Men Want Sex with Girlfriends, Not Randoms

November 19, 2012

Good news! My theory that 80% of both young men and women are unhappy with hookup culture and struggle to form relationships just got some serious traction in the mainstream press. 

Wake-Forest professor Andrew Smiler has just published a new book based on his research on males and masculinity: Challenging Casanova: Beyond the Stereotype of the Promiscuous Young Male.  Though he doesn’t use the term, Smiler’s book exposes the degree of Pluralistic Ignorance around sex on college campuses by examining the data and attitudes of young males. He also offers some ideas for turning things around.

There is a widespread belief that guys just want to have sex and don’t care about relationships. In other words, “Men are dogs.”…Many Americans believe that boys and young men – especially those between about 15 and 25 years old – are primarily, if not exclusively, interested only in [hooking up]. We think this is normal. When we act as though this is normal, we may very well be creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.

This stereotype tells us that guys are primarily interested in sex, not relationships. This contributes to the notion that guys are emotional clods who are incapable of connecting with their partners because, hey, they’re just guys, and guys are only interested in sex.

Interviewing Smiler at Salon (H/T JP and mr. wavevector), Tracy Clark Flory writes, “Smiler has an important question: “If Casonova-style promiscuity is men’s naturally evolved state, then why do most men want no more than one partner?” In “Challenging Casanova,” the Wake Forest University professor lays out the current data on young men’s sexual desires and behavior to make a case against this insidious stereotype.” Smiler:

It’s only a minority of guys who have multiple partners per year, and I typically talk about this as three partners a year because that’s the Casanova average. It’s actually a minority of guys who want multiple short-term partners — that even comes up in the evolutionary research.

The evolutionary argument basically goes that guys have the ability, theoretically, to produce hundreds of children per year, and they can never quite be 100 percent sure that any child is theirs, so they should spread their seed widely. But what gets left out of that is the fact that if you want your genes to go beyond that next generation — beyond your children to your grandchildren, then your odds are better if you actually stick around and help raise that kid until that kid is old enough to pass on his or her genes.

What is the Casanova Complex?

Peter Trachtenberg’s research on The Casanova Complex 25 years ago defined the behavior as “the compulsive pursuit and abandonment of women.” He also found that these men were not primarily physically attractive or high status, but they had developed a seduction skill set. I was amused to learn that Trachtenberg found that the most common observable behavior among would-be Casanovas was ignoring one’s female companion in public.

Smiler set out to learn how today’s college player differs. Undergraduates today describe campus players in the following terms:

  • Attractive
  • Flattering
  • Flirty
  • Self-centered, jerks, loudmouths
  • Well groomed and dressed
  • Very social, attend lots of parties
  • Heavy drinker
  • Lower GPA

In contrast, self-described players profess these traits:

  • Pride in having multiple concurrent sex partners
  • Competitive
  • Risk-taking
  • Invested in advertising heterosexuality
  • Sexist
  • Strong desire to be dominant over others
  • Not religious
  • Top 6 self-descriptors: jock, popular, prince, tough, criminal, rebel

What do players actually do?

  • 50% have more than one sex partner per year, compared to 20% of non-players.
  • 3-5% have 4 or more partners per year over a four-year span.
  • Having multiple sex partners concurrently becomes more common among men who have 5 or more partners per year.
  • In any given year, aspiring Casanovas may be up to 15% of the male population, but only about 5% of men sustain this behavior for three years.

So half of these self-anointed players have 0 or 1 sex partners per year? Only 3-5% of players rack up 16 partners in four years? Clearly, there is a massive disconnect between the way players perceive themselves and measurable results. At what point does this become fraud rather than myth?

What does everyone else do?

Men have three approaches to dating and sex:

1. Casanova: 5-15%

2. Abstinent/religious: 10-15%

3. Traditional Romantic: 70-85%

“[This] doesn’t mean that romantic men don’t occasional have one-night-stand-style hookups. Some of them do. But unlike Casanovas, and going against our general conception of hooking up, these guys often hook up with people they know.”

Smiler gives a typical example:

Mike and Jenn met sophomore year and became good friends. One night, they started making out and after a few times, they got drunk one night and “it just happened.” Mike felt regretful.

Your first time is supposed to be like really special or whatever but I just felt like it was just in a complete haze and like stupid decision making.

Mike is a Traditional Romantic. Smiler found common traits among this vast majority of males:

  • Experience low levels of family conflict around the time they enter puberty.
  • Raised in families that are emotionally expressive – showing feelings at about an average level.
  • As adolescents, experience moderate levels of “parental monitoring.”
  • Trusted by parents as teens.
  • Use alcohol and drugs, but at much lower levels than Casanovas.
  • Engage in low to moderate deviant behavior, e.g. shoplifting, vandalism, public nuisance making.
  • Punished by parents for poor behavior.

Why is the Casanova myth a problem?

According to Smiler, teaching girls that all guys are only interested in sex has detrimental effects not just on girls but also on boys:

The idea that male sexual desire is powerful, ever present, and barely controlled has been a part of American culture for at least 200 years. (Rotundo, 1993). Taken to the extreme, it contributes to the possibility that any guy could be a rapist, child molester, or some other type of sexual predator.

…This isn’t just about changing how we raise boys and talk to them about relationships and sexuality, it’s also about changing girls. After all, if we continue to teach girls to be suspicious of boys’ and young men’s motives, then a guy who is honest about his sexual desires is going to run into problems.

Clark Flory asks “How does the Casanova myth impact female sexuality?” Smiler:

One of the ways it impacts girls and women is they get the wrong proportions. They’re told that most guys, if not all guys, just want sex, that they don’t want relationships. So we have a lot of stories and evidence that girls are putting their bodies out there and doing things sexually in order to entice guys into relationships. We’re giving girls the wrong percentages which makes them perhaps behave in ways in which they wouldn’t behave otherwise — starting your contact with somebody sexually instead of relationally, for example.

At the same time, he notes that the media enthusiastically promotes male promiscuity, which confuses guys:

In mainstream media we’ve had all of this stuff on TV since the 1970s that really promotes this idea of promiscuous young men. The history, as far as I can tell, really starts with Fonzie on “Happy Days” and “Hawkeye” Pierce on “M*A*S*H.” And it continues with guys like Sam Malone on “Cheers” and Charlie Sheen’s character on “Two and a Half Men” and Barney on “How I Met Your Mother.” For several years now we’ve had so-called good guys who were also promiscuous. If you looked at TV and movies from the ’50s and ’60s, the promiscuous guys were always very clearly the bad example.

Clark Flory correctly challenges the notion that men control the culture: “What do you make of the popular wisdom that in hookup culture, young men are pressuring young women into casual sex — that they’re setting the terms of these engagements?” Smiler rightly addresses this in terms of the apex fallacy issue, though like me, his focus is not on the disputably “lucky” 15%, but the far larger “normal” 85%.

I don’t buy it. When we interview adolescents or undergrads, the girls really have the impression that guys are just interested in sex, that they’re not interested in relationships. What we know is that most guys do get into relationships, they enjoy relationships, they do a lot of things in relationships that are not about sex and they’re not doing them just to put up with them in order to get sex.

Guys get something out of relationships; they like relationships. If you add in the fact that average age of first marriage is something like 28 for guys, a lot of guys have the sense that this girl they’re starting to date at 17 or 19 or 21 probably isn’t going to be the one — and yet they are choosing to date. They could easily choose to just hook up — or instead of spending that money in a bar you could get a prostitute — but they’re consistently choosing to be in relationships.

At the same time, Smiler says that “we need to stop assuming that girls are only interested in relationships, and acknowledge that some may be primarily (or exclusively) interested in sex.” He shares the story of an undergraduate woman who planned to enter medical school immediately after graduation, and didn’t see herself settling down until she was finished with medical school. In the meantime, she wants to get laid “every now and again.” This is the independent young woman championed by Hannah Rosin – the future of feminism, which depends on women not marrying and having children, so that they can make career strides.

What can be done about this wackness?

Smiler believes that we can change the culture by changing how we raise and talk to kids:

When we develop sex education curricula based on the assumption that Casanova is the norm and when we act as though Casanova is the reality for all boys and men, we’re giving our kids incorrect information. That’s irresponsible behavior by the adults.

Only a small percentage of guys follow the Casanova Complex script. But because we understand young men’s sexuality in terms of that script, we often fail to notice or emphasize the guys who aren’t Casanovas. When we do notice them, we think they’re exceptional and unusual, even though they are in fact the majority. One way to start changing the script is to get accurate information on what’s really happening.

The solution is not a return to a Happy Days America, impossible in any case. But there is real opportunity for change just by busting the myth and redefining normal based on the real distribution of behaviors and attitudes.

We know that most young people want to have romantic relationships. Smiler tackles the male side of the equation:

If we’ve changed our expectations once, to promote the Casanova Complex, we can change our expectations again. And change means change; it doesn’t mean going back to the 1950s. We can return to emphasizing responsibility, honesty, caring and respect as male traits without sending women back home to care for the house and family. And we can do this while holding onto such “traditional” male values as independence, loyalty and hard work.”

I’ll continue to tackle the female side of the equation, which is a return to the same traits while holding on to such “traditional” female values as nurturing, emotional intelligence, and femininity in both behavior and appearance.

 

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  • What I find sad is that the traits that self-described players posses is that they seem to be rooted in a feeling of inadequacy.

    Granted, these are typically young men in their early twenties, which is a time when young people are exploring and defining their own identity.

    It’s only natural to be concerned about “fitting in” feeling adequate and getting social approval from society.

    However, after reading this article, I’m left with the feeling that these men are particularly damaged and feel the need to prove their manliness by hooking up as much as possible.

    When this becomes what society tells men they should aspire to, I believe it created even more male insecurity, causing more men to believe that they need to be good at seducing women in order to be okay and acceptable.

    So you end up with perfectly normal guys thinking that they need to become “PUA’s” in order to catch up with all the players out there.

    Just my two cents.

    • @Clay

      However, after reading this article, I’m left with the feeling that these men are particularly damaged and feel the need to prove their manliness by hooking up as much as possible.

      Smiler does present a very clear link between family dysfunction and male promiscuity. This is the first time I have seen this stated so clearly for males – there are similar findings re promiscuous females. I believe that research on males and masculinity is growing rapidly due to the now inescapable evidence that young men in our society are not thriving in the same numbers young women are.

      When this becomes what society tells men they should aspire to, I believe it created even more male insecurity, causing more men to believe that they need to be good at seducing women in order to be okay and acceptable.

      That’s obviously an enormous amount of pressure on young men. It’s clear that even the players aren’t racking up the kinds of numbers they’d have you believe. No doubt they feel pressure to live up to what is largely an empty and manufactured reputation. This sounds like a self-esteem crisis in young men, all the more unfortunate as their female peers revel in the “Participant trophy” culture. In this case, the normal and healthy are dragged down by men who have a vested interest in promoting the seduction and abandonment of women, a goal not resonant for healthy or “undamaged” men.

  • Great stuff here.

  • Ted D

    This post gives me hope for my children’s future in terms of relationships.

    And put me in a good mood on a Monday!

    • This post gives me hope for my children’s future in terms of relationships.

      And put me in a good mood on a Monday!

      Me too! Yesterday I read the Salon article, promptly downloaded the book onto my Kindle and read the whole thing in one sitting. I really appreciate Smiler’s work here – slowly the truth is coming out, and once that happens the culture will change rapidly, because there is nothing much more encouraging than learning, “I’m normal! I’m not a loser after all!”

      Just removing the shame from not wanting a lot of sexual partners is huge. There’s a big difference between asking men “How many sexual partners do you think you want in your lifetime?” and “How many casual sex partners do you want now?” The former question (median 1, mean 7-8 IIRC) is clearly thrown out of whack by the extreme outliers who hope to channel Wilt Chamberlain. I suspect the responses from college males would follow a similar pattern.

  • JP

    I’m pretty sure that I was the one who threw the Salon article up here.

    So I feel slighted.

    Sad.

    Deeply despondent.

    🙁

    (Granted, he was the one who actually did something with the link, but still…)

    (Also, this will in no way change my approach to throwing up random links.)

  • JP

    Grrrr.

    Take this you auto-smile system:

    <:-(

  • Ted D

    JP – “I’m pretty sure that I was the one who threw the Salon article up here.

    So I feel slighted.”

    Glory hound. 😛

  • JP

    No problem.

    There’s nothing like a good wander through the Salon comments when you want to see some high quality trolling in action.

    Imagine my surprise when I found a relevant article.

  • Cooper

    Great post, probably most indicated by the few comments haha.

    “there is nothing much more encouraging than learning, “I’m normal! I’m not a loser after all!”
    Just removing the shame from not wanting a lot of sexual partners is huge.”

    +1

    • Great post, probably most indicated by the few comments haha.

      Yup, could be one of the less controversial ones. Still, I’d like to get a good discussion going, this is really important, IMO.

  • Emily

    Great post! And it’s a nice reminder of how many awesome guys there are out there.

  • Ted D

    “Yesterday I read the Salon article, promptly downloaded the book onto my Kindle and read the whole thing in one sitting”

    Is it a good read? And, did you polish it off in a marathon sitting, or is it short and easy to digest? I’d like to give it a go myself, and with a holiday weekend coming up I might have time to do it.

    • Is it a good read? And, did you polish it off in a marathon sitting, or is it short and easy to digest? I’d like to give it a go myself, and with a holiday weekend coming up I might have time to do it.

      It’s short and easy to digest. I thought it was a great read, but that’s partly because I was so excited to find someone who has reached the same conclusion I have 🙂

      It’s not a page-turner by pop culture standards. Still, I think you would like it. It’s $10 on Kindle.

  • J

    This post gives me hope for my children’s future in terms of relationships.

    Aw, Ted. You worry too much. Yeah, things are crappy out there ,but good people do find good relationships. You’re a solid person, so you’ll raise solid kids and eventually, even if they get sidetracked by the culture for awhile, they’ll do fine. As much as my kids worry me in the short run sometimes, I have to recognize and have faith in their being basically good, solid kids.

  • Abbot

    Can you imagine if the book was something like –

    “Challenging The Loose: Beyond the Stereotype of the Promiscuous Young Female”

    Marcotte would have an absolute exploding shit fit. As it is, she is already all over the current version:

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2012/11/19/challenging_casanova_are_men_really_only_looking_for_commitment_free_sex.html

    .

  • J

    In “Challenging Casanova,” the Wake Forest University professor lays out the current data on young men’s sexual desires and behavior to make a case against this insidious stereotype.”

    Hell, even Tracy Clark Flory’s porn star lay was subconsciously looking for a relationship. He scanned her possessions looking for some object that night start a conversation or hint at something in common, failed and left.

  • I read the introduction on Amazon. Looks like a really good book.

    There is a rather strange definition of long-term, though. The book says only 25% of men wants more than one partner *this* month, and 75% don’t. But that 75% has a lot of wiggle room – a new girl every 32 days counts as the latter, but is quite promiscuous, isn’t it? Haven’t read the rest to see if the author changes his tune.

    • @OTC

      There is a rather strange definition of long-term, though. The book says only 25% of men wants more than one partner *this* month, and 75% don’t. But that 75% has a lot of wiggle room – a new girl every 32 days counts as the latter, but is quite promiscuous, isn’t it? Haven’t read the rest to see if the author changes his tune.

      That’s actually interesting. Smiler points out that proponents of Sexual Strategies Theory like to focus on very short time frames when asking question to maximize the difference between male and female responses. For example, if you ask both sexes how many sexual partners they would like in the next month, the female mean is one and the male mean is 2, a difference of 100%. However, if you ask about the next year, you might get a different answer, like 2 and 3, a 50% difference. Of course, focusing on the mean, as we have seen Schmitt do repeatedly, is also misleading because extreme outliers drive up the mean. The median is a much better measure, and the sexes are quite close on this.

      In any case, Smiler did not conduct this research – his point is only that when you ask men how many women they’d like to have sex with in the next month if they were able to, 75% say 0 or 1.

  • Ted D

    J – “Aw, Ted. You worry too much.”
    I come from a long line of worriers. Just holding up the family tradition!

    “Yeah, things are crappy out there ,but good people do find good relationships. You’re a solid person, so you’ll raise solid kids and eventually, even if they get sidetracked by the culture for awhile, they’ll do fine. As much as my kids worry me in the short run sometimes, I have to recognize and have faith in their being basically good, solid kids.”

    I appriciate the vote of confidence. In most things I don’t worry much to be honest. Our kids are good people, and overall they’ll succeed at whatever they set their mind to doing. My concern over relationship issues stems directly from my experience (or lack there of) and the feeling that I’ve done them a disservice by being so clueless about the subject. Not understanding relationship dynamics in addition to realizing that the SMP/MMP is nothing like what I experienced or imagined just makes me less than confident in my abilities to help them find what they want/need from a partner.

