The lek mating system

In a lek based mating system, males and females regularly gather at some location and the males put on a display. The females inspect the displays, then, after much wandering about, have sex with one of the males, never to meet that male again.

Absent patriarchy, humans predominantly mate on the lek system.

In monogamy and polygyny children have natural fathers. In lekking, they don’t. Today, most children do not live with their father. Therefore, lekking is the today predominant system, not monogamy, not serial monogamy, not polygyny.


In general, a species that leks will obviously produce fewer offpring than a monogamous species, about half as many. Hence the fall in fertility.

In the general span of history surveyed by Udwin in “Sex and Culture”, societies that reproduce by lekking disappear, while monogamous societies expand and overwhelm their neighbors.

17 Responses to “The lek mating system”

  1. jewish pedophile says:

    Lekking, now that is a useful concept that I have not seen discussed for a long while.

    The Jimian analysis is, “Men conquer and women surrender, but men perform and women choose.” The latter part is where lekking comes into effect. Patriarchal monogamy or polygyny, then, seek to minimize the extent of lek mating habits and maximize the extent to which women are collectively conquered by men, i.e., the degree to which all women are propertized by their fathers and husbands. A society that won’t let men conquer women is one where marriage is illegal, and in such a society, only lekking is left, hence dropping TFR.

    And lekking tends to result in badboys getting all the girls, because women are sexually attracted to displays more typical of gorillas than of humans.

  2. PRCalDude says:

    A post on welfare’s effect on Hispanic fertility and legitimacy would be appreciated. Sailer recently posted on falling hispanic fertility, but it seems to me welfare increases hispanic fertility in immigrants. Their children seem much less fertile.

    • jim says:

      My theory is that our politicians are primarily interested in importing voters,and therefore prefer the non working Mexican underclass, but I have not gathered empirical data to support this proposition.

    • red says:

      I work with and around some second gen middle class Mexican immigrants in California. Feminism limits the number of children they have. It’s hard to have fun when your pregnant all the time. So they either become single mothers and having a kid every 5-7 years or they spend their 20’s parting then get married limiting their fertility.

      The change from direct welfare to tax credit welfare changed birth patterns from larger families for the benefits to smaller families and more useless HR department type make work for women.

  3. Samson J. says:

    Today, most children do not live with their father.

    Is this true? It’s the kind of thing I always have trouble believing, but that’s because I dwell mostly in a SWPL-dominated bubble. It’s easy to see why liberal SWPLs have a hard time understanding sociological truth if even conservative pseudo-SWPLs (like me) see no day-to-day evidence of it.

    • jim says:

      I am not seeing illegitimate upper class children, but I am definitely seeing a lot of upper class children of divorce.

      In the US forty one percent of children are illegitimate. My anecdote and casual observation is that most illegitimate children are either father unknown, or father is no longer around by the time the child is born. Of those 59% that are legitimate, a very substantial portion have their parents divorce while they are small. Even in the upper class, the proportion of children of divorce is very substantial. I don’t have numbers for it, but anecdote and casual observation suggest to me that the white upper class have about one third children of divorce, but only around one in ten illegitimate.

      The white non Hispanic illegitimacy rate was twenty nine percent in 2010 so I would make a wild guess it is around thirty percent now. Children of divorce are a large proportion of the remainder, so even among whites, we are probably past fifty percent children not living their fathers. However, among upper class whites, well below fifty percent. Rather, the problem among upper class whites is not fatherless children but that white upper class females just are not getting married and just are not having children.

      • Red says:

        Feminism is awesome. It not only screws up poor people’s lives but it also limits the number of kids the best and the brightest produce.

      • Samson J. says:

        Thanks for the information. I think that in my upper-middle-class circle:

        1) A lot more people have divorced parents than I realize because, while not exactly secret or shameful, coming from a broken home is still not really a topic for casual conversation.

        2) I’m still too young to see widespread divorce or illegitimacy among my peers.

        Time will tell.

        • jim says:

          Or it could be my perception that is anomalous. I don’t have any accurate statistics on white upper class divorce and illegitimacy. It is all perceptions. Maybe my circle is slutty upper class, while the norm is old fashioned upper class.

  4. spandrell says:

    Well then why are Africans so fertile? They´re the typical lekkers, yet they keep pumping out babies like there´s no tomorrow.

    • jim says:

      Black fertility in the US is only very slightly higher than white fertility. The longer women go to college, the lower their fertility rate, due to postponing family formation.

      Black African fertility, subsaharan fertility, is high due to lack of contraception and widespread marriage. My understanding is that in subsaharan Africa, most women marry young and stay married. Governments encourage contraception, but most women who show up for family planning are divorced, separated, or abandoned.

      • PRCalDude says:

        This is the exact opposite of what I’ve been reading. I’ve read that African husbands are almost an oxymoron.

        • jim says:

          That black men in subsaharan Africa are badly behaved, does not imply that women are badly behaved.

          Most African women get married soon after menarche, and a bride price (lobola) is paid for them, a substantial price. That a substantial bride price is paid, implies that subsaharan Africans are not lekking – the husbands would not pay if they were. That a price is paid, implies value is received. If value received, more male investment in children.

          Mauritanian men like plump women. To induce early puberty, or the appearance of early puberty (any human of any age and either sex will develop breasts if fed enough) young girls are force fed to fatten them up, so that they can be sold off early, a practice that is inconsistent with widespread lekking.

          • PRCalDude says:

            Well, whatever they do, it seems to work for them.

            We, on the other hand, like to try to enslave the men who produce children in this society through alimony and child support laws while at the same time incentivizing women to leave their men.

            We also pay single welfare queens a lot of money.

            I talked to another guy yesterday who pays some ridiculous amount of money in child support every month even though he has 50% custody. He told me he was going to tell his sons never to marry.

            Our society obviously won’t exist in a few more generations.

      • Red says:

        Black fertility is very high because of how hostile Africa is to human life.

  5. Koanic says:

    You’re ignoring male selectiveness and female competitiveness. It’s mutual lekking.

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