Individual Traits Trump Sex Differences in Determining Relationship Success

April 23, 2013
Anthony Weiner - is it cheating?

Anthony Weiner – is it cheating?

A recent opinion piece in the New York Times concluded that “categorical” sex differences are based on an “indefensible model of human behavior.” In A Tangle of the Sexes, researchers Bobbi Carothers and Harry Reis claim that sex differences do not explain behavior choices, which should be ascribed to “various personal qualities.” They studied a wide range of behaviors and found that they exist on the same continuum for both sexes, rather than eliciting choices generalized to either sex.

Across analyses spanning 122 attributes from more than 13,000 individuals, one conclusion stood out: instead of dividing into two groups, men and women overlapped considerably on attributes like the frequency of science-related activities, interest in casual sex, or the allure of a potential mate’s virginity.

Even stereotypical traits, like assertiveness or valuing close friendships, fell along a continuum. In other words, we found little or no evidence of categorical distinctions based on sex.

I am particularly intrigued by their focus on promiscuity and the value individuals place on virginity. This has been found elsewhere – specifically in the study of sociosexuality. From my post on the orientation of the population on the continuum of restricted to unrestricted:

 While men in general are more unrestricted in sociosexual orientation than women, the variance within each sex is much greater than variance between the sexes.

For example, when subjects were asked whether they’d ever had sex with someone the day they met, here’s how the percentages break down for an affirmative response:

FemalesMales
Top 20%: unrestricted 59% 78%
Bottom 20%: restricted 6% 12%

 

While there are profound biological sex differences, including hormonal activity and various brain characteristics, it’s true that much of mating behavior is not explained by gender. There is indeed great intrasexual variation, and this is a cornerstone of my own understanding of how the SMP works. “All women are like that” is essentially from a pre-literacy stage of understanding sex differences. If we instead focus on sociosexual compatibility, we can easily see that the top 20%, or unrestricted folks, are going to be far better matched with one another than with someone in the bottom 20%, or restricted group.

A new study on cheating provides additional valuable insights. The research examines how individuals regard a variety of behaviors when undertaken by a long-term partner, and explores what constitutes cheating. Specific actions studied include the sexual, erotic, and romantic, as well as those providing financial support to another member of the opposite sex.

Three key individual differences predicted subjects’ responses:

1. Those who perceived limited availability of alternative mates were more likely to identify ambiguous behavior as cheating.

2. Religiosity predicted lower tolerance of ambiguous behavior.

3. Women were more likely than men to consider behaviors aimed at actively deceiving one’s partner as cheating.

That last one surprised me – I wonder if men are more willing to be deceived. For the record, here’s the definition:

Cheat

  1. Act dishonestly or unfairly in order to gain an advantage
  2. Deceive or trick

Synonyms:  deceive, swindle, trick, defraud, fool, delude, dupe

I’m not really seeing how “actively deceiving” one’s partner is not synonymous with cheating…

In any case, the first factor – the unique perception of the individual – had a much larger effect than gender. More on that in a minute. Here’s how the whole sample ranked cheating behaviors in a monogamous, long-term relationship. (Who on earth are the 2.3% who don’t think P in V qualifies? Or the 17.4% who are OK with texting erotic messages?):

% Consider it cheating
Penile-vaginal intercourse97.7
Oral Sex96.8
Taking a shower together96.2
Kissing on the lips88.7
E-mailing pictures of themselves
naked
88.2
Texting erotic messages82.6
Watching a pornographic movie
together
75.1
Sleeping in the same bed68.4
Holding hands63.2
Staying in the same hotel room52.7
Forming a deep emotional bond52.4
Spending lots of time together52.2
Sitting in lap52.2
Accompanying to a formal event43.4
Going out to dinner41.4
Talking on the phone several times a
week
40.1
Giving $500 to the other person37.6
Kissing on the cheek36.9
Sharing secrets36.5
Supporting the other person financially35.8
Hugging for more than 10 seconds34.5
Calling when upset about their
relationship partner
33.0
Taking a road trip out of state32.6
Telling dirty jokes25.9
Calling when upset about work19.2
Hugging briefly (less than 10 seconds)12.2
Giving $5 to the other person8.1

Note: N = 456, 67%F, 33%M, 2 public midwestern universities

More women than men considered 10 behaviors cheating, mostly in the sexual and erotic categories (though there was the least variation in the responses about sexual activity). A much higher percentage of men felt that giving financial support to someone else constituted cheating.

However, by far the most important predictor of attitudes about cheating was an Insecure Attachment Style. This also predicted those most and least likely to cheat. Impulsivity in sex and aggression are most prevalent in those who have experienced disturbed family relationships. “When caregivers do not provide a safe and emotionally warm environment, children can become insecurely attached.”

Insecure Attachment can go one of two ways: Avoidant or Anxious

Avoidant Attachment Style

Characterized by chronic attempts to inhibit attachment:

  1. Minimizes expressions of distress.
  2. Dislikes intimacy, prefers psychological distance.
  3. Denies anything is wrong.
  4. Experiences less jealousy.
  5. Grieves less after a breakup.

Not surprisingly, Avoidant types are less likely to identify ambiguous behaviors as cheating. They had lower scores on five of the survey items.

Anxious Attachment Style

Characterized by hypervigilance to threats to the relationship:

  1. Perceives lower availability of alternative mates.
  2. Overestimates threats to the relationship.
  3. Underestimates partner’s level of commitment.
  4. More likely to perceive partner as insensitive.
  5. Experiences more jealousy.
  6. Imagines relationship difficulties.

Anxious types are more likely to identify ambiguous behaviors as cheating. They had higher ratings for 18 of the 27 behaviors.

The study found no sex differences in who had an Insecure Attachment Style. However, I think it’s fair to say that in general, women will prefer Avoidant men to Anxious ones, and men will prefer Anxious women to Avoidant ones. Anxious men and Avoidant women are likely to struggle in the SMP.

It’s clear that what constitutes cheating is contextual – it depends on the individuals in the relationship. I’ve always found that the best definition of cheating relies solely on deception: If you’re doing something you wouldn’t want your partner to know about, it’s cheating.

Clearly, if your partner is Anxious, you may hide what other people would consider perfectly appropriate and platonic behavior. If your partner is Avoidant, you may find that you need to act out just to get him to pay attention to you. Obviously, neither of these matches is compatible, and neither of these relationship dynamics is healthy.

Insecure Attachment Style is correlated to a whole bunch of bad stuff. It’s tragic, because many of these individuals are damaged through no fault of their own. But you don’t want to pin your hopes on a head case. That’s a disaster in waiting.

Some people are always searching for the loophole, so when you do enter a committed relationship, make sure to talk about your expectations around fidelity.

In my view, there is definitely a Mars Venus thing going on. But when it comes to relationship fitness and compatibility, the most important predictors of success are not specific to gender, but to personality traits (nature) and shared environment (nurture).

  • CrisisEraDynamo

    But remember, these are sexual relationships, so sexual attractiveness still matters. To say sex differences don’t matter is to avoid telling the whole truth; if your partner becomes sexually repulsive, the relationship will take a nosedive.

    • @Crisis Era Dynamo

      But remember, these are sexual relationships, so sexual attractiveness still matters. To say sex differences don’t matter is to avoid telling the whole truth; if your partner becomes sexually repulsive, the relationship will take a nosedive.

      Of course it does! No one, not even the feminist researchers, has said that sex differences don’t matter. Without sex differences, there is no reproduction, yikes. Sex differences are very important, and I say in the post that they’re considerable based on biology. However, sex differences alone don’t tell the whole biological story, much less the one that reflects our personal life experience.

      Scientists agree that personality is about half heritable, or genetic, and half determined by the environment, i.e. upbringing, family dynamics, life circumstances, etc.

