Note from Jason - Gentlemen, this is the longest single blog post I’ve ever written. I’m distilling 25 years of research and experimentation down into one single post. It’ll take you upwards of an hour, but I promise the information contained within will teach you everything you’ve ever wanted to know about how women operate. Before you start, grab a beer, find a nice, quiet spot, and make yourself comfortable.
“I just don’t understand women.”
We’ve all heard that, right? We’ve probably even said it ourselves. Repeatedly. Understanding women seems like an impossible task, doesn’t it?
As it turns out, women really aren’t all that mysterious. They’re just… different.
In this post, I’ll cover eleven or so basic principles that help explain women. Some are simple, others more complex. Either way, after reading this, you’ll have a FAR better grasp on the fairer sex. And you’ll be able to explain and predict female behavior far more effectively.
So let’s get started!
How These Thoughts Came To Be
When I was growing up in rural Northern Michigan, I did a lot of deer hunting. Many of the lessons I shared in my ultrarunning book Never Wipe Your Ass with a Squirrel were learned in those woodlands from my youth. One of the most important lessons I learned was the importance of accurately analyzing your environment, your prey's behaviors, and the effects said environment had on said prey's behavior. I'd make a "roadmap" of sorts to deer behavior.
For example, my father and I would spend the spring and summer months walking through thousands of acres of land searching for signs of deer movements. We'd meticulously note when, where, and what type of behaviors the deer engaged in depending on conditions. Knowing deer are driven by predictable drives at different times, it was easy to extrapolate future behavior. We'd know which ridge the deer would travel when we got the first dusting of snow late in the fall. When deer season came around, we knew where to place our blinds and when to occupy which blinds. Needless to say, we were never shut out. We enjoyed far more success with our approach versus our friends that would haphazardly wander into the nearest patch of trees opening morning. The lesson - preparation pays off.
I've always taken the same approach with women. While the hunter/ prey analogy is a bit harsh, it serves the purpose. Since puberty, I've done all I can to attempt to understand women. I kinda like sex, they're a prerequisite, therefore I've always been highly motivated. My problem - the hunting has never been all that great... or at least as good as I would expect it to be.
I started by just observing women's behaviors. That was okay, but they seemed to do a lot of illogical things. To help explain this, I'd strike up conversations to try to find the deeper hidden drives behind the behaviors I couldn't explain. The explanations were even more confounding. It was then that I realized men and women, on a decidedly fundamental level, are far different than our mere plumbing differences would suggest.
And I needed better information.
Enter psychology. Yes, I started studying the field to make it easier to get laid. In college, I started taking classes like human sexuality, psychology of sex and gender, and relationship theory. Those specific classes, when coupled with the more general psych classes like evolutionary psych, learning, and social psychology gave me a great deal of theory behind human behavior, especially female behavior. One theory in particular, sociobiology, which is a variation of evolutionary psychology, really struck a chord. I'll discuss this in more detail a little later. Toss in a few sociology, anthropology, and philosophy classes, mix it with a history major, and I had a solid academic backing for understanding the human female.
Until I started researching masculinity and how to be a better man, I thought I had a fairly complete picture of female behavior. I thought I knew my prey. Then I started collecting stories. I kept hearing different variations of the same story being repeated again and again and again. People's lives seemed to follow a fairly distinct pattern. Specifically, women's lives seemed to follow a distinct pattern. The problem - that pattern was not predicted by any of the prevailing theories I had previously studied.
My hunter instinct kicked in. I quickly realized the "roadmap" to women I had been making my entire life was wrong. Very, very wrong. Not only was it wrong, but it felt a little bit like the map I had been following was designed to cover up the fact that it was wrong. In other words, it started to feel like I had been deer hunting based on a map made by the deer. This REALLY piqued my curiosity to dig deeper.
Everything You've Been Led to Believe is Wrong
When researching masculinity, one theory really stood out. Esther Perel proposed the idea that our socially-accepted belief that intimacy (closeness between two people) in relationships is a prerequisite to passion (desire to have sex with our mate) is wrong. In fact, not only is it wrong, but passion and intimacy are actually mutually-exclusive. You can have one or the other, but not both. The relevant point - our pop psychology idea that's the cornerstone of couples counseling and nearly every other source of relationship advice is wrong. Flat-out wrong.
I applied her concept to my own relationship and it worked beautifully. I recommended it to others and it worked just as well for them. For someone trained to be a social science researcher, that abject failure of the entire field to explain such a fundamental element of every relationship in the history of forever rocked me.
It also made me question everything I knew about sex, gender, and relationships. I went back to my roadmap for women. The masculinity research definitely proved my map was wrong, which was far easier to accept after the Perel discovery. Now what do I do?
Before I could begin poring through the published literature, I had a conversation with a former coworker I discussed in past blog posts named Joe. Joe was a pickup artist that spent his recreational time seducing and having sex with married women. I was explaining Perel's theory to him when he chuckled and said "Of course passion and intimacy are opposites! That's why it's so easy to seduce married women; they desperately crave the passion that's been missing for years and years." His next line was the epiphany that caused me to start connecting the dots. He said "These women partied through most of their twenties, felt the biological clock ticking in their late twenties, married some schlub with a halfway decent job, had kids, got bored, and started craving excitement. I’m that excitement they’re craving!."
Remember when I mentioned sociobiology earlier? It's a theory that was developed in the mid-1970's by researchers who attempted to explain modern human behavior in terms of our biologically-determined evolutionary heritage. In other words, we're motivated to do what we do because we're driven to make sure the species survives. More precisely, we're driven to combine our genes with the best mate we can attract then assure those combined genes get to the next generation. Yay Darwin!
The sociobiologists hypothesized men and women, because having children comes at different costs, have evolved different mating strategies. Since men can produce literally billions of sperm cells and reproduction takes a matter of minutes, we tend to take a shotgun approach. We'll basically have sex with anyone and everyone as long as there's a decent shot at producing a child. We’re not picky. Since fertility is paramount, men developed the ability to judge clues like waist-to-hip ratio, facial symmetry, or complexion as signals that a woman will likely be able to carry a baby to term. This is where we get many of our cross-cultural signs of "beauty."
The sociobiologists also hypothesized women use a much different strategy. Since child-rearing involves 40 weeks of limited physical capacity, a few weeks of recovery after dangerous child birth (death of mom during birth used to be very common), and at least a few years of raising the child until they're independent enough to go their own way, women have a far greater investment in the act of sex. As such, women evolved to be the sexual selectors; their biological imperative drove them to pick the best possible mate to get their limited number of children to the next generation. As I’ll discuss much later, women crave sex just as much as men. They just crave that sex with really good men.
That "best possible mate" part was the epiphany I had in the conversation with Joe. The sociobiologists noted women have a duality to their mate selection, and it has to do with a weird male tendency. Some males display very masculine characteristics which we usually identify as "alpha" traits. Others display more feminine characteristics which we identify as "beta" traits.
I’m not a huge fan of these terms because they’re overused to the point of absurdity, but they make this discussion much easier to follow. Throughout the rest of this post, “alpha” will refer to high-value masculine men who most women find extremely attractive. “Beta” will refer to low-value men who are not masculine and most women will find unattractive.
Anyway, alphas are usually physically gifted, great leaders, healthy, and serve as strong protectors and providers. They'd be considered "hot" guys because women have a strong physical attraction to them. Betas are less physically gifted, but tend to be better at bonding, compassion, and most importantly, commitment. Alphas produce strong, healthy kids but tend to be shitty at commitment. Betas produce weaker, less healthy kids but dad is far more likely to stick around.
According to the sociobiologists, that duality creates a paradox. In a perfect world, women are going to want the best of both worlds - an alpha who’s also going to stick around. It's a paradox because this rarely if ever exists. Being both alpha and beta is incredibly difficult to maintain, at least for our ancestors. Those who could were true unicorns among males; they were the most highly-prized mates.
Simple supply and demand dictates only the best women had access to these best men, so the rest of the women had to make a tradeoff - alpha genes or beta security. Evolution, being what it is, developed a weird work-around. THIS is what Joe the pickup artist was exploiting. As it turns out, women who are not ovulating have a sexual preference for beta males. Betas turn them on more than alphas for a portion of their menstrual cycle. This is how she utilized his capacity to provide. When they're ovulating, women have a strong sexual preference for alphas for a few days. This is how she acquired his superior genetic material. The husbands of Joe's conquests were the beta male providers blissfully unaware that their wives were seeking out an exciting "Joe the alpha" a few days every month
Indeed, the sociobiologists said this concept explained most of our courting and relationship behavior. A theory I had mostly forgotten years earlier suddenly moved to the forefront. The problem - there wasn't much research beyond the development of the theory. Sensing Joe was on to something, I started rooting around in the pickup artist world (PUAs, as they're sometimes called.) As it turns out, there are a sizable group of men who have been doing this for at least fifteen years and sharing all their successes and failures. In my hunting analogy, they represent thousands of hunters all making their own roadmaps to understanding the prey's behaviors. They're not burdened by the shackles of academia and the peer review process; they're doing actual field research. The theories they are developing are based on the same evolutionary principles as the sociobiologists, only theirs are designed for results, not the development of more theories. As such, their ideas have far more validity than the less detailed theories of the sociobiologists.