    But I’m fixing my own shit partly to resolve that issue. Of course I’m not going to hit the bricks to increase my N and “get experience”, but I’m not hoping to raise players and/or sluts anyway. I just want them to at least see what a good relationship looks like, and hope that they’ll learn by example. It is in large part why we both decided to become ‘official’ by getting married. I won’t push them towards marriage, but if it’s something I’d like them to consider, I figure I should put my money where my mouth is, so to speak. Besides, I didn’t want her kids thinking *I* didn’t feel like their mother was worth the effort, and I didn’t want my kids to think I’m taking the “easy” way out.

    Besides, now I can say that my wife’s ass belongs to me… :p

  • Todd

    First, when I stumbled onto this article, I awaited your post because it seemed right up your alley. Two, is it just me, or does Amanda Marcotte’s article look like she’s looking for an argument where there isn’t any. I’m sorry, but when someone agrees with me, I gently applaud, not just throw out snark like someone should be grateful I agree with them.

    I could have used this book in the mid 90s, thanks! It would have saved me a lot of heartache and drama. Considering that I grew up with a father and older brother that were players (and were on their 1% style according to this book #NoOccupy), there was a lot of pressure to be a player. A lot! Of course, I’d eventually find out that, long story short, I’d managed to duck a lot of sexual abuse that came my dad and brother’s way. Still, when you’re in high school or even college, and there are no other socially acceptable ways to prove your manhood, the pull of the Dark Side is strong.

    Ironically, through a series of breaks, I did manage to stumble into that 15% category for back-to-back years, but I got sick of it. No one can keep up that pace and keep sane. Heck, even male porn stars get sick of it, and they literally get paid to do it. I can only imagine what a civilian could pull off.

    • @Todd

      Two, is it just me, or does Amanda Marcotte’s article look like she’s looking for an argument where there isn’t any. I’m sorry, but when someone agrees with me, I gently applaud, not just throw out snark like someone should be grateful I agree with them.

      She’s bristling at the anti-promiscuity findings, but she can’t fault Smiler’s research so she falls back on “Everyone likes to try on different sexual roles to see what’s right for them, and that’s OK!”

      Considering that I grew up with a father and older brother that were players (and were on their 1% style according to this book #NoOccupy), there was a lot of pressure to be a player. A lot! Of course, I’d eventually find out that, long story short, I’d managed to duck a lot of sexual abuse that came my dad and brother’s way.

      Wow, that’s really alarming. I checked back and the book does not deal with sexual abuse as a correlating factor, but it’s been demonstrated to correlate to promiscuity in prior studies. I’m glad you did not share that experience!

  • J

    @Todd and Abbott

    I think Marcotte agrees with Smiler’s basic premise that most men want a relationship. What she seems to find amusing is that evo-psych, so long used to prove that men are naturally polygamous, is now being used to show that they aren’t. That’s an intersting point, IMO.

  • J

    Ted-I see your response, but I need to do some pre-holiday housecleaning. Catch ya later!

  • Cooper

    “Still, I’d like to get a good discussion going, this is really important, IMO.”

    Mmhmm. Well, to note on Emily’s comment:
    “And it’s a nice reminder of how many awesome guys there are out there.”
    (See: “Guys get something out of relationships; they like relationships.)

    I suppose it’s also important to be reminded that they are Casanova-type women.
    (See: “we need to stop assuming that girls are only interested in relationships, and acknowledge that some may be primarily (or exclusively) interested in sex.”)

    • @Cooper

      I suppose it’s also important to be reminded that they are Casanova-type women.

      Indeed! And I know you count a few of these among your acquaintance…

      Bastiat Blogger has described his female students this way. For the women who are fans of the hookup scene, it works really, really well.

  • deti

    Sure, I think men want steady relationships and to have sex within those relationships. But the ideal sexual situation for men (just purely sexual, not relationship-focus) would be to have a relationship, but with concurrent flings/ONSs. Of course most men cannot do this. But if we’re talking about what men would want ideally if they were philosopher kings, this is what I suspect many men would want.

    • @deti

      But the ideal sexual situation for men (just purely sexual, not relationship-focus) would be to have a relationship, but with concurrent flings/ONSs. Of course most men cannot do this. But if we’re talking about what men would want ideally if they were philosopher kings, this is what I suspect many men would want.

      Nope, that is precisely Smiler’s point. This is not what men want, it’s just that they have been made to feel ashamed of not wanting to be promiscuous.
      Certainly, Smiler does make the point that the culture tells men that’s what they want.

      In truth, even the self-described players aren’t racking up high numbers. The average Casanova has three partners per year – a paltry number for a man who spends his life partying, skipping class and chasing pussy, no?

      Less than 2% of men have concurrent sexual partners. If women find 20% of men attractive, then 90% of those hot men have to be making a different choice.

      The data is quite clear. Unless you have different information, what you suspect must be chalked up to your having bought into the Casanova Myth.

  • Todd

    @J

    I see your point. However, there are ways to make the same point without being a total jerk about it. Think about gay people for a minute. They’re ~5% of the population, give or take a percentage point. Save for the most benighted people, most people know this. Just because they’re a small part of the population doesn’t mean we should limit their freedoms in any way. Likewise, you can think so of the promiscuous people without issues. Yes, they’re a minority, but they should be free to live as they wish so long as they’re dealing with consenting adults. You don’t have to resort to snark to defend that kind of position.

    @Susan

    The reason I thought of sexual abuse is because of the family dysfunction/player correlation you mentioned. Though the thing is that family dysfunction matters a lot more than sexual abuse per se. It turns out that sexually abused kids are more likely to be in families with a lot of dysfunction, because that’s what the predators are looking for in terms of openings. Also, on the off chance that a kid in a functional family gets targeted, they tend to bounce back better.

    @Cooper

    I like how you put it. Just because someone is different doesn’t make them bad. Just different. 🙂

  • Jonny

    Two things.

    1. Men want random sex with girls if they can get it. It’s not like they have a choice to not have random hookups. Since they can’t hookup, they take the next best thing, which is have girlfriends. However, hookup culture made having girlfriends a tougher proposition to realize. Lacking the ability to have a girlfriend or random sex, the majority of men live like monks.

    2. The PUA community will see this post and laugh. It’s another version of making men conform to an image that women want.

    “we can change the culture by changing how we raise and talk to kids”

    Again, this puts the responsibility on kids when the responsibility is with adults who own the culture. Adults must say say they are the role models. Kids must follow direction. Since it is clear that adults doing the right thing, it is hard for the culture to change.

    The traditional pattern is date and marry young. Anything else is casual. Waiting longer means you will have random sex (hookups) or be celibate (not a choice for most men).

    • @Jonny

      1. Men want random sex with girls if they can get it. It’s not like they have a choice to not have random hookups. Since they can’t hookup, they take the next best thing, which is have girlfriends.

      I wonder what to make of the very strong correlation between manosphere readers and poor reading comprehension.

      rc

      How we cling to our beliefs, however disappointing. It’s fascinating.

      The PUA community will see this post and laugh. It’s another version of making men conform to an image that women want.

      It’s male-driven research by someone whose expertise is masculinity, and he is concerned not for the PUAs, but for the 90% of men who don’t fit that script. Smiler does point out in this book that most of the contestants on The Pickup Artist on MTV expressly stated they wanted a gf, not to become a player. Mark Manson’s comment is also not surprising. What most men want is to be able to get a girlfriend, and that’s especially true of men who study PUA, most of whom has little experience with women.

  • This is not what men want, it’s just that they have been made to feel ashamed of not wanting to be promiscuous. Certainly, Smiler does make the point that the culture tells men that’s what they want.

    It occurs to me that this is an interesting reversal of the typical anti-feminist (read: manosphere) narrative, which is that men are shamed for their biological sexual urges. According to Smiler, men are shamed for not living up to the cultural stereotype of Man as a Sexual Pig, which also has a shaming slant on it. Essentially, this is a story of men being tired of being shamed into being shamed.

    • @Olive

      It occurs to me that this is an interesting reversal of the typical anti-feminist (read: manosphere) narrative, which is that men are shamed for their biological sexual urges.

      That struck me too. I realized in thinking about it, though, that Smiler is also saying something the manosphere also says, which is that men have been shamed for their sexuality to the point where they are always under suspicion as potential rapists. Smiler is pointing out that in fact, male sexuality is not something that men are unable to control, and that highly impulsive, promiscuous behavior (which includes sexual assault) is limited to relatively few men.

  • Escoffier

    “Nope, that is precisely Smiler’s point. This is not what men want, it’s just that they have been made to feel ashamed of not wanting to be promiscuous.”

    And, once again, this where I will say that when a “study” flatly contradicts all personal experience and observation, I have to object.

    The idea that men don’t want, at least biologically, to screw a multitude of women should be laugh-worthy. The evidence to the contrary is all around us.

    Now, human nature is far simpler than biology. There are lots of reasons not to want to screw around that transcent raw sexual desire. But if we are going to understand this issue in its full complexity, then we have to start from understanding that for most men, raw sexual desire wants variety. It wants numbers. The WHOLE man may not–and I am inclinded to believe that most men, qua human beings, do not want to be players. But most penises do.

    I suspect, also, that men and especially young men are not so much ashamed of not wanting to be promiscuous. Rather, they are ashamed that they cannot achieve (high N count) what the dominant youth culture tells them is the truest mark of a high value man. What Vox said a while back about a master key and a broken lock is right on here.

    • @Escoffier

      And, once again, this where I will say that when a “study” flatly contradicts all personal experience and observation, I have to object.

      First, it’s not a study, it’s a book referencing many studies. There are 131 footnotes in the first two chapters alone.

      Second, Smiler talks with many young men about what they want in his own research. Here are the reasons young men give for preferring relationships to casual sex:

      A. Connection:

      1. I like her.
      2. I like spending time with her.
      3. I want to get to know her better.
      4. I have strong feelings for her.

      B. Emotional Support and Intimacy

      1. I like having someone to talk to.
      2. I like having someone to hang out with.
      3. I like having someone who listens to me when I’m worried about something.
      4. I like having someone who has my back.
      5. My girlfriend is more supportive than by best friend or parents.

      C. Secondary factor mentioned by a minority as a reason for dating: Physical Intimacy

      1. Kissing
      2. Holding hands
      3. Sex

      Downsides to dating:

      1. Takes a lot of time.
      2. Descreased spontaneity.
      3. Loss of freedom.
      4. Risk of getting hurt or having a broken heart.
      5. Financial costs.

      Top things guys look for in a girl:

      1. Funny
      2. Nice
      3. Outgoing
      4. Understanding of others
      5. Decisive
      6. Self-confident

      Note: Looks came in at #9.

      Turnoffs:

      1. Stubbornness
      2. Bossiness
      3. Sense of superiority
      4. Competitive
      5. Too independent
      6. Fighting
      7. Nagging
      8. Jealousy

      Third, it’s important to remember what we mean when we say what guys “want.” Men do not answer this question assuming an imaginary world of zero consequences and complications. Just as with the sociosexuality index, men express their attitudes about sex based partly on class, culture and values.

      Finally, I’m not here to debate men by speaking for Smiler. I’m reporting on his book, which reaches the same conclusions I have reached using even more data, all of which is compatible with these conclusions. It turns out that the most promiscuous men don’t have that many partners. The 200+ guys appear to be as rare as the Bornean Orangutan. 🙂

  • Escoffier

    Whoops, human nature is far more COMPLEX than mere biology …

  • Escoffier

    Susan, maybe in this context it would make more sense to listen to what acutal men are telling you (especially since it comports with so much observable reality over many centuries) rather than accept one happy-talk study as the last word.

    • @Escoffier

      Susan, maybe in this context it would make more sense to listen to what acutal men are telling you (especially since it comports with so much observable reality over many centuries) rather than accept one happy-talk study as the last word.

      Hopefully you see that this is not a study. The book contains 510 footnotes referencing studies, though there are bound to be some duplicates in there. Overall, though, a very robust undertaking that surveys the research very thoroughly.

      I can only assume that the studies included represent several thousands of undergraduate college males.

  • Ted D

    Jonny – “1. Men want random sex with girls if they can get it. ”

    NAMALT! Thinking back on all of the men I’ve been close to since high school, I’d say at most 1/3 of them wanted lots of random sexual partners. The rest were somewhere between serial monogomy and looking for the mother of thier children. Personally I’ve never actively “wanted” random sex with anyone. Ever. The chances I had to do so I passed on, regardless of whether or not I was in a relationship at the time. I’m not interested in sex for sex’s sake, I want an emotional connection with the woman I have an orgasm with. And knowing how I’m wired, I suspect that IF I tried the casual route, I would subconsiously start forming an emotional bond to any casual sex partner I had even if it wasn’t my goal. So, it just made sense to me to simply conentrate my efforts where I’d naturally go anyway, and try to make the best choices for it to work out long term.

    I have never had sex with a woman I wasn’t already planning to stay with, and that isn’t going to change.

  • deti

    SW:
    “In truth, even the self-described players aren’t racking up high numbers. The average Casanova has three partners per year – a paltry number for a man who spends his life partying, skipping class and chasing pussy, no?

    “Less than 2% of men have concurrent sexual partners. If women find 20% of men attractive, then 90% of those hot men have to be making a different choice. ”

    Look, Susan, I accept the numbers are what they are. But what does the biology of the human male actually impel him to do? What would a man want if he could do it with no moral, legal, social, financial or marital repercussions? Marriage or LTR, with side dishes of NSA sex with a rotating pool of women.

    From personal experience, I know that I had wanted an LTR with First College Girlfriend with flings on the side. I sometimes tried dating two or three women simultaneously. But invariably one would find out about the others, and all of the would break up with me, all of them expecting exclusivity.

    We know there is a certain percentage of men who cheat on their wives. The usual motivations for a man cheating are (1) he just wants some sexual variety with a fling; or (2) he’s not getting any from his wife. Think about Don Draper, admittedly a fictional portrayal. He lives a man’s illicit perverted dream: marriage to an attractive woman, yet has had flings with a number of women, none of whom he got particularly attached to, but whom were totally sexually available.

    Here’s the point: a man wants variety. It’s what a man WANTS that we’re talking about, not what he actually DOES. If a man had his druthers I would suspect he’d have his spouse, and have flings and ONSs of varying duration and frequency.

    • @deti

      What would a man want if he could do it with no moral, legal, social, financial or marital repercussions? Marriage or LTR, with side dishes of NSA sex with a rotating pool of women.

      What is the basis for this claim? I’m genuinely curious, as not even the evo psych gods say this. Did you get this from Roissy? Helen Fisher:

      Q: What’s the difference between love and lust?
      Dr. Fisher: Lust generally dissipates after having sex and returns hours or days later. You can feel it for several people at the same time and not necessarily feel jealous. But when you’re in love, you are very possessive. And romantic feelings don’t dissipate after having sex; in fact, they can intensify.

      In other words, the possessive and slightly obsessive feelings that occur during the falling in love period serves to prevent lust for another. This explains the male preference for serial monogamy. Many more young men want to have that falling in love experience than want to have casual sex.

      Here’s the point: a man wants variety. It’s what a man WANTS that we’re talking about, not what he actually DOES. If a man had his druthers I would suspect he’d have his spouse, and have flings and ONSs of varying duration and frequency.

      Again, I would point out that Smiler has asked men what they want. We’ve also covered this question here in other formats – for example, when asking men how many lifetime sexual partners they would like to have, the median answer is one:

      sw

      Of course, you are free to suspect or believe whatever you wish, and it is not my goal to change your mind. Certainly, we believe that is what you want if you say so.

      My goal in writing the post was to continue to demonstrate to that 80+% restricted population that they are the normal ones, and that male promiscuity as practiced is actually strongly correlated to family dysfunction.

  • JP

    “What most men want is to be able to get a girlfriend, and that’s especially true of men who study PUA, most of whom has little experience with women.”

    Or getting rid of a girlfriend they didn’t want.

    Over half of my dating adventures involved that problem.

    So, knowing this relationship stuff would have helped say 15 years ago.

  • Passer_By

    Actually, what I think they really want is “both”. In other words, sex in multiple concurrent relationships, or a long term relationship but with multiple partners on the side. If forced to choose between a string of one night stands or a long term relationship, I suppose a lot (maybe most) guys would choose the latter. One night stands aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Awkward condom sex with no real intimacy. But there are, of course, a lot of scenarios in between. You could have several short term flings (a month?) one after the other, or maybe concurrently, with lots of intense sex. Those are nice, but even those ultimately would be unfilling for most.