      Let’s talk about the heritable piece first. Consider the personality trait (one of the Big 5) extraversion/introversion. The intrasexual differences are much greater than the intersexual differences. Both males and females reside on the same continuum. There may be more male introverts (I think there are, not sure), but the spread between women and men will be far smaller than the spread within each sex. The same is true for the other personality traits, including agreeableness, openness, etc.

      We don’t live in a world where men are introverted, agreeeable and risk averse while women are extroverted, disagreeable and risk seeking. (Though one might think so if you read manosphere blogs!)

      Then there’s the environmental piece. Again – this accounts for approximately 50% of personality, and by extension, behavior. Not surprisingly, people with screwed up childhoods don’t make great relationship bets. There is a great deal of data supporting this finding. They have difficulty attaching to others, as outlined in the post.

      Let me state this clearly and obnoxiously in caps, as I see you have already shared your misunderstanding elsewhere:

      IN NO WAY DOES THIS POST SAY THAT SEX DIFFERENCES DON’T EXIST, OR DON’T MATTER. THEY ARE REAL AND MATTER A GREAT DEAL. THEY DO NOT TELL THE WHOLE STORY. RELATIONSHIP FUNCTION (OR DISFUNCTION) RELIES MUCH MORE HEAVILY ON PERSONALITY AND UPBRINGING.

      That is all the post is saying. And it’s very important, because it means that you can’t conclude very much about a person – who they are, what they want, or how they will behave – based on their sex alone. Indeed, this is what the sociosexual hierarchy says. Not all men are the same. Whether a man is alpha or omega will play a much larger role in relationship dynamics than whether he is highly visual, an abstract thinker or has a strong provider instinct.

  • Passer_By

    “For example, when subjects were asked whether they’d ever had sex with someone the day they met, here’s how the percentages break down for an affirmative response: . . .”

    Not to be a turd, but I can’t help it. I don’t see how a study of experiences is the same as a study of preferences. Assuming, for simplicity, that the survey is limited to heterosexuals, then every time a man has had this experience a woman must also be having the experience (though it might be the only time for one but not the other). If it does include homosexuals, that might explain most of the difference in numbers.

    If it doesn’t include homosexuals, the fact that more men have done it than women might be initially surprising on its face. In the real world, we know that most of the time when this happens it’s because a guy had to make an effort to seduce or convince a woman to do it – even when she’s done it before. I think we can agree that it’s far easier for the average 25 year old woman to walk into a bar and go home with a reasonably attractive stranger than it is for a man. So the experiences on same day sex, for men, are more likely in many cases to be limited by opportunity than preference. That’s why some guys sell books about it to other guys (we don’t see any books marketed to women about how to get men to agree to go home with them from the club). Some guys are better at that for many reasons (and therefore do it with multiple women), so just by numerical intuition I would initially expect that fewer guys would have had this experience (without regard to number of times) than women. So, if it doesn’t include homosexuals, and there are still more men having the experience across the board, then one would expect a small number of super sluts that give the experience to a lot of men (with numbers of SNLs more than even the players experience). Or perhaps some men are including their experiences with prostitutes in the survey.

    Either way, it tells me nothing about differing preferences between the sexes. I also suspect that, at least on the male side, many of the guys with lower levels of sociosexuality develop those feelings due to lack of opportunity. Not all, of course.

    • @Passer By

      I don’t see how a study of experiences is the same as a study of preferences. Assuming, for simplicity, that the survey is limited to heterosexuals, then every time a man has had this experience a woman must also be having the experience (though it might be the only time for one but not the other). If it does include homosexuals, that might explain most of the difference in numbers.

      Ha, you must have skipped that lecture!

      That is quoted from the research on sociosexuality, which is extensive. The question is one of nine that determines one’s sociosexual orientation. The survey has nine parts, one of which addresses past actions, one of which addresses personal values, and the last of which addresses what desires people experience. Overall, the survey is addressing preferences, not experience.

      The instrument has been widely used in 40 countries and is considered highly reliable.

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

  • CrisisEraDynamo

    Also, I read part of the article, and red flags went up immediately. They threw around words like “traditional stereotypes” and “sexism,” loaded words progressives typically use as insults. This causes me to question even the integrity of their research, as it seems that they had a political axe to grind. Also note that they did not directly observe behavior.

    Remember that the science Roissy cites isn’t written by manosphere bloggers.

    • They threw around words like “traditional stereotypes” and “sexism,” loaded words progressives typically use as insults. This causes me to question even the integrity of their research, as it seems that they had a political axe to grind. Also note that they did not directly observe behavior.

      Well, even gender studies types can be right on occasion. 😛

      I don’t agree with their interpretation of the data – that gender as biology is indefensible. (They don’t deny sex differences entirely though.)
      I do agree that sex differences leave much unexplained in relationship dynamics, since human beings share personality traits, responses to trauma, etc.

      I have no problem with your being suspicious based on their agenda, but that doesn’t mean you should dismiss their ideas wholesale. Isn’t that the debate we have around here every single week?

  • Josie

    @Susan,

    I think that I will write a letter to the editor before I leave against hook up culture.

    Also, I was goggling Karen Owen and Tucker Max wrote about her. I thought this might be an interesting one for you to read:

    http://tuckermax.me/karens-owens-and-the-duke-fuck-list/

    So, this is how men really feels about easy women!!!

    Max wrote that Owen was never empowered but, “she’s cute, but not smoking hot. The type that you fuck, if available and easy, but really don’t have to put any work into it….

    They are laughing AT HER, because they all know something that see doesn’t: They see her as nothing more than a cum-dumpster. Pour beer down her throat for two hours, her legs open, shoot your load, and move on….

    she’s the one getting exploited, but she doesn’t understand her own emotions enough to see it and change her behavior”

    Even Tucker Max feels sorry for Owen and plenty of young girls has no idea that guys that they are hooking up with has no respects for them, and is just laughing at them behind their back.

  • Anacaona

    Characterized by hypervigilance to threats to the relationship:
    What had I done to you Susan that you feel the need to attack me? 🙁
    J/K is just sounds like me so much that I felt alluded. But let’s check to make sure:
    Perceives lower availability of alternative mates.
    YES No good man will ever love mas much as my hubby does, that is for sure, IMO.
    Overestimates threats to the relationship.
    I trust my husband with every single woman he works with. I did checked for IOI’s first though so half a point?
    Underestimates partner’s level of commitment.
    Hubby traveled 3000 miles on his savings to meet me. No doubts whatsoever.
    More likely to perceive partner as insensitive.
    Never, hubby is really sensitive, understanding of my paranoia.
    Experiences more jealousy.
    YES. Can’t lie about that.
    Imagines relationship difficulties.
    No, hubby and I rarely ever have difficulties.
    So no that bad…Maybe. 😉

    • @Anacaona

      It’s pretty clear from years of commentary from you that your attachment style is passionate, even possessive. That is not anxious. You know in your bones that hubby is yours. Paying attention to potential mate poachers is smart!

  • Rob
    • @Rob

      Thanks for that link! I’ll read it in a sec, but right off the bat, I need to say that Schmitt is hardly an objective bystander. His own theories are considered somewhat controversial. I recall digging deeply into his study on the difference between men and women in how many sex partners each wants. He presented the means, which showed that men clearly want more lifetime sex partners than women do. Another scientist found that the means were skewed because of some men who wanted hundreds of sex partners, while there were no women who did. He found that when one looks at the median, the difference all but disappears. Schmitt has refused to release the medians from his data for peer review.

      FTR, this discrepancy between the means and medians re number of sex partners, is perfectly explained by Sociosexuality Theory. The vast majority of men (probably more than 80%) want a low number of lifetime sex partners. A very small minority (maybe 1-3%) wants hundreds. It’s the restricted vs. unrestricted continuum.

      Back in a sec.