In other words, they know what they're talking about because they’re testing the ideas in the real world. A lot.
So that’s the foundation of the information that follows. In the next section, I'll talk about the specifics of female behavior. I'll go into detail on the duality of the female sexual strategy, talk about a concept known as hypergamy, talk about our value to others sexually and how that changes over time, and how men and women have fundamentally (and misunderstood) expectations about love. I'll also talk about how all of these ideas come together to explain and predict female behavior. I'll give you a better foundation to make your own roadmap.
As I mentioned above, women simultaneously want the genes of alpha males and the resources of beta males. Ideally, those occur in the same package. Practically, there aren't enough of these men to go around, so evolution created some work-arounds I discussed earlier. The goal is to produce the best possible children and give them the best possible opportunity to survive. This is a pattern that's been repeated countless times throughout the history of our species. This seeking of the best possible outcome for their offspring is often called "hypergamy", which is often thought of as the tendency for women to "marry up."
This has created the serial monogamy relationship pattern we know today. For women, this usually results in the following pattern:
- A woman hits puberty and begins dating. This usually lasts until the mid-to-late twenties. During this time, the woman is basically "testing the waters" so to speak. Many women attend college and start careers. Relationships tend to be somewhat shorter and less serious; few women make long-term commitments (i.e. - marriage) during this phase. Women tend to heavily favor alpha males (think jocks and bad boys) during this phase because alphas sexually excite them far more than betas. It's worth noting women's sexual peak fertility comes in her early twenties.
- As a woman approaches her mid-to-late twenties, she begins feeling pressure, both internally and externally from friends, family, and society as a whole, to consider settling down and having kids. This pressure is amplified by the reality to diminishing capacity to conceive, and the (at this point) unconscious realization that she likely hit her peak of physical attractiveness when her fertility peaked (remember from part one that the qualities men find universally attractive are indicators of fertility.) The alphas she had been attracted to become less attractive because they're poorly-equipped for long-term relationships (their confidence, attractiveness to other competing women, narcissism, and general indifference tend to make really bad partners in most cases.) The long-ignored betas finally get their chance. Indeed, this sliver of time when women are between about 25 and 29 is the only time betas enjoy an advantage over alphas when it comes to opportunities for sexual escapades. The problem - those escapades are contingent on the beta committing and probably starting a family. There is no "playing the field" for betas. They'll likely enjoy a year or two of mind-blowing passionate sex until the honeymoon period ends.
- Once a woman passes the 30 threshold, the attached women usually starts or has started a family. The unattached women continue as they did before, but the market for available men dries up quickly and women have to start compromising their expectations. For the attached women, they may now face the "have kids" or "have a career" decision. Regardless, the once-frequent sex with her beta life partner decreases in both quantity and quality. In almost all cases, this causes some sort of strain on the relationship.
- By the mid-thirties, relationship satisfaction hits a low. Men yearn for the sexy, passionate minx from the beginning of the relationship. Women (and this is an important point) no longer feel much desire for their beta husbands and yearn for the alphas of their past (real or fantasy.) Unfortunately, too many couples either end the relationship during this phase, turn to destructive habits, or have affairs. This is where Joe the pickup artist works - he offers the perfect alpha "fling" for women suffering through low desire for their beta husbands. He figured out the roadmap that explained his prey's behavior and he perfectly gamed the system. This is also the phase where unattached women who could not secure an acceptable mate will sweep in an attempt to poach the unhappy men who are seeking that lost passion. Couples who survive move on, but many get divorced by the age of 40. Once divorced, men and women tend to repeat the exact same cycle.
The tension of that draw to both the alpha and beta, coupled with the hypergamy drive to acquire the best possible mate, can be used to accurately and reliably explain and predict most female behavior.
So why did it take pickup artists to discover this?
I firmly believe it took us a long time to discover this because we have a tendency to ask women why they do what they do instead of observing what they do. Every woman I've discussed this with is only vaguely aware of these dynamics. In fact, most have denied they exist until they themselves start interpreting other female behavior without their internal frame of reference. This would lead me to believe all of this occurs subconsciously. Just like guys can't quite explain why they like big breasts, women can't explain how this duality of desire plays out. There's a program running in the background and it's controlling the entire show.
This Theory is Ridiculous!
This is where this journey got weird for me. When discussing these issues, I've found the vast majority of men assume I'm a misogynistic asshole and dismiss everything. A few, usually through personal experience, connect the same dots I did and begin applying the theory to the female behaviors they observe in their environment. It doesn't take them long to have the "holy shit, so THIS is how women work!" epiphany.
Women are even more interesting. About half have the same reaction as most guys. They immediately shut the idea down and dismiss me as a sexist asshat. The other half, the more introspective half, have a tendency to get very quiet for a while. They're applying the principle to their own lives and realizing this is the mechanism that is manifested as inner-turmoil that is sexual attraction, which they’ve been struggling with since puberty.
In either case, those that get it start seeing all sorts of practical applications to make their lives better. Those that don't? Well, they just keep on soldiering down the well-worn path of quiet desperation.
Still Not Convinced?
The theory seems pretty far out there, mostly because it's exceedingly easy to attach ill intent to women (those opportunistic bitches; this explains all the games they're always playing!) Evolution's not moral, however. Just like my cuddly pet cat killing scores of mice and birds every year, nature is immoral. We sometimes forget that our meta-cognitive intellectual skills are controlled by deeper emotions and biological drives necessary to keep our species going, and this is a perfect illustration of that point.
Let's take a look at a little more evidence. Think about most women's "ideal" man. Read personal ads. Or just look at this picture:
This man is the epitome of what I called a “high-value alpha male.” He’s certainly alpha, but also has the beta traits like sweet, sensitive, sincere, and of course, willing to feed a woman ice cream in bed every night for the rest of her life.
THIS is the man every woman wants. This man would drive almost any woman wild; they'd fight each other tooth and nail to have his babies.
Unfortunately for the ladies, this man does not exist.
The next best thing is, not surprisingly, is the manufactured version of this guy. Ever notice women are really turned on by "tame the bad boy" stories? What's going on there? Hypergamy. A woman is taking an alpha that makes her horny, then systematically "reforms" him by punishing his negative alpha tendencies and rewarding beta tendencies. She’s making the wild alpha into an acceptable relationship partner and co-parent.
Beyond these conditions, alphas are desired pretty much all the time from puberty through old age except for the periods of time where a woman feels compelled to settle down. Alphas are anything but stable, so women need betas. As I mentioned before, betas pretty much always take a back seat to alphas except for two windows - women that have passed their peak fertility and facing diminished ability to attract a mate (late 20’s), and in some cases, the second time this pattern repeats itself if a woman gets divorced in her early thirties, has a year or two of chasing alphas, then settling down for one more crack at potential parenthood before menopause.
Still not convinced, right?
I've went through the majority of my life as a beta, at least in the relationship realm. In fact, I was the worst kind of beta - I was a "Nice Guy" (read that post; it's a good compliment to this discussion.) I didn't date much before marrying my first wife. Odds are extremely good my "Nice Guy" behaviors ruined that relationship (which was for the better... we had virtually nothing in common.) I somehow snagged my current wife, probably because I could be an alpha in many situations in those days, before I even understood what that meant. She assumed I was one of those high-value alphas with beta tendencies. Fortunately for her, I eventually learned to apply the alpha-ness to our relationship, but it was a very, very rocky road filled with a lot of angst and personal growth.
In the next section, I'll discuss exactly how we rate each other to determine our best options and how that plays out over the course of our lives.
For those familiar with pickup artistry, this is often referred to as the "sexual market place." I like using the term "The Field'' as a form of shorthand, so they'll be used interchangeably. Like any marketplace, your value is determined by the market, which consists of all the people actively or passively looking for a mate within your sphere of existence. There's a degree of variability for each individual that's playing the field because they will have characteristics that are more appealing to some and less appealing to others. Regardless, it only takes a small group to come to a reliable assessment of your value.
