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"Valentine's Day 101: Why Humans Have Sex"

If your usual Valentine’s Day agenda involves sticking homemade shivs into a makeshift, ill-designed voodoo doll that resembles your ex, allow us to...

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If your usual Valentine’s Day agenda involves sticking homemade shivs into a makeshift, ill-designed voodoo doll that resembles your ex, allow us to present you with another option. On Wednesday 3, the American Museum of Natural History is turning its monthly SciCafe series over to evolutionary psychologist David M. Buss, author of Why Women Have Sex. He’ll shed some light on the strategies of human mating from a scientific standpoint, which may help you decipher urban dating codes. Here, he shares some knowledge on human mating strategies. (As a backup, there’s always the cash bar.)

It’s not you, it’s New York. “People in large cities have the same sexual motivations as everyone else,” says Buss. “But you have greater anonymity here, which increases the short-term mating and infidelity.” Hope you like cheaters and one-night stands!

Women: It’s complicated. “Female sexual motivations are very complex,” explains Buss. (Guys, we know. You’re shocked. Shocked!) “People had assumed women have sex for pleasure, to get emotionally intimate or to have a baby. But we found that there are a lot more intricate reasons, ranging from altruistic to borderline evil, like having sex to get revenge or to give someone a sexually transmitted disease.” No glove, no love, friends.

History repeats itself. “Men place a greater premium on physical appearance, while women tend to place a greater importance on financial resources and the qualities that lead to those resources over time— [like] clear goals,” says Buss. “Is his ambition to play video games with a can of Budweiser on his belly? Women don’t find that attractive.”

We’re all looking for the same thing. “In long-term mating, both sexes want someone who is intelligent, dependable, kind and emotionally stable,” says Buss. “At the top of the list is displaying a good sense of humor, and that’s true for men and women.” Bottom line: Embody the qualities you wish to have in a partner and you’ll most likely find your match. Eventually. Well, maybe. (God, we hope.) This is New York, after all.—Cristina Velocci

LET’S TALK ABOUT SEX! “Valentine’s Day 101: Why Humans Have Sex”: American Museum of Natural History, Central Park West at 79th St (212-769-5315, amnh.org). Wed 3 at 7pm, free.

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