    • @Rob

      Shoot, you’re focused on the wrong study! I wasn’t endorsing Carothers and Reis, simply noting that their finding of great intrasexual differences in preference for casual sex and desire for virginity in a mate is very much in keeping with research on sociosexuality. Schmitt says the same thing in his article.

      The study I relied on was the one on cheating, linked lower in the article. That study also found that intrasexual differences were much greater than intersexual ones. Those researchers conducted original research, assessing attachment style while asking what constitutes cheating. They found that an Insecure Attachment Style accounts for a great deal of the variance in responses. That’s the point of the post.

      In this, Schmitt and I are in agreement.

  • Abbot

    “the top 20%, or unrestricted folks, are going to be far better matched with one another than with someone in the bottom 20%, or restricted group.”

    Then should the unrestricted men stop shifting from the easy-screw female group to the restricted female group when wife shopping?

    • Then should the unrestricted men stop shifting from the easy-screw female group to the restricted female group when wife shopping?

      No! Stick to your own kind!

  • Abbot

    If a woman wants more sex partners with men she is attracted to and a man wants more sex partners with women he is attracted to, which one is more likely to succeed in acquiring more sex partners?

  • Abbot

    Much of the restricted vs non-restricted “traits” can be partially driven by the inherent personality of the person but it is probably driven more by self-awareness of where on stands early-on in the sex market. That is why many men are harem wanna-bees.

  • Abbot

    “No! Stick to your own kind!”

    But that would leave many unrestricted women without an unrestricted man to choose from.

  • From the NYT article:

    “Just to be safe, we repeated our analyses on several dimensions where we did expect categorical differences: physical size, athletic ability and sex-stereotyped hobbies like playing video games and scrapbooking. On these we did find evidence for categories based on sex.”

    Doesn’t it seem probable that a liking for playing video games or a liking for scrapbooking would reflect more deep-seated personality and cognitive factors, which would also have applicability in other areas of life?

  • angelguy

    Thought this was a very interesting article Susan, especiall in regards to Anxious and Avoidant attachment style.
    In some of them, I did see myself in that.

    When it came to the’ Cheating’ list, I found it kind of interesting how some might not think talking on the phone with someone who is not your SO is not cheating. Clearly, emotional cheating is not seen as dangerous as physical, but I tend to differ.

    And, I am male btw.

  • @Rollo

    Dude, I’ve got that ground covered, and did a better job than they did:

    Biology Drives Gender

    Why is the manosphere so cognitively challenged and plagued by binary thinking? Please cite where in this post I deny sex differences. Your reading comprehension is embarrassingly weak.

  • Richard Aubrey

    Ah, the old “more differences within groups than between groups” thing.
    The implication is that the two bell curves don’t overlap even a little. Or that the two bell curves fit exactly. Or that you could find an extreme outlier in one group that matched the norm in another group and…EUREKA!, there are no differences.
    Since, for the discussion of relationships between two individuals, we’re talking about two individuals, group characteristics are hardly material.
    And since everybody knows there are exceptions to generalizations, being warned there are exceptions to generalizations is…. I dunno, a waste of time or something.
    However, since studies like this are rarely done by having the study boss max out his Platinum Mastercard, we can be reasonably certain it was somebody else’s money that funded this. Which is probably the reason for it in the first place.

    • The implication is that the two bell curves don’t overlap even a little. Or that the two bell curves fit exactly. Or that you could find an extreme outlier in one group that matched the norm in another group and…EUREKA!, there are no differences.

      Not sure what you’re getting at here. The bell curves do overlap significantly. That’s the point. Do you claim that is not the case?

  • Sassy6519

    Avoidant Attachment Style

    Characterized by chronic attempts to inhibit attachment:

    Minimizes expressions of distress.
    Dislikes intimacy, prefers psychological distance.
    Denies anything is wrong.
    Experiences less jealousy.
    Grieves less after a breakup.

    Guilty as charged.

    • @Sassy

      I’m not surprised to hear you say that. Self-awareness is the first step. You’ve known for a while that this is your particular challenge – and journey.

  • CrisisEraDynamo

    My attacking the “more differences within genders than between them” comes from the fact that it is often used to deny meaningful sex differences. The article seems to confirm that thinking, hence why I posted everywhere that it denies sex differences or considers them trivial.

    • My attacking the “more differences within genders than between them” comes from the fact that it is often used to deny meaningful sex differences. The article seems to confirm that thinking

      Not at all. Clearly, we are fools to ignore sex differences, but just as foolish to ignore something as essential as an individual’s ability to form a healthy relationship based on past experience and hardwired personality traits.

      Biological sex differences

      Hardwired personality characteristics

      Emotional health based on quality of caregiving in childhood

      These are the big three. Which would you eliminate as meaningless? Remember, we’re not talking about sexual attraction here, but relationship success.

  • CrisisEraDynamo

    Indeed, the very title of the study is meant to imply that no significant differences exist between the sexes beyond the physical.

    • Indeed, the very title of the study is meant to imply that no significant differences exist between the sexes beyond the physical.

      Individual Traits Trump Sex Differences

      Do you really not see the difference between these statements? I’m troubled again by the black or white thinking here. It’s not rational.

      Bottom line: Individual traits explain more than gender when it comes to outlooks on casual sex and cheating.

  • angelguy

    @ Susan

    Do you think one or the other Attachment style is better or worse than the other?
    And if one has this, are they better off working on changing or accepting ones limitations?

    • Do you think one or the other Attachment style is better or worse than the other?
      And if one has this, are they better off working on changing or accepting ones limitations?

      Clearly, an Insecure Attachment Style is an obstacle to a healthy relationship. As I say in the post, many people have developed these through no fault of their own. But you can see how constant anxiety or avoidance is going to sabotage any relationship. I think it is definitely possible to change. Based on my own childhood, I think my natural tendency is a bit on the anxious side, but I have worked hard to overcome that. I had help – having worked with a counselor for several years.

      Never accept your limitations. Recognizing the need for change is the biggest step. From there it’s just process.

      As I said in the post, though – men with avoidant styles will fare better than anxious men, because women don’t tolerate anxiety in men very well, seeing it as a sign of weakness. In contrast, men will prefer the anxious woman who needs him and is heavily invested to the woman who appears very independent and emotionally removed from him. I suspect there are a lot of pairings like this.

  • Escoffier

    I agree that the article’s purpose seems to be to erode or obviate in people’s minds the impact of sex differences. However, the specific points the article makes are still sound, if a bit obvious.

    I would say the “real bottom line” is, 1) When making policy that affects a large group, then generalizations–including about sex dfiferencs–are useful and indeed indispensible. 2) When making interpersonal decisions, then generalizations are close to useless and everything depends on the individual.

    Our society has a hard time recognizing the truth of point #1 and indeed prefers to deny #1 and punish those who advocate or act on it.

    • I agree that the article’s purpose seems to be to erode or obviate in people’s minds the impact of sex differences.

      Huh? Why would I do that in addressing young women? This is not meant to be a political post. The message, as clearly stated, is that one’s sociosexuality and attachment style are highly determinant in relationship quality. Every woman should pay close attention to both. I’ve written about sociosexuality at length before, but I found the research on attachment style very enlightening and wanted to share it.

      2) When making interpersonal decisions, then generalizations are close to useless and everything depends on the individual.

      I’m not interested in policy for large groups. My writing is very much geared to the personal. I’m working on the margins for the benefit of individuals. I have stated that many, many times.

      Our society has a hard time recognizing the truth of point #1 and indeed prefers to deny #1 and punish those who advocate or act on it.

      That’s a manosphere concern. Is there nothing I can do to get away from these bozos? Why the hell does Rollo show up here? Because these findings, which should surprise no one, threaten his world view? That’s not my problem.

