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On incels, dead bedrooms and the hard problems of loneliness (residentcontrarian.substack.com)
543 points by nceqs3 9 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 1020 comments





I feel a common issue with such "dead bedroom" discussions is the seeming lack of capacity of some parties (including some prominent toplevel comments here) to understand how deep a need for sex many people have. To think sex can be replaced with "strong friendships" is laughable to anyone who actually feels a strong desire for sex.

The dead bedroom situations I've seen with my friends (M->F equally as well as F->M) are always the result of one party being incapable of understanding the other's desire for sex. This leads them when pressed to try approaches such as, substituting "being nicer" for sex, trying therapy to reduce their partner's sex drive, or just forgetting about the problem because they are unable to sympathize with it. Ideas such as initiating sex more often or opening up the relationship either don't occur to them, are vehemently opposed, or forgotten about.

No-one is entitled to sex. But individuals in a sexually-exclusive relationship are entitled to sympathy, action, and compromise from their partner to bridge severe differences in sexuality, just the same as any other sticking point in a relationship.


I am frequently surprised by the number of "dead bedrooms" I know about among friends, and I sincerely believe the problem is the western world's secretly coy perception of sex. There is a superficial surface level that is extremely wrong (for example, Successful people have sex, the most successful people have the hottest sex with the hottest partners; Sex isn't about planning it's about letting the desire overcome you; Doing this thing will make you more desirable to your partner... unless you suck; All people are secretly kinky and the happiest people figured out what makes them tick), and then there is a deeper level of taboo that discourages any honest communication about sex.

There is no panacea to this problem because it involves mutual collaboration between both members of the couple. The things that seem to work (couples therapy, self-help books) only actually work because they spark a conversation. Regardless, it always seems to involve rejecting some of those superficial notions I listed above and acknowledging that 90% of the stuff you learned or assumed about sex is wrong.

I think this is a very Americanized perspective, though, so I would be especially interested in hearing perspectives from other cultures.


I just don't think people value sexual compatibility enough.

If you aren't compatible sexually then you are not compatible.

I have been married twice. My first wife was practically my "soul mate", we had the same taste in everything. We were best buds, everything was perfect besides our sex life sucked. It always led to conflict and problems.

My wife now we have almost nothing in common when it comes to taste, art, music, hobbies, nothing. We have an amazing sex life though. I couldn't be happier.

That is not how it works in the movies. I am supposed to meet my first wife and live happily ever after. It is the difference between real life and fiction.


I just don't think people value sexual compatibility enough.

Agreed, but I think it's deeper: when I was in my 20's I didn't even know what sexual compatibility was. Given that, how could I even have made it a criteria for partner selection?

That assumes people figure out their sexuality. I've seen way too many people that didn't figure it out until their 50's. Like, "heterosexual until later in life" figure it out. And, there's an entire spectrum until that.


Not sure you ever figure it out, you just live it as you go along.

I agree. I think there's a long tail past a certain point, though. After a certain age, my preferences didn't really evolve much. Before that? Very rapidly, and much of it was just personal discovery.

I think some imortant parameters are: age when you started and ended first marriage, age when you started second marriage, current age.

I suspect sexual compatibility lowers in importance as people age.


I had thought similar for some years / decades.. the past few years my views on older people having sex / not / alot etc have changed quite a bit.

Certainly there are some old couples that stay together without good sex for different reasons, religios beliefs and such...

But if you are an intimate couple - that includes sex. If you are not having sex you are just roomates / friends - and there is nothing wrong with that.

I know a few different people in thier 70's right now having really great sex because they have found new partners, and because it's great they are having a lot of it.

So it could be less important if both people's only goals are stability or other goals - however we are seeing from reports in retirement communities and nursing homes that whether it is the loss of partner through death or divorce or just ageing single into a new community of options - that people are indeed searching for sexual compatibility as they age - often times with many more partners later in life than mid-life.


The most parameters are: who you are as a person and all that comes with that.

Saying that this matters less when that, or you'll loose interest in sex as you grow older simply won't fit for a lot of people. But for a lot maybe it will.

But since all of this is such a inherently personal thing, its opinion around the world will be as divided as our own butts.


> I think this is a very Americanized perspective, though, so I would be especially interested in hearing perspectives from other cultures.

I agree this is very Americanised, I can chime from two different perspectives and cultures: Brazil and Sweden.

Brazil is... Very Americanised, I believe that the same issues the USA has with sex are present in Brazil, it's expressed in some different ways but the underlying issues are more-or-less the same. Even though Brazil is seen through a very sexualised image from the outside, it's still a very conservative society where women are shamed for having sex.

Now for Sweden: I don't think anything you said really applies here, people are very open about sex, parents just consider it a natural thing and will allow their teenagers to have sex in their house, I heard stories from friends who had breakfast with the parents of a hook up after a night out, etc. There is very little taboo about sex here, even though not everyone is open to talk about it, the vast majority is completely fine with people having sex.

Which brings me to a point I don't really grasp how it happens, my sexual experiences here showed me that women suffer some similar issues as the women in Brazil: lots of them don't have good sex, not even with their partners, most of the times not due to a lack of communication but a lack of understanding from men. I've heard from girlfriends similar behaviour from men here as in Brazil, not the aggressive type but the lack of care about their needs, a lack of interest and curiosity in sex itself, to improve it, etc.

And then I don't know if this is something global and most men in the world are really that bad sex partners, it was really surprising to hear from Scandinavian women some of the same issues that girlfriends in Brazil went through. Not even counting the abuse, in Brazil it's much more extreme but I was surprised by how many of my girlfriends here had at least one instance of rape or sexual abuse, usually from partners.


Men on the other hand are generally taught by society that good sex is entirely their responsibility, and that if the woman does not get off, it is their fault.

