affection, and sexual pleasure to navigate same-sex environments for both men and women, ultimately benefiting their reproductive success and promoting the inheritance of traits for friendship. Chapters consider the desire to form close same-sex friendships and ask if this is embedded in our biology, concluding that most humans have the capacity to form loving, meaningful, and sexual relationships with men and women.

    This book takes on a unique interdisciplinary approach and is essential reading for those studying and working in sexuality research, anthropology, sociology, evolutionary psychology, and gay and lesbian studies. It will also be of interest to marriage and family therapists as well as sex therapists.

    Figures and Tables

    Chapter One Initial Introductions

    Chapter Two Love, Sex, Marriage, and Family: Different-Sex Mating Pair-Bonds as

    an Adaptation

    Chapter Three Friends with Benefits: Devoted Same-Sex Friendship as an Adaptation

    Chapter Four Life Partners: A Brief History of Devoted Friendships

    Chapter Five Labeling Love and People: Sexual Attraction and Identities




    Dr. Michael Kauth is Director of LGBT Health in the Department of Veterans Affairs and Professor of Psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine. He has authored several papers and books on LGBT veteran health, implementation science, and the evolution of sexual attraction.

    Early evolutionists saw nature and survival as brutal. Affection and romantic bonds, which arguably played an equal part in human survival, are usually dismissed or limited to facilitating reproduction and parenting. Without the limiting lens of seeing bonds solely in terms of sex acts and reproduction, this elegantly written book finally restores same-sex bonds and sex to our understanding of the roles of culture and society in evolution. It is an overdue and rewarding reconceptualization. 

    Michael Ross, University of Minnesota Medical School, USA


    Dr. Michael Kauth provides an integrated interdisciplinary account of the origin, function, and history of human mating pair-bonds and devoted same-sex friendships, including those that involved sexual intimacy, across history and cultures. His meticulous and well-reasoned analysis leads to the surprising conclusion that sexual attraction is central to both reproduction and friendship. 

    William Byne, Columbia Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, USA; and Editor-in-Chief, LGBT Health


    How did human pair bonds evolve? Why is human friendship so pervasive for H. Sapiens Sapiens? In this intriguing book, Dr. Kauth suggests a great capacity for sexual variation across all human populations. He explores how "devoted friendships," understood in cultural context, reveal specific functions of male alliances for adaptation and survival. Dr. Kauth appeals to future sex researchers to frame their work within historical and cultural context.

    Gilbert Herdt, San Francisco State University, USA