  • tilikum

    “Bottom line: Individual traits explain more than gender when it comes to outlooks on casual sex and cheating.”

    agree, but for 80% of men and maybe 20% of women because they have no other option than climb into a comfy societal mold that “might” allow for them to mate.

    for the other 20% of guys that 80% of girls want to bang, its all about the tingles (married, engaged, or not)

  • A-Bax

    “more differences within genders than between them”, or more precisely, a greater variance for a specific trait within a group (gender) than between groups (both genders), is often thrown out by feminists/equalists as squid-ink to deny strong between-group differences of that trait.

    To see through the subbterfuge, bear in mind that there is greater variance in height among men than there is between men and women. Yet no one denies that men are generally taller than women. (And this difference is significant in terms of dominance-signalling and hypergamy)

  • CrisisEraDynamo

    @ Susan

    None can be avoided. And good point about the sociosexual hierarchy (Alphas, deltas, gammas, etc.)

    I actually posted the article elsewhere as a challenge to the manosphere, asking them to try and contest the findings. The point was to break what I feared was an echo chamber.

    • @Crisis

      OK, good to know. Obviously, my whole blog is based on the acknowledgement of sex differences. Any discussion of Girl Game or femininity has at its heart what men appreciate, want and need.

      Honestly, I don’t see how any parent could possibly claim gender is a social construct. Before my kids could even talk, they were acting in stereotypical ways for their sex. On her first birthday, my daughter picked up someone else’s doll and pretended to give it a bottle. At the age of one, my son went wild at the sight of fire engines or big trucks as we drove around town.

      Denying sex differences is pure nonsense. My goal was not to plug Carothers and Reis, I’m sure I disagree with them on just about everything. They happened to stumble onto an area that’s evo psych, really, which is the point Schmitt made.

  • Lokland

    @Susan

    “Both males and females reside on the same continuum. There may be more male introverts (I think there are, not sure), but the spread between women and men will be far smaller than the spread within each sex. The same is true for the other personality traits, including agreeableness, openness, etc.”

    Something that relates to this might be of interest to you,

    Genetic Imprinting and how it relates to Neurogenetics/Behavioural Genetics.
    Probably can wikipedia it.

  • SayWhaat

    Anxious Attachment Style

    Characterized by hypervigilance to threats to the relationship:

    Perceives lower availability of alternative mates.
    Overestimates threats to the relationship.
    Underestimates partner’s level of commitment.
    More likely to perceive partner as insensitive.
    Experiences more jealousy.
    Imagines relationship difficulties.

    And I think this describes me. Fuck.

  • Escoffier

    Susan, I didn’t mean your post, I mean the article you based the post on.

    I do think concern #1 applies to what you discuss, perhaps not as much as #2, but it still applies. For instance, you make (defensible) generalizations about certain types of men that you advise girls to stay away from. Makes perfect sense. Outlawing #1 would mean in practice that every girl had to ignore all kinds of obvious things and overlook some bright red flags and do a case by case investigation of every guy she had any interest in. This is, to say the least, impractical.

    • @Escoffier

      Oops, I thought you were talking about me. I agree that the Times article has a clear agenda, just like most New York Times articles. 😛
      At least they put it in the Editorial section.

      I do think concern #1 applies to what you discuss, perhaps not as much as #2, but it still applies

      Fair enough. And I do wade into feminism and misandry from time to time at a policy level.

  • Lokland

    @Sue

    “In contrast, men will prefer the anxious woman who needs him and is heavily invested to the woman who appears very independent and emotionally removed from him”

    I was reading a study recently that found the avoidant women were less likely to cheat and anxious more likely than those on the norm.

    Also keep in mind it will be on a continuum from anxious to avoidant not separate categories.

    • I was reading a study recently that found the avoidant women were less likely to cheat and anxious more likely than those on the norm.

      Interesting, that’s counterintuitive to this post. Do you recall where you read it? If avoidant types don’t consider many of these behaviors as cheating, it seems more likely they’d engage in them, since guilt would not be present. Conversely, if anxious types are hypersensitive to cheating, one would think they’d avoid even innocuous contact with the opposite sex.

      Perhaps they strike out preemptively due to imagined transgressions by their partner?

  • Richard Aubrey

    Susan.
    The bell curves overlap a good deal. The point is that there is no point to knowing this. To put it another way, everybody already knows this and so there’s no point to being told it again.
    We are not talking about groups and group characteristics when we talk of a relationship between two people. Group characteristics are irrelevant. Making a fuss about group characteristics is, as a previous commenter noted, squid ink to deny inter-group differences. Similar, identical, or completely different; mox nix.

  • Joe

    @Susan

    Not sure what you’re getting at here. The bell curves do overlap significantly. That’s the point.

    But the point may not exactly be what you think! Please let me explain.

    Back in the Pleistocene era, when I did a paper on it for a statistics class, I tried to see if there was a gender based difference in the acceptance of astrology. I wanted to challenge the common myth women accept it more than men, which was something of interest to those of use who hoped to teach Astronomy.

    The test/experiment went like this. There was, at the time, a generally accepted test to rate an individual’s level of acceptance (of astrology) that consisted of 20 questions. The more question that were answered “true”, the more accepting the person was. Seemed straightforward, and I only added one more: “Are you male or female?” to make the correlation.

    With a sample size of something like 200 people (IIRC, very nearly 100 women and 100 men, give or take one or two on the numbers), the results showed nearly identical (Gaussian) curves. No difference between men’s and women’s acceptance level, except that the peaks of the curve were slightly different. The curve for women peaked a something less than one bin higher then the men’s. That is, on average, women answered something like one more question affirmative than men (and actually, it was, statistically speaking, less than one question more).

    But it was very consistent. The number of women who gave 7 “yeses” was about the same as the number of men who gave 6, the number of women who gave 16 was about the same as the number of men who gave 15.

    The problem comes about when you bin up people and put the bins together. Imagine that 5s on this test paired with 5s, 10s with 10s and 17s with 17s. Then even though there was very little difference between the sexes as far as this questionnaire goes, every man would be with a partner who had a stronger belief in astrology than he. It may be a small difference, but it is (let’s be precise here) almost completely universal.

    You can see where I’m going with this. As soon as you apply this to the SMP and notice that “4s” pair with “4s” and “7s” with “7s”, small differences in key places become very important.

    • @Joe

      You can see where I’m going with this. As soon as you apply this to the SMP and notice that “4s” pair with “4s” and “7s” with “7s”, small differences in key places become very important.

      Wow, I never would have thought of that, but you’re right, it makes total sense.

      So what you’re saying is that Anxious men and Anxious women will not behave precisely the same way, nor will Avoidant types. That too makes sense. Even if you drill down to a personality trait shared by both genders, there will still be differences in the way those traits manifest.

      Do I have that right?

  • Joe

    Yes, that’s pretty much what I’m saying. The nuance is that the quantity of X that put men and women in the same bin (say, the amount of sex appeal or the amount of cheating) may not be the same number for men as it is for women, yet people in similar bins tend to pair up.

    Maybe it’s too much of a generalization, but it seems to apply to a lot of the discussions here at HUS.

  • Passer_By

    “Ha, you must have skipped that lecture! That is quoted from the research on sociosexuality, which is extensive.”

    So? That doesn’t change anything I said. You’re credentialism fetish is showing through here (channeling Escoffier!).

    The fact is that, assuming this was a survey of heterosexuals, any time a male has the experience, a female has the experience. So by the nature of the question, the numbers are not likely to vary much between the sexes. It’s just a meaningless question if we’re attempting to compare the two sexes. It’s like saying that men and women must value marriage equally because they marry in equal numbers (prior to gay marriage). Or, husbands and wives must desire sex equally since they have intercourse with each other the same number of times per year.

    Maybe they do, maybe they don’t, but the stat says nothing.

  • Abbot

    “Denying sex differences is pure nonsense.”

    Even those who deny the differences (feminists) probably don’t believe it themselves. But they want others to believe it in order to sway policy and achieve some larger agenda that benefits women.