This is one of the reasons why men are hesitant to talk about sex. It is easy to talk about it if you can say "No I didn't enjoy it and it isn't my fault." and less so if you have to introspect. Thoughts like, is my penis big enough? Am I not lasting long enough? Am I good-looking enough? and other thoughts come unbidden to the subconscious.


I typically don't talk about it here, but I'd say I've been part of a pretty sexually liberated community (US based) for... about 15 years.

Because of our educational focus, we had a high number of new people come through, learn and mature, and then go off to do other things. So I'd like to think I learned something watching the common arcs.

In American culture, there are two big hangups about sex: (1) nobody is comfortable admitting ignorance & (2) the former leads to nobody being able to communicate about anything sexual.

Essentially every critical sexual conversation is some variant of this: "I'm not sure about X. How do you feel about X?" "I've never tried X. Do you want to try it?" "I'm nervous, but I do. How about if we Y'd and Z'd to start?" "I don't think I'd like Y. What if we Y_1'd and Z'd?" "I'm up for that!"

Notice the numerous admissions of ignorance. Because real conversations start in truth, without judgement. And it's worth it, because that's how you get to the fun times. Either in or out of a relationship.

(And ironically, you know who is typically comfortable admitting ignorance? Those with the most experience)


I don't know whether this is the case for everyone, but I've noticed that my wife's dissatisfaction tends to correlate very very strongly with periods where I'm completely exhausted.

I genuinely believe most men _want_ to satisfy their partners securely, in the same way that many working mothers _want_ to cook wholesome, healthy meals from scratch for their children, but after yet another stressful day we just don't have focus and energy required to show the love in that way.


> I was surprised by how many of my girlfriends here had at least one instance of rape or sexual abuse, usually from partners.

Same here, absolutely appalling. Whenever I speak about it with guy friends they don't quite believe me and try to rationalise it (which is a common response for me on many topics as well), often by arguing semantics of what is considered rape or abuse etc, or the integrity of the person in question.

I'm not sure what prompts this skepticism exactly. The friends I've discussed this with who are skeptical, tend to otherwise be quite understanding and well thinking individuals. It's a bit akin to my own first reactions to allegations of Chinese genocide against Uyghurs, the concentration camps, etc. That can't be... There's probably some nuance I'm missing. I was only convinced after reading more and being exposed to more information and evidence.

It's very hard to have these conversations with some guy friends as none of my female friends have wanted me to share any part of their experiences with anyone else. That makes it really tricky to convince anyone else of the veracity of their claims. If I could, I could say 'well it's actually my partner, who I fully trust, or my mother who is completely honest, or our mutual best friend for the past 15 years', people whom my friends also hold in high regard and believe at face value, like I believe them.


I don't think I've ever asked a woman older than her mid-twenties about her experiences without hearing about an instance of assault. Some serious, some not, but universal.

Pornography from a young age might be warping their perception of sex and what it’s supposed to look like making them unable to please a woman who needs time to warm up instead of going from 0-100 like men are portrayed as doing.

I totally disagree with your view on Brazil, I have had lots of dates with many kinds of women and lived in Rio Comprido, and had a long term relationship and many friend in Brazil for a few year and I have found it is very acceptable to have had many partners for young women, and that "overly sexualized" image that is perceived from the outside is for the most part valid and people are much more open with their bodies, showing their bodies, and even hooking up with strangers. All you need to do is go to carnaval. Maybe some evangelical christians are like this but, even among them, I find many are sort of 'born again' after a fairly hedonistic lifestyle.

Well, I lived from when I was born up to my 27th birthday in Brazil. I went to school in Brazil, I dated a lot of Brazilian women, I have two sisters in Brazil.

I don't want to dispute your anecdote but I feel I have a bit more hands-on experience with Brazilian society.

Don't compare Carnaval, a one-off whole-nation party week to how society really works on the day-to-day.


> I am frequently surprised by the number of "dead bedrooms" I know about among friends

I originally thought they were mostly an old people thing, but I am hearing more stories about it from friends. And we are mid 20s.


One thing to note is that birth-control may decrease libido in some women. The science is a bit mixed though.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/all-about-sex/201902...

As for the male side of things, I'm not sure if there is a environmental culprit like birth-control.


Antidepressants and antianxiety medications decrease libido as well.

Depression and anxiety usually reduce libido.

Edit: Also an unhappy relationship often can lead to poor sex, depression, and anxiety.


Sounds like we need to address depression and anxiety with something other than drugs.

Shorter work weeks, universal healthcare, affordable housing, open borders, freedom to travel, less consumerism, more time for friends/family...

I thought countries that have most of those things seem to have as many problems with depression and anxiety?

And countries without those things perhaps don't?

Which are the correlations that actually matter?


nah... go look up quality of life ratings and you can see these countries do great.

I'm pretty sure that universal healthcare isn't compatible with open borders. Budgets aren't infinite.

Why do people assume open borders means freeloaders vs freedom?

As long as your country is offering something that 90% of Earth’s population lacks (access to high-quality free healthcare which is what people usually mean as “universal”) then, yes, you’re going to attract a lot of freeloaders.

No, no you won't. You will attract people who are committed to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

I wish I could believe this. Seems more like wishful thinking along the lines of America’s hubris that it could “bring democracy” to the Middle East.

There’s nothing magic about soil. You need to give time for waves of immigrants to integrate, or it leads to backlash and horrible people like Trump getting elected.


One of these things is not like the other, one of these things does not belong

What does open borders have to do with the other things?

Open borders = unaffordable housing, no universal borders, less time for friends and family

> open borders

No thanks. Feel free to go conduct extreme social experiments with your own life, not mine.


I wouldn’t call it extreme, as it has been done before. In the US, for example, borders were completely open for the first hundred years until anti-Chinese racism led to the passage of the Page Act in 1875.