    Men have conflicting needs. Perhaps the best would be a long term relationship/marriage with a woman who just loves 3-ways and actively recruits new partners for you (hey, a guy can dream, eh?).

    The problem I have with Escoffier’s points here is that he is confusing mere biological impulse with happiness. Since he’s never actually had a bunch of one night stands or short consecutive flings (I think), he’s not in a position to say whether acting on the biological impulse would result in fulfillment for him or a void in his life.

  • JP

    “But what does the biology of the human male actually impel him to do?”

    Apparently you get to experience intrusive obsessive romantic thoughts and hypomania (coupled with a distinct urge to immediately shut down any current relationship).

    Romantic OCD is certainly impelling.

    Would I consider dating more than one woman at a time?

    Uh, no.

    Unless I wanted significant emotional overload.

    I don’t think it’s possible given my emotional topography.

  • Jonny

    @Susan: I was responding to this quote “It’s only a minority of guys who have multiple partners per year, and I typically talk about this as three partners a year because that’s the Casanova average. It’s actually a minority of guys who want multiple short-term partners — that even comes up in the evolutionary research.”

    It seems like the ones that “can” have hookups are the ones who “want” to do that although I do think it isn’t mutually exclusive. Is there research that says men who don’t have hookups will want them if it is available?

    It isn’t odd to hear this from you “Smiler does point out in this book that most of the contestants on The Pickup Artist on MTV expressly stated they wanted a gf, not to become a player.” Not seeing the show, are they actual pickup artists or wannabees.

    • @Jonny

      It seems like the ones that “can” have hookups are the ones who “want” to do that although I do think it isn’t mutually exclusive. Is there research that says men who don’t have hookups will want them if it is available?

      I’m sure there is a lot of research that shows that men not having sex want to have it! However, I believe the point of Smiler’s book is that men express a proclivity for having sex in relationships, owing to the other benefits that relationships confer.

      If the top male seducers have three partners a year, I think we need to redefine what a sexually successful male is, and also what men want. Couldn’t the top 3% have a dozen or more partners a year easily, if they chose? Yet they don’t, and even male virgins do not generally seek out prostitutes. Why? Because they view sex as a meaningful act.

      Not seeing the show, are they actual pickup artists or wannabees.

      They are wannabees, they are competing to be the best PUA, and apparently just about all of them are in it to get a gf. As well, Mark Manson stated that 90% of his clients wanted a gf, not to learn how to get casual sex or ONSs.

  • JP

    Basically what I’m saying is that if I was dating girl X, and became interested in girl Y, I would immediately dump girl X to pursue girl Y.

    So, at least in my world, I’m quite willing to dump a current relationship for a not yet extant potential relationship.

  • Escoffier

    I’m not confusing anything. I’m saying that it seems like Susan wants to present this study as “Good news! Male nature just wants a GF!”

    Well, not so fast. Male nature wants conflicting things. The lower half wants variety. Some men can act on that and score variety. Most can’t. Among those who can and those who can’t, some significant cohort will not be made happy by variety, nonetheless they will pursue it anyway. The same way we all know women who are not made happy by the carousel and yet they stay on it anyway. SOMETHING in them must desire it or they would stop.

    I am pretty sure that being a player would not make me personally happy. But to some extent the baseline desire is still there, simply as a matter of male biology.

    • SOMETHING in them must desire it or they would stop.

      As pointed out in the OP, poor parenting and family dysfunction are closely linked to promiscuity.

      Escoffier, please stop saying study. Smiler’s book is not a study. He has done studies, and he has now written a book that comprehensively examines all the research on this topic.

  • The bottom line is that women sleep with players because women want players.

    Regular men (i.e. betas) want relationships because they hate the cutthroat world of dating. They want to get a decent girl and just have some steady pussy with a girl who could be considered a friend.

    Too bad the average young woman today doesn’t give a shit about that. She wants thrills, she wants a guy she can show off to her friends, she wants drugs, and she wants hot sex that gives her multiple orgasms. The only guys who can give her those things are precisely the kinds of guys she claims to hate, the “Cassanovas”.

    The average girl today does not give a rats ass about dating unless there tangible benefits to go along with it. It’s funny, the last four girls I’ve banged in the past two months (I don’t care if you think that’s promiscuous or not) have all assumed I was fucking other girls behind their back, but didn’t give a shit and slept with me anyways.

    Thus the poor disillusioned betas realize that if they want any sort of affection at all, let alone a relationship, they must become players or continue their involuntary dry-spell.

    The issue has nothing to do with men. Men (demand) are merely responding to the market created by young women (supply). This is supply-side economics. If you want to see more young men in relationships, then the answer is that we need more young women for men to choose from.

    “What do players actually do?

    50% have more than one sex partner per year, compared to 20% of non-players.
    3-5% have 4 or more partners per year over a four-year span.
    Having multiple sex partners concurrently becomes more common among men who have 5 or more partners per year.
    In any given year, aspiring Casanovas may be up to 15% of the male population, but only about 5% of men sustain this behavior for three years.”

    Hahaha, if these numbers are true it just goes to show how few can survive in the player lifestyle. Only 3-5% have 4 or more partners over four years?

    These numbers sound absurdly low. I have triple that in just a one year span, and that was back when I was still learning game.

    I have a feeling this poll was conducted among young males, which will skew the numbers lower.

    Had the study been conducted with men in their sexual prime (i.e. 26-34) those numbers would probably be much higher.

    • @Samseau

      Your comments did go into moderation due to your rooshvforum email, which has been the source of some very hostile commentary in the past 🙂 I’ve released them.

      The bottom line is that women sleep with players because women want players.

      And players get 3 girls a year on average. So I guess the desire is not exactly burning up the ladies. Speaking of Roosh, I saw a reference recently to Roosh’s admission that he gets about 5 girls a year. Do you know where that comes from? I was surprised that a professional sexual jackal would earn such an anemic ROI.

      It’s funny, the last four girls I’ve banged in the past two months (I don’t care if you think that’s promiscuous or not) have all assumed I was fucking other girls behind their back, but didn’t give a shit and slept with me anyways.

      Keep banging those girls! The goal is to have sluts getting with sluts!

      These numbers sound absurdly low. I have triple that in just a one year span, and that was back when I was still learning game.

      I’m guessing you had a terrible childhood.

      I have a feeling this poll was conducted among young males, which will skew the numbers lower.

      Had the study been conducted with men in their sexual prime (i.e. 26-34) those numbers would probably be much higher.

      LOL, more reading comprehension fail. Are PUAs more likely to be dyslexic by any chance? Or not very bright?

  • Mike C

    Susan, maybe in this context it would make more sense to listen to what acutal men are telling you (especially since it comports with so much observable reality over many centuries) rather than accept one happy-talk study as the last word.

    LOL. This should be interesting. I predict at least 50 comments back and forth with no ground given or understanding.

    Here is my one and only comment on this (hopefully). Clearly, men like Ted and Cooper exist. I don’t dispute for one second they know their innermost authentic desires:

    NAMALT! Thinking back on all of the men I’ve been close to since high school, I’d say at most 1/3 of them wanted lots of random sexual partners. The rest were somewhere between serial monogomy and looking for the mother of thier children. Personally I’ve never actively “wanted” random sex with anyone. Ever.

    I’m not so arrogant to think I know better than Ted or Cooper what they want. I believe them.

    At the same time, Deti is most certainly right about this for some sizable segment of men:

    But the ideal sexual situation for men (just purely sexual, not relationship-focus) would be to have a relationship, but with concurrent flings/ONSs.

    This would personally be my ideal “relationship/sexual situation” but obviously this wouldn’t fly with my partner and be hurtful to so I see the “price of monogamy” is giving that option up.

    I have no idea what the exact breakdown is between men like Cooper and Ted and myself in terms of our genuine preferences, but I know a survey can be phrased a bunch of different ways to garner a different percentage response. My gut instinct is both men like Cooper and Ted and guys chasing pure randoms are in the minority with the majority preferring monogamy with some side action. Isn’t that what the Petraeus affair is evidence of? If men didn’t have that instinct, there would be nothing to fight in terms of avoiding infidelity.

    No offense to Susan, but clearly because of her goal of relationship formation which is a noble one, any and all information is going to be interpreted as pointing to a strong relationship/monogamy biological preference.

    The other point is there is a massive grey area between committed girlfriend and a “random”. For example, a short-term fling which is neither.

    Hopefully, I can leave this at my one comment. I’ve said my peace and will try to refrain from any further comments.

  • Escoffier

    I know a guy who recently (well, a few years) got divorced. Never cheated, beat, or anything else. Just beta-ed out a bit and the wife left him. He is around 50, gray, handsome but not terribly fit, well spoken, and makes a descent living. Classic “restricted type” if you aske me, spent his prime years faithfully married and raising a family. The last guy you’d expect to want to be a player.

    Well, once he found himself “out there” the female attention was (he reports) almost overwhelming and he became a sort of middle-aged mini player. No dark triad or anything like that, but he found himself having–at least superficially–a hell of a good time.

    A couple of years later he is having doubts about where it all leads and worrying about his “soul.”

    The point is, even a guy like that does/did not simply want a GF. He was happy to play around for a while, because he could.

  • Passer_By

    @susan

    “Top things guys look for in a girl:

    1. Funny
    2. Nice
    3. Outgoing
    4. Understanding of others
    5. Decisive
    6. Self-confident

    Note: Looks came in at #9.”

    LOL! That calls in to question the integrity of the whole thing – they are just conditioned to say that. I’m not saying looks are everything, but if you really believe that young men value “self confidence” in women over looks, well . . .

    • @Passer By

      Smiler did find those responses were priorities among the males he interviewed. However, he backs it up with Buss’ survey of mating preferences:

      “A team of researchers led by David Buss was able to examine the characteristics desired in a mate by building on a study originally conducted in 1939 and used again in 1956, 1967,1977, 1984-85, and 1996. The survey was given to undergraduates at a variety of institutions over the 57 years. The survey remained exactly the same.

      Both male and female participants were given a list of eighteen characteristics and asked to rate each on a 0-3 scale. An average was computed for each characteristic, which was then placed in order from most desired to least desired.

      In each of the six survey periods, men’s top four characteristics were the same:

      1. Dependable character
      2. Emotional stability or maturity
      3. Pleasing disposition
      4. Mutual attraction or love

      After 1970, characteristics related to homemaking fell in importance, and were replaced by education and intelligence, sociability, and good looks.

      Good looks didn’t crack the top half of the ratings until 1977. Female chastity was always in the bottom half, and dropped after 1970.”

      Coincidentally, I recently posted an example of that study here, though it’s a bit large:

      we

  • “1. Funny
    2. Nice
    3. Outgoing
    4. Understanding of others
    5. Decisive
    6. Self-confident”

    Not even gay men would list these qualities

  • Escoffier

    Thought experiment, Susan:

    Take 100 guys, college-age through mid 20s. A random sample that cut across attractiveness, physical fitness, height/weight, dominance/personality, SES, etc. In other words, a true gamut.

    Put them in an enviornment with 100 girls, all 6s and above. BUT crucially, for some reason (hypnosis? brainwashing?), all these girls are really unrestricted and they are NOT holding out for the hottest and most alpha. They will spread happily for just about anybody.

    Now, what do you think would happen?

    Me, I think our little “society” would look a lot like a hetero version of the Castro bathouse scene circa 1979. Most of the guys would dive in (heh) with gusto.

    Now, a great many–perhaps even a majority–would not find this conducive to their long term happiness. I don’t doubt that for a moment. But I think they would all indulge themselves, and not for a short time either, rather they would binge like dogs with ever-filling food dishes. Until some of them got sick of it and started looking for something else.

    As to how many would say “No thanks, I’m holdnig out for a girlfriend”–I would put it at under 20%.

  • deti

    Passerby:

    “Top things guys look for in a girl:

    1. Funny
    2. Nice
    3. Outgoing
    4. Understanding of others
    5. Decisive
    6. Self-confident

    Note: Looks came in at #9.”

    I missed this. This is remarkable, and as Esco said, contradicts what we know about what men find attractive. I’d like a look at the source material and raw data.

    This has to be a case of the subjects telling the investigators what the subjects thought the investigators wanted to hear.

  • Quick question: in self-reported campus survey results, what % of college men admit to fapping to porn multiple times per week? Does anyone know…?

    • Quick question: in self-reported campus survey results, what % of college men admit to fapping to porn multiple times per week? Does anyone know…?

      I did some digging – I’m interested to hear what you’re thinking on this. Here’s one excerpt:

      In his 2009 book Porn University: What College Students are Really Saying about Sex, Michael Leahy, an author and expert on pornography, surveyed 29,000 individuals in North American universities. In the study, it was discovered that 62% of males and 17% of females admit to watching porn, while 36% of males and 82% of females claim they never watch porn.

      In a 2007 study conducted by Brigham Young University, 86% of college males from six schools across the US admitted to having viewed porn within the past year, while one in five said they watched porn daily or nearly every day.

      http://www.collegemagazine.com/editorial/2285/Indulging-in-Porn

      In a study at Colby College, it looks like (Pie chart) around 5% of males watch more than once a day, another 15% watch once a day, and about 35% watch it once a week. About 10% never watch porn.

  • Passer_By

    Further to Escoffier’s point, how many young rock stars of the 60s and 70s passed on groupies entirely and said “I’m saving myself for a girlfriend”? Eventually, I think most of them became disillusioned and sought out a girlfriend (most of whom allowed the guy some side dalliances), but at first they were probably like a kid in a candy store.

    I limit it to the 60s and 70s because the perceived risks of such encounters for wealthy, high status guys has since gone way up (STDs, AIDS, women trying to get pregnant so they can sue, etc.).

    • Further to Escoffier’s point, how many young rock stars of the 60s and 70s passed on groupies entirely and said “I’m saving myself for a girlfriend”?

      Everyone knows that guys learn to play the guitar to get laid. 🙂

      Unrestricted sample.

  • Here’s what I agree with – most men are not looking for ONLY sex, to the exclusion of all relationships. That seems to be main point of the article.

    I think Esc/deti’s point is stated vs. revealed preferences. Asking a guy “how many partners do you want” is very different than making him turn down the risk-free advances of an attractive woman. The former implies lots of things, lots of which is the effort and risk involved. It’s pretty easy to imagine a man saying “1” to the first situation, but when tested, accepting two or more in the latter situation. Which is what he “really” wants, then?

    • Asking a guy “how many partners do you want” is very different than making him turn down the risk-free advances of an attractive woman

      Of course, but I’m not really interested in hypotheticals. There are no risk-free advances. That does not exist, so focusing on such a preference is meaningless.

      I am interested in what young men say about relationships, and about what kind of sex they’re looking for. And they say “not casual.”

      Even the best looking guys aren’t going for that much casual, as it turns out. Casual sex has high costs. Considerable effort may have to be expended to get it. Even players drink heavily in order to deal with the awkwardness of it. The next morning is almost always akward and uncomfortable. There is often fallout. People feel cheapened after casual sex, and that includes males, because it’s mutual masturbation. And it’s often not physically fulfilling, even for males, who have a 48% orgasm rate in hookups. And this doesn’t even begin to address STDs, doing poorly in school, and the increase in physical illnesses experienced by those males who adopt a promiscuous lifestyle in colleges, i.e. burning the candle at both ends.

  • Cooper

    “I suppose it’s also important to be reminded that they are Casanova-type women.

    Indeed! And I know you count a few of these among your acquaintance…”

    I do. I’ve got a lengthy off-topic response, but I’m going to post it within “The Hypergamy Acceptance” thread to avoid hijacking this one.

  • Escoffier

    I look back on my own youth and I was not a player. Why not? Well, two main reasons: 1) I didn’t have the constitution for it. I wasn’t alpha/attractive/dominant enough. 2) Morals were considerably less degraded then, it was not so easy to get girls to have sex with you unless you were at least dating them for the long term.

    In other words, I wasn’t becasue I couldn’t have been. I was not stopped by internal restraints.

    If I had been presented with the option to screw a lot of very pretty girls, well, who knows what I might have done? Looking back it’s clear that the path I actually took was good for me and it all worked out. But at that age, the hormones are stronger than the brain waves. I certainly would have “wanted” lots of girls if I could have gotten them. Whether I would have had the presense of mind to say “No, one is better” is a tough question. I would have been more likely than most to actually pursue a LTR over casual, but I’m not sure it would have been a given.

    Which is why societal limitations can be really, really good for us all.

    • If I had been presented with the option to screw a lot of very pretty girls, well, who knows what I might have done?

      You are misunderstanding the point of the book. Smiler did not take guys to a room full of beautiful escorts and tell them they could screw whomever they wanted. He asked them what they would like best and why, in some depth.