Men pretty much universally look for the same basic set of characteristics in women - facial symmetry, a waist-to hip ratio of around 0.7, shiny hair, full breasts, a clear complexion, and youth (women's peak fertility usually occurs around the early 20's.) Society may pile on more, such as specific body weight (though rail-think is NOT desired by most men... that's actually a female fallacy), piercings or tattoos, clothing style, etc. Think of all the things women do to look more attractive. Those are the things she does to increase her perceived value on the open market.
Women, as I discussed above, ideally look for an alpha male (attractive, fit, confident, outgoing, funny, charming, assertive, etc.) with beta traits (compassionate, loyal, patient, caring, etc.) Since those males are rare, they carry a VERY high value. Only the highest value females (i.e. - a "10" with a good personality) can attract these males. The next tier of women will seek out alphas and try to convert them to betas -or- settle for a very high value beta male (literally a rich dude.) The rest pretty much fall in line with roughly approximate matching.
How Value Changes Over Time
This is where the concept gets fascinating. If we allow ourselves to make generalizations, we can plot both sex's "sexual market value" over time when each is playing the field. I’m going to borrow a chart from the author of “The Rational Male” - Rollo Tomassi. He produced an excellent graphic that more or less illustrates this point. It can be found by following the link to his "The Rational Male" blog:
The graph represents both genders' ballpark value as they progress through life. Remember, the higher the value a person is, the higher the value of the person they can expect to attract. As you can see, women peak early then fade rather fast. They peak (at a relative score of 10) around 23 or so. By 30, their value drops by about half. By 40, their value plummets to 2.
Men don't peak until around 36 then slowly drops off. Even at 50, men still rate as a 5. "Why is this" you ask?
When playing the field, men want attractiveness which is a proxy for fertility. For women that peaks in the early 20's. Not at all surprisingly, our society fawns over women at this age. Women in their early 20's have the pick of the litter between any alphas (for fun) or older betas (for commitment if they want to settle down.) Since attractiveness is women's principle asset on the open market, value fades with attractiveness. They lose the ability to attract the best alphas, then the lower alphas, then the best betas, until finally they're limited to either really old alphas or really crappy betas.
Men, on the other hand, reach a peak much later but fade slower. Since women not only look for attractiveness (which also peaks in the early 20's and doesn't have as much weight as female attractiveness for assessing value), but also their ability to be providers. Since men tend to improve their socioeconomic standing as they age, they hit a sweet spot between rising SES and falling attractiveness somewhere around their mid-30's.
For our ancestors, this system worked pretty well. It also established a trend of older men pairing up with younger women, both near their peak. Indeed, we see this effect even today. This is the reason college-aged women tend to date older men. This is the reason older men leave their wives for their young, sexy secretary. This is the reason the "look younger" cosmetic market exists (artificially increases women's attractiveness as they age.) This is the reason guys are so willing to buy status symbols like cars and fancy suits (artificially increases the perception of their ability to provide.) We go to great lengths to increase our value on the sexual market.
However, we currently experience a handful of social trends that upset this a bit. The most obvious is the career woman that puts off marriage and child-rearing until her mid-to-late 30's. If she gets married at 37, she's a full fourteen years past her fertility (and attractiveness) peak. Her value on the open market is going to be a fraction of what it once was. Not only has she decreased all the way down to a "2" on the market (thus meaning a 60 year-old guy would have the same value), but all of her male cohorts are going for the much higher value younger women. In essence, her dating pool has eroded far more than she would have expected. Indeed, I've known women who did just this, then lament on the absolute barren market for the men they expected to be able to land.
This trend has been somewhat negated by an increased promotion of beta characteristics in men. This is most notable by recognizing the "get in touch with your feminine side" teachings. This subtle shift in the proportion of alphas to betas means there are less alphas for the younger women, but more betas for the older women. Again, it's supply and demand. Greater economic success for women has created a bigger need for betas.
It's worth noting the very top women run into an entirely different issue in this system. If a woman is independently wealthy, she has zero need for a provider. As such, rich women will always prefer alphas (they're more sexually appealing.) However, alphas, per their alpha nature, kind of suck at long-term relationships. Rich women can attract very high value men, but those men are likely to cheat or leave after the honeymoon period wears off. Unless, of course, she can break his alpha ways.
Oppression Versus Protection
Speaking of those independently wealthy women....
One of the greatest changes of the last fifty or sixty years has been the breaking of barriers for equal opportunity for women in our society. I am an ardent supporter of equal rights across the board for all members of a society. Having said that, I think we've made a very, very big mistake in attribution.
Since the beginning of the equal rights movement, gender equality has been predicated on the idea that men have actively oppressed women to hoard power. Women were made second-class citizens. It's difficult if not impossible to argue women were placed on a rung below men with issues like voting and property rights. Was oppression really the intent, though?
In The Myth of Male Power, Warren Farrell discusses the hypothesis that men didn't subjugate women for power, society (fueled by biological size differences) set up a system where women would exchange protection for affection. When I first read the theory, it made no sense. Then I started recounting my history classes (I was a history major along with psych, though I would not recommend it as a field of study.) This idea started to make a lot of sense.
Looking back over American history, it's easy to see how women were oppressed. However, this has not been the case throughout history. In some cultures, women enjoyed true equality or even led the society. What was different about these more equal societies?
There were generally two things that set them apart. First, they perceived themselves as relatively safe. They didn't have immediate threats of invasion, wars, or tribal in-fighting. In other words, there was no need for physical protection.
Second, many openly embraced the idea of allowing women to train to fight. Embarrassingly, I didn't pick up on this until watching the History Channel's 'Vikings.' Lagertha, for whom both Shelly and I have a serious crush, is a shieldmaiden who fights alongside the men and eventually held the title of "earl." Yes, she's a fictional character on a fictional show, but the point is historically-accurate - societies became more gender-equal when women were given the same opportunities and responsibilities as men.
Both of these concepts could probably serve as either/ or conditions to bring about true gender equality, but this isn't even a consideration among contemporary gender rights activists. We're too hell-bent on blaming men as oppressors. Instead, we should take a step back, survey the actual mechanics of the situation, and try a new approach.
But Don't We Live in a Safe Environment Now?
When I bring up this issue, the retort almost always involves the claim that we live in one of the safest environments in the history of mankind. Indeed, we do... but we don't perceive it as such. According to the newspapers, evening news, and Facebook memes, our society is on the brink of extinction from vaccines, chemicals in the air and water, climate change, terrorists, lead paint, the sun, etc. In other words, we're really good at generating irrational fear.
I would argue that irrational fear defeats the first of my gender equality conditions. If we think the world is a scary place, we're doing to try to feel safe. How do we feel safe? We revert back to our drives that evolved over tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of years - men that can protect women make women wet, and men feel the drive to give their lives to protect said women.
I would also argue our need as men to protect women and women's need to feel protected by men inhibits our desire to actually prepare women to face danger. For this, I have personal experience. For many years, Shelly has been training jiu jitsu and boxing with a little mma added for good measure. Not coincidentally, this is part of the reason our group meets at our bjj/mma gym in Montrose, Colorado. Anyway, Shelly's also physically strong. The result? She could kick many guys' asses. As her husband, that creates a noticeable effect - I feel far less desire to protect her. It could be walking down the street, her getting into a disagreement at the checkout line at the grocery store, or it could even be an online argument. The more capable she becomes at defending herself, the less drive I feel to protect her because she doesn’t need protection in many situations.
Does this happen on a wider scale, though?
I think it does.
I have some female friends who have advanced pretty far up the corporate ladder. I asked a few of them about their experiences framed within this "protection" idea. I would predict the "glass ceiling" isn't made up of men that want to maintain their good 'ole boys club because they want to maintain power. I would predict the glass ceiling exists because being at the top of the corporate ladder is a shitty-ass (but well-compensated) job. CEOs of companies basically commit their lives to their job, which often includes making ridiculous sacrifices to their personal lives. Men don't want women in those positions because they're shitty positions. It's protection, not oppression.
Sounds outlandish, right?
Let's take a look at the other end - the glass cellar. You're not as familiar with that term, right. That's because nobody likes to talk about it because it confirms the protection hypothesis, thus disproves the oppression hypothesis. The glass cellar are those shitty, dangerous jobs we see on that "Dirty Jobs" program. Almost without exception, these jobs are held by men. They don't have the high pay and perks of the corporate ladder jobs, but they do have significant risk. Whereas the corporate jobs have social and familial caveats, these glass cellar jobs are dangerous because there's a decent chance you're going to get seriously hurt or killed. Think lumberjack, garbage collector, roofers, high rise steel workers, truck drivers, or coal miners. Yes, there are some women in these careers, but few women want the jobs and few men want women to take the jobs... and it ain't because of the power and prestige these positions hold.