  • Saywhaat, I was like that for a while, too. Now I’m more like secure attachment, because my husband is also NF and has some similar tendencies toward anxiety. Two clingy people together= good attachment. :p

    • Now I’m more like secure attachment, because my husband is also NF and has some similar tendencies toward anxiety. Two clingy people together= good attachment. :p

      That makes sense! Interesting – I wouldn’t like an Avoidant type but maybe they do pretty well together.

  • HanSolo

    @Joe and Susan

    You can see this in the results of the socio-sexuality study where the men’s mean rating was about 1 or so higher than the women’s men rating (1-9 scale), meaning that men on average are somewhat more unrestricted than women.

    This makes sense due to the idea of eggs are expensive and sperm are cheap.

    And roughly speaking, the 90th percentile man in terms of unrestrictedness will be somewhat more unrestricted than the 90th percentile woman.

    • @HanSolo

      You can see this in the results of the socio-sexuality study where the men’s mean rating was about 1 or so higher than the women’s men rating (1-9 scale), meaning that men on average are somewhat more unrestricted than women.

      Thanks, that does make sense.

  • HanSolo

    From the 9-Point Scale in Table 1 in http://www.larspenke.eu/pdfs/Penke_in_press_-_SOI-R_chapter.pdf

    Males were 4.93 and females were 4.01.

  • SayWhaat

    Two clingy people together= good attachment. :p

    Haha, I actually used to joke to my best friend that my ideal mate would be clingy so that we could just cling together. 😛

    So I guess this means I should focus on NF types. And as an extrovert, I should focus on introverts.

    So my ideal mate should be an INFx type. Google tells me that ENFJ + INFJ = harmony, while ENFJ + INFP = passion. Question is, which do you want more?

    There needs to be an MBTI dating site, lol.

  • Sassy6519

    @ SayWhaat

    There needs to be an MBTI dating site, lol.

    http://www.projectevolove.com/

  • Anacaona

    It’s pretty clear from years of commentary from you that your attachment style is passionate, even possessive. That is not anxious. You know in your bones that hubby is yours. Paying attention to potential mate poachers is smart!
    Hah you shouldn’t indulge the craziness, but thank you for the comment. 🙂

    That makes sense! Interesting – I wouldn’t like an Avoidant type but maybe they do pretty well together.
    Unless the avoidants don’t enjoy being avoided. Not sure if they will tolerate the same behavior from a mate.

  • Saywhaat, I think the NF part is more important than the rest. You could be with another ENFJ and still have a good relationship. I believe J here is NT married to a fellow NT.

    It’s just one factor among many, but I think the MBTI has a lot of predictive power.

  • Anacaona

    So I guess this means I should focus on NF types. And as an extrovert, I should focus on introverts.

    I have the theory that when you got at least 70% compatibility Extroverts, Introverts pairing work better in the long run. The extrovert doesn’t go out as much thus he/she learns to find pleasure in domestic and simple situations a skill needed for long term coupling and the introvert gets out a lot more than he would paired with another introvert. So you got enough comfort for building a life and enough stimulation and challenge to keep the relationship interesting and from falling in routine. A natural push and pull without the need of dread game. Just a theory though.

  • Related: Christina Hoff Sommers cites a study suggesting that gender differences are GREATER in societies with higher degrees of economic development:

    http://www.aei.org/article/society-and-culture/race-and-gender/what-lean-in-misunderstands-about-gender-differences/?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=web&utm_campaign=031913

    • @david foster

      Good article by CHS. This jumped out at me:

      In a 2013 national poll on modern parenthood, the Pew Research Center asked mothers and fathers to identify their “ideal” working arrangement. Fifty percent of mothers said they would prefer to work part-time and 11 percent said they would prefer not to work at all. Fathers answered differently: 75 percent preferred full-time work. And the higher the socio-economic status of women, the more likely they were to reject full-time employment. Among women with annual family incomes of $50,000 or higher, only 25 percent identified full-time work as their ideal. Sandberg regards such attitudes as evidence of women’s fear of success, double standards, gender bias, sexual harassment, and glass ceilings. But what if they are the triumph of prosperity and opportunity?

  • Anacaona, actually with the extrovert wife with introvert husband I know personally, the wife just goes out by herself, and the husband stays inside anyway. It doesn’t always work out that the husband is more stimulated by the more social wife.

    They are pretty compatible in most other ways, but the social thing is not as easy to change especially when it comes to introverted men.

  • Anacaona

    Anacaona, actually with the extrovert wife with introvert husband I know personally, the wife just goes out by herself, and the husband stays inside anyway. It doesn’t always work out that the husband is more stimulated by the more social wife.
    Well in my circle of friends if the guy used to go out once a year when they married their extroverted wife they went out at least four times as much, Maybe not noticeable but for them is a huge improvement. Also some men get stimulated by the wife telling them all about their outings, secondary benefit maybe?
    Anyhow I think Susan is in that type of relationship too. She could chime in. We need more info to see how this works out or not.

    • Anyhow I think Susan is in that type of relationship too. She could chime in. We need more info to see how this works out or not.

      I really like the E/I mix. In our case, we definitely balance one another out. And we make compromises. For example, my husband does not particularly enjoy large gatherings and the word “gala” makes him break out in hives. I enjoy them but don’t need them to have a good time. So we rarely participate in those, unless we’re obligated, e.g. kids’ school fundraiser. We both enjoy socializing with one or two other couples at a time. And we both enjoy time with family – those groups can get up to 20 or so, but obviously that’s not particularly stressful for anyone.

      We also have an unspoken rule that Friday nights are for staying in and getting cozy. After a long week, it’s good to decompress together, cook, drink some wine, read or watch a movie.

      I am a help to him when there are social events with his work, as I am friendly, gregarious, etc. He doesn’t need to worry about my not knowing anyone.

      I would say the thing he really does not care for AT ALL is when I have the focus groups over. All those biddies, talking frankly about sex. He makes himself scarce during those gatherings. I think he may have overheard some explicit girl talk early on and felt mortified.

      Lastly, although he’s introverted, he’s got a very good sense of humor, very dry. His texts are hilarious, I wait for them all day. We laugh a lot together.

  • Emily

    My boyfriend is an extrovert and I think it’s good for me. It turns out that leaving the house is sometimes kind of fun! 😛

  • HanSolo

    @Emily

    Only sometimes? lol

  • HanSolo

    Emily, I’m just teasing, no snark intended.

  • Emily

    No worries Han, that’s what I figured. 🙂

    I’ve gotten to know his friends a lot better over the course of our relationship, so at this point I genuinely look forward to hanging out with them. They’re a fun bunch. 😀

  • HanSolo

    @Emily, glad you like them. As an introvert myself, there’s “nothing worse” than having to spend time with people you don’t like! 😀

  • Sassy6519

    I think I just need to date another ENTP. I don’t know if my quirkiness can be tolerated by anyone with a different MBTI profile. I’ve tried dating Introverts and Judgers, and both have been disastrous (INTJs especially). Maybe I could get along with an ESTP as well?

  • A Definite Beta Guy

    Mmmmm…I like the article…and I sorta don’t, lol.

    The point is that a girl shouldn’t be putting up with shitty behavior and saying “all men are like that” and vice versa.

    Your stereotypical example is going to be Pretty, Restrcited, Introverted, Girl dates a “catch,” and the catch cheats on her all the time.

    PRIG says “oh, all men are like that, they just like variety.”

    Uh, no. Dump his ass.

    Yes, guys might like more variety than women on average. That sure as hell doesn’t mean most guys are going to cheat on you. Most guys you meet will be similar to most of the girls you meet.

    However, there are still gender differences because the distributions are not aligned. What I would view as an average agreeable woman may be a very weak man.

    Those types of things still have to be negotiated because we cannot make a 1:1 match.