  • Stephen B

    I like this article quite a bit. It jibes with my own experience and attitude, and that of most guys I knew in h.s. and college. A few guys were trying to score all the time, and a few girls were the ones falling for that kind of thing. But most guys wanted a serious thing with a given woman, one at a time and hopefully for a long relationship. When I got to college in the late 90s I was quickly made to believe everybody was out there having sex all the time, multiple partners per week. I figured out in discussion with others that it was more likely that a few guys were getting with a few girls all the time, and most men and women avoided this, at least as a lifestyle.

    Before I realized this, I thought I was unusual wanting to meet someone great early on and stay with her. I quickly learned that most guys wanted that, I wasn’t unusual. I met my (now) wife then and we’ve been together ever since. The fact that we really only had ever been with each other has made our bond that much stronger over the years, but there’s nothing wrong with having some experience of course. We aren’t overly religious or anything, it’s just that being together made sense for us and we happened to meet young. I had a first roommate who was the player type and many guys looked up to him. He always seemed damaged and probably an abuse victim to me, as did at least some of the ladies who went with him. To this day he’s listed on websites as a guy to avoid because he’s the “pump and dump” type to use the terminology of some of the manosphere, which made him a man to be admired at 19 and one to be avoided in his mid-30s.

    I don’t judge him but he seems kind of sad to me. Nothing wrong with being casual I guess, but it seems to be very limited as a culture compared to what the media tells us to believe. Most people seem to want to find that right person and stay with them if possible. This isn’t to say most of us do, though it worked out for my wife and me, but most of us date or whatever is done now with an eye to finding the kind of person we can spend our days with. I hope the stereotypes of the hook-up culture don’t get in the way of that process for the majority of young people, but I think they might.

    • @Stephen B

      Welcome, first time commenter I think? Glad to have you here!

  • Passer_By

    “If the top male seducers have three partners a year, I think we need to redefine what a sexually successful male is, and also what men want. Couldn’t the top 3% have a dozen or more partners a year easily, if they chose? Yet they don’t, . . .”

    Speaking from experience, it may be that they just don’t like how hurt the women are when they break it off after a STR, especially if they are natural bonders who are prone to developing a protective instinct for women they are having sex with.

    • @Passer By

      Speaking from experience, it may be that they just don’t like how hurt the women are when they break it off after a STR, especially if they are natural bonders who are prone to developing a protective instinct for women they are having sex with.

      I was referring to the Casanovas – who are hardly empathic and protective. Their mission is to P&D.

      The natural seducers avg. three sexual partners a year. Doesn’t that strike you as low?

  • Just1Z

    Top things guys look for in a girl:

    1. Funny
    2. Nice
    3. Outgoing
    4. Understanding of others
    5. Decisive
    6. Self-confident

    Note: Looks came in at #9.

    Naaaahhh

    Had the testicles of the boys dropped yet? How old were they? Was a feminazi waving a gun around at the time of interrogation? Lesbians passed off as boys? Super late April Fools jape? Drugs (and lots of them) ?

    I mean, seriously? I thought those tales if chemicals in thé water erre far fetched, no longer

  • Escoffier

    “Unrestricted sample.”

    I’m not so sure about that.

    Consider, for instance, the Jackson family. Steelworker’s children, all of them. By the time they hit it big, Michael (the youngest in the group) was 9 and most of his brothers were already teenagers. In other words, they had grown up for most of their formative years in a very strict religious household believing that a blue collar future much like their father’s was the best they could do. OK, possibly, one or two of them were naturally “unrestricted.”

    But look what happened. They became stars, went on the road, and girls through themselves at them. And all four of the older boys took full advantage. So, were they all “unrestricted”? Seems too convenient to me to assume that any many who makes it big status-wise and garners a lot of female attention must ipso facto have been “unrestricted” all along.

    Rather, a better explanation would be that lots and lots of guys would screw lots of girls if given the chance but most never get the chance.

    • Consider, for instance, the Jackson family.

      True! And don’t forget Pat Boone!

      OK, I’ll play. How about Paul McCartney? The Beatle with the most fans, he was also the Beatle with the fewest sexual partners.

  • Why won’t these guys address the obvious issues created by the 60/40 ratio on campus? Why is the admissions office always beyond the discussion? Is this a hot-button for feminists that will cause them to immediately circle the wagons?

    For better or worse, we as a society have “decided” to train young women to be the breadwinners of tomorrow. This is enormously important. We have invested in them. You can’t churn these numbers for years and then promise college-educated women that there will be equivalently-trained, eligible (i.e., “provisioning-capable on demand”), and relationship-minded man in every pot.

    PERHAPS THERE AREN’T ENOUGH RELATIONSHIPS ON CAMPUS BECAUSE THERE AREN’T ENOUGH MEN.

    Many of these women will probably NOT have the option to be SAHMs unless they are willing to make certain concessions in their mate selection demographics. Why aren’t these realities being promulgated at the high school level?

    • PERHAPS THERE AREN’T ENOUGH RELATIONSHIPS ON CAMPUS BECAUSE THERE AREN’T ENOUGH MEN.

      Many of these women will probably NOT have the option to be SAHMs unless they are willing to make certain concessions in their mate selection demographics.

      Amen to that. It’s clear that Smiler is concerned about males, though he obviously is focusing on the men who are in college. Which raises an interesting point – the lopsided sex ratio should make sex easier to obtain, and the number of men able to procure it should be larger. In a 50/50 environment, casual sex would be available to fewer men. So it’s interesting that even now the majority of men cite a desire for real relationships.

  • I think its true most guys are looking for a relationship. It’s an error to say most men want sex, to the exclusion of a relationship.

    But it’s equally an error to say most men want a relationship, to the exclusion of ALL uncommitted sex. From the article – ““[This] doesn’t mean that romantic men don’t occasional have one-night-stand-style hookups. Some of them do. But unlike Casanovas, and going against our general conception of hooking up, these guys often hook up with people they know.” I think this is point Esc is also making.

    Sometimes your definition of casual morphs around a bit, as I’m not sure what you mean at any given time. A few month fling with someone you know and like as a person, is very different than an one night stand with a complete stranger. In the past you’ve said casual anything that’s not strict monogamy, which includes a wide range of things. When you mention those “casual is bad” stats, which is it? Do people in extended FWB arrangements really repeatedly go back for such bad sex?

    • Sometimes your definition of casual morphs around a bit, as I’m not sure what you mean at any given time. A few month fling with someone you know and like as a person, is very different than an one night stand with a complete stranger. In the past you’ve said casual anything that’s not strict monogamy, which includes a wide range of things. When you mention those “casual is bad” stats, which is it? Do people in extended FWB arrangements really repeatedly go back for such bad sex?

      Let me be clear. I’m not defining the terms here. I am reporting on someone else’s research. It’s clear in the book that the vast majority of males indicate a preference for emotionally and physically intimate relationships over “one and done” sex.

      Here’s what Smiler says on the subject of FWB:

      “As a cultural phenomenon, the Casanova Complex requires that most people approve of hooking up, or at least don’t disapprove. It doesn’t matter if we call it a ONS or casual sex or FWB or some other name; what’s important is that the general public is on some level OK with this behavior and views it as normal or typical.”

      “When it comes to sexual behavior, questions about the value and the lifestyle portrayed are particularly imporjtant, as is the question regarding what’s being omitted. Asking your son what he thinks when an unmarried couple has sex is an excellent question. It doesn’t much matter if it’s a hookup, FWB or an established monogamous couple. [This] creates an opportunity to talk about your own values.

      Depending on the specifics, you can use the conversation to talk about how long someone needs to be in a relationship before having sex, having learned about a partner’s sexual history (or not). The effect of sex on someone’s reputation is also fair game.”

  • INTJ

    @ Escoffier

    Put them in an enviornment with 100 girls, all 6s and above. BUT crucially, for some reason (hypnosis? brainwashing?), all these girls are really unrestricted and they are NOT holding out for the hottest and most alpha. They will spread happily for just about anybody.

    Sounds like hell to me. But I don’t doubt that most guys would eagerly jump right in.

  • Passer_By

    “I was referring to the Casanovas – who are hardly empathic and protective. Their mission is to P&D. The natural seducers avg. three sexual partners a year. Doesn’t that strike you as low?”

    Yeah, ok, I think had misread your original post, though I’m not sure I would call these the “natural seducers” as much as the most “compulsive” seducers and abandoners. I agree that that number does seem low, although he does say that they aren’t, by and large, very good looking or high status, so maybe that limits most of them. You might imagine that a Cassanova (compulsive seducer and abandoner) who is also good looking and high status might rack up huge numbers. And you, yourself, knew a very nice kid who had racked up over 200 (I think) in about 4 years, no?

    • @Passer By

      And you, yourself, knew a very nice kid who had racked up over 200 (I think) in about 4 years, no?

      I know he was at 58 at high school graduation. He had a gf for much of college, but my guess is he is at around 100 now, at age 24. FWIW, the girl he really wants won’t even consider him – he’s damaged goods.

      But he is a sweetheart. Both body and face are a 10. Went to Brown, works in Private Equity. A very loyal friend. On paper, the catch of the century.

  • Cooper

    Hey, I’m trying to get a discussion going over in the Acceptance thread, regarding remaining friends with exes. (And the deal breaker of a girlfriend/boyfriend requesting that it ends)

  • Joe

    Susan, now I’m really confused.
    These stats:
    1. Casanova: 5-15%
    2. Abstinent/religious: 10-15%
    3. Traditional Romantic: 70-85%

    seem to be exactly what I saw in college back in the early ’70s. Certainly the idea that men are just “dogs” and are only after one thing is a trope that predates today’s college scene.

    And I know I heard the words “they started making out and after a few times, they got drunk one night and ‘it just happened.'” back then too.

    I know something’s different – you can’t go anywhere near a group of young adults and not see it, just like my college experience was vastly different from Dobie Gillis.

    But what is it that’s so different? I don’t see it in the stats, and I don’t think I see it in the words coming from college kids today either. Am I missing something?

    • @Joe

      But what is it that’s so different? I don’t see it in the stats, and I don’t think I see it in the words coming from college kids today either. Am I missing something?

      That’s what is truly amazing. The Sexual Revolution happened, but only 15% of people choose to participate. We can argue till the cows come home whether their choice is born of necessity or not, but the bottom line is that when you ask college men to describe what they want, they overwhelming cite the desire to fall in love. They do not want ONSs.

      Furthermore, those who want to fall in love come from close-knit functional families.

      According to Smiler, hookup culture is the myth that has everyone believing they’re the only one not “doing it.”

      It’s been documented in several studies that when you ask college males what percentage of fellow male students had sex the previous weekend, they answer 75-80%. The true number is 5%. This misunderstanding, plus the belief that most other people are comfortable having casual sex, is Pluralistic Ignorance. Colleges have caught on to this and are doing their own studies. For example, Duke University surveyed 1,500 students anonymously and found that just 10% expressed comfort with hookup culture and a desire for casual sex.

  • Cooper

    Nice post Stephen B

  • ExNewYorker

    Oh boy, this thread is one that is going to be rife with the possibility of misunderstanding.

    Susan, I think pretty much all the guys would agree with: “given the general societal restrictions and general male upbringing, most guys would say they prefer relationships to randoms”. I think you would agree as well, as you wrote: “Of course, but I’m not really interested in hypotheticals. There are no risk-free advances. That does not exist, so focusing on such a preference is meaningless.”

    What the guys are saying, is that this preference is conditioned on the fact that there are very, very few men who get the chance to pursue “the hypotheticals”. But doesn’t mean that the preference isn’t there, at some level. Even us restricted guys have, somewhere in the back of our mind, some fantasy of a different colored haired woman for each day of the week, yet we’d never act on it (even if the opportunity might arise).

    The examples of this are too numerous to really have to go into depth. Look at Petraeus…he was in that position and even knowing the risks, went in full bore. Most guys never have the status change to a level where they get the chance to pursue that preference…

  • Lokland

    @Susan

    “A. Connection:

    1. I like her.
    2. I like spending time with her.
    3. I want to get to know her better.
    4. I have strong feelings for her.

    B. Emotional Support and Intimacy

    1. I like having someone to talk to.
    2. I like having someone to hang out with.
    3. I like having someone who listens to me when I’m worried about something.
    4. I like having someone who has my back.
    5. My girlfriend is more supportive than by best friend or parents.

    C. Secondary factor mentioned by a minority as a reason for dating: Physical Intimacy

    1. Kissing
    2. Holding hands
    3. Sex”

    +1

    I’d however say physical closeness is huge when you don’t have it.
    My wife’s gone home atm. Two weeks to go.
    Woman at my gym has been initiating kino too much (asked her to stop), I enjoyed it far too much. Not in any type of arousal just an ‘it feels really good to have human touch’ kinda way.

    I never even realized she was doing it until now.
    We want what we don’t have.

    As for category A and B, combined these two mean this:

    You go to work for 14 hours on a hay bailer. You come home covered in dust, sweat, shit and other unmentionables. You stumble into the shower and stand their for 5 minutes. You stumble to your lazy boy, sit down and the feeling is just ‘aaahhhh’ relaxation, contentment.

    Thats what coming home to a good wife feels like and again, you don’t realize that until she is not there.

    Having a partner whom you trust implicitly more than any other is a wonderful thing.

    • Having a partner whom you trust implicitly more than any other is a wonderful thing.

      It’s the best feeling in the world. I have no desire to police my husband’s thoughts, but I trust him 110%. Life would be hell if I didn’t have that. I would much rather be single than wonder about the fidelity of a spouse.

  • Ted D

    Susan – Everyone knows that guys learn to play the guitar to get laid. ”

    NAMALT! I learned to play guitar, piano, and drums because they are ways I can express my emotions that do not require me to directly interact with another person. In fact, I can sit down with my guitar alone in my room and in an hour unload a lot of pent up stuff. I forgot until recently however full a tool that actually is. 😉

    I’m sure you were joking, but opportunities to NAMALT you are just too rare to pass up… :-p

    • I’m sure you were joking, but opportunities to NAMALT you are just too rare to pass up… :-p

      I was joking, though my husband (who has worked in the record industry) is of the firm opinion that guys form and join bands primarily to get girls. For your average musically-inclined guy, an SMV bump of 4 points is not unusual.

      He was extremely wary of a punk pop guitarist our daughter dated for a time. That kid wasn’t a player, but there was no question his SMV was higher as a result of his being in the band. We worried that his spawn would emerge from the womb wearing black Chuck Taylors.

  • Ted D

    Ugh! Stupid iPad

    I forgot until recently how powerful a tool that actually is.

  • Tom

    I would say that once a guy matures enough to get his ego in check AND he experiences relationship sex, most of the time he will prefer relationship sex, because it is normally better sex than sex without feelings. A lot of guys get strange because they never have been in a relationship.

    • @Tom

      most of the time he will prefer relationship sex, because it is normally better sex than sex without feelings.

      I can’t speak for all men, but I know that Mr. HUS feels this way. I somehow managed to get him off the market when he had a lot of options, and he was thrilled to step off.

      Smiler indicates that a common theme even among Casanovas is that they just can’t keep it up. The juice is not worth the squeeze in the end, which is why only 5% of males pursue casual sex for three years or more.

  • Susan, I don’t mean to sound cynical, but I think that, despite the advantageous ratio, the majority of men on campus cannot access sex outside of relationships (and, for whatever reason, cannot reliably obtain relationships). Maybe it is a chicken and egg thing—if one of these men *could* access sex w/o a relationship, would he?

    This may be how we can square the results of Smiler’s meta-study with the results that we had when they put a hot girl undercover on campus and had her randomly proposition male students for casual sex (her offer had a high % of willing takers—over 85%, IIRC).

    Maybe I’m off base here (I haven’t read the book), but Smiler’s analysis *appears* to assume that all men face the same menu of mating options, and so those who are promiscuous outliers can be dismissed as “unrestricted” or “damaged” and cut from the sample. It’s essentially saying that male sexuality is completely dependent on psychological factors internal to particular males, as all men have the same theoretical sexual options.

    Perhaps it is akin to saying that an SMV 10 woman and an SMV 5 woman should share the exact same checklist of mate expectations, and a 10 woman who wants a really wealthy, handsome, charming, educated, etc. guy must have been abused when she was a little girl, is a gold-digging sociopath, etc.

    This limitation isn’t Smiler fault; it is very difficult to assign a priori SMV values to men and then to go on to find out both their stated and revealed preferences (and some inveterate players will state that they do in fact want LTRs—they just have exceedingly high threshold prices for this nesting instinct to be triggered and the SMV 9-10 nymphomaniac bikini model/heiress/Culinary Institute grads that they would settle down with are not in abundance).

