What drives the libidinous wife?

Newsweek's Sharon Begley dials the number for evolutionary psychology and doesn't get an answer:

When an Anna Nicole Smith (27) marries a J. Howard Marshall (89), much of the public nods knowingly and figures, DNA programs women to seek out older, wealthy men, and men to go for young, fertile babes. Please. Give the lady credit for rationally evaluating the benefits of marrying an incontinent octogenarian multimillionaire.

This is a fun article, and Begley's writing really sparkles. Her point of departure is the study showing that ovulating lap dancers get more tips:
While ovulating, the phase in the monthly cycle when a woman is most likely to conceive, the strippers earned an average of $335 per five-hour shift, compared with $185 while menstruating. The reason, the (male) scientists concluded, is that a fertile woman emits a signal that she is physiologically ripe to conceive. Men are, supposedly, genetically programmed to detect the signal -- since being drawn to a fertile woman is something evolution and natural selection would favor -- and to behave in a way (generous tipping) that might win her.

Begley taps ev-psych critic David Buller for a simpler explanation: Women may just give more tip-worthy lap dances when they are ovulating, compared to when they are menstruating.

On a similar score, Begley notes a simple explanation for why men may be "more attentive and amorous" when their wives are ovulating:
[A]gain there is a simpler explanation for why men turn on the charm when their partners are ovulating, and it harks back to the strippers. Ovulation increases libido. A libidinous wife is more likely to send signals -- readers are invited to provide their own examples -- that she would welcome affection. Again, no genes controlling us like puppets. A loving heart and working brain are enough.

The "working brain" part I get, but it seems to me that any scientific explanation of that special vim in the "loving heart" is going to have to do with physiology and genes. If the woman's libido is increased by ovulation, and the woman gives better lap dances, and whatnot...well, how exactly is that not a sign of genes controlling us like puppets?

Begley's objection to the "ev-psych" explanations seems to be the idea that men are specially adapted to detect unconscious signals from women. She embraces the idea that women are specially adapted to send unconscious signals to men!

So, I think the column ultimately misfires. Evolutionary explanations of human behavior are not to blame -- even Begley can't avoid making one up to explain the link between libido and ovulation.

No, the problem is a sort of naive adaptationism -- assuming that the adaptation here involves male-specific sensory and cognitive processes, just because male behavior is being observed. Begley's alternative explanation -- female physiological and cognitive changes that influence men -- seems (in her description) more plausible, but it is equally evolutionary.

It is also more consistent with the observation that there are a very large number of clueless men!