Or maybe drugs that lead to insight instead of away from it.

Also, you need to address birth control with something other than drugs.

Lack of sex causes depression and anxiety. It's a vicious circle.

Depression and anxiety even more so, modern work-life balance and social media too...

Exposure to phthalates reduces testosterone in both men and women, and thus lowers sex drive. Phthalates are widely used chemicals, primarily for softening plastic.

https://news.umich.edu/reduced-testosterone-tied-to-chemical...

That's not the only cause. Increased obesity levels also play a role. Probably other factors.


Widely and freely available HD porn too. It’s easier than ever for people to use it as a substitute, and it reduces the drive to seduce. It contributes to a downward spiral of satisficing.

Edit: Getting downvotes from folks in denial. I’m not making this stuff up, college students rarely used to have ED, now porn-induced ED is quite common. Many such cases! [0]

[0] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5039517/


From review you linked. Clearly this means research is conflicted on this topic.

Viewing Sexual Stimuli Associated with Greater Sexual Responsiveness, Not Erectile Dysfunction https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26185674

Is Pornography Use Associated with Sexual Difficulties and Dysfunctions among Younger Heterosexual Men https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25816904/


I thought porn was supposed to make people into sexual deviants, which is it?

It reduces the novelty of real sex and thus the arousal for it. Lots of studies on this.

A common side effect of porn addiction is that the addict requires more and more extreme situations and stimulus in order to get aroused. So I would say that is sort of turning one into a sexual deviant.

Would love to see any sort of actual studies on this, because I'm fairly confident it's false.

The argument at face value is a slippery slope, like "sugar triggers dopamine response in the brain in similar areas as cocaine, so any exposure to sugar eventually leads to someone consuming sugar at all times"

I think it's much more likely that people, in general, imprint sexual preferences around the time that they are becoming sexual in their teens, and that doesn't change much as they age.

Religion in the US tends to focus on "any exposure to porn makes you an addict," which is why I am assuming this is what you're trying to imply. If you want to play a semantics game "porn addiction is defined as" then I'd argue that the same people are -true- porn addicts at the same rate that people are -true- sugar addicts. So, not saying they don't exist, but are a significantly lower number of the population than US religions would have you believe.


Your opinion seems to come from the same school of thought that claimed cannabis consumption would surely lead to harder and harder drugs.

In fact, I have experienced the opposite: I do not enjoy any kind of "ugly", much less "extreme" porn. It turns me off.

The simplest kind for me, missionary position, or a girl alone, and that's it.


I have a dead post in this thread for basically the same thing, very odd reaction I don't understand.

> it reduces the drive to seduce

Are you suggesting that the solution to dead bedrooms is increasing "drive to seduce" of the ones who complain?

I thought that many of them already have high drive that their partners don't reciprocate.


Stress is higher across the board as the middle class is wrung out of the economy and the gilded age begins again.

Even if it isn't fight-or-flight stress inducement, sheer business and exhaustion are also undeniably up.

All one has to do is look at the laundry list of economic differences (housing, health care, education, salary, etc) between the current generations and the boomers.


It was a trend that began in my mid 20s as well. I have also noticed women are more inclined to voice frustrations than my male friends. I guess I became more approachable after proposing to my now-wife (and the things I hear are G-rated compared to the things I hear secondhand from my wife)

Yep same here (mid 20s-30s). I guess it shouldn't really be too surprising; young people often don't know what they really need and/or are capable of providing before diving headlong into an exclusive relationship.

> I think this is a very Americanized perspective, though, so I would be especially interested in hearing perspectives from other cultures.

From my understanding, in Islam, sex is a normal, expected part of marriage. If one partner doesn't want to have sex, it doesn't give the other partner the right to demand it. Rather, if there is a lack of desire for sex, it is grounds for divorce.


Understanding of the original intent? Is this a thing in actual marriages of Muslims? I’ve never heard of any of this as a thing that is common knowledge. I could be out of the bubble though.

It was the same with the puritans. You had to produce children somehow.

I used to think this (Americans don't have sex because they're shy about it) but the data says the opposite.

I'm curious about what data suggests this, since getting honest answers about sexual activity from the public is a famously difficult challenge.

As an entertaining example, Seth Stephens-Davidowitz's big data book Everybody Lies mentioned a study that asked people in the United States how frequently they had sex, and how frequently they practiced safe sex with a condom. If the resulting data was accurate and projected across the entire country, the United States consume 2.7 billion condoms a year... even though only 600 million condoms are sold in a year.

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2017/06/our-searc...


That seems like it could be an interpretation problem where the definition of sex changes to only include penetrative sex in the context of the safe sex question.

My hypothesis is that Americans are both hypersexual (due to media, porn abuse, etc) and thus deprived of good sex as a result of the over stimulation toward faked, idealized, porn-ified sex. I have no evidence for this, it is merely a hunch and seems to align with what I have heard from people who have moved here from other countries. My parents themselves were immigrants and were shocked at the hypersexuality when they moved here. Simultaneously to that, they were shocked you couldn't even see a boob on TV. The natural human body itself was censored but gigantic fake boobs and butts were plastered all over MTV and VH1, albeit clothed. They'd also never heard of the over emphasis and anxiety over penis size until they came here.

Cultural views on plastic surgery are critical here. I see a clear contrast between underlying beauty standard assumptions, like “you should look natural” vs “you should look like a sex machine”. both allow for a certain amount of body modification but one of them pushes for a transformation to bodily extremes. With the elevation of hip-hop culture and Kardashian-style ‘upgrades’ i think the US and canada are heading towards a culture where perfectly attractive people get tons of surgery, i think driven by anxious status seeking.

I'll go on a limb assuming you don't have children yet.