The key to gender equality isn't destroying gender roles. The key to gender equality is creating a safe world and supporting women's efforts to be able to protect themselves. Then and only then can we truly achieve gender equality. Altering, modifying, or vilifying masculinity may produce more beta males for the women on the down slope of their market value, but a far better solution might be to actively teach everyone to use both masculine and feminine characteristics depending on the situation. For males, we already know mastering both gender roles dramatically increases their sexual market value. For females, encouraging masculine characteristics also decreases their drive to feel protected by a man and decreases men's drive to protect women. It would be a win-win all around.
That’s a little bit of an off-topic tangent, but it’s relevant to the over concept. And it reinforces the idea that these ideas don’t destroy the idea of gender equality, we just have to understand all the relevant variables.
In the next section, I'm going to change gears a bit and talk about love. Specifically, how do men and women experience love, how is it different, how does it change over the course of a relationship, and can we "hack" how we love to make it better?
What Do We Want?
I believe the subjective experience of love both men and women experience is pretty much the same. We both experience the same fluttering hearts, butterflies in the stomach, and obsessive thoughts in the honeymoon phase; we both experience the same oxytocin-fueled emotional bonding afterward. We feel a somewhat similar connection to our children. However, there's a major difference between the sexes. Specifically, we achieve and maintain love for different reasons.
It's impossible to discuss the concept of love outside the framework of the previous discussions because it provides a framework for understanding. It's a little easier for me to explain men, so I'll start with my own gender. Cut out all the fluffy "things we're supposed to say", and men are really looking for one thing:
We want to relax.
I've yet to meet a woman who fully appreciates the constant pressure men in our society are under to perform and/or produce. Our self-worth is measured by what we can do. Any man who’s been unemployed for more than a few weeks can tell stories of people's reactions to their unemployment. It's not pretty.
We're expected to perform for a variety of reasons, but the primary reason is to attract a mate. The more/ better you produce, the higher your sexual market value. When you're playing the field, that higher value opens up a bigger pool of candidates. When we do find that special someone, we're really looking for a person who will love us independent of our capacity to produce. We work really hard to win the girl, now we want to stop and smell the roses. Yes, that love includes things like respect, appreciation, and white-hot animal sex, but we really want that ability to escape that pressure to produce.
It's that simple.
For women, it's not much more complicated. Remember the sociobiological idea that women simultaneously want an alpha and a beta male? Remember the idea of hypergamy, or that women have a tendency to want to "marry up?" Both of these ideas factor heavily in how women love. Men produce to earn a woman's love. Her love is contingent on maintaining that production. This dynamic is most evident in the "American Dream" scenario where the man works long hours to make money while the wife shops for a bunch of crap they don't need (yes, I'm a mostly-anti materialist minimal advocate.)
Like a man's love, a woman's love is equally simple.
The Better Question: How Does Love Go Bad?
Love tends to diminish for each sex for different reasons. For men, the love they feel for their significant other usually decreases when they do not feel appreciated or respected. After all, they're expecting to be able to relax and drop the need to continually produce, yet they don't. Men see that as making a continuous sacrifice, hence the need for constant appreciation.
When a man isn't getting enough appreciation and respect for his perceived sacrifices, he tends to look elsewhere. There's a reason strippers are really good at making a man feel important. They understand most men aren't looking for tits and ass. Most men want to feel appreciated. Because this typically doesn't happen until the man reaches his 30's, odds are good he's worth more on the sexual market than he was when he got married in his 20's. He now has the capacity to "marry up", which is part of the reason under-appreciated men are so easy for high value women to steal away.
Women, on the other hand, usually experience a decrease in love when their man fails to produce. This could be a loss of a job, decrease in income, failing to protect the family from harm, etc. As long as men serve in this capacity, women continue to love them... with one exception.
Beta males have several things going against them. First, they're not as ambitious as their alpha counterparts so they don't earn as much and are less likely to rebound after a financial crisis. Second, they're not as good at protecting their family. Third, they tend to defer almost all decision-making to their female significant other. If there's one thing women hate, it's being forced to always make decisions. I've yet to meet a woman that doesn't appreciate a decisive male who’s open to giving her the reins when she requests it. About the only things betas really excel at is child-rearing and chores. Contrary to what women claim, neither task is in any way sexy or arousing. My first bit of advice to new couples is "don't get in the habit of exchanging chores for sex."
Anyway, women really do not like beta male behavior. After the honeymoon phase, women tolerate betas as long as they can produce because that was the best male they could land in time to raise a family. Indeed, the most predictable end to marriages comes when a woman initiates a divorce because either:
- Her beta husband stops producing voluntarily (gets lazy, decides to become a blogger, etc.) or involuntarily (hurt, laid off, etc.)
- A better beta comes along so she divorces and remarries. This is usually the stuff of fairy tales; if better options existed she would have had a shot when she was younger. If this DOES happen again, the cycle just repeats itself.
- She hooks up with an alpha (think Joe the pickup artist from No Bone Zone), falls in love, and leaves the beta husband. Of course, the alpha was probably preying on her because she's an easy mark. She won't be the highest value woman he could attract, so he'll just move on.
If a woman happens to marry an alpha at the onset, she will usually attempt to "tame" him by softening his alpha side and sharpening his beta side. The goal is to keep him exciting enough to really arouse her but stable enough for a long-term relationship. If successful, this probably results in the most stable form of a long-term relationship today. If she fails to tame him, the alpha will likely move on at some point. If she's too successful, she creates a beta and falls into the same trap discussed above.
I firmly believe this love dynamic is one of the most misunderstood, thus damaging aspects of relationships today. Men want to relax. If they can't relax, they want to feel appreciated, and hot sex makes them feel appreciated. Women want men that will provide, protect, and occasionally drive them crazy with desire. It's really quite simple, but we NEVER talk about it. As such, we tend to make the exact same mistakes again and again and again.
What About Sex?
This discussion has mostly centered around the "commitment" aspect of love... what keeps a man and a woman together? There are other elements of love, such as sexual desire. That falls a little more into my wheelhouse.
Let's start with men. Men's sex drives are pretty simple - barring a medical condition, men have a pretty consistent, constant, strong sex drive. Most men could have sex several times per day if given enough novelty. With the same person, sexual desire ebbs and flows with a very slow, steady downward trend. With novelty, men experience what is known as the "Collidge Effect." This effect basically explains that men have an almost unlimited capacity to have sex if they have different partners without the normal inhibitors like the refractory period after orgasm (it shortens considerably.) Within a committed, monogamous relationship, guys can usually be pretty content with regular sex with a little kink or role playing thrown in for variety.
Women are far more complex. First, as I mentioned in one of the previous posts in the series, women's sex drive changes depending on ovulation. Her sex drive increases around the time she can conceive. Furthermore, she's more attracted to alpha men during this time which may or may not be her husband. In fact, a relatively simple "sex hack" involves the male tracking his wife's ovulation, then busting out more alpha behavior around ovulation time. Instant hot sex.
Women also use their sexuality for utility when needed. Sex can be used to attract a man, get a man to commit to a relationship, or be exchanged for providing for her or the family. Women learn to use their sexuality to influence men at a shockingly early age, well before they're actually old enough to have sex. We tend to avoid talking about using sex for utility, however, because it feels a little too prostitute-ish.
Finally, women are beholden to the same novelty effect as men. Women love sex just as much as men, and they thoroughly enjoy the hot animal sex of the honeymoon period. They also miss that high quality sex later in the relationship, which is part of the reason they're so prone to alphas swooping in to give them a good time. This is especially true if they're committed to a beta who provides zero sexual excitement. Until recently, I always assumed women were sexually aroused by hot guys in the same way men are aroused by hot women. I assumed it was a visual response. For women, though, it's not entirely visual. It's also a healthy dose of behavioral. This is why less attractive alphas still get a lot of action... they have the right attitude that drives women crazy.
Over the years, the most common relationship questions I receive revolve around sex. Specifically, both men and women have asked various forms of the same question:
"Hey Jason, how can we have better sex?"
For years, I approached the question like most dudes approach any question involving a physical skill: BUILD A BETTER SKILL SET!
Seems logical, right? Mind-blowing sex is surely just a matter of setting the mood. Start with a romantic dinner, a movie or dancing, get home, light some candles, prepare a bubble bath... then just wait for the sparks to fly!
Only it never quite worked out as planned. The sex would be decent. All the parts were moving in the right places. Orgasms had by all. Yet it wasn't that "we're so into this moment we lose awareness that other people are watching TV in the next room" sex. It wasn't like it was when we first started dating... back when freaky kinky animal sex was the norm.
