Women who don't put out are playing a very clever game

When your mum told you not to put out on the first date it wasn't because she worried about you becoming the village bike - she probably just understood evolution pretty well.

New research by The University College London has shown that the longer a woman waits before putting out, the better are her chances of a successful long term union. Boffins say the phenomenon can be explained by a woman having more time to 'screen' potential partners. The longer she waits, the longer she can evaluate the risks of running the procreation gauntlet with a complete moron. The more reliable a man say the eggheads, the more willing he will be to defer gratification and the better a long term mate he will make. Chancers on the other hand won't bother coming back for a second date.

"The strategic problem the female faces is how to screen out bad males, and this is where long courtship comes into play. A male is assumed to always want to mate with a female, but a good male is more willing to pay the cost of a long courtship in order to claim the prize of mating. The female's strategy is a compromise - a trade-off between on the one hand the greater risk of mating with a bad male if she mates too quickly, and on the other hand the time cost of delay.

"Under this compromise there remains some risk that she will mate with the wrong type of male. "She cannot eliminate this risk completely unless she decides never to mate."

Damned if you do, damned if you don't. And who said romance was dead?

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