I don't. But neither do those friends who speak about sexual incompatibility with the people that they love. Children are a completely new factor that this thread hasn't introduced, and I'm impressed by anyone who can make it work with a toddler. But for the most part, the demographic I'm talking about have no kids, live together, are financially comfortable, enjoy spending time together... and yet don't want to do it for some reason.

>> I feel a common issue with such "dead bedroom" discussions is the seeming lack of capacity of some parties (including some prominent toplevel comments here) to understand how deep a need for sex many people have.

When I first saw Maslow's hierarchy of needs sex appeared on it TWICE. Once on the bottom level as a basic physical need (to what extent varies of course) and again I think on the 3rd level or so as a form of intimacy.

Putting it on that pyramid has somehow fallen out of favor. One (fem) writer claimed it somehow justified rape. That's as absurd as saying the need for food justifies armed robbery. I suspect the real issue is that it offered an explanation (not a justification) that differs from the authors pre-conceived notions (men are evil blah blah). Anyway it seems to have become unpopular to claim it's a basic need.


>One (fem) writer claimed it somehow justified rape. That's as absurd as saying the need for food justifies armed robbery.

People conflate "explaining" or "causing" with "justification". They also think that by eliminating words they will eliminate the actual problem...


It's not a basic physical need. It's a psychological need. We know, because many people can go years or decades without sex. That's fundamentally different from food, air, water and shelter from the elements.

Not saying it isn't an important psychological need, but it's not a literal "basic physical need". Words mean things.


The context is Maslow's hierarchy of needs, which is not only about physical needs. Physical is just the basics, at the bottom.

I reacted to this: "... sex appeared on it TWICE. Once on the bottom level as a basic physical need ..."

There is a physical aspect however - libidos don't exist purely in your head. Hormones have effects.

Reproduction is in fact a biological imperative - your gene line will die without it. People don't eat food because they know they'll die if they don't, they eat because they're hungry. Biology tells the animal what it needs to do. There is a natural drive even if it's not technically a requirement for the individual animal (human) to survive in the environment.

most pyramids I've seen lump Physical and Psychological in the same bottom category. So it would still go at the bottom of the pyramid despite not being something you would die without.

It's in the same vein as non-intimate socialization (another aspect we can technically go years without, but has shown to have dire mental effects. Sometimes shockingly fast).


I'd say it's a basic urge or desire in most people, but not even necessarily a need. A goal, an aspiration, something to seek. Similar to wealth, status, respect etc.

Also, there are asexual people. It seems strange to define something as a "basic" human need if many people can live a healthy life without it.

And yes, a certain level of socialization is definitely necessary to become a functional human.


Psychological doesn't mean "you can't become a functional human without it". it means "without it, the mental state of a significant amount of humans will be altered". Under that definition, there is certainly an argument to be made about sex in some forms being a "psychological need". which build off the 3 universal psychological needs of autonomy, competence, and relatedness:

https://www.ljmu.ac.uk/microsites/promoting-healthy-weight-i...).

There are many much more well studied people who have spent much longer debating this, so I'm not interested in debating this here. I just want to note that valid arguments exist, and that I feel you are still conflating "basic" with "psychological".

----

>Also, there are asexual people.

If you'd like another more controversial example: consider parental supervision. You can live a healthly life without ever leaving your parents' home nor ruleset. And in some other societies it is entirely expected to live in your parents' home even after marriage alongside one's parents (still following their personal values). However, some may argue that this hampers the psychological needs of autonomy and competence. That one will never have true control and choice and that you can never truly go out and challenge oneself while under a parent's wing.

Much like the basic "needs" of sex, this can be under contention and is ultimately up to society. A few anecdotes of those who made it or not doesn't rule it out as arguably being a psychological need not being met. Much like a few asexual people not necessarily ruling out sex as aruably being a psychological need at some leve.


Let's not get too far away from my original point. When people say "sex is a basic physical need", they want to imply or paint the association that it's like water and air. It's not like that.

"People" say a lot of things that may or may not be outdated, outright stupid, or otherwise missing nuance. If that's your original point, I'm not interested in it, to be frank.

I'm mostly responding to the original idea of "Putting it on that pyramid has somehow fallen out of favor". your initial response of "It's not a basic physical need. It's a psychological need. " made it sound like it didn't deserve to be on bottom part of the pyramid, or that you perhaps didn't know that those two categories are often the same part of the pyramid. So I responded in turn to inform.


I think I remember something about the bottom level also including solo activities, which makes it much more reasonable as a physical need. The higher level was then intended to be with someone else.

> That's as absurd as saying the need for food justifies armed robbery

Before considering lofty philosophical ideas like "Justification", it's useful to consider basic system dynamics:

"This paper provides an overview of the link between food insecurity and violent conflict, addressing both traditional and emerging threats to security and political stability."

https://www.wfp.org/publications/occasional-paper-24-food-in...


>Before considering lofty philosophical ideas like "Justification"

But... that was the whole topic. We're not talking about whether hunger causes violence, or whether sexual frustration causes rape. No doubt they do. The point was that labeling "food" as an essential need doesn't constitute an endorsement of food-related violence, and by analogy labeling sex as essential doesn't constitute an endorsement of rape.


The parent did say “I suspect the real issue is that it offered an explanation (not a justification)”, which is close to the point I was making.

I read your GGP just like the GP did: Somehow you managed to make it look like the point you were making was the complete opposite of what you're now saying it was.

> dead bedroom situations are always the result of one party being incapable of understanding the other's desire for sex.

Couldn't disagree more. Sexual attraction is not about 'understanding' how your partner feels. A man who is no longer attracted to his wife won't suddenly become attracted when he understands how she feels. Attraction is not a choice. It's not something you can talk yourself or someone else into.


