Recently a woman reader asked about the oft-repeated claim that women hate beta males, something she’s encountered several times online. I too have heard this but have never understood the rationale. If you don’t want to mate with someone, fine, but hatred? That implies a threat of some sort from beta males, something I can’t really imagine.
The only person I’ve ever seen express fear, loathing and contempt for beta males is Amanda Marcotte, who regularly sneers at “Nice Guys ®.” She dismisses them as losers who can’t get laid, and has offered such sage advice as “Be more attractive.” (I don’t think Marcotte’s got the makings of a boot camp product there.)
In any case, I have always been at a loss to discern the source of her hostility. Yesterday the mystery was solved as she weighed in on the New York Post article about sexual economics and the plummeting price of sex, which I wrote about earlier this week. She expressed reluctance to even acknowledge the piece, but noted that its widespread distribution online forced her hand. She then proceeded to rail and rant, not about the Post article, but about Nice Guys ®!
There are a lot of dudes out there not getting laid as much as they think they deserve, and this theory of sexual markets is so appealing to them that they’re willing to shove aside all critical thinking to believe that “science” has explained their problems. See, the eternal complaint of the Nice Guy® is that a) women give it away to guys who don’t deserve it but b) women’s affections aren’t loose enough to be applied to them.
(Not all Nice Guys® are obsessed with “sluts” even as they work hard the idea that if a woman would guy X, she’s required to date guy Y, and if she finds Y unattractive, she’s “shallow”. As long as they’re not raving about sluts, I think there’s potential for redemption for Nice Guys®.)
The problem with the theory of Nice Guys® is that it’s internally contradictory: they both believe women’s standards to sleep with a guy are too low (which is why she sleeps with him) and too high (she’s shallow for not sleeping with me). There’s mental tricks they play to ease the cognitive dissonance—for instance, by suggesting that if a guy’s hotness impresses you that makes your standards too low, but if you don’t like someone who spends 40 hours a week playing table games, you’re shallow…
Despite Marcotte’s having made a pet project of dissing nice guys, aka beta males, for some time, she remains clueless as to the nature of the SMP she inhabits. This is nothing more than willful ignorance, as the real reason for the plummeting price of sex and dearth of relationships can be directly traced to the Sexual Revolution and the Pill, which fully unleashed female sexuality. Regardless of whether one considers this liberation or havoc, the effect on the sexual landscape is undeniable. Only its value is debatable.
Recently I demonstrated the effect with this fun chart depicting who’s getting sexual attention from women:
In short, promiscuous women are aiming high, preferring one random hookup with a top male to love and commitment from someone only as attractive as they themselves are. (For an excellent real life example of this, see Karen Owen.)
The men Marcotte calls Nice Guys® are actually just guys who have lost out big time on the mating front, as women looking to trade up (which is a natural enough biological imperative) employ this short-term mating strategy. Whether they are nice or not so nice has nothing to do with it. In general, we can only say that they do not possess as many of the qualities that women seek.
Why is that? What makes a man irresistible to women? It turns out this has been studied extremely thoroughly. Building on the work of UC Santa Barbara anthropologist Donald Symons, who pioneered the study of the evolution of human sexuality, Ogi Ogas’ book A Billion Wicked Thoughts provides an excellent summary. Ogas searched through a billion web searches, including half a million personal search histories, to learn what sexual content people actually look for and purchase online.
It turns out that men and women have dramatically different sexualities. Here are some of the highlights about female sexuality:
1. Culture influences female sexuality, but not male sexuality.
Female porn sites market themselves very differently than male sites do.
Especially common are female-targeted adult sites promoting “empowerment” and “positivity,” concepts men do not associate with erotica.
Roy Baumeister suggests that women’s greater sensitivity to cultural influences is rooted in brain mechanisms.
Women’s sexuality appears to be more plastic than men’s, relying on social framing and cultural conditions when making decisions regarding relationships. Men’s sexuality seems far more driven by simple physiological mechanisms.
This means that women are influenced by depictions of sex in culture, e.g. films, magazines, Sex and the City, Girls Gone Wild, etc. Growing up in the era of feminism, many women have been taught that sex is empowering, a dangerous and unhealthy notion.
2. Females are attracted to socially dominant males.
Study after study has demonstrated the erotic appeal of male dominance. Women prefer the voices of dominant men, the scent of dominant men, the movement and gait of dominant men, and the facial features of dominant men…Scientists believe that the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex may be responsible for processing cues indicating social status or dominance, and it appears that almost all female brains are susceptible to dominance cues.