    The issue is that, like certain parts of a cut of meat have to be cut off because they are too fatty, certain “tails” of the distribution need to be cut off.

    Instead we have allowed them to define society.

    Madness.

    • Pretty, Restricted, Introverted, Girl = PRIG

      Hilarious!

      Welcome back ADBG, we’ve missed you!

  • HanSolo

    @ADBG

    Hmmm, fatty cuts of meat (said in a Homer Simpson voice).

    I have a strange imagination and when you mentioned that the phrase came to mind, “A Definite Bacon Guy.” Now, I don’t know if you are but I definitely am. 😀

  • SayWhaat

    I’ve tried dating Introverts and Judgers, and both have been disastrous (INTJs especially)

    ROFL.

    Btw thanks for the link to that dating site! Seems interesting, will check it out.

  • SayWhaat

    Saywhaat, I think the NF part is more important than the rest. You could be with another ENFJ and still have a good relationship. I believe J here is NT married to a fellow NT.

    It’s just one factor among many, but I think the MBTI has a lot of predictive power.

    Perhaps. Though I suspect that if I were to date another ENFJ, the relationship would be tumultuous because we would both be attention-whores. 😛

  • SayWhaat

    Anacaona, actually with the extrovert wife with introvert husband I know personally, the wife just goes out by herself, and the husband stays inside anyway. It doesn’t always work out that the husband is more stimulated by the more social wife.

    They are pretty compatible in most other ways, but the social thing is not as easy to change especially when it comes to introverted men.

    That’s been my (limited) experience. My ex was introverted nearly to the point of social anxiety. Every time I brought him to a loud show it was like pulling teeth. Kind of annoying, but on the other hand he and I would go to more “smaller” social events than I used to, which was very nice.

  • Time Zoned

    “I think he may have overheard some explicit girl talk early on and felt mortified”

    Women are the raunchier, not the fairer, sex.

  • My husband and I socialize with other couples, too. We do fine in small groups of familiar people, especially people who are like-minded. We do something basically every weekend. It’s not that different from what Susan mentioned, minus the large family and the focus group thing.

    I don’t know any other INFJ plus INFJ couples, because it’s a super rare type especially among men. I do know another introvert plus introvert couple, where the girl is INTP, and she seems rather content. She is not devoid of a social life, as she teaches tai chi and does group stuff with that.

  • If I remember correctly, I test out as ENTJ, but only marginally. In fact, I think I’m only one percent more Extroverted than Intuitive, and marginally Judgmental. But in contrast, I’m massively more iNtuitive than Sensing (like 88 % – 12 %). The issue of degree of a trait matters a lot.

  • Gin Martini

    There’s a romantic attachment style quiz out there if you google it up. Natch, I’m “secure”, always have been, but then again, that’s borrrrrrring. Might be better to assess yourselves with that, rather than just the checklist.

  • Clarence

    Here you go, Susan.
    Warning, strong language:
    http://gawker.com/5994974/the-most-deranged-sorority-girl-email-you-will-ever-read

    Now I know that is a bit off-topic to this thread, but I’m reasonably sure you can make some use of it in the future and it’s enjoyable in a “train wrecky” type of way even though most of it is rather toxic.

    Personally:
    A. She’s right the gals should be able to freaking converse with the guys. Esp without beer.
    B. Dissing the guys by talking about other meetups in front of them is very low class(as in low-class character) and inconsiderate.

    Other than that I find this at times funny, at times infuriating, and at times very sad.

    • @Clarence

      I share your response to that sorority girl’s email. Hilarious but very sad. Yikes. The comments are excellent too – someone called her a slutty Ari Gold. I’m going to forward it to some sorority girls I know 🙂

  • J

    Yes, Hope, you’re correct. DH is an INTJ; I am an INTP. An INTP/ENTJ match is supposed to be ideal, because these types share Intuition as a common way of perceiving the world, but INTP/ESTJ is also a good match in an “opposites attract” sort of way. In our relationship, I find that the P and J functions are complementary. Ps tend to dither while Js are good decision-makers. I find that I really good at laying out all the options while DH is really good at picking through the options and judging them. I think we might be better off if one of us were more extraverted. I am the more extraverted of the two of us, but we are both pretty aloof. We understand each other and give each other space, but it would be nice if one of us were more people-oriented.

  • Anacaona

    An INTP/ENTJ match is supposed to be ideal, because these types share Intuition as a common way of perceiving the world, but INTP/ESTJ is also a good match in an “opposites attract” sort of way.
    Hubby is an IST for sure, the other letter change depending on the test or the weather…I do like the complementary aspect of our relationship. I would be a lot more messy and scattered if I didn’t had him and he probably wouldn’t go to any new places or try new food without me.
    I think it also helps no to get too complacent since we need to pay attention to our opposite instead of doing whatever because the other person will get it anyway. We also laugh about our differences all the time so yeah I think is good to be compatible but have at least some things that don’t match to make the couple stronger as a team than they would be apart, YMMV.

  • J

    My ex was introverted nearly to the point of social anxiety.

    Introversion and social anxiety are really two different things. Introversion vs extroversion is a matter of what charges your batteries as opposed to what drains them. Introverts tend not be frightened of others as much as being worn out by others. A shy person may wish to be less shy and fantasize that their life would be better if they could achieve popularity. Popularity is an introvert’s nightmare. Who wants to be sought after and demanded from? Not an introvert!

  • J

    I see your reply, Ana and I’ll answer tomorrow. I’m off to bed.

  • A Definite Beta Guy

    @ Han

    I have a strange imagination and when you mentioned that the phrase came to mind, “A Definite Bacon Guy.” Now, I don’t know if you are but I definitely am

    Indeed I am…but…
    Trying to eat healthier lately!
    Luckily my blood tests came back with much, much lower cholestrol levels than last year, so I can scratch that issue off my list.

    @ Susan

    Pretty, Restricted, Introverted, Girl = PRIG

    Hilarious!

    Welcome back ADBG, we’ve missed you!

    Yay, someone misses me!

    Honestly, I am just jealous of BB’s “HEB-M” meme and wanted to copy it. “PRIG” sounds quite derogatory, though, heh.

    I think our PRIGs are well-suited to remember that most men are not going to cheat on them…though they should also reject the feminist critique that most men are exactly like women. Sure, they might find SOME men that fall in the middle of the female distribution curve, but those will be the minority.

    Some sizable part of the PRIG population will have to make adjustments to make a relationship work, as part of gender differences.

    Still shouldn’t tolerate cheating, though!

  • J

    actually with the extrovert wife with introvert husband I know personally, the wife just goes out by herself, and the husband stays inside anyway.

    Hope, I’m less introverted than DH and frequently go out without him. He just doesn’t care to deal with people.

  • J

    @Clarence

    Thanks for the link and the laughs. Tears literally rolled down my checks.

  • J

    I think is good to be compatible but have at least some things that don’t match to make the couple stronger as a team than they would be apart, YMMV.

    I think you’re right.

  • angelguy

    It is a little confusing defining extroverted and introverted in dating.

    I can be very extroverted when it comes to socializing with people in my immediate friendship circle. But when I am dating someone, I am not so inclined to always share everything. It doesn’t mean I am quiet, just that I feel most of the time, everything I say gets translated into Womanspeak, and completely changes the content.
    Don’t like gossip, but that is another issue entirely.

    Susan, sometimes I often come up with subjects and questions about Relationships I would like to ask, perhaps I can forward them to you sometime.
    Just a thought.

    • @angelguy

      Susan, sometimes I often come up with subjects and questions about Relationships I would like to ask, perhaps I can forward them to you sometime.
      Just a thought.

      Feel free to email me through the Contact page, you can also ask general questions in the thread and let everyone chime in.

  • mr. wavevector

    Across analyses spanning 122 attributes from more than 13,000 individuals, one conclusion stood out: instead of dividing into two groups, men and women overlapped considerably on attributes like the frequency of science-related activities, interest in casual sex, or the allure of a potential mate’s virginity.