> Sexual attraction is not about 'understanding' how your partner feels

Not quite what the parent was talking about. They were referring to truly understanding that some people need sex to be happy, as opposed to others who like or even dislike it.

But understanding what your partner wants (whichever of those three it is) is a required starting point for having a better sexual relationship. There's no amount of counseling that can bridge "Well, they should just feel exactly like I do about it."


I don't think I implied that it was. But someone in an exclusive relationship who no longer is willing to fulfill one of their partner's basic needs, has an obligation to work with their partner to find a way to fulfill that need. Otherwise you are just denying them something they are incapable of not needing.

Maybe, but you'd need to be able to identify first that you were filling a need and that you're no longer. To have a conversation about that, the person in question needs to know that their partner is filling their need rather than some degree of it being optional.

>A man who is no longer attracted to his wife won't suddenly become attracted when he understands how she feels. Attraction is not a choice. It's not something you can talk yourself or someone else into.

You have a point. And the scary factor (at least, in my society) is that admitting this would be rife to criticism (be it insensitive and maybe misogynistic if a man, or shallow and a slut if a woman), because so much of our teachings say that we shouldn't judge others based on looks.

It's not exactly about looks in this situation, but it's a very similar situation. You may find that you need something else out of a relationship, but the not only lack of communication, but *active discouragement" to communicate such inconvenient truths probably causes much more tension than the short term tension of a breakup/divorce

(not to say breakups aren't painful in and of themselves, but it's the difference between keeping a thorn in, and removing it. The latter gives you a chance to heal).


>It's not something you can talk yourself or someone else into.

This seems based in some fantasy land, though. I'd be absolutely stunned if you didn't have at least a few unattractive friends who do very well in dating/relationships/finding sex partners, because they are funny, or charismatic, etc (speaking about male friends here generally but this can apply to anyone).

If attraction was as you described, no one would be attracted to anyone outside of pro athletes and supermodels. Clearly, many normal, non-models are quite attracted to their non-model partners.


This isn't my experience. I lost attraction to someone I was in a relationship with and regained it after doing some work on myself. Attraction is definitely something you can foster within yourself for another person.

I agree that attraction is not a choice, but being attractive to anyone can have facets of choice. If the husband in this case isn't attracted to his wife anymore because she's gained a lot of weight, the choice by either party to remedy that could influence increased attraction, for example.

Totally agree. OP should tell that to my friend who worked as hard as he could to save a dying marriage. No amount of understanding will help if the other person just doesn't feel it.

> Attraction is not a choice.

I sense a seduction community vibe in that quote.


Seduction would make it, if not a choice, something you can tap with the right skill.

The parent says the opposite: it's NOT a choice, you either feel it or not. So seduction techniques would not apply.


See David Deangelo’s seminars.

Attraction is not a choice was his mantra. I don’t know if he coined it but he sure made us understand the implications of it.

Since he said it so often, it follows then that when I see it verbatim, I might post something along the lines of sensing seduction community vibes.


Everyone will be different, and unfortunately sex is an extremely sensitive topic that is rife to end up in either flame wars or a bunch of jokes, despite it being a serious, personal, nuanced topic. In my culture personally (American), it also seems to be one constantly suppressed from conversation outside of maybe medical talks.

And in my experience on the internet, we're still a very, very, very long way from creating a community that can civilly speak on the topic. Heck, maybe even IRL; cultures as a whole still can't even agree with what kinds of sexual content is legal to sell (not even age-gated, just outright denying a consenting adult the choice to buy professionally made content), so this may be a while. It may not even be resolved in my lifetime.

On a personal level, I'm fine with the myriads of porn I have stashed about my house. But I can't take cat girl out for a quick lunch and chat about the day. I miss friends.


There’s a strong willingness to openly talk about mental health in society these days, yet I mostly see zero talk that sexual desire (whether super strong or nonexistent) is most likely due to hormonal circumstances than emotional connections etc. it’s sad to see articles about “cooking for each other”, “talk about X”, yet no articles on “get your blood checked” (in particular, extreme sides of serotonin levels)

Quick edit:

No-one is entitled to sex. But individuals in a sexually-exclusive relationship are entitled [to leave and find more compatible partners].


That's not always an (easy) option. Especially if kids are involved.

We bridge those other differences by sucking it up and doing things that aren’t our favorites. Someone who has sex she doesn’t want in order to keep the peace in a relationship has been violated and victimized, in a way that someone who does more household chores than he would prefer to or refrains from buying her favorite clothes on the joint credit card, hasn’t. Sex is unique this way.

Maybe that wasn’t the consensus view 50 years ago, but it is now.


There seems to be a different norm when genders are reversed, though.

https://www.domesticshelters.org/articles/identifying-abuse/...

> Weston says her abuser used to withhold sexual contact during times when she asked to be intimate. He also used withholding affection as a punishment. “If I looked at him wrong, he refused to kiss me,” she says.


Agreed. This is also ancient wisdom. The major religions all maintain that spouses have a duty to sexually please each other.

Unfortunately major religions seem to approach this subject with a cudgel. I think a more charitable reading of their approach is often recognizing that sexual incompatibility is just cause for (otherwise taboo) divorce.

Not really. In many of them it's just about having kids.

At least all the Abrahamic religions, which I'm most familiar with, emphasize the good of sexual pleasure between spouses. That sex is only for procreation and not pleasure is a common misconception of the Christian view.

> That sex is only for procreation and not pleasure is a common misconception of the Christian view.

Yup. Very (perhaps most) common, for instance, among Christians.


To cite the Catechism

> The Creator himself . . . established that in the [generative] function, spouses should experience pleasure and enjoyment of body and spirit. Therefore, the spouses do nothing evil in seeking this pleasure and enjoyment. They accept what the Creator has intended for them. At the same time, spouses should know how to keep themselves within the limits of just moderation


if one is monogamous then there is obligation or so the bible says.

we modified one but not the other. we reap what we sow.