Aha! How is dominance displayed? Ogas explains:
There’s a very important fact to understand about male social dominance. No man is born dominant. He must strive for it – and he may fail. The male brain is designed to go through life shifting between dominant and submissive states. Though a man might be born with physical and personality traits that facilitate an easy rise to dominance – height, vigorous upper-body strength, a deep voice ,an aggressive temperament, an indomitable will – dominance must still be attained through social interactions with other males. In other words, social dominance is fluid and flexible, not hard-wired into the male brain.
In other words, men achieve social dominance by competing with other males. Women do not confer this upon men, they reward it.
3. Female desire is essentially different from male desire.
Men are visual. They respond to a gender cue that is fundamental and fixed. They respond to visual cues that are flexible during adolescence, then very fixed…Any cue triggers an immediate, powerful reaction directed toward seduction and orgasm.
Women are more focused on emotional and psychological cues, which generate erotic stories suited for satisfying female appetites. Women respond to a truly astonishing range of cues across many domains. The physical appearance of a man, his social status, personality, commitment, the authenticity of his emotions, his confidence, family, attitude toward children, kindness, height and smell are all important to women.
Unlike men, who become aroused after being exposed to a single cue, women need to experience enough simultaneous cues to cross an ever-varying threshold. Sometimes, just a few overwhelming cues can take a woman there. Other times, it takes a very large number of moderate cutes. For a man, a single cue is often sufficient, and sometimes necessary. For women, no single cue is either necessary or sufficient.
Female sexuality is far more complex than male sexuality. It’s no wonder that research demonstrates that frequently women report one set of cues as arousing, then experience a completely different and measurable physiological response than they expected.
4. Women have unique psychological cues related to self-esteem.
Irresistibility and adorability are feelings a woman has about herself that influence her self-esteem. One of the most fundamental and influential psychological cues for women is irresistibility: the feeling that you are sexually desirable. Being desired is very arousing to women.
This is why we often hear and directly observe that the most promiscuous women seek male validation from sex. It is a form of intrasexual competition, whereby they are able to experience a fleeting sense of irresistibility.
When Karen Owen wrote her F*ck List thesis, she gave her highest ratings to the men who let her stay over, cuddled with her, or told her how hot she was. She also ranked very highly the man who left her covered with bruises, which she found very exciting. She gave her lowest rating to the young man who refused to let her enter when she tried to return for a pair of earrings. He left them at the door instead.
When Marcotte suggests that men failing to pull no-strings sex become more attractive, she’s being rude and snide, because she doesn’t believe that is possible. Yet she is essentially correct. When female judges give a man an overall ranking of six or less, he can either complain bitterly or take action to bump himself up to a seven. While this may sound like an impossible task, and certainly Marcotte would say it is, social dominance plays such an important role in female attraction that manipulating this variable alone can produce dramatic improvements in a man’s life.
How can a man become more dominant if he requires male competition to achieve that? Ah, but he doesn’t. He may acquire dominant traits by practicing dominant behaviors, and indeed his testosterone level will rise, completing the shift at the biological level. Ogas:
Testosterone is correlated with dominance. It’s the “male competition’ hormone, and it fluctuates. Fans of a losing sports team experience a test drop after the game, while the winning fans get a testosterone rush…The more dominant a human male becomes, the more testosterone he produces, which in turn increases his sex drive. Men with high levels of testosterone lose their virginity earliest, have the most sexual partners, and convince women to have sex the fastest.
Clearly, a man can become more attractive to women by becoming more dominant, which raises his T level, which makes him more attractive, which makes him more dominant, which raises his T level and so on.
The male seduction community (PUAs) has developed a set of techniques its practitioners use to seduce women. The techniques are designed to activate women’s psychological cues in the same way that botox, collagen and implants are designed to artificially trigger men’s visual cues.
That set of techniques is called Game, and it’s every bit as legit as the techniques that women use to draw male attention.
For men who, whether it’s because they’re married or they aren’t high performers with the ladies, don’t get to be in the game and seriously resent it, these theories might have a lot of emotional power that is clogging up their ability to be rational.
Those men are getting into the game in increasing numbers, and they’re doing it via entirely rational means. If they’re smart they’ll focus on the 80% of women who don’t enjoy or seek casual sex.