    My guess is that if you listed things like this:

    A) Sex w/ relationship
    B) Sex w/o relationship
    C) No sex/no relationship
    D) No sex/relationship

    Most guys—with no other data given—would probably prefer A, then B (for most men, A seems to promise a much more predictable and stable supply than B does), then D (you at least get companionship there), then C.

    • @BB

      My guess is that if you listed things like this:

      A) Sex w/ relationship
      B) Sex w/o relationship
      C) No sex/no relationship
      D) No sex/relationship

      Most guys—with no other data given—would probably prefer A, then B (for most men, A seems to promise a much more predictable and stable supply than B does), then D (you at least get companionship there), then C.

      Agreed. That’s it in a nutshell, AFAICT.

  • Sue: “It’s clear in the book that the vast majority of males indicate a preference for emotionally and physically intimate relationships over “one and done” sex.”

    To be crude, but… “DUH”. Who actually *prefers* one night stands? Even the most hardened players will go back to a good thing, won’t they? Even Jason and Zach don’t have THAT high an N. It sounds outright pathological to prefer one lay per person at most.

  • While it might be true that women engage in sexual activity early into a relationship now as compared to thirty years ago, I’m 100 % positive that women are going on fewer dates with fewer men than they used to.

    Women do seem to more aggressively filter before they get to the first date. For most men, ‘dating’ in this mileau means beating down a woman’s walls until he can convince her to go on a date. It’s exhausting and not the least bit enjoyable. Part of the problem has to be that since women have a greater expectations of early sexual adventures, it discourages them from casual dating.

  • Richard Aubrey

    Said it before: Back in the day, I was a fraternity grad adviser, loosely employed by the Dean of Students.
    The guys we had to watch were the ones whose girlfriends had dumped them, not the ones who didn’t get laid this weekend.
    Not hard to drink yourself into the campus health center with a fifth of Jim Beam.

  • Abbot

    Casual or not, any claim of being “friend zoned” is now going to get you flak from feminists. They just haaaate losing any control of the discourse…

    “a man in the Friend Zone is just “a dick in a glass case” put on reserve while a woman tries to fuck someone better.”
    –Chris Rock

    http://www.nerve.com/love-sex/why-everyone-should-be-insulted-by-the-term-friend-zone

    .

  • Abbot

    “once a guy matures enough to get his ego in check ”

    More like he just meets someone who happens to satisfy his major criteria and finds charming/adorable etc

  • Lisa C

    Having read only the article, what confuses me is that Smiler seems to have a very broad definition of “relationship sex” – perhaps anything other than sex with a stranger whom you never see again. For example, he says Petraeus was having sex in a relationship with Broadwell. I think he would count FWB as having sex in a relationship. I think most of us, though, equate a relationship with a committed, monogamous relationship, and that doesn’t seem to be his definition. So, the title of the Salon article, “Guys Don’t Want Casual Sex” could simply mean “Guys Don’t Want One-Night Stands.” Guys could still want FWBs, extra-marital affairs, small harems or other non-committed sexual relationships. In fact, my recollection is that many guys who had a FWB situation in college were not necessarily getting any on the side. They just didn’t want to commit to the FWB and make her a girlfriend because she wasn’t girlfriend material for him, he didn’t want to put in any extra effort, he wanted to keep his options open etc … Susan’s title, “Guys Want Sex With Girlfriends, Not Randoms” seems to be a little different and may not be exactly what Smiler is getting at in the Salon article.

    Susan, since you have read his book and I have not, do you think Smiler defines relationship sex as sex with any type of emotional involvement – basically everything except pig sex with strangers? Do you think Smiler concludes that “Guys Want Sex With Girlfriends?” Or is his conclusion more along the lines that most guys do not want or do not prefer “One and Done” sex – a point which many will not find surprising. See OTC (comment 96).

    • @Lisa C

      For example, he says Petraeus was having sex in a relationship with Broadwell.

      Yes, he implies Petraeus fell for Broadwell. That appears to be a reasonable assumption based on what we know.

      I think he would count FWB as having sex in a relationship

      No, he expressly categorizes FWB as casual sex.

      Susan, since you have read his book and I have not, do you think Smiler defines relationship sex as sex with any type of emotional involvement – basically everything except pig sex with strangers? Do you think Smiler concludes that “Guys Want Sex With Girlfriends?” Or is his conclusion more along the lines that most guys do not want or do not prefer “One and Done” sex – a point which many will not find surprising.

      He defines relationship sex as emotionally intimate sex, and he specifies that men prefer to relate emotionally with women before having sex with them.

  • JP

    Petreaus was having sex in a relationship with Broadwell.

    In fact, nothing I’ve seen indicated that Petreaus was having sex with anyone but Broadwell.

    Broadwell was attempting to protect her relationship position which is what caused her problem.

  • Tasmin

    @Bastiat Blogger
    “My guess is that if you listed things like this:

    A) Sex w/ relationship
    B) Sex w/o relationship
    C) No sex/no relationship
    D) No sex/relationship

    Most guys—with no other data given—would probably prefer A, then B (for most men, A seems to promise a much more predictable and stable supply than B does), then D (you at least get companionship there), then C.”

    Interesting that if you take the preferred male condition as you state here (A, B, D, C) and reverse the order (C, D,B, A) we basically get what appears to be a probable distribution of how the SMP is experienced by that 80% of college men: (C) Nothing at all; (D)Friend Zone; (B) hooking up; (A) Girlfriend. Which seems crazy considering the stated desires referenced in this post as well as the gender imbalance at most colleges. And assuming the female desires primarily match up, just who/what is holding these two populations hostage?

    Could it be the 20% ers? The men who are racking it up because they are attractive (and on a relative basis scarce) or the x% of women who are only attracted to that 20% or the x% of women who won’t hold out for what they want because that 20% of men have no incentive to deliver commitment. Or when it is directed at one of the 80% he believes he is paying a higher price (commitment) to get what he believes is given (has been given) away for free?

    Certainly some of the 80% guys are cutting off their nose, but it seems like if men are scarce and they actually want (A) and women are more plentiful and actually want (A), the 80% men should have more access to relationships. Or is this a hypergamy argument again?

    • @Tasmin

      And assuming the female desires primarily match up, just who/what is holding these two populations hostage?…it seems like if men are scarce and they actually want (A) and women are more plentiful and actually want (A), the 80% men should have more access to relationships. Or is this a hypergamy argument again?

      That’s the reason Smiler wrote the book. His claim is that men have been taught – in sex ed, in the media, and by one another – that the Casanova is the normal, healthy default for males. He sees this as problematic in several ways, as outlined in the post. Most importantly, the 85% of males who do not aspire to Casanova status feel abnormal and unsuccessful. The modern “ideal” of male sexuality is something they don’t identify with, as it comprises a cycle of pursuit followed by abandonment. Many men don’t find that proposition appealing. They indicate that they wish people still went on dates, and that they would like to be with one girl they have feelings for.

      I think what’s missing so far in the male responses to this post is the sexual economics piece. This is not about male fantasy – no one is asking young men if they would be psyched to be marooned on a desert island and have two dozen sirens walk out of the sea to sex them up.

      The research aims to get at what men want IRL. Let’s say each guy gets to go to the Sex Life Store. There are two products. The first is the Hookup Package. Benefits include:

      a wide variety of female bodies
      no emotional entanglement
      rapid turnover
      a boisterous group of rowdy friends who approve

      The price:

      Casanova mindset
      emotional intimacy not available
      rapid turnover
      a boisterous group of rowdy friends
      females from the promiscuous pile only
      party hard mentality, excessive alcohol consumption
      exposure to risk of disease
      exposure to risk of pregnancy/fatherhood

      The other product is the Girlfriend Package. Benefits include:

      falling in love experience
      female companionship, including loyalty and support
      sex tailored to your needs
      reliably frequent sex

      The price:

      relationship mindset
      forfeit variety and novelty for period of relationship, i.e. potential boredom
      risk of eventual heartbreak
      hanging out with bros

      Obviously, which package a male prefers will depend on many factors, including childhood experience, adolescent identity, personality traits, hormone levels, and moral values.

      Smiler’s point is that 85% of men go for the Girlfriend Package at point of purchase. Furthermore, only 5% buy the Hookup Package three years in a row.

      The other thing to keep in mind is that Smiler defines Casanovas as men with the P&D mentality who have 3 or more partners per year. These are men who are likely to continue at that pace into middle age, accruing up to 100 partners. Interestingly, that was the real Casanova’s N and pace.

      Smiler does not claim that men don’t want sexual variety, only that when guys get to choose between Player and Boyfriend, most choose Boyfriend.

  • JP

    What I need to do is find out how often one of my fellow attorneys hooks up (after getting dumped by his fiance).

    He would make an absolutely wonderful data point.

  • HanSolo

    Good to see you again Richard Aubrey.

  • @SW

    I am interested in what young men say about relationships, and about what kind of sex they’re looking for. And they say “not casual.”

    Dateline HUS, Keith Morrison reporting: “In a word, shocking!”

    Thanks to JP and Mr. WV for the Salon.com article. A good synopsis of the AFT in action.

    I’m enjoying watching “The Backfire Boys Strike Back” in this thread. :mrgreen:

  • Tasmin: I think you are on to something. If the preference sets between male and female students were identical and women outnumbered male students, men in general would seem to be quite well-off in the campus SMP. After all, even a relationship w/o sex would be seen as better than nothing at all.

    There is a possibility that students tell the truth in anonymous surveys and don’t tell the truth to each other, leading to those in the arena being ignorant about the true state of their own SMP. If this were the case, then those who have access to the aggregated survey data would have a more accurate depiction of campus sexual mores than would the students who actually live and study on campus.

    The narrative would go something like this: Tom tells Steve (or heavily implies) that he got bombed the other night and then hooked up with Amy for oral sex, but then Tom goes online to take an anonymous survey and admits that he has never hooked up. Steve, given false information, feels like he is missing out because he’s not hooking up. Steve suffers needlessly until someone puts the aggregated survey results in his hand and he sees that hardly anyone is hooking up on campus. I suppose that this is the basis for the pluralistic ignorance explanation for hookup culture.

    It seems like there must be a bottleneck that is preventing the market from clearing, and another possible explanation is that a small % of men and women are dominating the SMP and attracting the lion’s share of attention. The result would be a kind of reality show that has a few amused participants of both genders serving as the Talent (the confident and aggressive campus elites who are hooking up with one another) and acting out in exaggeratedly sexist ways—men seeking casual partners and avoiding the expense of traditional dating, women being extremely hypergamous. Then we’d have the many who simply sit on the sidelines and watch rather than form relationships of their own because, for whatever reason, they aren’t attracted to one another.

    • @BB

      The result would be a kind of reality show that has a few amused participants of both genders serving as the Talent (the confident and aggressive campus elites who are hooking up with one another) and acting out in exaggeratedly sexist ways—men seeking casual partners and avoiding the expense of traditional dating, women being extremely hypergamous

      Bingo. We know who hooks up and how often, that is not new information. Smiler doesn’t even address the female role, btw. He’s interested in what men want – do the 85% not participating wish to join the Talent? Smiler says no.

      Then we’d have the many who simply sit on the sidelines and watch rather than form relationships of their own because, for whatever reason, they aren’t attracted to one another.

      Maybe. This is less clear. Smiler’s point is that many sit on the sidelines with no idea how much company they have. His research, and more importantly Buss’ research, does point very clearly to a set of traits men seek in female partners, and those qualities are not generally found among the Talent.

      This book dovetails quite nicely with the restricted vs. unrestricted model. The Talent is unrestricted. People generally don’t shift their sociosexual orientation, so the idea that Restricteds want to become Unrestricteds doesn’t really make much sense.

  • Kirk

    “Certainly some of the 80% guys are cutting off their nose, but it seems like if men are scarce and they actually want (A) and women are more plentiful and actually want (A), the 80% men should have more access to relationships. Or is this a hypergamy argument again?”

    @Tasmin
    This is America we’re talking about. Male scarcity is not a compelling reason for women to jump into less than ideal relationships. Also, keep in mind that these groups could be finding relationships through other venues (church, work, bars, etc.)

    In my experience, college is a horrible place to meet women, especially for psych majors (Care to guess why?).

  • INTJ

    @ Bastiat Blogger

    A) Sex w/ relationship
    B) Sex w/o relationship
    C) No sex/no relationship
    D) No sex/relationship

    Most guys—with no other data given—would probably prefer A, then B (for most men, A seems to promise a much more predictable and stable supply than B does), then D (you at least get companionship there), then C.

    For me it’s A, C, B, and D in that order. But I’m pretty far outside the norm (among other things I’m in that small minority that doesn’t ever watch porn).

  • INTJ

    @ Kirk

    In my experience, college is a horrible place to meet women, especially for psych majors (Care to guess why?).

    All the females are psychos?

    Seriously, I find it hard to believe that anyone would have it as bad as STEM (biology doesn’t count) majors.

  • Lokland

    @Kirk

    “In my experience, college is a horrible place to meet women, especially for psych majors (Care to guess why?).”

    As a general rule its hard to meet woman anywhere, which is a good thing.
    If it wasn’t fidelity wouldn’t exist.

  • Tasmin

    @kirk
    “This is America we’re talking about. Male scarcity is not a compelling reason for women to jump into less than ideal relationships.

    What is ‘less than ideal’? You’ve built in a lot of assumptions there. Unless of course you are referring to a relationship with a less attractive man, say a man within that occasionally invisible 80%. The ‘compelling reason’ is the stated desire to do so, I never implied that people should do anything they don’t desire and certainly they don’t desire to enter into a “less than ideal” situation.

    What we have within hookup culture is a “less than ideal situation” because there is a disconnect between the culture, the behaviors it encourages, and what the young men and women really want. And many leave college with a view of the SMP and their place within it that is warped, perpetuating the patterns of thinking and behaving that will continue to impair their ability to find what the desire. That is a huge problem.

    “Also, keep in mind that these groups could be finding relationships through other venues (church, work, bars, etc.)””

    They “could” indeed, but if these groups were finding relationships – relationships both men and women apparently prioritize very highly, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. If they can’t seem to do it while in close proximity in which they share all kinds of things: lifestyles, meals, housing, class sessions, study sessions, social events, sporting events, campus jobs, and a great deal of idle time, the “real world” is hardly going to be that much better.

    “In my experience, college is a horrible place to meet women, especially for psych majors (Care to guess why?).”

    I get it. College can suck in terms of relationships for many people, that’s part of the point of our discussions here. I went to a small school that was nearly 60% men and had was very nerdy. It was hard to make things work, but by and large the people who wanted relationships found them. Many didn’t, but the reasons were not due to the hookup culture running amok. Took me 2.5 years and my GF didn’t even go to my school (went to a neighboring college). That was in the early ’90’s. Something has changed.

  • J

    @Todd

    Well, if it’s not real snark, it’s not real Marcotte.

    There seems to be a coterie of female writers who are locked in everlasting battle with the manosphere. I have hope, much like many Germans of the 1930s who witnessed street battles between the Nazis and the Communists, that they will eventually destroy each other–but we all know how well that one worked out.

  • J

    I’m sure you were joking, but opportunities to NAMALT you are just too rare to pass up… :-p

    LOL. I almost jumped in on that one as well since all my guys started playing music long before they began even being aware of sex, and all of them play for personal self-expression. OTOH, I can’t say that DH’s playing never got him laid–including by me.

  • J

    Seriously, I find it hard to believe that anyone would have it as bad as STEM (biology doesn’t count) majors.

    My older son seems to be moving in a STEM direction. I expect that he will do a double major–business and computer science perhaps. He also loves music. Maybe the STEM and music will cancel each other out and he will find a girl after all. 😉

  • Deli

    I started reading the Salon recap and at this line

    “But Smiler has an important question: “If Casonova-style promiscuity is men’s naturally evolved state, then why do most men want no more than one partner?””

    … my bullshit alarm went off, because how can most men want no more than one partner, when the most common male sexual fantasy involves 2 partners already?

    • @Deli

      because how can most men want no more than one partner, when the most common male sexual fantasy involves 2 partners already?

      Even if it is true that all men fantasize about threesomes, you’re assuming that all men would choose to bring their fantasies to life if they could. That’s not a credible assumption.

  • Cooper

    @INTJ
    Re: ACBD

    Wow. That’s tough. But, yeah ACBD it is.

  • Society’s Disposable Son

    Susan-“For your average musically-inclined guy, an SMV bump of 4 points is not unusual.”

    If there’s any truth to this then I must be a CHUD. Hopefully it’s just my body language after a set is totally “leave me the fuck alone”. 17 years of guitar playing and 15 years of drumming and playing in bands that tour I never get blatant offers from groupie types. Maybe it’s the fact I’m behind a drum kit and no one knows I write 50% of the guitar in my current band unless they ask.

  • Johnycomelately

    If men didn’t want sex without relationships prostitution wouldn’t exist.