Strong friendships can involve lots of sex, but it seems like people outside queer communities have a harder time with that.

Not if you're in a sexually exclusive relationship.

Sexual exclusive relationships are a subset of healthy relationships.

That would imply all sexual exclusive relationships are healthy, which is very much not the case. Sexual exclusivity and relationship health are orthogonal.

I think you're taking the set theory a bit too far...

This might just be different customs of language usage. But to me, if you say "This is a subset of That", you are saying "every case of This is also a case of That". I suppose you are using it to mean "That does not imply This", and honestly I don't think seen it used that way elsewhere.

I mean, that is the immediate conclusion one can draw from what you're saying. It sounds like you're saying all sexually exclusive relationships are within the group of healthy relationships, which is different than saying only some of them are within that group.

∀ X [ ∅ ∉ X ⟹ ∃ f : X → ⋃ X ∀ A ∈ X ( f ( A ) ∈ A ) ]

> No-one is entitled to sex.

If you put it this way, nobody is entitled to food and shelter either. But we all need these things. Yes, some people can do away with sex, and if it's by their own choice, probably most of them do fine (many don't). But when it happens in marriage, then it's over, also legally - most jurisdictions recognize this.


I really like this post because it exudes nuance. So many problems are boiled down to terse summaries that are barely accurate when examining details.

People being hateful and violent are a problem. More of a problem are the conditions that push people in this direction. When presenting the underlying cause, people push back and instead focus on scapegoating or minimizing.

This problem occurs in engineering all the time too. We accrue "tech debt" and when it bites us we're quick to blame incompetence or bad luck. Nobody wants to hear that the problem is because we have to "waste time" working on hardly visible components that don't change anything except "down the road."

The problem is the same now. We blame "bad apples" and "bad days" instead of blaming our own culture and society and undertaking the effort to improve it. We try to make the world fit our own perspectives instead of critically examining our biases. We outright lie to ourselves, and I'm frankly sick of it.


Agreed. It definitely helped me be more sympathetic to a wider variety of single men.

All of us can do better (in the article's case, that includes single men who are romantically frustrated) and _almost_ all of also us deserve some sympathy. I thought the article did a great job of generously showing the overlap between the two.

Showing that intersection — imperfect people with whom you can still sympathize — is key to being helpful. And overcoming imperfections is so much easier when you have help and a listening ear. I know plenty of young men who could use someone to talk to about this.


My pet theory is that the developed or post-industrialized world is becoming increasingly two-classed. I have had the privilege of having a decent job (being so-called "economically desirable") and decent education and was able to find someone who I think loves me for who I am, for some definition of "I am".

That being said, the "incel" problem concerns me. I think the existence of this entire class of individuals shows that the ideals of equity in gender relations, just like the ideal of equity in relations across economic classes (i.e., being equal before the law, regardless of how much money you have) is obviously a grand ideal that we cannot live up to.

I once tried talking to my girlfriend about it when the topic came up. I brought up the usual statistics that show that men graduate from college at a lesser rate than women, nowawdays. That they are more likely to die in violence or from drugs. That this compounds with the fact that the status of women in the world has generally raised (a _good_ thing!) and that the average woman wants someone who is above them on the social or economic ladder. Her response was that they had so much "male privilege" and that they have no excuse for underperforming. That, thus, they should still be _ahead_ of women, presumably, despite the goal being that they... shouldn't be. They need to pull themselves up from their bootstraps, and "man up", but we also must remember that "man up" is a problematic term that is part of "toxic masculinity".

Of course, all of this was foreseen by French novelist Houellebecq. Economic liberalization has lead to social/sexual liberation. After a period of free love things settle down and here we are. Just as most of the new income generated by later periods of economic liberalization go to the top 20%, so it is with the sexual market.

I've tried to stop moralizing it for my own mental health. Like the author, I just try to look at it with a degree of sympathy. It's complex, and it's kinda fucked up. For myself, these hard statistical realities have increasingly robbed me of the romantic impulse. Marriage to me now seems absurd. An empty, pyrrhic victory.


There was an excellent interview in Danish radio with male/couples therapist, his take was really interesting. There are three groups of men, in his view. The lower class, being uneducated and poor, the upper class, being extremely successful. Both of these group have no problem with the changing male roles or feminism, they just ignore it or it doesn't affect them. They just continue as always and it works for them. Then there is the largest group of men, the middle class. They're told that the male role has to change, or is changing, and they do as they always do, they adapt. The kicker in this thesis is that they're then told that everything is still wrong. That is confusing, angering and leave a large number of men in a state where they no longer care or they develop an anger towards modern society and women.

The solution, again according to this theory, is not to redefine the male role in society, because that was never going to work. Instead we should return to the traditional male ideals, without the negative aspects. In essence to bring back the gentlemen.

Personally I like this theory, because it has practicality, something that is lacking in the idea that men need to evolve, adapt or "find their place in modern society".


> Both of these group have no problem with the changing male roles or feminism, they just ignore it or it doesn't affect them.

That's also true for a growing number of women, especially above a certain age. They feel completely alienated by the current 'feminist' movement and don't identify with it. Wonder if the younger generation might not do the same.


Please bring back the gentleman! I feel like men and women’s roles have taken a left turn from becoming equals in society to striving for sameness.

> roles have taken a left turn from becoming equals in society to striving for sameness.

That was actually also part of this interview. They had the therapist with this thesis and another sexual/couples therapist, and the general consensus between them was that "sameness" kills sexual tensions in a relationship. This results in less sex, which in turn, for most people, means a less happy relationship.