So what happened? Cosmo said the key to hot sex is just a matter of plucking the right strings. The male brain kicks in and starts assessing the variables. Maybe I need to buy flowers next time. Or we ate the wrong kind of food. Sushi is an aphrodisiac, right? No... it was probably the bath water. It wasn't hot enough. Or maybe too hot. Damn, I'd better make a spreadsheet...
Does that sound familiar? Most dudes I know in long-term relationships were probably smiling and nodding in agreement at that last paragraph. The problem: I was ignoring all those people that say "sex is 90% mental and 10% physical." I had been working off the premise that the key to turning women on was primarily a physical act, and the mental aspect of arousal could be learned by either asking women what turns them on or reading articles written by women explaining how to turn them on. I was basically learning new tools for the toolbox, then constantly testing those tools under various conditions to deduce which tools were right for which conditions. It was all very scientific.
And virtually useless.
All the tinkers rarely produced the hot sex I craved, but sometimes it did. In psychology, we call this "intermittent reinforcement." When we're only rewarded some of the time, it's MUCH harder to stop the behavior. Think slot machines. The same principle applies.
Ester Perel's idea that passion and intimacy are mutually-exclusive was a big part of the puzzle. All this time, I had been trying to build passion by building intimacy, which is exactly what Cosmo had been telling me to do. Hell, that's why we have such a robust "romantic gesture" market here in the United States... to help dudes in relationships get laid!
As it turns out, all women possess the capacity for an uninhibited, unrestrained sexual response that can and will come out in one and only one situation - she's advertising.
Passion is a sales pitch.
White-hot female passion is a woman's tool to win or keep a man. Most importantly, it's a mostly unconscious response. It is basically a "This is what you're going to get with me" demonstration, and it's competitive in nature. This is why post-fight make-up sex is so hot... the fight created distance, that induces a sliver of fear of loss in her, she's selling herself to you. It's the same reason spending time apart results in hotter sex... the separation creates the sliver of fear of loss, so she responds with the sales pitch. Eventually I nailed down a few of the specific rules that govern female desire.
There are four major rules that need to be understood if you're going to learn to stoke female sexual desire at-will. They are...
- Female desire is a sales pitch. As explained above, female sexual desire is designed to convince you to stick around for a while. "Make yourself comfortable. Don't go looking for love elsewhere because I can provide this."
- She wants what she can't have. The strength of the sexual desire response is directly proportional to the resolve of the customer. In other words, the more you resist her advances, the more passion comes out. Conversely, if you immediately agree to have sex the moment she gives even the slightest signal she's in the mood, she has no reason to bust out the hard sell. Learning to say "no" to sex is the single best life skill a dude can learn.
- If she has to ask, it has no value to her. There are actually two principles at work here. First, since most women don't recognize their sexual desire is stoked by unconscious competition, asking what causes that response is futile. Odds are good she'll just recite the same bullshit from Cosmo. Or use the opportunity to get you to buy her that cure tennis bracelet. Second, women are exceedingly attracted to alpha males in part because they have the skills to read people. The alpha male doesn't need her to tell him what she wants. He knows what she wants and does it. He gets her. The moment she has to verbalize what she wants is the moment the gesture becomes meaningless. This also means you cannot tell her "I'm trying to stoke your inner-fires right now." Like a magician that just pulled a rabbit out of the hat, explaining the trick totally ruins the illusion.
- Desire cannot be negotiated. Sexual desire is an involuntary hormonal response. She does not have a switch that she can simply be flipped on when needed. It doesn't matter how many loads of laundry you do; it doesn't matter how many teddy bears hugging hearts you give her; it doesn't matter how many back rubs you give her. Desire cannot be negotiated.
That's it. These four rules govern female desire. Learn these four rules, then learn to apply the concepts. I guarantee you'll appreciate the results.
I was sitting in Starbucks yesterday engrossed in writing an earlier post for this series. Two relatively attractive women were sitting behind me. They were close enough for me to overhear most of their conversation. They were discussing The Walking Dead. Specifically, they were talking about Rick Grimes. They were lamenting how Rick today is much more attractive than Rick from season one (though they readily agreed he was still smokin' back then.) There was something else... some change that was setting their vaginas a-twitter, and they couldn't put their fingers on it.
If you're a fan of the show AND have two eyes that have ever watched female behavior, the answer should be immediately obvious. Rick today has a cruel, psychopathic streak he did not have in earlier seasons.
Rick is a jerk. And it makes women really horny. And that infuriates A LOT of men.
Because it flies in the face of everything we've been told since we were old enough to listen to advice about women.
Here's a fun experiment for guys. Go to Facebook. Post this:
"Why do women like jerks?"
I can guarantee (almost, there are always a few weird outliers) MEN will respond with something along the lines of anger, frustration, or dismiss the women who fall for jerks as being "stupid." WOMEN won't respond. If they do, they'll give a vague answer that will be anything but denial.
When it comes to explaining this peculiar behavior, we tend to struggle. It's counter-intuitive. Not only does it fly in the face of everything we've been taught, but it's also illogical. I suspect this love of jerks is one of the reasons men think women's behaviors are so... for lack of a better word - crazy. Indeed, it does seem a little insane to fall hard for someone that treats you like garbage.
Yet that's precisely what happens.
And it's dictated by biology. Earlier, I talked about the antecedents to female desire and how it's essentially a form of advertising. From an evolutionary perspective, this strong sexual response allowed women to woo men. Why? Because we REALLY love hot, passionate sex when a woman completely gives herself to us. For many men, that initial few tastes of raw passion is enough to keep them coming back for the rest of their lives, even if they never see that same level of passion again. Once hooked, dudes will do anything to recapture that initial high. Kinda like crack.
As I also explained earlier when discussing hypergamy, women are competing for the best possible male they can attract, and sex with a jerk alpha is their highest priority. Why? Alphas will give their children all the positive characteristics that will help their children survive, even if the alpha father leaves them. For a woman, it's less of a gamble to bone an alpha and believe she can "tame" him than boning a genetically-inferior beta that will be her loyal servant.
Finally, as I explained in "The Field" discussion, this strong, intoxicating sexual response increases a woman's value. To a male, a "7" that's really into sex is more valuable than an "8" that lies there like a fish. Guys place an extremely high value on sexual enthusiasm, especially alpha males.
Got all that? Because there's more. Guys, probably because we've fallen in love with the idea that women are delicate flowers that need to feel respect, warmth, and closeness, really have a hard time understanding WHY jerks are superior to the nice guy. For those who have read the whole series on women, the answer should be pretty obvious - being a jerk to a woman is an incredibly powerful signal that he doesn't need her vagina. Why? Dudes love vagina, right? What dude's going to turn down vagina?
A dude with better options, that's who.
Think back to hypergamy and the role of evolution. The woman is biologically driven to get her genes to the next generation with the goal of her children being able to pass their genes to the next generation. That means her priorities, in order, are 1) secure the best possible genes to combine with hers, then 2) secure the resources to help assure those kids survive. Those two priorities are never reversed.
So she wants to secure the best genetic material possible, and her hypergamy drive compels her to seek the sexiest dude possible. The dude who can turn down vagina is essentially saying "I can do better." This is where women get very industrious. They'll get those high-value genes by any means necessary. And by any means necessary, I mean any means necessary. And hot, kinky sex is the female's preferred "means."
This is where things get a little... weird. This drive that women have to have sex with alphas? It never goes away. That's really, really bad news for betas out there that refuse to believe these concepts, because your wife or girlfriend, no matter how strong her morality may be, will always get ridiculously aroused by an alpha who can reject her. The silver lining: That's really good news for alphas and betas who are willing to make changes.
I remember having a conversation with Joe the pickup artist. I asked him what characteristics he looked for in his married "targets." He laughed and said "They have to be hot enough to fuck." As it turns out, Joe didn't prey on miserable women looking to end their relationship as I would have expected. Joe preyed on any woman who he found attractive. All that really mattered is that they responded to him as women typically respond to alpha males... and all of them did.
Well, almost all. Women who were married to alphas ignored or rejected his attempts because subconsciously they recognized Joe was an inferior alpha to the alpha they had at home. Remember, it's all about getting the best genes to the next station on the commuter train that is evolution.
Of all the concepts I've talked about, this one is usually one of the more difficult for guys to accept. We (mistakenly) believe women are drawn to jerks because they're ignorant, were abused as a kid, or just haven't met their knight in shining armor (and, of course, the guy thinking these thoughts assumes he IS that knight.) We cannot accept the fact that women are not sexually aroused by nice guys.
