Briffault’s Law (A complete guide)

In this brief article, we’ll discuss “Briffault’s Law. Then we’ll focus on the aspects of the law which showcases choice of Happiness vs. status.

Finally, we’ll highlight the question “Does Briffault’s law apply to humans?” 


Robert Briffault was a French surgeon and was born in 1876 in France and was died on 11 December, 1948 in the United Kingdom.

He found fame as a social anthropologist and later in life as a novelist.

He is famously known for Briffault’s law which states that “the female, not the male, determines all the conditions of the animal family. Where the female can derive no benefit from association with the male, no such association takes place.

In the modern world, the association would be referred to relationship.

It debates on the gender role and human behavior, though the above sentence has taken from the chapter Social relations among animals Briffault never himself quoted it as a law.

It has been used as an argument which used to demonstrate that in modern society women choose men who have a comparatively high income.

The arguments have been taken place because as we know women usually have the upper hand in choosing the partner either sex partner or marriage partner.

It can be because of numerous reasons such as low female-male ratio or having high sexual appeal a girl has, women almost most of the time gets the privilege to either choose or reject a man.

And according to the sentence drawn from one of his chapters depicts that women are the one who takes advantage of the situation, it’s more like a cost/benefit analysis by women.


The debate which has led by Briffault’s law is simply between whether the women choose happiness over status or is it the other way round?

Or is there any value of a woman’s promise?

The law states that the gain is not necessarily monetary only it can be other gains as well like social status, sexual compatibility, anticipated future happiness, emotional security, etc.

The three components of the Briffault’s Law are:

  • Even though a woman has accrued past benefits from her relationship with a man, this is no guarantee of her continuing the relationship with him.

This depicts that the commitments made by women are highly doubtful and doesn’t guarantee anything other than her own happiness and are very selfish.

  • If a woman promises a man to continue her relationship with him in the future in exchange for a benefit received from him today, her promise becomes null and void as soon as the benefit is rendered.

This depicts, that the women choose the barter system when trading for their relationship, they first demand only to fulfill men’s demands later on.

They first try to be satisfied with them fully and then only they offer something in return. 

  • A man’s promise of a future benefit has limited ability to secure a continuing relationship with a woman, and his promises carry weight with her only to the extent that the woman’s wait for the benefit is short and to the extent that she trusts him to keep his promise.

This depicts that the promises made by women are highly doubtful and shouldn’t be considered as women are very fluctuating and flipping in terms of their promises made.

The promise of living together stays until the offers or benefits stay, as soon as there are no new and promising benefits they see they leave their promise and men, just like that.

Marginal Utility:

There is a concept that exists in economics and is known as a marginal utility.

It means that the benefit derived from a product lessens with each successive unit consumed.

In simpler meaning, if a person craves for something like donuts and tries to consume it, the first time he tries it, he’ll have them all.

Once tasted it, the craving fades a bit but the second time also a bit enthusiasm and craving would be there.

But the third time, there is no craving left and the sight of the donut might be a sore sight then, it will become the negative territory.

This is what the Briffault’s law states about the behavior of the women, that they derive diminishing marginal utility from their relationships with men and acquiring the desired benefits.


Robert Briffault himself never quoted it as a law, but in modern times this has been taken strongly by men who are a bit frustrated towards the pseudo-feminism.

If we see around us, because of some horrifying incidents happened towards women, the feminists are trying to protect the women from the society but there are some pseudo-feminists are also there who try and grab the benefits by going over the top, which benefits have been entailed for the betterment of women in the society.

This, no doubt, increases the belief in the Briffault’s law and its application to human, but if we try and see on the bright side and just not label it to just the women and apply it on the whole mankind, we’ll see the law depicts the nature of animals which the “humans” have started to adapt and not just a particular gender.


In this blog, we’ve discussed “Briffault’s Law”. Then we’ve focused on the aspects of the law which showcases a choice of Happiness vs. status.

Finally, we’ve highlighted the question “Does Briffault’s law apply to humans?” 

I hope you enjoyed reading it.

Please feel free to comment below or leave a message, we appreciate your time.