    • If men didn’t want sex without relationships prostitution wouldn’t exist.

      It exists primarily for men who can’t get relationships. Smiler points out that if men wanted sexual variety, they could easily purchase it, but college males do not do so.

  • Physicsgeek

    “If men didn’t want sex without relationships prostitution wouldn’t exist.”

    There are many reasons men use the services of working girls, and not all of those men have merely a desire for NSA sex. Many of those men would prefer an actual relationship. Hence many prostitutes offer the “Girlfriend Experience”.

  • Emily

    >> “Seriously, I find it hard to believe that anyone would have it as bad as STEM (biology doesn’t count) majors.”

    From what I can tell, it’s even worse for STEM guys once they’re out in the work world. At least on campus there are liberal arts girls running around everywhere.

    This weekend I was hanging out with my bf and his friends (pretty much all STEM guys). By the end of the night, we were at a club and I was the only girl in a group with seven guys. It was great fun for me, but it’s definitely not an ideal social situation for meeting girls.

  • Emily

    >> “17 years of guitar playing and 15 years of drumming and playing in bands that tour I never get blatant offers from groupie types. Maybe it’s the fact I’m behind a drum kit and no one knows I write 50% of the guitar in my current band unless they ask.”

    Yeah, I think it also depends on the type of band/music that you’re doing. For example, IME the guy/girl ratio in the metal scene wasn’t much better than the STEM world. Although maybe that varies from place to place.

    I had some friends who were in bands, and from what I could tell, the ones who attracted the most female attention were the ones who probably could have attracted girls without the band. The band thing is a definite DHV, but I don’t think it’s a guarantee that you’ll get laid.

  • mr. wavevector

    deti:

    But if we’re talking about what men would want ideally if they were philosopher kings, this is what I suspect many men would want.

    Susan:

    Nope, that is precisely Smiler’s point. This is not what men want, it’s just that they have been made to feel ashamed of not wanting to be promiscuous.
    Certainly, Smiler does make the point that the culture tells men that’s what they want.

    I agree with Susan that a lot of promiscuous sex is not what most men really want. But deti’s statement has an additional element worth analyzing: the fantasy of absolute power – being the “philospher king”. I suspect that the average man’s decision making would change towards the promiscuous if he could have absolute power over women, because that would dramatically change his cost/benefit decision. There would be no cost for sex, either before or after – he could have whatever he demanded without any consequences.

    In the real world, of course, there is a cost/benefit decision. Initiating sexual relationships with women is emotionally costly, and there are emotional consequences that follow. So while many men probably fantasize about promiscuity with unlimited sexual power, their real world behavior is nothing of the sort. “What men want” should be interpreted in terms of their actions, not their fantasies.

    Cooper:

    I suppose it’s also important to be reminded that they are Casanova-type women.

    There are, and non-Casanova men should not be ashamed of turning down sexual advances from such women. I did so several times in my dating past, and while it was certainly the right decision, I kind of felt like a wimp at the time for turning down sex. There’s a lot of shaming of men who decline sex – especially from the rejected women.

    • So while many men probably fantasize about promiscuity with unlimited sexual power, their real world behavior is nothing of the sort. “What men want” should be interpreted in terms of their actions, not their fantasies.

      This is the key point. I’m sharing real world information that young women need to hear, and that is that the vast majority of men are interested in relationships. It’s not really very important why, how unrestricted their sexuality might be in a world without consequences, etc. The information has a practical application, and that is why I shared it.

      Smiler points out that when college women are interviewed, they say that college males only want sex. He is seeking to correct that impression. In fact, there are a few males who want no-strings sex and to avoid relationships. Those males have certain traits in common.

      None of this surprises me. I’m simply gratified that bad information is being corrected, as that is likely to lead to more relationships, assuming people want them.

  • VD

    I’d like to get a good discussion going, this is really important, IMO.

    As you wish. Towards whom shall I direct the egregiously cruel criticism?

    In any given year, aspiring Casanovas may be up to 15% of the male population, but only about 5% of men sustain this behavior for three years.

    I think this is an interesting observation. College makes it so much easier for men to run up large numbers, but it’s hard to even come across similar quantities of women once everyone is no longer locked in on campus together. Between the student population and the various groups visiting from other colleges, graduation can be like going from shooting fish in a barrel to fishing from a dock with a worm-and-bobber. Also, the guy who went through college like a freight train, then settles down with a girlfriend while focusing on hi job after graduation will probably still consider himself a Casanova even if he isn’t actively maintaining the lifestyle.

    • @VD

      As you wish. Towards whom shall I direct the egregiously cruel criticism?

      Ha, not me! Direct criticism of the book to its absent author – I’m happy to discuss it. Or direct criticism of my handling of it to me. What is NOT helpful is asking me to justify someone else’s work.

      College makes it so much easier for men to run up large numbers, but it’s hard to even come across similar quantities of women once everyone is no longer locked in on campus together.

      Agreed. There is a vibrant post-college scene – the STR types take it to the bars and clubs. But the logistics are less friendly – there’s no opportunity to drag an acquaintance up to the frat room you share with three other dudes. You need to convince a stranger to go home with you instead. Slightly more challenging.

      Also, the guy who went through college like a freight train, then settles down with a girlfriend while focusing on hi job after graduation will probably still consider himself a Casanova even if he isn’t actively maintaining the lifestyle.

      Right, he’s likely to say, “I could have that if I wanted it.” OTOH, I’m not sure how many players do settle down after college. The players I know up to about age 26 have not entered relationships. Though their rate of conquest may be down, they show little inclination toward monogamy.

  • mr. wavevector

    Susan @125;

    I think what’s missing so far in the male responses to this post is the sexual economics piece. This is not about male fantasy – no one is asking young men if they would be psyched to be marooned on a desert island and have two dozen sirens walk out of the sea to sex them up.

    Well put. Most of the objections so far are from men who are deeply invested in their sexual fantasies, where sex is free of cost and consequence.

    Come to think of it, being deeply invested in sexual fantasy is a defining feature of the PUA/Game community.

  • Sue: “Smiler points out that if men wanted sexual variety, they could easily purchase it, but college males do not do so.”

    Define “easily”. Prostitution is illegal, underground, carries widespread shame (as opposed to marijuana), costs a LOT of money for a person making minimum wage, and is flat out cost prohibitive for a man with any normal sex drive. You’re off your rocker here.

    • Define “easily”. Prostitution is illegal, underground, carries widespread shame (as opposed to marijuana), costs a LOT of money for a person making minimum wage, and is flat out cost prohibitive for a man with any normal sex drive. You’re off your rocker here.

      Aaaaannnnd… here’s a clear example of criticizing me for someone else’s work. I have absolutely no knowledge of the availability of prostitutes at a practical level. I do know that the numbers are large enough that when it’s corrected for in the CDC sex statistics, the gap between male and female means disappears.

      Here is what Smiler said:

      If you add in the fact that average age of first marriage is something like 28 for guys, a lot of guys have the sense that this girl they’re starting to date at 17 or 19 or 21 probably isn’t going to be the one — and yet they are choosing to date. They could easily choose to just hook up — or instead of spending that money in a bar you could get a prostitute — but they’re consistently choosing to be in relationships.

  • Lokland

    @OTC

    “Define “easily”. Prostitution is illegal, underground, carries widespread shame (as opposed to marijuana), costs a LOT of money for a person making minimum wage, and is flat out cost prohibitive for a man with any normal sex drive. You’re off your rocker here.”

    Here prostitution occurs in brothels, legally, above ground with large men named Steve who will beat the shit out of anyone who causes trouble.

    The rest of your points are correct however.

    But still, hardly anyone uses it.

    Probably a good time for you guys to look beyond your own borders though. I can think of a few places where upwards of 80% of men are visiting prostitutes a couple times a month.

  • Sue: “Most importantly, the 85% of males who do not aspire to Casanova status feel abnormal and unsuccessful”

    I disagree here. I felt unsuccessful back then for not attracting a *girlfriend*, not for failing to be a player, which I never tried.

    Sue: “Only that when guys get to choose between Player and Boyfriend, most choose Boyfriend.”

    Well, since 25% cheat, then it seems a many of them choose both.

    J: “I expect that he will do a double major–business and computer science perhaps. He also loves music. Maybe the STEM and music will cancel each other out and he will find a girl after all. ”

    Could be. I did a double in music and CS, and I met the Mrs. in the music department.

    • @OTC

      “Most importantly, the 85% of males who do not aspire to Casanova status feel abnormal and unsuccessful”

      I disagree here. I felt unsuccessful back then for not attracting a *girlfriend*, not for failing to be a player, which I never tried.

      But you’re old 😉

      The point is that young men today feel pressure to be promiscuous, and to keep silent about their desire for a girlfriend, because it’s not cool.

      Sue: “Only that when guys get to choose between Player and Boyfriend, most choose Boyfriend.”

      Well, since 25% cheat, then it seems a many of them choose both.

      You’re assuming that college boyfriends cheat at the same rate that men cheat in marriage over the course of a lifetime. You’re also assuming that all cheating is premeditated at the point of entering a relationship.

  • For the record, I think his definition of Casanova is ridiculous and creates an unduly large gulf.

    The real split is men who want ONLY monogamy (single ladder) vs. men who who will take either/or opportunistically, and possibilty waiting for a high quality girlfriend (dual ladder – Susan’s stated lots of boys who get laid occasionally, but prefer to keep their options open), vs. those who will not only avoid monogamy, but apparently (pathologically) take things to such am extreme they only have anonymous sex with random people, never to see them again.

    That third category is so small as to be pointless to consider. Even the highest N guys I know (40-150) don’t act like that, they all enjoy relationships.

    From a woman’s POV it makes sense to group the first two together, since they are both *open* to having a girlfriend. I think it’s a good message to get out. But, don’t take it too far and make it look like the dual-ladder men are in the first group.

    • @OTC

      For the record, I think his definition of Casanova is ridiculous and creates an unduly large gulf.

      How so? He defines the player, and he does so accurately, as far as I can tell. Where do you disagree?

      The real split is between the cultural ideal or norm, which is player, and the actual norm, which is boyfriend. 3% of men are behaving in a way that the culture promotes as normal and typical. That’s the issue Smiler is addressing.

      those who will not only avoid monogamy, but apparently (pathologically) take things to such am extreme they only have anonymous sex with random people, never to see them again.

      Now you’re getting silly. He’s talking about men who have casual sex in college and afterwards. The sex is never anonymous, and is indeed often random. About half of college hookup partners do see one another again.

      Smiler references one study of 350 men of all ages. Here are the percentages at each age that self-described as players:

      18-29: 12%
      30-49: 7% (Hi Roissy and Roosh!)
      50+: 3%

      I am amused OTC, how your opinion of the post has shifted so dramatically in a short time.

  • Sue: “The point is that young men today feel pressure to be promiscuous, and to keep silent about their desire for a girlfriend, because it’s not cool.”

    I’d have to read the book to see the rationale. I think the former doesn’t exist to the level of promiscuity Smiler defines, and the latter only exists because being “eager” is the death knell to college women. Men have to play their cards very close, or be severely punished. What we used to call “courtship” is now called “creepy”, even 20 years ago.

    Where are all the men really saddened they can’t be players, vs. not being able to attract a woman at all?

    • I think the former doesn’t exist to the level of promiscuity Smiler defines

      (Former referring to young men feeling pressure to be promiscuous.) Smiler defines a player as someone who specifically seeks STRs, not someone who hooks up to get a relationship. He also says that the average # of partners per year for STR-oriented men is 3. I’m not sure what you mean to say about that level of promiscuity.

      the latter only exists because being “eager” is the death knell to college women.

      (The latter referring to the notion that it’s not cool to have a gf.) Nope, here’s what Smiler says:

      Today, being able to “score,” and especially being able to score repeatedly, turns a boy into “the Man.” Even though a fair number of guys I’ve interviewed have told me they don’t really buy this, they’re also clear that this is how things work. Showing Casanova-like promiscuity has moved from unacceptable behavior to the – or at least a – preferred behavior.

      A guy who breaks these rules, by showing emotion, “acting gay,” or not sleeping around – or not sounding as though he wants to sleep around – is likely to be called fag, gay, etc. These are explicit challenges to a boy’s masculinity, and boys feel compelled to prove otherwise.

      Smiler also talks about the importance of identity groups, formed in adolescence, e.g. jocks, nerds, rebels, drama geeks, chorus and band kids, etc. These groups tend to share values.

  • The *post* by itself great and I still think so. It’s a good message to get out, that men want do relationships. Where I think you’re going awry is that the bar for “player” is so high that nobody really qualifies, so, the actual gap between the two is suspect. I’d like to see the numbers, then, that back up, the idea that P&D is the ideal, if this is the case.

    • It’s a good message to get out, that men want do relationships. Where I think you’re going awry is that the bar for “player” is so high that nobody really qualifies

      You think three partners a year is a high bar?

  • Thrasymachus

    Susan:

    What’s the source of the chart presented in post #52 on the desired number of sexual partners? These results are inconsistent with other studies on the subject. For example, in her book The Male Brain Louann Brizendine quotes a median figure of 18 for (lifetime) desired number of sexual partners for men. (The corresponding figure for women varied between 1.5 and 4, depending on the study). Another study asked how many partners people would like over the next two years. The median answers: men 8, women 1.

    More generally, there are MANY other studies that show a much greater male taste for sexual variety than Smiler suggests. I identified a few of them in an earlier thread.

    • @Thras

      More generally, there are MANY other studies that show a much greater male taste for sexual variety than Smiler suggests.

      Smiler addresses Sexual Strategies Theory as written by Buss and Schmitt:

      SST’s authors extended the sociobiological description of mating by acknowledging that humans can choose to focus on finding short-term or long-term mates. Thus, some guys choose to be Casanovas and keep finding new partners, hoping to impregnate several of them. Other guys are more selective and choose a single partner.

      …We’ve long known that teenage boys, young men, and adult men report more partners, on average, than their female peers. On average, guys usually report a younger age of first sex, high rates of cheating, and greater willingness to have sex with someone they don’t know. SST gives us a way to make sense of these patterns.

      …One survey question that SST author’s often focus on is this: “Ideally, how many different sex partners would you like to have…” across a series of eleven time frames, ranging from as short as one month to “your remaining lifetime.” The question is open ended, so participants fill in whatever number they like. SST’s proponents typically focus on the shortest time frame – one month – to demonstrate that men want more short-term partners than women.

      In Buss’ worldwide study (62 countries), the average for men was nearly two partners in the next month, whereas for women it was only one partner in the next month. This pattern has been found in survey after survey. The researchers also point out that many more men than women say they want two or more partners; in that worldwide study 25% of men said they wanted two or more partners in the next month. Only 5% of women said that.

      The majority of men – 75% – want one or zero partners in the next month. Shouldn’t we take that majority as telling us about the average or typical guy? …Undergraduate men who are at or near their physical and sexual peak, unmarried, living away from home, and surrounded by lots of women – overwhelmingly say they’re looking for one partner when completing anonymous surveys.

      In the worldwide study, guys were notably more likely than women to indicate that they’d be willing to have sex with a new partner less than one month after meeting her, just as the theory predicts. An earlier study of American undergraduates went into more detail about “when”: for the average guy it was more than a day but less than a week before he was willing to have sex with someone he’d recently met; for the average girl it was closer to a month. Young men said they wanted more than a day; that rules out ONSs.

      IOW, Smiler does not question the real difference between male and female sexual preferences. However, he questions the degree of difference, and especially notes the large variation among males. As you will recall, Schmitt et al do focus on the mean, and generally do not provide median data in their research. This masks the effect of the great variation among males.

      This is also evident in the data on Sociosexuality:

      Men Bottom Quintile Score

      Had sex with someone the same day you met: 12

      Got pregnant, or got someone pregnant, before marriage: 8

      Had sex after having a lot to drink: 34

      Was unfaithful to a steady partner: 5

      Had sex with two people in a 24 hour period: 2

      Ever had a sexually transmitted disease: 4

      vs.

      Men Top Quintile Score

      Had sex with someone the same day you met: 78

      Got pregnant, or got someone pregnant, before marriage: 31

      Had sex after having a lot to drink: 88

      Was unfaithful to a steady partner: 63

      Had sex with two people in a 24 hour period: 50

      Ever had a sexually transmitted disease: 24

      http://www.hookingupsmart.com/2012/10/23/whatguyswant/restricted-vs-unrestricted-sociosexuality-what-does-it-mean/

  • I recently heard a female grad student describe “hookup culture” as sexual relationships that arise when traditional dating is dead. The relationships can take many forms, but they are united by the absence of a conventional dating ramp that had men “proving” themselves and absorbing courtship costs prior to sex. I thought that was an interesting way of looking at it.