There is an expectation men and women should be the same, expect in the bedroom, where the man should return to some classic or traditional role. That just doesn't work, that duality isn't something most people are able to deal with mentally.


It is very complicated. My experience in dating post divorce is that men feel like they are in a no win situation. A lot of women still want prince charming and chivalry but they also want independence. They want a man who will take care of them but still want to have the freedom to do what they want. They want to be wanted but give only when it suits them. They want a sensitive man with high EQ but also one that will get in a fight for them at a bar.

That being said, I don't blame them. Why not want it all? A lot of this is cultural. They grow up with Cinderella but very few will get to play that role. They grow up thinking that motherhood is a must but a lot don't really want that life. They work hard and rightly feel desire to have what they want. You mix all these things together and it is no wonder there is confusion.

Another take is one from Billy Crystal in City Slickers, "Women need a reason to have sex, men just need a place." This difference greatly captures a lot of people's approach to sex.


Why not want it all?

Because perfect is the enemy of good and you end up bitter, old and alone


> these hard statistical realities have increasingly robbed me of the romantic impulse

I think you should reflect on how sensible it is to apply population-wide statistical trends to your personal situation (which is not statistical at all). If you follow the statistics you should not start a business or go to college[1]. I really urge you to take seriously that your own personal experience is more valid than statistical instruments and that, even if by some measurement you are "below average" (whatever that means) you can still be happy and healthy.

I agree that men are doing "worse" than they have been and I do think your girlfriend's attitude towards men who are struggling is not in line with egalitarian principals. I also think that you're promoting a view of society where winners taking all is expected, and in that kind of society, you would expect men to be distributed away from the "middle" of society. After all, if you imagine it's a zero sum competition, then the winning men would push the losing men towards the bottom of society as much as possible to protect their gains. I think this is worth pointing out because I do not think we need to follow that model of society.

Humans will secure the resources they can in situations where zero-sum resource distribution is enforced, but altruism and reciprocity are also possible if we build systems which allow them. If you live life like you either win it all or your life is a waste, then it will almost certainly feel like a waste[2]. You do not have to do that.

[1] https://erikrood.com/Posts/college_roi_.html

[2] This doesn't ignore the many people who are at various kinds of social and material disadvantage. The statistics are real, they just don't mean that men are disadvantaged as a whole.


>If you follow the statistics you should not start a business or go to college[1].

Some statistics only talk about the average subject. If you assume you are not average, there might be a different statistically optimal path.


> Her response was that they had so much "male privilege" and that they have no excuse for underperforming. That, thus, they should still be _ahead_ of women, presumably, despite the goal being that they... shouldn't be. They need to pull themselves up from their bootstraps, and "man up", but we also must remember that "man up" is a problematic term that is part of "toxic masculinity".

That made absolutely no sense.


I just read it as "you need to break up with this woman yesterday."

My reading of it is that the commenter is interspersing things his partner said during that discussion with conflicting opinions that she expressed at other times. It’s unlikely that she stated all of these things in sequence.

I think it’s normal for people to hold some contradictory views. Our web of mental concepts may have a lot of nodes in it that resemble one another, but with different neighbors, that developed at different times in different contexts. Duplicate records lead to poor consistency!

It seems like the commenter, upon reflection, noticed this inconsistency and was bothered by it. But he has the EQ to realize that starting an argument over it is unproductive, so posted here under a throwaway to get some catharsis.


> For myself, these hard statistical realities have increasingly robbed me of the romantic impulse. Marriage to me now seems absurd. An empty, pyrrhic victory.

I don't follow why that is. Just because the world's fucked up doesn't mean exclusive devotion to another person doesn't have its romantic appeal.

There was some philosopher I was reading about the other day who posited that the "free love" crowd weren't really free because they were slaves to whims and circumstance. A truly free person, as I gather, is one who decides and acts independently of personal feelings and circumstance.

Ergo, if you don't want to give yourself to your partner, do it anyway. Not out of external obligation, but out of the commitment you decided to make to them. In that perspective, committing to lifelong unconditional love is one of the few victories we have over being mechanical cogs in a sensational machine.

What makes this even better, though, is when you're loving someone unconditionally, it's usually hard for them not to return some of that love sooner or later. So you build a gradual virtuous cycle. Someone's just gotta make the first move.


> Her response was that they had so much "male privilege" and that they have no excuse for underperforming. That, thus, they should still be _ahead_ of women, presumably, despite the goal being that they... shouldn't be.

I genuinely don't understand how someone can reconcile these in their head.


They aren't contradictory. One is an assessment of the currently perceived reality and one is a stated goal. The mindset is simply that we haven't reached the goal yet.

But the "currently perceived reality" (eg the fact that men are now behind in terms of college graduation) is exactly what you would see once you've reached the goal.

By saying "well, they were so far ahead they have no excuse to not be better anyway" you're basically saying that you will reject potential evidence that the goal has been reached.

Maybe I misunderstood the GF's point, but it just sounds like such a lack of empathy for people who face hardship for reasons that are specific to their individuality. It's like saying "poor men are too stupid to not be poor, they have no excuse to be poor".


You are making a different argument now that her perceived reality is not actual reality. You originally asked how someone could reconcile the two quoted ideas as if they were contradictory. I pointed out how they could coexist.

Regarding her perceived reality, we really need more information than college graduation rates, violent deaths, or any of the stats mentioned by OP. For example if every woman is graduating with an English degree and every man is graduating with a nuclear engineering degree, more women can be graduating and men can still have a much higher mean income among post college age people.

Whether the goal has been reached is clearly a matter of debate. It isn't unreasonable for some people to think we haven't reached it yet.


> You are making a different argument now that her perceived reality is not actual reality.

