SOCIETY would probably have you believe that women are the ones who can't get a handle on their emotions. But a recent study has shown that men, despite their macho attitude, are actually the ones who usually take the biggest risks when it comes to love.
The study, published in the Journal of Risk Research, claims that men have basically inherited this willingness to face dangers for women from our ancestors. Men, it noted, are expected to take risks for sexual gains and these risky behaviours manifest themselves in the form of unprotected sex, reckless driving, alcohol consumption, and unhealthy lifestyles.
"The present research advances an evolutionary account of risk-taking behaviour in that one of its main functions is to get access to potential mating partners. Inasmuch as reproductive competition among men is more pronounced than among women, men in particular are expected to take risks in order to gain sexual access to women," said the study titled, Romantic motives and risk-taking: an evolutionary approach.
History is replete with men who have taken innumerable risks for the women they love, some to the extent of losing their lives. Romeo, Adam, Sampson, Solomon, and King Edward VIII of England are among those who demonstrated that though powerful in their own rights, the loving attention from the right woman was sufficient to easily bring them to their knees, and in some cases, to their graves.
Chair of the National Family Planning Board and General Practitioner Dr Sandra Knight is not surprised at the findings of the study. She pointed out that men are risk-takers generally.
"They have less cerebral inhibitions, perception and analysis of danger. This was useful thousands of years ago when they had to face wild beasts for food and livelihood, and today it has served them well in terms of gaining wealth, status etc," she said.
She added: "Anything that the male considers worth gaining, they will take risks to get it."
The doctor pointed out that investors who take the biggest risks are usually the ones who win the largest dividends. For those who refuse to take risks, fear is often the biggest deterrent. Dr Knight said that in the same way a drug addict will get involved in extremely high-risk behaviour to get a fix, this same sort of attitude applies when it comes to sex for some men.
"This is fuelled by testosterone and endorphins, which are two powerful hormones that facilitate risk taking behaviour. The pursuit of pleasure, sex and love is no different. The first phase of love is called the lust phase, usually lasting for two years, then comes the attachment phase, and then the romantic phase," she said.
Robert Blake admits that he has taken quite a few risks for sex, but, like many men will, he does not agree than men take more risk than women in relationships.
"I find that it is equal. Anything the men will do, the women will do too. You have women, for example, who will go to foreign to meet up with someone for sex in the same way a man would," he said.
Although he is now married, there was a time Blake said when he would venture out of the safety of his house to go to some of the worst garrisons in Kingston to hook up with women. With humour ringing in his voice, he recalls his short-term relationship with a woman in one of Spanish Town's toughest communities.
"She lived with her father and he was a machete man," he said. "One Friday evening she was sneaking me in the house and her father came to the door with his machete to look out. It's a good thing it was dark, so after he went back into the living room, she let me in."
Despite the danger that awaited him in the event that he was caught by the girl's father, Blake said he returned to his lover's house every Friday night and snuck into the her room. He oftentimes spent the night and left on Saturday mornings when her father left and went to Coronation Market.
Shortly after breaking off the relationship with her, he learnt that another man who tried to pull off a similar stunt was not so lucky, as the father burst into the room one night in the middle of their lovemaking session. He had to jump butt naked through her bedroom window.
Male development specialist Marlon Moore is also of the view that a person's gender has very little to do with someone's willingness to take risks for sex when stacked against other factors.
"It has to do with your experiences as it relates to age, your upbringing, and what your parents taught you about sex. These would more play a role in your decision," he said.