Remember the Seinfled episode where George wore a wedding ring to pick up women?
George was attempting to utilize the idea of social proof. Generally speaking, the psychological concept usually pertains to our tendency to look towards other people to figure out how to behave in new social situations. If we enter a McDonald's in Beijing, most of us will stop, observe for a few moments to determine how we're supposed to act (ordering and what not), then act.
In the realm of gender relations, social proof refers to a mental shortcut women use to assess the sexual market value of a male. In George's case, the ring told the other women "this guy has been pre-selected by at least one other woman. As such, he has at least some value." And remember the hypergamy lesson - women are always seeking the highest value male they can obtain.
A better method to capitalize on this phenomenon is to hang out with hot women. It can dramatically increase your perceived sexual market value because other women will assume the high-value women around you are hanging out with you because you're also a high value man.
It's important to note this phenomenon is not based on jealousy, though it may be based on an element of envy. I'll discuss "triangles of interest" in a later post, though.
Part of what makes social proof such an interesting phenomenon is that men do not consider it when assessing the relative value of a woman. A man may see the other man or men as rivals, but they don't change his rating of her.
Fitness Tests (aka “Shit” Tests)
Pretty much every male over the age of fifteen has been asked that dreaded "Does this make me look fat" question. Many men chalk it up to women being insecure about their bodies. As it turns out, women aren't nearly as insecure as we seem to think. Some wiser men recognize the question for what it really is - a test.
A test, you say?!?
What could women possibly be testing with a question like this?
The still-surprising-to-me answer: They're testing your abilities as a masculine male.
If you recall the discussion about female desire, we know that women are sexually aroused by alphas, and one of the defining traits of alphas is confidence. If you recall from the hypergamy discussion, we also know women will seek out security, too. These tests, which are commonly referred to as "confidence tests", "fitness tests", or my personal favorite, "shit tests."
I know all my male readers are asking "But Jason, why don't women just ask? Why do they need all these sneaky tests?"
That's a legitimate question. To answer, let's look at these tests from a more familiar angle. Guys, let's say you're going on a road trip to Vegas with the guys. A new friend, unfamiliar with the group, is coming along. What can that dude expect for the entire road trip?
The rest of the group is going to haze the Hell out of him. Teasing, insulting, name-calling... all of those serve a very useful purpose - they help us assess the target. Is he tough enough to take the insults? Does he just roll with it? What are his weaknesses? These are the male version of shit tests. In other words, this isn't a tool exclusive to females.
Back to the female example - so why don't women just ask men instead of devising these covert tests? It's pretty simple... we'll readily lie to get a piece of ass. The shit tests are a countermeasure to assess men's true sexual market value. Learn to identify and master shit tests and you'll automatically increase your value dramatically.
Types of Female Shit Tests
Women will generally use two types of shit tests - one to determine a male's "alpha-ness" and another to determine a male's ability to provide "comfort." Generally-speaking, women will use the alpha tests when they first meet a guy, then security tests when they're interested in a relationship.
Alpha tests: Alpha tests are true confidence tests. When a woman uses this test, she's measuring whether a man is capable of standing up to her. If he does stand up to her, that signals he's a higher value male relative to her own value. Let's say she uses the common "Buy me a drink" test. A dude with better options (a high value male) isn't going to waste money on her, so he's going to say "no", thus passing the test. A lower value male is going to be desperate to get a girl like her, thus will say "yes" to buying the drink. That's a "fail." This is precisely why women are so physiologically-aroused by jerks.
Security tests: Security tests are a little more straight-forward. They measure a male's ability to provide safety and security, level of commitment, fidelity, ability as a parent, etc. On the dating scene, women will use security tests to determine if a man is actually interested in a relationship or just using her for a one-night stand. It's worth noting women aren't always looking for a relationship; if they're looking for a no-strings attached one night stand, they want men to "fail" the security test. Women will also use security tests as a means of assessing the health of a relationship.
Women will use both types of tests to determine the value of any man they're going to fuck or enter into a relationship with, but here's the real kicker - they'll continue throughout relationships. If you recall from the previous "how men and women love differently" discussion, women's continued love in relationships is contingent on a male's capacity to provide. "Kept men" tend not to last too long. Because of this, women will continually test men in relationships for both their alpha and security capacity. In fact, this dynamic is one of the reasons men and women have such a difficult time communicating - men desire a love that doesn't require constant qualification; women's love is contingent on constant qualification. Evolution requires women to continually make sure they always have the best man their value can attract and maintain.
How Do I Master Shit Tests?!?
This is the million dollar question every guy wants to know. I would highly recommend all dudes Google "how to pass shit tests" and read the first ten or so relevant links that pop up. Why? Shit tests come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Different women will use different tests in different situations. Furthermore, shit tests are basically personality tests. It's impossible to give a list of canned responses because you'll eventually be "found out." In other words, you have to develop the ability to identify and answer shit tests in a way that's congruent with your own personality.
I created a handy guide to mastering shit tests over at my San Diego Man Camp project blog (this site’s older, edgier brother), which can be found here.
Shit tests are devices all of us use to help cut through the facade people normally erect to hide their true selves. Women use shit tests to assess the value of a potential or current mate. As such, a male can increase his value to her by identifying and understanding how to "pass" the tests.
The decline in quality and quantity of sex is the single biggest complaint I hear from both men and women in long-term relationships, and the biggest reason has to do with a fundamental misunderstanding about the relationship between passion and intimacy. When a couple understands how that dynamic works and gets comfortable manipulating both, they gain the capability to produce both hot sex and tender intimacy at-will.
That capacity to generate passion at-will can be amplified even more if the couple understands and utilizes female hypergamy and desire, which is what leads female sexual desire to be the most useful tool in a woman's arsenal to attract and retain a mate. The easiest way for men to conceptualize this is to think of it like this: Women use two very general types of sex, "advertising sex" and "maintenance sex."
Advertising sex is wild, organic, uninhibited, sweaty, uncontrolled, intense, animalistic, and dirty. Both partners are totally into each other and the experience. It's fueled by a deep, uncontrollable passion. This is the kind of sex that makes you lose track of your surroundings, time, and even your sense of self. You get totally lost in the moment. Advertising sex is also involuntary; women cannot cue it up on demand. Men cannot request it, negotiate for it, beg or plead for it, or buy it with gifts or in exchange for chores. It's worth noting alpha male behavior is a powerful trigger for this involuntary response. Both men and women love advertising sex.
Maintenance sex is an entirely different animal. It comes from a place of obligation, not genuine desire. Maintenance sex can be warm and tender, but is less intense, often efficient, routine, and sometimes, kinda boring. Maintenance sex is often implicitly or explicitly negotiated. Women usually do it out of a sense of duty. Some examples might be a weekly scheduled romp while the kids are napping, a quickie before work, or a drunken fuck after the company Christmas party. While maintenance sex can be and is enjoyable for both parties, it gets old quickly if it's not mixed with the occasional advertising sex.
Most long-term relationships follow a predictable pattern. The first few sexual experiences are a combination of hot passion mixed with a little clumsiness, then we settle into a groove of crazy-hot sex for anywhere from three to about twenty-four months. That's the advertising sex. From an evolutionary standpoint, it serves the dual purpose of attracting the male and producing a baby.
After the hormonally-driven electrochemical neurotransmitter cocktail advertising sex of the honeymoon period, we fall into a pattern where oxytocin-fueled bonding occurs. The closeness of intimacy, which is necessary to keep the couple together to raise the aforementioned baby, defines the remainder of the relationship. And maintenance sex takes over.
A handful of couples naturally seem to understand how to cycle passion and intimacy, thus never lose access to that occasional "advertising" sex. Not surprisingly, these couples also report their relationships as fulfilling and happy. In almost every case, these relationships feature relatively traditional gender roles, which makes sense. The male's alpha characteristics are what continually rekindle that advertising sex drive in the women, which leads to the occasional hot, passionate sex.
The rest of us, in all likelihood, fall into the beta male trap of believing that women are aroused by adulation and attention. We put women on a pedestal, give in to their every whim, and hope and pray they repay us with sex. And they often do. Since it's done out of a sense of duty, responsibility, obligation, or reciprocity, it lacks that carnal edge of advertising sex. This is the reason behind the "disappearing blowjob" trick married guys talk about frequently.
"My wife used to blow me all the time. I'd never have to ask, she just did it. Now? She treats my cock like it's a rattlesnake."
She used to give out frequent BJ's because she was driven by a powerful genuine sexual desire that made her a lot less inhibited. Later in the relationship? In the absence of that desire, blowjobs become just another chore to despise.