    Even stereotypical traits, like assertiveness or valuing close friendships, fell along a continuum. In other words, we found little or no evidence of categorical distinctions based on sex.

    I believe this is true. But the limitation of this study is that it compares one attribute at a time – it is a one dimensional analysis. The story changes when a multivariate analysis is done, as in this paper entitled The Distance Between Mars and Venus: Measuring Global Sex Differences in Personality. When you look at a combination of the attributes, the separation becomes more marked.

    For example, if you look at interest in science, interest in casual sex, assertiveness, and lack of interest in close friendships one at a time, there will be very large overlap between men and women exhibiting these traits. However, if you look the people who like science AND like casual sex AND are assertive AND are uninterested in close friendships, you will find that group is markedly male.

    There are few isolated characteristics that are strongly male or female, but the aggregate behavior of individuals may still be strongly masculine or feminine.

    • @mr. wavevector

      For example, if you look at interest in science, interest in casual sex, assertiveness, and lack of interest in close friendships one at a time, there will be very large overlap between men and women exhibiting these traits. However, if you look the people who like science AND like casual sex AND are assertive AND are uninterested in close friendships, you will find that group is markedly male.

      That’s fascinating. Will read the study with a glass of wine. 🙂

  • Susan, doesn’t the study you quote in your original blog post here disprove your claims that women have no interest in casual sex? It said 80% or something have slept with somebody the day they met. Lol

    • @Neutrino

      Susan, doesn’t the study you quote in your original blog post here disprove your claims that women have no interest in casual sex? It said 80% or something have slept with somebody the day they met. Lol

      First, I never said women have no interest in casual sex. Something like 10-20% do.

      Second, why are you asking this when the stat is right in the post? Of the top 20% most unrestricted females, 59% had sex with someone the day they met. Of the 20% most restricted females, only 6% did.

  • Susan, new study (2011) from the University of Michigan says that women are in fact into casual sex, as long as they expect it to be satisfying. (in other words, they’re pretty much exactly like men in that regard).

    http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/love-the-numbers/201106/when-are-women-casual-sex

    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want truly casual sex either; I want meaningful sex with someone I love and who loves me, and since no one has ever reciprocated my feelings, I’m still a virgin at 35. 🙁

    I’m a total pervert, and want to have adventurous sex, but I want to care about the people involved and I want them to care about me. 🙂

    Part of me does want casual sex, though, just not the part I think with. 😉

    I think that if there is any difference for women, it is only because the way they have an orgasm is different. Men’s bodies are simple in that regard, just some physical stimulation and we will respond to it, but a woman needs different motions, different areas stimulated, etc. So I can understand that a woman cannot assume she will get an orgasm from someone attractive. But that’s not the same as saying women don’t experience the desire to have casual sex, or they’re somehow on a higher moral plane because their bodies are different. 🙂 If the woman knows the casual sex will result in an orgasm then I think she would feel the biological desire for it.

    I think everybody experiences the desire for casual sex, the question is, do you act on those desires. 🙂

  • angelguy

    “I’m a total pervert, and want to have adventurous sex, but I want to care about the people involved and I want them to care about me. ”

    This where things get confusing in a SWB situation.
    It is not quite that simple.

  • পেতে চাই

    “This where things get confusing in a SWB situation.”

    I’ve heard of FWB, but what is SWB?

    I consider anything other than relationship sex to be casual sex. Not just having sex with someone on the very day you meet them. Even FWB is casual sex.

  • MWV, going along with the multivariate testing that you described, there is also some interesting work being done on applying Rational Expectations to human sexuality questions.

    The theory goes something like this: if a man believes that a higher N can be rationally expected from his SMP “career”, he will upwardly adjust his lifetime partner number preferences in surveys (granted that all self-reported surveys, even anonymous ones, may be plagued by the thorny
    socially-correct-response option problem).

    A simplistic, stylized version of this might go something like this:

    Question 1: “How many sexual opportunities—realized or potential—have you had in your college?”

    Question 2: “How many lifetime sexual partners would you like to have?”

    The theory is that a man with more sexual opportunities will rationally expect to have more opportunities in the future, so he will select an SMP trajectory that results in a higher number of sexual partners.

    This obviously implies that male sexuality is at its core rather adaptive and
    opportunistic, and thus sensitive to changes in incentives rather than fixed. If this is correct, then we would expect more young men to aspire to high-N playerhood if it appears that playerhood is a viable, attainable option for them. It would mean that restricted and unrestricted postures would be strategic, context dependent, and fluid, at least for a lot of guys.

    This is, IME, a possibility that *most* gender studies academics tend to want
    to suppress because it runs contrary to their basic mission to establish that
    gender is just a social construct, that men should be loading up on soy, etc.

    What do you all think?

  • পেতে চাই

    “This is, IME, a possibility that *most* gender studies academics tend to want to suppress because it runs contrary to their basic mission to establish that gender is just a social construct, that men should be loading up on soy, etc. ”

    Gender Studies academics write and give talks about soy?

  • At least one that I know of actively campaigns for increased use of soy products. She has an infamous “testosterone is the root of all evil” platform and apparently soy is meant to help in the quest to make men more docile.

    As part of this campaign, women should not only insist that their men ingest large amounts of soy, but they should also band together in sisterly solidarity to reject cosmetics, perfumes, and even shaving habits, as these are all components of an oppressive “It’s a Barbie World” beauty template that celebrates long vibrant hair, large fake breasts, youth, Christian Louboutin heels, and Guerlain.

    Because my classes emphasize hated topics like biology, global capital accumulation, product exaltation of luxury heritage brands, porn-turbocharged heteronormative ideals, sexual objectification, etc., they
    should be generally avoided.

    • She has an infamous “testosterone is the root of all evil” platform and apparently soy is meant to help in the quest to make men more docile.

      Good God, what next? Castration medication all around?

      As part of this campaign, women should not only insist that their men ingest large amounts of soy, but they should also band together in sisterly solidarity to reject cosmetics, perfumes, and even shaving habits, as these are all components of an oppressive “It’s a Barbie World” beauty template

      What men? This sounds like the party line of a radical lesbian feminist.

  • BB,

    OMG, do you have a link of some sort? I’ve been a bit down lately and could use a good laugh.
    No heels?! Pure heresy that can only be cleansed by fire.

  • পেতে চাই

    BB, “At least one that I know of actively campaigns for increased use of soy products. She has an infamous “testosterone is the root of all evil” platform and apparently soy is meant to help in the quest to make men more docile. ”

    Name?

    By the way, soy’s phyto-estrogens are overblown. Garlic has phyto-estrogens too but we don’t hear about that, do we?

    Non-gmo, organic soy in moderate amounts is harmless. Its the gmo soy, like the gmo corn and gmo canola that is bad for you.

    East Asians have been eating soy for eons and are fine. However they process it differently than Dow Chemical/Monsanto does and they often ferment it.

    Moreover Dow Chemical/Monsanto puts their gmo soy in EVERY processed food product from yogurt to baby food.

    If we eat soy in the manner the East Asians eat it, and in moderation, then its not a problem.

    Dow Chemical/Monsanto are the ones pushing their Frankensoy on us, not Feminists or health freaks.

    Don’t get it twisted, mate.

  • Gin Martini

    [[Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want truly casual sex either; I want meaningful sex with someone I love and who loves me, and since no one has ever reciprocated my feelings, I’m still a virgin at 35.]]

    You are probably going to have to do something that is “casual” (according to the definition here, which means something like “not in the context of a medium or long term monogamous relationship of sufficient duration”) in order to get started. As a male late-term virigin all ideals about friendship, or even liking the person, takes a back seat to getting the albatross off your back. Get laid first, and then go find someone you care about.