    She felt that a woman could think of a sexual interaction as a hook-up and her male counterpart could describe the same scenario very differently, because the woman who saw no male economic investment in courtship prior to sex—vis-a-vis traditional dates where the man takes the girl out to dinner, entertains, etc.—would feel disappointed (unless she was “unrestricted”, presumably).

    FWIW, she acknowledged that what she personally would like is unfair to men given today’s economic landscape, campus gender ratios, etc.

    • I recently heard a female grad student describe “hookup culture” as sexual relationships that arise when traditional dating is dead. The relationships can take many forms, but they are united by the absence of a conventional dating ramp that had men “proving” themselves and absorbing courtship costs prior to sex.

      One thing that Smiler discusses is the confusion young males express about initiating relationships. They have no idea how to do it. They have figured out that they need to isolate a girl in a group hang and go for the makeout, but as you’ve noted, they have no idea what this signals, or how to figure out what the girl wants. This explains why a full 75% of college males say they would prefer dating, and over half say they hook up to get a relationship.

  • Ted D

    “most of the time he will prefer relationship sex, because it is normally better sex than sex without feelings.”

    I’ve written here many times that I tend to be risk averse and dislike how my body reacts to adrenaline/dopamine rushes. In fact, I would suggest that the reason I never found myself doing “heavy” drugs was because I very much dislike being under the influence of them because of this.

    The further along my Red Pill journey I go, the more I begin to recognize how my internal wiring manifests itself in the real world, and sex is one example. Most people greatly desire those feelings of limerence, and tend to put a lot of importance on the dopamine part of sex. Don’t get me wrong, I very much enjoy the big O part of sex, but I’ve realized it isn’t always my primary reason for wanting sex. In fact, most of the time I enjoy the snuggling/cuddling part just after sex as much if not more than the act itself. My bonding instincts are absofreakingrediculously sensitive, and I literally find myself craving those moments after we catch our breath and settle in to sleep. The touch and smell of my wife just after sex is intoxicating. The feeling of her body pressed to mine after the “deed” almost makes me feel high. I believe that much of what *I* want from sex is NOT the quick hit of orgasm, but the overwhelming desire to feel closer to my wife.

    And at the root of it, this is why casual sex repulses me. Sex with someone I will NOT be holding and caressing afterwards strikes me as torture of a sort, since it is the ‘afterglow’ I often enjoy the most. This also explains why I find myself feeling like those bonds begin to fade after extended periods of no sex. With my ex, the longer we went without, the less I felt that “in love” feeling with her, the less I wanted to make the effort to engage.

    And this is why I believe I’d have a tough time enjoying casual sex at all. I’d “catch feelings” for every woman I had sex with, because it is exactly how my body responds to the act itself. Perhaps it is something I could change, but I’ve never seen any purpose in even trying.

    “If men didn’t want sex without relationships prostitution wouldn’t exist.”

    After my ex-wife left, I tried to talk myself into just giving up on women and going the “professional” route to get those needs met. Couldn’t find a way to make it “OK” so I gave up. IF I was ever going to have casual sex, I think my best chance of success would be a prostitute though, since for them it literally is all in a day’s work. However I wasn’t willing to try and find myself “catching feelings” for a pro…

  • Escoffier

    Susan, the reason the Paul McCartney example is so notable is because it’s so rare. I mean, how many famous rock stars are like that? Very, very few. Let’s rephrase the thought experiment a little. Take 100 random guys. Make them rock stars overnight. Girls are throwing their panties at them. How many of those guys are going to say “No thanks, I’m holding out for a girlfriend”?

    The issue here is whether there is some cohort of “unrestricted” males who disproportionately become rock stars and the like. Maybe. But the obverse is, take a nominally restricted guy and make him a rock star and what’s he going to do?

    I just do not believe that, if they had the chance to indulge themselves widely, 80% of young men would decline. I bet a lot of them would quit the casual sooner rather than later because they would find it unfullfilling. But in those first months or longer, biology would take over.

    • @Escoffier

      The issue here is whether there is some cohort of “unrestricted” males who disproportionately become rock stars and the like. Maybe. But the obverse is, take a nominally restricted guy and make him a rock star and what’s he going to do?

      You’re still dealing with fantasy, not real actions.

      I just do not believe that, if they had the chance to indulge themselves widely, 80% of young men would decline. I bet a lot of them would quit the casual sooner rather than later because they would find it unfullfilling. But in those first months or longer, biology would take over.

      You may well be right, but that’s not what the book or this post addresses. I’ve already noted that the male desire for relationships vs. casual will depend on a number of things, including but not limited to:

      How good looking he is, i.e. opportunity
      The sex ratio in his environment
      The perceived quality of women in his environment
      His genetic personality traits, including degree of extraversion
      His moral beliefs about sex
      His sexual history
      His childhood and family dynamic
      His plans for the future
      How he perceives promiscuous men in his milieu (this is generally a negative perception)
      How academically oriented he is
      How emotionally intelligent he is
      His adolescent experience

      The research focuses on real men, who describe what they want now. When they do so, all 12 of these factors are brought to bear on their choice.

      This is not about giving guys a theoretical opportunity to go into the Orgasmatron. Actually, that reminds me of a scene in True Blood, where a community of feral females holds Jason prisoner so they can have sex with him and get his genes. He writhes in agony and begs for mercy even as his penis cooperates. Perhaps there can be too much of a good thing…

      In any case, what is relevant from an HUS standpoint is: Do guys want relationships, or do they want to be players? The answer is actually very clear. That’s the 80% (actually more like 85%).

  • JP

    A bigger problem in life seems to be figuring out how to find a compatible person rather than relationships per se.

    Attracting women (in general) is relatively easy, whereas being able to endure the relationship is something else entirely.

  • Escof., I agree. The majority of guys are conditioned to believe that you get sex by having a girlfriend and/or that you get access to a higher-SMV female through a relationship than you would through a more casual sex mechanism (i.e., that the hottest women want to be girlfriends and will not engage in casual sex). The idea that women would be directly propositioning them for sex is just totally alien, a kind of fantasy porn script. It’s just not part of the typical guy’s life experience, so he never calibrates his expectations to that kind of sexual access.

    However, he *is* fascinated by it, particularly if it appears that some men do experience the SMP this way IRL.

  • Ted, I agree. But apparently we have no useful agreement on what casual sex is. You think it’s having sex devoid of intimacy or something, where they have to leave the second it’s over, and you never talk to them outside of bed. Others say it’s anything that’s not strict monogamy, and what the time limit of that monogamy is unclear (1 month? 1 year? 4 years?) If someone falls in madly love with a new person every 90 days is it casual? Which is it?

    • Casual sex is sex without commitment of any kind.

      Hooking up is the experience of physical intimacy as a precursor or prerequisite to emotional intimacy.

      Unrestricted folks are happy with either or both.

      Restricted people reject casual sex, but may engage in hooking up as a route to emotional intimacy.

      What matters is the intent. If you’re avoiding commitment, it’s casual.

  • INTJ

    @ J

    My older son seems to be moving in a STEM direction. I expect that he will do a double major–business and computer science perhaps. He also loves music. Maybe the STEM and music will cancel each other out and he will find a girl after all.

    One can always dream. 😉

  • Ted D

    OTC – point taken. I certainly don’t have a good answer. My shortest relationship lasted 4 years. It usually takes me a few weeks to a month to feel comfortable enough with a woman to get naked with her, so every 90 days would be a revolving door for me.

    If I had to pin down a definition for myself, I’d say casual sex is sex with someone you do not have deeper feelings for, regardless of the time frame involved. Of course even this gets grey if you think about real FWB situations where both parties are at least friendly with each other, but I would say that the lack of real intimacy is what marks it as casual.

    That being said, I know a few guys that are married and have been for some time. They don’t get all mushy/feely like I do after sex, and either roll over and pass out, or get the urge to go do something. (like make a sandwich). Do they have deep feelings for their wives? Yeah, I believe they do. However for them, those feelings DO NOT manifest much at all from sex.

    I’ve always been a high touch mate. My wife loves the attention, but didn’t realize she was so touchy/feely until we became an item. Her previous partners tended to be like my buddies, which is to say that once the deed was done, they either wanted to sleep or eat. Me? I’ve spent an hour after sex just stroking her hair while she sleeps on my chest. (I greatly enjoy giving back rubs too!) I might be wide awake, but there is no where I’d rather be, and nothing else I’d rather be doing. In fact, other than musical performances, the “afterglow” of sex is one of the few times I’m truly present and in the moment. For someone like me that almost entirely lives in his head, this is a big thing. I can’t imagine that casual sex would illicit this response from me, and that would leave me feeling very empty, very used, and rather dirty. I want the orgasm, but I also want those minutes of clarity that come after, and I don’t believe that is triggered by the act of sex itself. It is triggered by the feeling of being so open and exposed to a person I love and trust. The feeling of having something with this woman that I don’t have with anyone else. The relief of being able to completely let down my guard for a moment in time with her.

    The idea of casual sex truly strikes me as hell on earth. Other than an orgasm, there is nothing there of what I truly love about sex with my wife. It is an empty shell of what to me should be an emotionally engaging experience. It is a ghost of what I have now at best.

  • JP

    Another fun article. Enjoy.

    “A hormone known as “the love hormone” prompts men in relationships to keep their distance from other women who are attractive, new research suggests.

    Oxytocin, which is known to contribute to pair-bonding, encourages men to expand their personal “Don’t come near me” bubble when around an attractive woman — but only when those men are in relationships, researchers found. Single men were just as likely to get close to a pretty stranger whether or not they’d been dosed with oxytocin, according to a study published tomorrow (Nov. 14) in the Journal of Neuroscience. …”

    http://hotair.com/headlines/archives/2012/11/14/good-news-boyfriends-love-hormone-wards-off-girlfriends-rivals/

  • J

    Could be. I did a double in music and CS, and I met the Mrs. in the music department.

    I think the key is to get out of the STEM environment and show that you have other, more accessible interests. He was composing some house music (yeah, I know) the other day, and I told him he needed to volunteer to DJ parties given college social organizations. He’s somewhat quiet, but also fairly handsome and extremely funny in a droll way. If he puts himself out there, he’ll do fine.

    Interestingly, I found myself discussing dating with two lovely, restricted girls who are in my sons’ social circle. I mentioned that I found it odd that the boys don’t actually date. They laughed uproariously and said that they didn’t know anyone who had EVER been on a date. I was so weirdered out by that. On the plus side, they also expressed that the boys would have no problems when I asked how the hell these kids form relationships.

  • JP

    @J:

    My approach to relationships in college (as a STEM major) was to wander around and eventually find myself in relationship (in the 1990s).

    This happened twice.

    I don’t recommend this approach because it wasn’t really a good strategy.

  • JP

    “One thing that Smiler discusses is the confusion young males express about initiating relationships. They have no idea how to do it.”

    I take it that wandering around and waiting for a girl to relationship you or to fling you at one of her friends (this is annoying btw) isn’t a good strategy.

  • J

    The thing is JP that your strategy seems to be the “go to” strategy these days. It seems so random, aimless and unproductive. And, for me as a parent, it’s frustrating. I have no idea of what I’m supposed to be monitoring, much less what is going on.

  • JP

    “This is not about giving guys a theoretical opportunity to go into the Orgasmatron.”

    This is a really funny sentence.

  • Suzan-darling … in another place … and another time … I would have spared no effort … and considered no act too unholy … to make you my noisy toisy strifey wifey deary darling of a life partner … and I would never have regretted it …

    Sincerely.

    Marellus.

  • JP

    @J:

    “It seems so random, aimless and unproductive. And, for me as a parent, it’s frustrating. I have no idea of what I’m supposed to be monitoring, much less what is going on.”

    It is random, aimless and unproductive.

    I didn’t have any idea what was going on. Because it was random and aimless because there weren’t really rules or actual objectives of any kind. Except to graduate college.

    However, not knowing what is actually happening is pretty normal for me.

  • Escoffier

    Susan, it’s not a fantasy, it IS reality. We can both cite lots of examples of men whose SMV suddenly skyrockets and what do they do? They indulge.

    My “thought experiment” is nothing more or less than a stand-in for the kind of studies you like. If you really want to know how real young men would really act if they suddenly had options that they never expected to have, then run some double-blind studies with control groups. I am pretty sure I know how they would turn out, and the results would not be 80% holding out for a GF.

    This finding sounds very much like a male version of hamsterbation. Watch what young men do, not what they say. The reason that 80% them don’t plunge headlong into the pussy riot is not because they don’t want to, but because they can’t.

    That’s obviously not the whole story. The more the brain is involved and can rule the dick, the more these young men will try to lock down relationships. But the brain’s power to rule the dick is not especially strong from puberty through young adulthood. To be an effective master, it needs education plus social, cultural and religious support, which our society is today rather terrible at providing.

    • If you really want to know how real young men would really act if they suddenly had options that they never expected to have, then run some double-blind studies with control groups.

      But I don’t want to know that. That actually doesn’t interest me in the least! What I do want to know is, do college guys want relationships, and are they likely to be happy in relationships?

      Smiler answers that question quite clearly.

      It doesn’t really matter what I would do if I won the lottery, so when I say I’m happy to vacation in Massachusetts, you can figure I’m going to be on Cape Cod again rather than Bali. And that will be delightful.

      You seem to be arguing that men like sexual variety, but I never claimed otherwise.

      Smiler does cover in great depth why men want relationships, though, and there are a whole bunch of good reasons not related to sex. Men do choose monogamy regularly, even men who have options, it would seem.

      Watch what young men do, not what they say.

      Are you claiming that Pluralistic Ignorance is bogus?

      The reason that 80% them don’t plunge headlong into the pussy riot is not because they don’t want to, but because they can’t.

      Smiler disagrees. Perhaps as a highly unrestricted male (in your head, lol), you’re having trouble seeing a different POV.

  • J

    Sex with someone I will NOT be holding and caressing afterwards strikes me as torture of a sort, since it is the ‘afterglow’ I often enjoy the most.

    I don’t think you are alone. Much of the hostility that even highly sexually active men feel towards the women they have ONS with stems from disgust when the inherent intimacy of the act doesn’t match up with the lack of connection afterwards.

  • J

    LOL. You’re not doing much to quell my anxiety, JP.

    My sons have had a relatively religious, strongly values-based upbringing. I am concerned about the culture shock of moving into a less restricted, “everything is relative” sort of environment. I hope they can stick to their values once they are out of the house.

  • J, yeah I pretty much flung myself at my husband, and we met in a totally random and lucky way. I think a lot of guys nowadays, if they hate the dating scene, end up with a girl without really “trying.”

    Keep communicating openly with your son. If he’s comfortable going to you for personal stuff and advice, you’ll know when there’s a potential girl. My MIL actually googled my name and everything when my husband first told her about me. 😛

  • J

    I think a lot of guys nowadays, if they hate the dating scene, end up with a girl without really “trying.”

    That’s good news, Hope.

    Keep communicating openly with your son. If he’s comfortable going to you for personal stuff and advice, you’ll know when there’s a potential girl.

    Right now, it’s somewhat difficult. They are doing the normal pulling away that they need to do in order to separate and individuate from the family. Intellectually, I know that it’s a necessary developmental task. As a mom, it’s making me crazy.

    For example, my younger son mentioned to me that he had been interested in a girl who was interested in someone else, but it was long after the fact. I think he didn’t mention it at the time intentionally. He wanted to handle it himself. My older son has an issue with the guidance department at school that I have been explicitely warned to stay out of. He also got a raise at work that he did not mention to me. They tell DH even less than they tell me; they want us out of their hair.

  • J

    Hey, Hope. I early forgot to ask. How’s Aiden?

  • Escoffier

    I do agree that most college guys are likely to be happy in relationships, but that’s a different question that asking “what do they want.” They want different things, sometimes contradictory things.

    Before society became stupid, it recognized this (about all age groups in both sexes) and tried to maintain a social order that steered people in directions that would make them truly happy even it meant giving up on some more immediately heart-felt want. We don’t do that any more.

    We are especially averse to saying “no” in any way to women’s immediate wants, which only reinforces the difficulty of steering men into relationships. So, what’s left is a minority of men who realize that they can satisfy their immediate want (variety) and a majority who not only can’t do that (though they are encouraged to want it more than ever) they even have a harder time getting a relationship.

    Great system.

    • Before society became stupid, it recognized this (about all age groups in both sexes) and tried to maintain a social order that steered people in directions that would make them truly happy even it meant giving up on some more immediately heart-felt want. We don’t do that any more.

      Some of us do. I’m sure you are doing that for your kids. A fair number of young people do speak with conviction, future-time orientation, and strong moral values. Not everyone turned out badly. That’s the good news.