[note - some women actually love oral. This is a fetish; giving oral excites her. These girls aren't going down on guys to please the guy; they're going down on guys to please themselves. And yes, these girls are as rare as unicorns.]
In the past, I've written that women love sex just as much if not more than men. There's an important qualifier for this statement, however. Men's sex drive is pretty simple; it doesn't take much for us to get in the mood. We can cue up our animalistic sex drive at will, usually in response to a woman's "advertising sex." Women can't do that. Women require that desire to be drawn out. In fact, that's why there's so much interest in a "female Viagra." Women in long-term relationships desperately want to want their husbands and boyfriends, but they have no idea how to make that happen. A pill would solve that mystery.
So What Is The Mystery?
How do you make a woman want to have enthusiastic sex with you? I had been trying to solve that mystery pretty much since I started having sex. I've easily spent thousands of hours researching the topic. During that time, I've tried countless things including:
- Buying flowers, candies, jewelry, etc.
- Frequent compliments
- Negotiating chores
- Planning and executing grand romantic gestures
- Romantic get-aways
- Soft-core porn
- Hard-core porn
- Strip clubs
- Improving my sexual techniques
- Spending time together
- Massage, erotic and otherwise
- Inclusion of sex toys
- And finally - I just asked them what turned them on.
Sometimes some of the ideas worked, but not with enough regularity to cause an "Ah ha! THIS is the answer I was searching for!" revelation. Asking women what turned them on seemed even more fruitless. The answers I received were all over the place, including many of the items from my list. Some even gave a stupidly-vague answer - they were turned on by a man that didn't have to ask what turned women on.
If you've read the entire Women, Explained post, you know that stupidly-vague answer was actually spot-on. The ability to ignore what a woman says and understand what she needs based on nonverbal communication is THE single most valuable alpha trait a guy can possess. It means that guy is confident, assertive, decisive, and understands the intricate nuances of human behavior. Remember, if a woman has to ask for something, it is worthless to her. Alphas don't have to ask; alphas know. And that makes them valuable. And it's insanely sexually-arousing for women.
So why don't all women just tell us this?
Because this is a test.
Remember, hypergamy is all about attracting the highest value male possible. As such, women needed to evolve methods to assess the value of a male. Overt methods don't work because the dude can simply lie. The answer is for women to have developed covert methods.
Women use advertising sex to secure the best alpha they can secure.
It's important to note even betas get this advertising sex in the beginning, because it's used to draw men in. However, the strength of the response increases as a function of "alpha-ness." This explains the "my wife did what in college?!?" scenario. This happens when a beta male marries a woman, they start the relationship with decently passionate advertising sex, then the intensity wears off until they're left with maintenance sex. The beta husband, usually through ex-boyfriends or his wife's friends, hears stories about her wild younger days when she did FAR kinkier things with other men than she ever did with him. Guys tend to get angry at that. After all, shouldn't she have saved her best sex performances for her soul mate?!?
The guy fails to realize her sexual desire isn't stoked by her lifelong commitment to his passive-but-dedicated beta self. Her sexual desire was stoked by the hot, assertive men from her past. Instead of getting bitter and resentful, the beta husband should rejoice. Why? Because of hypergamy.
Hacking Ovulation for Hot Sex
Per the rule of hypergamy, a woman is going to seek out the highest value mate she can, and that value is measured by genetic superiority (craving alphas) and the need for security (craving betas.) Since alpha and beta characteristics tend to be mutually-exclusive, men who possess and can use both are extremely rare (and valuable.) The other operative characteristic of hypergamy is persistence. Hypergamy doesn't get shut off when a ring slides on her finger. Women will continue to measure the man (or men) in her life after they've made a commitment. For men, that means we never get a break from qualifying for a woman's love. That sucks. However, it also means it's really easy for a beta to learn to be an alpha situationally to get hot sex along with the standard maintenance sex.
It starts with understanding ovulation. When women are about to ovulate, they get horny. More specifically, they get horny for alphas. They get more flirty, dress more provocatively, walk and talk in a way that oozes sexiness, and their body actually shows symptoms of mild arousal (like flushed cheeks, dilated pupils, etc.) It's subtle, but men can detect this subconsciously. If you've ever found yourself drawn to a woman you're not normally interested in and you have no explanation, this is probably what's happening. The evolutionary purpose of this is for the woman to get some alpha sperm to make alpha babies. Again, it's important to note this effect does not go away after a woman commits to a man.
Anyway, during the luteal phase of a woman's menstrual cycle, she's more attracted to betas. From an evolutionary perspective, this encourages bonding with her mate... which may or may not be the same man that stimulates her ovulatory love of alphas. It should go without saying, but this sex inspires closeness and intimacy and is of the maintenance variety. During the luteal phase, a woman may get aroused by a very high value alpha, but it's far less intense than during ovulation.
For dudes, it's pretty easy to hack this system by adopting alpha characteristics near ovulation to feed that advertising sex drive, then revert back to beta characteristics afterward. Hot sex near ovulation, then cuddly sex in between. Wash, rinse, repeat.
In fact, this can actually make a good test to see if your wife or girlfriend sees you as her alpha. When she's ovulating, does she initiate sex? That's a really good sign. If not, is she into it if you initiate (more aroused than when she's not ovulating)? That's a pretty good sign. Does she ignore you and plan a girls' night out? That's a really bad sign.
This isn't the only hack that can be used. The passion and intimacy discussion explains how a couple can alternate between the two states to create the same effect, but it relies on a little more insidious purpose of the advertising sex arousal. You see, women also use advertising sex to ward off competitors. If a woman senses another woman may be attempting to poach her man, OR she may fear the relationship is in trouble (this is the basis of make-up sex), that triggers the same advertising sex drive.
Other strategies work, too. For example, don't speak to each other for 24 hours. Or have one person sleep on the couch. That distance can be enough to stoke that desire in the woman. If that's not enough, a couple can experiment with things like flirting with others, dancing with others, or dabble in social sexuality (aka - swinging.)
All of it works on the same principle - that intense "advertising sex" desire can be elicited when the woman perceives relationship trouble. Here's the weird thing - this response is involuntary AND still happens even if the woman is fully aware the situation is being fabricated. The woman can actually initiate it ("Hey honey, go flirt with that girl over there") and she will still be just as aroused as she would be if she wasn't initiating. This is the mechanism at work when swingers say they swing not just to have sex with other people, but because it dramatically enhances the passion of the sex with their partner.
Women have different sexual responses based on the individual involved and the situation. Those sexual responses can be classified as "advertising sex" and "maintenance sex" as each one serves a purpose. Both men and women love advertising sex, but neither sex is especially good at recognizing the true cause of that desire. Learning what causes it allows us to learn to be able to initiate it at will, which immediately transforms a boring or nonexistent sex life into an occasionally wild but deeply fulfilling experience that enhances relationships.
Guys really have a hard time understanding why women seem to give so many mixed signals. Are they interested in me? Are they not interested in me? Why do they seem so hot and cold? Why do they say they want one thing (usually nice guys), but always go for the exact opposite (bad boys)? AND WHY DO THEY KEEP FRIEND-ZONING ME?!?
Here's the unfortunate truth guys don't want to hear. If a woman is giving you mixed signals, she's not into you. In other words, you are not the highest value male in her sights. If she's expressing some interest, you're being kept around to boost her ego, make other dudes jealous or envious (and increase her own value), provide her with gifts or entertainment, or you're a not-very-desirable backup if all her better options fall flat.
Jason's Harsh Truth: If a woman is into you, YOU WILL KNOW IT!
There is no ambiguity. There are no mixed signals. She will make her intentions blatantly obvious. When a woman is giving mixed signals, you're into her more than she's into you, and that's a really bad way to start a relationship. Or even a one night stand.
Move on, man, move on.
Strippers and Hookers
"Hey Jason, I met this stripper that was like really into me. I've never had a woman that treated me like that... I think I may be in love."
"Did she charge you?"
"Well yeah, but she said I was the hottest guy she's met in months. She even invited me back for her next shift tomorrow night."
Good exotic dancers and prostitutes understand how to make themselves appealing to men, and it's a surprisingly simple behavior - they pretend to defer to men's alpha-ness. It's difficult to explain the behavior, but readily apparent when you see it. I'd describe it as a combination of wide-eyed admiration and adopting submissive body language.
And dudes fall for it every time. The reason makes sense if you recall the discussion on different "love" styles men and women use. Men desperately want to feel appreciated, and that "deferring to the alpha" behavior the good strippers and prostitutes use gives them exactly that. Their behaviors are unmistakable. There are no mixed signals. The same holds true for women who aren't getting paid for the attention.
