How many times have you heard the reductive, evolutionary explanation for sexual behavior that says guys are programmed to spread their seed and stray, while women are programmed to care for their young and stay with one partner? My answer would be way too many, but there is hope: a new study from the University of Oxford says men and women are similarly promiscuous or faithful, which could prove to be a key revelation in our understanding of human sexuality.
In the experiment, titled "Stay or Stray? Evidence for Alternative Mating Strategy Phenotypes in Both Men and Women," researchers collected data from 595 British and North American male and female subjects who answered questions about their sociosexual orientation — which basically means their sexual and relationship behaviors. Then, researchers took a different sample of 1,314 individuals and collected images of their right hands. The ratio of your index finger to your ring finger in primates correlates to how much testosterone you were exposed to in the womb, which influences your "reproductive phenotype," AKA, dating strategy. The initial results showed that there are two sub-groups of the population, those that tend to employ a long-term mating strategy (which they label monogamous) and those that tend to employ a short-term mating strategy (which they label promiscuous). Most importantly, these groups do NOT divide along gender lines.
Apparently, those with a larger index to ring finger ration tend to fall into the "stray" type, while those who have a smaller ratio tend to fall into the "stay" type. However, this doesn't mean your sexual fate is destined by your hands. The study authors admit this very subtle finding only became clear when looking at large groups of people and that there are other factors like your environment and upbringing that can influence whether you have a wandering eye, want to mate for life, or fall somewhere in-between. That said, it's still nice to have a scientific reminder that your behavior is not purely a gender directive — there's a lot more to it than that.