    Casual don’t mean you don’t care about person. The prudes here try to fit everything into two boxes: monogamous LTRs of sufficient minimal duration, which is love, and sex is always awesome; otherwise it *must* be emotionally detached rampant sluttery where the sex is always bad.

    I don’t deny that you’re more *likely* to have a good emotional connection and better sex in a mongamous LTR. But flings and FWBs can be awesome too,mand they might be good people. Maybe good old Jess was right after all! 😉

  • A Definite Beta Guy

    More thoughts from this week:

    The Girl Duos are coming to the public meeting places a lot more frequently now. Spring is in full swing and alcohol is flowing.

    I saw another this week at the local watering hole. Two girls, one somewhat more attractive than the other, but not by much, a 5 and a 4, perhaps. The 5 was dressed in a yellow tanktop, again with slightly tanned skin. And again, the 4 was fair-skinned, clad in black.

    This duo went straight to where the other did: the basketball games. Video arcade and all that. Within 15 minutes they were approached by a group, slovenly-dressed men who emanated “douche.” Like last time, they focused largely on the attractive girl, who garnered most of the attention, and the less attractive girl rotted on the vine, so to speak, until the entire interaction was poisoned.

    Both the girls would look wistfully over in the direction of me and my friends, and I would suggest they should speak to those girls when they, inevitably, left those other, douchey boys, which they did…

    And still, they refused to approach.

    There are many fathers who have done a very shitty job.

    I was out with another Beta friend the next night. He started the night by asking a girl to join us for the night. A girl who he went out on a date with once, he still harbors feelings for, and is fucking another dude, and now he is in the friend zone, and he relishes it.

    Ugh.

    There were two girls, very pretty girls, sitting in the corner, by themselves. One was watching the Blackhawks game, the other was apparently a nerdy girl with glasses who was glued to her smartphone because she doesn’t like hockey. Nothing wrong with that, of course.

    Suggested to my friend he should hit on said girls. None of the guys in the bar were approaching them. He was well-dressed and confident from a solid and successful day of work. he’s an architect.

    Immediate refusal.

    Let the sky fall, there’s nothing left to salvage here.

  • Emily

    Haha I love the field report. Any chance that your friends will talk to girls once they’ve had a few drinks?

  • Anacaona

    @BB
    I had an interesting read on Gamification (as in video games not Game) they say that as a principle if a person thinks she/he has 90% chance of winning that is enough to get them addicted to the game and willing to play it constantly, but if she/he thinks her chances are lower, not 50%, more like less than 80% chances are the game won’t be interesting because it will look too much work and little pay.
    I thought it was interesting given your dating issues.

  • PJ, interesting notes on issues with preservatives, etc. I personally don’t use soy products, but I agree that the amount that a man would have to ingest n order to start growing “moons”, wearing his wife’s panties, etc is probably much higher than you would see in a typical, non-force-fed human intake diet.

    For all I know, however, the academic in question may be aware of this and want men to be placed on lab rat levels of soy!

    Susan: I know what you mean. Arnold Kling has developed a test for what he calls the “dominant political heuristic.”. I wonder if it can be incorporated into date screening processes as part of a lively 1st or 2nd date conversation.

    Kling:

    “Which of the following paragraphs best describes how (you) feel:

    “X). My heroes are people who have stood up for the underprivileged. The people I cannot stand are people who do not seem to care about the oppression of working people, minorities, and women.

    “Y). My heroes are people who have stood up for Western values. The people who I cannot stand are the people who do not seem to mind the assault on moral virtues and traditions that are the foundation of our civilization.

    “Z). My heroes are people who have stood up for the individual’s right to his or her own choices. The people I cannot stand are people who want government to impose their value system on everyone”.

    Kling calls the three dominant heuristic types “Oppressor-Oppressed”, “Civilization-Barbarism”, and “Freedom-Coercion” and believes that if you can accurately place a person’s position on the three-axis model you can predict his or her positions on any number of specific public policy issues.

    Perhaps this could be added to MBTI, OCEAN, Helen Fisher’s framework, and so on to help maximize compatibility before potential mates? This one can easily be disguised as a polite conversation piece (and Kling designed it to have this capability).

  • Ana, I think you are on to something important!

    I was at a party for designer Kate Spade (her brother-in-law was there and looking mildly bored) at Lafayette House, an ultra hip, unmarked little boutique hotel in NYC, about a week ago. There was a women singing beautiful old Ella Fitzgerald stuff there; eventually and inexplicably she turned to songs from the “Rocky Horror Picture Show”. One set of lyrics gave me pause:

    “I am just seven hours old,
    Truly beautiful to behold,
    And somebody should be told
    My libido hasn’t been controlled.

    “Now the only thing I’ve come to trust
    Is an orgasmic rush of lust.
    Rose tints my world
    And keeps me safe from my trouble and pain.”

  • In 110 I meant to say “moobs”—i.e. man-boobs. Fucking autocorrect scorpion stung me once again.

  • Plain Jain

    “X). My heroes are people who have stood up for the underprivileged. The people I cannot stand are people who do not seem to care about the oppression of working people, minorities, and women.

    Y). My heroes are people who have stood up for Western values. The people who I cannot stand are the people who do not seem to mind the assault on moral virtues and traditions that are the foundation of our civilization.

    Z). My heroes are people who have stood up for the individual’s right to his or her own choices. The people I cannot stand are people who want government to impose their value system on everyone”.

    Kling calls the three dominant heuristic types “Oppressor-Oppressed”, “Civilization-Barbarism”, and “Freedom-Coercion” and believes that if you can accurately place a person’s position on the three-axis model you can predict his or her positions on any number of specific public policy issues.
    _____________

    Interesting. These are only 3 choices and thus extremely limited and narrow, however out of these, 1 and 3 speak to me the most, though not entirely since they are binary, narrow and shallow.

    As far as “My heroes are people who have stood up for Western values. The people who I cannot stand are the people who do not seem to mind the assault on moral virtues and traditions that are the foundation of our civilization.”……

    I have over the past few years, online and off, asked people what are “Western values” and what are the “moral virtues and traditions that are the foundations of Western civilization” and I’ve never gotten a clear answer, so can’t speak to that either way, for or against.

  • PJ, Kling apparently would agree with you that they are indeed too narrow and that, many times, we will want to rebel against the idea that we can only choose one as per the exercise. He thinks that this is itself a useful tension because it can lead us to fine-tune our own views.

    I myself tend towards #3 the most strongly, so I will tend to align with those of a #1 bias if government force/legalized violence is being used to oppress a subset of the population, and I will align with #2 if the definition
    used for “Western civilization” emphasizes individuality and “free minds”.

    I am really not doing justice to the sophistication of Kling’s approach, and I would certainly like to hear what you think of it if you decide that it is worth investigating (the book is called “The Three Languages of Politics”).

  • Plain Jain

    BB, noted. I’ll check it out.

  • Richard Aubrey

    Ref three choices:
    In various inventories or assessment tests, or attitude tests and so forth, the forced-choice is considered useful. Which you dislike least is considered to come from a different form of thinking than which you like most.
    Can’t say, myself, but the pshrinks seem to think it’s a good idea, however annoying it is to the test subject.

  • A Definite Beta Guy

    Haha I love the field report. Any chance that your friends will talk to girls once they’ve had a few drinks?

    Nope, my guess is not unless the girl shows active IOIs. Too afraid of being blown out of the water.

  • Man

    Susan, I find this particular article very interesting. Actually I always related this so called Anxious-Avoidant Trap with co-dependency, which has been extensively studied by Pia Mellody.

    I don’t know why, but this trap seems to be so common in relationships. I came to understand by myself that a good way to measure one’s level of EI is the ability to avoid this trap and instead reward and build mutually satisfying relationships. Sort of building the Secure Attachment style which to my mind is the healthy way of relating to other people (respecting one’s own the other’s boundaries).