Sidebar - ladies, if you really want to please your man (assuming he's been reading all these posts and made the decision to become more alpha), reward him with this "defer to your man's alpha" behavior used by the dancers. Every man in the history of forever LOVES this. Like, seriously. This is like crack cocaine to us.
Just Friends First
A lot of guys ask me if it's better to be friends with a woman before dating, or if it's better to go with the "love at first sight" approach. While both can result in successful, fulfilling relationships, it can be useful to understand that "friends first" means you are not her first choice. You're good enough to meet her minimum criteria, but she's certain enough she can attract a better male she's willing to gamble losing you. She drops just enough teasers to keep you on the line, but she's going to leave you flopping in the surf as long as she possibly can. Is this a good foundation for a relationship? I don't think so, but c'est la vie.
The Phenomenon of the Friend-zoned Husband
I've had a few male readers who play a "beta" role in their long-term relationship, which results in the predictable pattern of "hot sex at the beginning of the relationship, cools off after the first year or two, becomes mechanical and boring, eventually dries up to only a few times per year" sexual relationship with their wives. They've commented that their current marriage dynamics are remarkably similar to their dating experiences when they were friend-zoned. Basically the only affection they received from their wives came when they felt so pushed away they considered leaving or having an affair. They were miserable but their wives were tossing them just enough scraps to keep them on the hook. Their wives were selling them hope that things would get better.
But it never does.
Unless the husband makes a change.
This is an important point that often gets lost in these situations - women, because they cannot consciously will themselves to feel sexual desire, do not have the tools to fix this situation easily. The men, on the other hand, DO have the tools to improve the situation. And the tools are pretty easy to use. All the man has to do is become her alpha.
When I give this advice, beta men seem to bristle. The idea of them asserting themselves and making decisions is usually terrifying because they make a logical assumption:
Me being assertive -> her getting angry -> me being cut off from the little bit in infrequent, mediocre sex I'm currently receiving.
The problem they fail to see is that their deferring to their wife or girlfriend is the reason they're getting infrequent, mediocre sex.
Men, almost universally, have a difficult time interpreting female behavior. As men, we believe women give mixed signals. They don't. Women give very clear signals... we just don't like to admit that "mixed signals" means we're definitely NOT the highest value male on their radar. "Mixed signals" is, in reality, a manifestation of our unrealistic expectations. The solution is to skip the girls who aren't obviously into you. If you're not their highest priority, stop wasting time making them your highest priority.
Pretty much anyone with at least one eye and a brain has witnessed female "taming" behaviors. You know, they start dating a bad boy and they do bad boy stuff like motorcycle rides along the coast and partying until 4am in Vegas. After a few months slowly start "domesticating him" with dates to a park for a nice picnic and trips to Bed, Bath, and Beyond or Target.
This narrative is so ingrained in our psyche it's a common plot of romantic comedies, TV shows, and romance novels. Taylor Swift hit the nail on the head:
"I think every girl's dream is to find a bad boy at the right time, when he wants to not be bad anymore."
So What's Going On Here?
I've touched on this topic here and there throughout the series, so those who have read this miniature novel of a blog post can probably deduce the answer - women are physiologically-aroused by alpha males, which makes them "high value." The problem? Alpha males tend not to make great long-term relationship mates and co-parents. Because of the dual nature of hypergamy, women must either find an alpha who already has the beta "commitment" capacity (which is exceedingly rare thus requires a high-value women to land), choose a low-value beta that's a good provider but doesn't make her vagina tingly, or find an alpha that doesn't have the commitment chops and teach him how to be a good beta.
Before the 1970's or so, most men fit this "alpha who has to learn to be domesticated" demographic. It's an oversimplification, but men acted like men. This has been changing. A lot.
For a few decades, men have been taught that women really want a man that's "in touch with his feminine side." Men have interpreted this in a way that has caused us to vilify characteristics like assertiveness, confidence, independence, narcissism, and competitiveness in favor of passivity, deferring to females, consensus-building, and indecisiveness. Modern males are excessively worried about offending people, especially the fragile, delicate women in our lives. Modern men act more like women than men.
And this is a complete and total turn-off to women.
Before, because there was no shortage of alphas to convert, this was more or less standard operating procedure for women. Only the lowest value women would get stuck with the natural beta male. Furthermore, since the alpha mindset was the male default, relationships became protracted struggles where the dude was exerting his alphaness while his wife was trying to tame his alphaness. While it seems like this conflict would be a bad thing, it's not. It's this tension, this push and pull, that creates a natural flow between passion and intimacy. This is why the "taming" narrative is so popular - it resulted in great relationships. That's why grandma and grandpa were seemingly so happy for fifty years. Their naturally-occurring gender roles complimented each other.
What Happens Now?
Today, many of the natural alphas have been socialized to believe women don't love alphas; women actually love betas. That's only partially right. Women love what betas can provide (one half of their hypergamy drive), but just aren't that turned on by them (that’s the other half that craves the excitement of alphas.) In today's sexual marketplace, alphas are truly unicorns and there's a ridiculously huge surplus of beta males.
So how does this play out?
Kristen Bell gave an interesting quote that more or less sums this up. She said "All girls hit that phase where they like the bad boy. I grew out of that really young and I have a wonderful guy in my life who's not a bad boy at all. I like the satiric, consistent nice guy."
She perfectly summed up the modern female's sexual strategy that has evolved along with the changing landscape of available men. Women today delay marriage and opt for college and starting a career. During this time, they do not commit to one man. Instead, they play the field. Date around a bit. Maybe have a few one-night stands with alphas. At some point, women begin feeling the pressure of age and the cliched "biological clock." That leads women, usually in their late twenties, to begin searching for Mr. Right. Unfortunately, they find a market where all the natural alphas that are good at relationships have already been taken by high value females that were more... "romantically-focused." Worse, that second tier of alphas who suck at relationships that women would normally attempt to "tame" in the past, because there are so few today, have also been taken. What's left is a sea of betas. The woman will likely select and woo the best beta she can find without letting too much time pass, they get married, and they start a family.
Happily-ever after, right?
Not quite. Because she's not especially aroused by the beta AND there's no natural push and pull in the relationship that would normally be caused by his wildness and her attempts to tame the wildness, shit gets boring quickly. The couple probably had pretty hot and fairly frequent sex during the honeymoon phase (though the intensity probably pales compared to her experiences with the more arousing alphas in her younger years), but the weight of kids, career, and other domestic responsibilities quickly kills any passion. Because the dude identifies more with the feminine, he cannot be a source of her arousal. Both people now have no good reason to keep seducing each other, so they let themselves go. We essentially end up with a slew of relationships that turn into pairs of overweight sexless lesbians.
That situation almost always leads to really, really bad places. The couple falls into a pattern where sex is infrequent. When it occurs, it sucks. Men usually spend most of their waking lives trying to figure out how to resurrect the kinkier, sexier woman they married; women desperately want to feel that desire they may have once felt. The dude gets resentful, the woman feels hurt. Communication sags and the couple enters a period of quiet desperation that doesn't end until one partner dies (probably to the relief of both), one or both partners seek out new blood, or they decide to just divorce. In most cases, neither person can really put their fingers on what exactly went wrong.
So Why Don't Women Teach Guys to be Alpha Like they Teach Guys to be Beta?
Logical question, right? This is where we defer to another lesson we learned earlier - if a woman has to explicitly ask for anything, it becomes worthless to her.
A WOMAN CANNOT TEACH HER MAN HOW TO BE A MAN.
Reread that. Now reread that again. That's the reason women give shit tests even after they've "landed" a man. They're continually testing his abilities as an alpha male. Could we somehow evolve as a species to the point where women could teach men to be alphas? I honestly don't know. Based on my current observations, I'm extremely pessimistic.
The only logical solution to remedy this problem is to call on guys to make a change. Learn to be an alpha again. It's not nearly as difficult as most assume. Hell, if you're reading the rest of the posts in this blog and you have at least some awareness of human behavior, you can probably invent your own effective interventions to fix the problem.
So there's the solution. Women have spent millenia perfecting the art of taming the alpha. When that was our primary relationship model, shit went smoothly. Since we've changed that model radically, we need a new model. Unfortunately for us dudes, we cannot rely on women to be that instrument of change. This is a job for men.
Let's get to work, lads.
CONGRATULATIONS! You now know more about women than 95% of the male population! This is the terrain you have to navigate. Now it’s YOUR job to make a map to navigate this terrain. We can help. Join us for our El Diablo Combatives Man Camp men’s group. We meet a few times per month at my gym in Montrose, Colorado. Contact me at eldiablobjj “at” gmail.com for more information.