      IDK, when I see that only 3% of men have more than 9 partners in three years, I see evidence that people are choosing real connection over sexual gratification with strangers. When I read that only 50% of players have more than 1 partner per year, that tells me that “player” is a state of mind, not a measure of sexual prowess or success. How can a guy with 0 or 1 partners per year be a player? Here’s the answer: he is on a team or in a frat and he feels entitled to sex, and highly desirous of it, i.e. unrestricted.

  • Ted D

    J – “I don’t think you are alone. ”

    You’re killing my sense of being a special snowflake. 🙁

    I honestly don’t know. It isn’t something I’ve discussed with a lot of men I am close to. The few that I have discussed it with seem to like the “extras” of sex in a relationship, but they don’t seem to crave it much either. The craving to simply have sex? yeah, that one is discussed a lot actually.

    But has been pointed out up thread, many guys get a verbal rundown for admitting they like the intimacy part. Personally that never bothered me. My reply has always been something like “and exactly how much sex are you getting from randoms? I get laid 3 to 5 times a week.”* That usually shut any shaming directed at me right down.

    Note* – this did not apply during the “sexless” years of my last marriage. But that was partly my own fault.

  • Zach

    @Susan

    Great post, and completely in line with what I observe in real life. A huge number of the hard-drinking, hard-partying “frat stars” (both from my frat and others) that I hung out with in college are in long-term relationships currently, or have been for much of their post-collegiate lives. The only grief they get from any of our friends has to do with their not partying as much as they used to, and even that is fading. There are essentially no remarks about their being in a relationship. In my experience, what needs to be proved is the ABILITY to get women, not the actual getting of them. If a guy seems to have no ability to get women, he will be mocked for being in a relationship because it will be assumed that he’s only in one because he has no other options. Once a guy proves he can get women if he wants to, no one mocks his choice to opt out of it (unless he opts out for a fat girlfriend, mean but true).

    Also, re: insecurity and promiscuity. The most promiscuous man I know is also by far and away the most insecure. To relate one incident (of many), he once hooked up with an ugly girl while drunk at a bar. It happens to everyone, and we all just get a good laugh out of it. However, when we made fun of him for it, he exploded, and started ranting about how many girls he’d hooked up with, and that all of us had hooked up with ugly girls (undoubtedly true). Frankly, his outburst just made us laugh harder, but it was a clear example of how deeply insecure he is.

    • @Zach

      However, when we made fun of him for it, he exploded, and started ranting about how many girls he’d hooked up with, and that all of us had hooked up with ugly girls (undoubtedly true). Frankly, his outburst just made us laugh harder, but it was a clear example of how deeply insecure he is.

      Interesting, that’s the typical PUA response as well. In this thread one Samseau is Exhibit A.

  • J

    Oh, Ted, you’ll always be special to us here at HUS.

    I think a lot of men enjoy the “extras,” especially as they mature and especially if they are in a relationship. I notice that as we age, the afterglow lasts longer and longer. DH will be more affectionate on the mornings after we have sex than on other mornings.

  • So, answer me this – your N=10 nice beta boys who don’t have girlfriends because they want to keep their options open: players or not? Restricted or unrestricted? Do they seek LTRs or STRs or casual? Probably, they want girlfriends, at some point, when a good enough one comes along… but are smart enough to have a sex-only ladder.

    • @OTC

      So, answer me this – your N=10 nice beta boys who don’t have girlfriends because they want to keep their options open: players or not? Restricted or unrestricted? Do they seek LTRs or STRs or casual? Probably, they want girlfriends, at some point, when a good enough one comes along… but are smart enough to have a sex-only ladder.

      You’ve misunderstood – my nice beta boys do want gf’s – they are usually in a relationship if they can get one, though they are not willing to settle for someone unattractive or slutty. In between these relationship “dry spells,” they sometimes hook up with randoms at a party, or sometimes a girl from the old high school days, that sort of thing. I would say they are generally restricted, with some incongruent behavior. 🙂 Their gf’s are restricted, their hookups are definitely un. However, all of my stories of guys literally pulling out in the middle or declining Round 2 come from this group. They definitely consider casual a bit sordid, but they do it sometimes and most definitely have a sex only ladder. Interestingly, they tease each other mercilessly when these random hookups do happen. A good friend of my daughter’s had one recently, and she texted him with “Was there eye contact?” I think the whole crew was blowing up his phone.

      I have heard stories from girls, though, about beta guys in college getting a bit of social proof and wanting to keep their options open. They may be the “aspiring Casanovas” Smiler refers to – the “players” with 0-1 partners per year, lol.

  • J, of course your boys won’t talk about sex. Talking to your parents about sex, when you’ve been sent to church and they’ve told explicitly not to do it, is a bit like asking your parents if they’d buy beer for you. I kept everything secret from my parents. By the time they met my wife, we’d been going together nearly a year.

    • J, of course your boys won’t talk about sex. Talking to your parents about sex, when you’ve been sent to church and they’ve told explicitly not to do it, is a bit like asking your parents if they’d buy beer for you.

      My son was 9 and my daughter 7 when the Lewinsky scandal broke, and the cat was out of the bag re P in V and oral sex. From then on, I made a point of being very open about sex with my kids. (My husband was not so open.) I know that my son turned down sex before he had his first gf as a junior in high school, and I am certain it is because of the conversations we had about sex. When he did get his first gf, I had the “no choice” conversation with him and made him swear to use condoms at all times. He agreed.

      I bet J will have a similar dynamic with her sons.

  • Kirk

    “Where are all the men really saddened they can’t be players, vs. not being able to attract a woman at all?”

    @OffTheCuff
    I definitely fall under the latter; I have never aspired to be a cad nor have I ever felt pressure to. The psych department at my university is 90% female and the few guys are mostly omegas like me.

    Though this gender skewed environment seems like easy pickings, it’s not.
    One wrong move and you’re suddenly known as “that ugly creep” around campus. If you think about it, college presents the same issues for relationships as work (sans the threat of being canned).

  • Susan, maybe I’m just slow here, but assuming that Smiler is correct I don’t really understand why the market isn’t clearing. The “Smiler Theory” would (correct me if I’m wrong) state something like this:

    Proposition 1: Most young men want monogamous LTRs and a return to traditional dating
    Proposition 2: Most young women want monogamous LTRs and a return to traditional dating
    Proposition 3: Both genders prize LTR-compatible character traits over other mate characteristics, notably including looks and $ (which are actually ranked surprisingly low in importance).

    It would appear on the surface that this should be a golden era of traditional dating and LTRs. The explanation given for why this is not the case seems to be that young men are simply failing to bridge the chasm between the two camps because they basically lack approach confidence/competence—that certain old-fashioned courtship skills have been lost. Presumably if these skills were recovered and young men would just “man up” and ask these girls out, Happy Days would indeed be here again.

    But why would these capabilities ever have been lost? The men who seem to be suffering are also the ones who would seem to have had fathers around to keep these skills alive. (One contributing factor that I have heard offered is a sort of male equivalent to hypergamy under which a man would rather fap to porn than ask out a girl below a certain SMV).

    And how does this “approach anxiety and SMP confusion” explanation jive with the idea that men have become indoctrinated in a hetero-predator “Casanova” seduction mythology? Wouldn’t that mean that such individuals were prone to being overly aggressive in terms of approach tactics?

    • @Bastiat Blogger

      I don’t really understand why the market isn’t clearing.

      It’s complicated and I only have theories, not answers, but I’ll lay them out.

      Re Props 1 and 2, absolutely. There is robust research replicated many times that highlights this is what 50-75% of college kids say, depending on the wording of the question and the gender.

      So why don’t they just date? Mr. Nervous Toes explained it well – there is no script. Asking a girl out on a date is a DLV. Instead, the norm is hanging out in coed groups. Within these groups, most hookups occur, and they occur with plenty of liquid courage to lubricate the social exchange. Not surprisingly, half of all hookups occur at Greek social functions, even though Greeks represent only about 10% of college students.

      Non-Greeks form friend groups, sometimes coed, sometimes not. If not, there’s no hooking up. If it is a coed group, inevitably girls and guys are drawn to one another, hang out alone, wind up making out, and as the post highlights, often get drunk and wind up “doing it.” If they both want a relationship, awesome, they’ve got it. Otherwise awkwardness ensues. Now they’ve seen the genitalia of a member of the friend group. At no point in this process does one person ask another to go out for a meal and spend time alone getting intimate. The route to intimacy is sex. (Exceptions include Greek date functions, but those serve more as Bacchanalian revels than opportunities to be romantic.)

      As I’ve mentioned before, when you ask college males what percentage of guys on campus got laid the previous weekend, they answer 75-80%. The real number is 5-10%. So nearly everyone is mistaken, except perhaps the guys who did get laid and know they’re unusual. Smiler points out that when you ask college women what guys want they emphatically declare that guys just want sex. I suspect that buried in all the post-hookup awkwardness are missed signals, hedging bets instead of honesty about what one wants, and the PLI. It’s not unusual for me to hear about two people speaking years later and discovering each liked the other, and neither realized it.

      Proposition 3: Both genders prize LTR-compatible character traits over other mate characteristics, notably including looks and $ (which are actually ranked surprisingly low in importance).

      This relates specifically to LTRs. Unrestricted types who prefer STRs do not select based on character. Women select almost exclusively for social dominance for STRs and men select heavily for sexual experience and a woman’s willingness to forego commitment. The chart of mating preferences would look very different if you asked people what they look for in a ONS.

      But why would these capabilities ever have been lost? The men who seem to be suffering are also the ones who would seem to have had fathers around to keep these skills alive.

      I share your puzzlement re the role of fathers – I don’t understand how men got so “betaized.” Guys here blame their mothers and teachers, but when I’ve asked about fathers I haven’t gotten good information. However, even if dads had been on the scene teaching their sons, the Sexual Revolution shifted sexual mores – and that happened most dramatically in the culture. Recall the novels of Updike and other writers of that school – suddenly couples were swapping keys at neighborhood potlucks. The divorce rate soared. People gorged on sex and families fell apart. Boomers watched that happen, then raised their own kids. It doesn’t surprise me that the traditional ways have been lost.

      And how does this “approach anxiety and SMP confusion” explanation jive with the idea that men have become indoctrinated in a hetero-predator “Casanova” seduction mythology? Wouldn’t that mean that such individuals were prone to being overly aggressive in terms of approach tactics?

      Smiler claims that few have become indoctrinated, and that the Casanova type was studied and described in research from the 70s on. There’s nothing new here, except that rather than the seducer as natural sociopath, we now have aspiring Casanovas who declare themselves players even if they’re not having much sex. Based on Smiler’s data, which is even more conservative than I would have expected, identification as a player appears to have more to do with attitude and social behavior than sexual behavior.

      Finally, re the market clearing, I’m currently researching the number of relationships that are happening on college campuses. By no means is that number zero. There are the “college marrieds,” a significant minority. There are also couples who got together successfully via hooking up rather than dating. And there are the religious/abstinent kids who meet via campus groups and get together without having sex, presumably.

      Others have suggested that the 80% not hooking up is abstaining because no one in their own cohort trips the attraction switch. This seems difficult to believe, but I have not ruled it out, as I have no information to confirm or deny it. I’m sure some guys and more girls perceive that “all the hot people are taken.”

  • Zach

    @Samseau 46

    “The bottom line is that women sleep with players because women want players.”

    Would agree with you to some extent that women are attracted to what players offer. Whether that means they explicitly want players, or just the characteristics of players (confident, funny, socially outgoing), is another question.

    “Regular men (i.e. betas) want relationships because they hate the cutthroat world of dating. They want to get a decent girl and just have some steady pussy with a girl who could be considered a friend.”

    I bought this argument for a while, but it’s patently untrue. I know a couple dozen guys who have racked up high Ns, have women often crawling all over them, and have absolutely zero interest in anything but their girlfriends. Frankly, it may be because most of my friends are very, very smart, and sleeping with a succession of dumb girls (let’s face it, the average American is not the smartest person in the world) gets old very, very quickly. The promiscuous friend I just referred to in my earlier post has been on a streak of brain-dead girls recently, and even he can’t stand it. He openly mocks them, and often discusses how he’s pretty much burnt out by the whole player thing (he continues to do it though, mostly due to his insecurity and need for validation). Also, please explain to me why marriage rates and divorce rates are so much lower among the wealthiest and most educated people (including the men)? Since women value status and money, and these are easily the highest status-men around (and probably the most good looking and tallest, since both those attributes correlate with career success), shouldn’t these guys be out there, staying single and cleaning up? Hmm, they’re not though.

    “Too bad the average young woman today doesn’t give a shit about that. She wants thrills, she wants a guy she can show off to her friends, she wants drugs, and she wants hot sex that gives her multiple orgasms. The only guys who can give her those things are precisely the kinds of guys she claims to hate, the “Cassanovas”.”

    You’re conflating the attributes that women are attracted to (confidence, status, spontaneity) with the characteristics of bad boys. Give me the average girl, and let me put a confident, socially popular, drug-free, successful banker/consultant/lawyer against a motorcycle-riding, skydiving, drug dealer “bad boy”, and the former will win 8-9 times out of 10. The “bad boy” is all style with no substance; the first guy is style and the substance. I know a lot of girls, and absolutely there are some who fall into your categorization. They’re a very small minority. They’re the girls who aren’t happy in a relationship unless something is going wrong all the time. They’re called “crazy” and “drama queens” for a good reason.

  • Kirk wrote:

    I definitely fall under the latter; I have never aspired to be a cad nor have I ever felt pressure to. The psych department at my university is 90% female and the few guys are mostly omegas like me.

    Though this gender skewed environment seems like easy pickings, it’s not.
    One wrong move and you’re suddenly known as “that ugly creep” around campus. If you think about it, college presents the same issues for relationships as work (sans the threat of being canned).

    Creep-shaming is annoying but the solution is in being more direct and masculine around women that you’re interested in, _not_ withdrawing. Women do naturally respond positively to authority in a male, whether they are feminist or not. I think a bigger problem in female-dominated social groups is finding friends to help facilitate your interactions with everyone else, while keeping anyone who has a romantic interest in you or vice versa at arms length.

    If a woman ever does creep-shame you, it’s appropriate to get angry and confront her about it. This may cause some short-term pain as people are like, “Whoa…” but in the long-term it’s very much to your benefit to establish your boundaries and demand respect. If women have nothing to fear from you, they won’t respect you.

  • Lokland

    @Esc

    “Before society became stupid, it recognized this (about all age groups in both sexes) and tried to maintain a social order that steered people in directions that would make them truly happy even it meant giving up on some more immediately heart-felt want. We don’t do that any more.”

    I think it had far less to do with happiness for the individual than social stability. Not sure if happiness produces stability or happiness is a by-product of stability.

  • Emily

    >> “Give me the average girl, and let me put a confident, socially popular, drug-free, successful banker/consultant/lawyer against a motorcycle-riding, skydiving, drug dealer “bad boy”, and the former will win 8-9 times out of 10.”

    +1. This is very true, especially if you work social class into the equation. The local drug dealer might be a super alpha in a bad neighbourhood, but he’d be an omega as far as miss Ivy League Princess is concerned.

  • Bastiat Blogger wrote:
    Presumably if these skills were recovered and young men would just “man up” and ask these girls out, Happy Days would indeed be here again.

    Mate, the women don’t know how to go out on dates either. The problem is there’s no social norms, or rules, for dating anymore. It used to be that the man was in charge, paid the bills, and that was that. Now we have a lot more anxiety involved with each stage of the date, as each person has to communicate what their preference is and then negotiate a solution. As we all know, women hate being direct and prefer to drop too subtle hints which merely creates more awkwardness. It’s why the only place where dating actually occurs is from online dating, but that’s because that (very dysfunctional) world has its own set of rules that people can abide by. For dating to occur, there needs to be generally accepted dating etiquette, and there isn’t.

  • LJ

    Breaking News: Men are human too, may experience emotions, capacity for attachment. More at 11.

    • @LJ

      Breaking News: Men are human too, may experience emotions, capacity for attachment. More at 11.

      I confess I’m surprised by the strong opinion of male commenters that college guys would eschew attachment if they could get sex without it. I really thought this post would be a boring one where everyone agreed. Ironically, I consistently find that the most vociferous opponents to something as “beta” as a relationship are the beta guys themselves.

  • Escoffier

    Lokland, I think both were true. This comes through in literature in all kinds of ways. Parents and other “elders” were happy to lecture children about the difference between immediate wants and gratifications and long term happiness. Certainly the latter correlates highly with social stability whereas the former mostly undermines it.

    But no parent ever said “Don’t date that biker because it’s bad for society”. They said “Don’t date that biker because he is a bum who will make you miserable eventually, instead go for a good man who will take care of you long term and you