The first secret about body language is that much of our body language is about getting sex -- or defending against it. In the ancient past, the most important biological purpose in life was to find a mate to help pass on the parents' genes in their children. Most humans and animals have a powerful drive to find a mate for sex because it feels super-fantastic! Unconscious body language often reveals a person hunting for a mate and sex.
Over the past 10,000 years, we "modern humans" have learned to live together in social groups and communities. Rules and codes of conduct for finding a mate and producing offspring were developed to minimize overt sexual competition. Violation of the mating rules -- and even minor deviations from the rules in some cultures -- often brings severe criticism and consequences. Violators soon learn there is a price to pay for deviation from the local rules about revealing their natural sexual drives and seeking a mate in unconventional ways. In spite of all the social pressure to hide and suppress our natural sexual urges, our sexual desires are still often revealed in our unconscious body language.
Many people will argue that we humans today have a higher purpose than getting sex. However, research has found that much of our body language still reveals an unconscious desire to get naked and have some sexual fun. There is abundant research indicating that body language is still unconsciously geared to finding a mate and getting sex. Interestingly, this drive to get sex and reproduce is handled differently in men and women. Generally, single men are looking for immediate sex. Single women are more often looking for a relationship first (for protection and survival with help of a man) and then sex may happen afterwards.
Below is one example of a man's posture emphasizing his sexuality.
When casually standing like this, he will usually directly face the woman who appeals to him. Notice that the fingers all point to "you-know-what-is-important" to this guy: Sex! Of course, guys claim that this is just a comfortable way to stand.
Yah, sure it is -- NOT!
Here at the right is one way women call attention to their sexuality with their body language. It is quite obvious that this woman is unconsciously advertising to the world that she is a healthy woman. This woman's body language could not be more clear and simple! She is unconsciously saying, "My womb is empty and available." This is very deep, old brain limbic system-driven body language programmed by the DNA from our ancient ancestors. This ancient part of the brain functions in very basic ways, driving us to find a mate. This drive is handled differently in men and women.
Nearly every sperm-producing animal and human male must expend much time and effort in convincing the female to accept him and his sperm. This has forced most males, both animals and humans, to initiate a process called "courtship". Animal and human courtship is done in many different ways. Some male birds, whales and gibbons "sing". Some birds dance or build special nests to attract a female. Human males have been very innovative in countless ways to attract a mate through courting.
Human courtship usually starts as flirting and dating. This courting ritual normally involves joint activities to close the physical and emotional distance, so two people can become one loving couple. How this courting is done varies widely throughout cultures and in individuals.
Women generally have a drive to get the same good physical sexual feelings that men want. However, before birth control methods, most wise women had to prepare more than men for sex because of the huge job of possible pregnancy and raising the offspring. Therefore, historically women have handled getting sex differently than men.
For eons, women had the most success in raising healthy and intelligent offspring by selecting a good mate who helped protect and raise the family. In the long run, women's careful selection process has been good for our species. A woman's wise choice of a mate who sticks around and helps raise the babies gives the best chance to produce healthy offspring that survive.
On the other hand, single men generally have little investment and risk in spontaneous sex. Men can come and go without further commitments. This is very different from the woman's standpoint! Men are driven by millions of years of their ancestors' genes compelling them to breed frequently and with numerous women in order to have the best chance for offspring bearing their genes.
Many modern cultures have attempted to break this ancient tradition by implementing rules and religious customs with severe penalties if men violated them, and with even worse penalties on women who were indiscrete.
In spite of all the social, cultural, and religious obstacles for humans to get sex in only an approved way today, couples are somehow joining and making babies. Fortunately, powerful hormones evolved in humans to drive men and women together for you know what! Even if they have to go through difficult obstacles, somehow they come together and produce offspring -- often even in unapproved ways. That natural drive is what keeps the human species thriving on this planet.
© Copyright 2005, revised 2009 by Lawrence Rodrigues, M.S., Director: EastWest Institute for Self-Understanding.
All rights reserved worldwide.