I never said that. I said that what she perceived as actual reality (she didn't seem to disagree with all the points brought up by her partner) should be seen as evidence that maybe the goal has been reached at least in some domains. However, she seems to just brush it off and instead say that these evidence that the goal may have been reached are anomalies since the goal has not been reached.

As for income disparities, as long as women are not prevented from graduating with nuclear engineering degrees and men are not prevented from studying English, I don't think equality of outcome is interesting. As long as equality of opportunity is achieved.

Anyway, not gonna die on that hill :-)


>I said that what she perceived as actual reality (she didn't seem to disagree with all the points brought up by her partner) should be seen as evidence that maybe the goal has been reached at least in some domains.

You didn't say that in you original comment. Maybe that was your intent, but it didn't come across due to the specific portions of the original comment you quoted.

>As for income disparities, as long as women are not prevented from graduating with nuclear engineering degrees and men are not prevented from studying English, I don't think equality of outcome is interesting. As long as equality of opportunity is achieved.

More women graduating from college is not evidence of "equality of opportunity" because the opportunity people are advocating for is some combination of self-determination and a good quality of life that are near impossible to measure. They end goal is not college graduation. No one here is advocating for "equality of outcome".


Replace gender with race and some voting/political patterns become obvious.

> Just as most of the new income generated by later periods of economic liberalization go to the top 20%, so it is with the sexual market.

I don't even know what this means. What is "the new income" in "the sexual market"? What is "the top 20%" ? How does "income" "go to" any particular percentile in "the sexual market" ?


OP means that the top 20% of men are getting all of the attention in the dating market. it's a well known fact at this point. i think the numbers largely come from dating apps but they reflect real life pretty well (from my anecdotal experience)

OKCupid used to have a post of sort of barebones statistical analysis of what men considered "average" versus women's outlook. It was ... enlightening.

That's a classic post from their defunct blog. Another one is Black women and Asian men are the least messaged.

This would imply that the "bottom" 80% of men are not finding partners. When we look around at the world, either anecdotally or statistically, do we see 80% of men without partners? Not even close.


I would suggest that just as we shouldn’t consider Twitter or Facebook as representative of the real world, the same should be applied to dating apps.

These issues are far more serious than is known and commenters saying “too bad, you don’t deserve to date someone” really don’t understand how ineffective this approach is. You can’t just shame tens of thousands of men into accepting a substandard life.

Disclaimer: I am not making any ethical judgments here, just observing.

This problem didn’t really exist before for three reasons.

One, widespread access to prostitution and its social acceptability. Reading books from earlier centuries, it’s noticeable how common this was and how little anyone seemed to be socially stigmatized by going to a brothel.

Two, enforced monogamy. Our current culture is centered on removing restrictions. And as with every market, removing the restrictions on sexual access means the top players get more “resources” while the bottom get none. Monogamy was historically the solution to this.

Three, the primary model of marriage being one of love or connection, and not of uniting families, having children, or passing on property. This, combined with our consumeristic society, leads people to always assume that a better option is available. Add easy divorce laws and Tinder, and the incentives for trying to work out any problems (or even get into a relationship in the first place) are nearly nonexistent.

It really doesn’t seem like the culture is going to accept enforcing monogamy (2) or restrictions on divorce (3), but it does seem like (1) might be legalized at some point. Personally, that seems something of a dystopian solution to the problem, but that’s just me.


As someone living in a country where prostitution is legal I have a hard time seeing how your argument goes from that to dystopia. It's heavily regulated and controlled, which is better than people doing it anyway without any oversight and the safeties from that.

And even aside from that I don't see a problem with it, of course as long as it's 100% consensual. Maybe I'm missing some obvious problem, but the thing currently driving my country towards a dystopian society is mainly growing corruption with shrinking consequences as well as ignorance, not people choosing what to do with their bodies.


I think the dystopia part comes in if a particular male's only chance for a sexual relationship is via prostitution. That seems pretty dystopian to me.

Can I ask why? I mean it sucks if someone can't get laid without paying but isn't the alternative where they never get to have sex worse?

Because "dystopia" doesn't necessarily mean the exact worst of all possible worlds.

Yes, it would be better than "never getting to have sex at all", but it would still be a pretty unfortunate situation to be in for a lot of people.


It means they don't get children.

Ah, I can see that. Although a part of this might also be the social stigma attached to the whole thing.

On the flipside I've read somewhere about e.g. the Dutch government acknowledging sex as human desire to a point they pay it for some people with permanent disabilities, kind of as a form of therapy. I guess you could call that dystopian in a sense, I'd say it's much less so than people literally dying from a lack of accessible healthcare. But that's another can of worms.


Just out of curiosity, which country are you describing?

I can't speak on their behalf, but it sounds like a pretty accurate description of both Australia and New Zealand to me.

As someone living in NZ, I had thought the same in the beginning, until they mentioned corruption being a problem. I'm not saying it doesn't exist here at all, but it's so low it's on the bottom of the list of problems this country has

My guess was Germany.

The issue here is that the idea of “100% consensual” is 100% unrealistic. If working as a prostitute is acceptable and pays 10x the average salary, living costs adjust in reaction, then what is consensual about this?

Allowing unhealthy or undesirable behaviors to be economically lucrative doesn’t make them ethically good. To me, the scenario is dystopian because it’s saying we are incapable of managing our own desires to the benefit of society, and instead must (economically) force young women into selling their bodies en masse. Instead of having healthy relationships as the baseline, we just choose the easy option.

Adding to that, prostitution is tied up with human trafficking and lots of other horrible things that have nothing to do with individuals choosing what to do with their bodies.


Are you equally concerned with how many men are (economically) forced into selling their bodies for construction (and other physically taxing) jobs en masse?

If working as a porn actress/actor is acceptable and pays 10x the average salary, then what is consensual about this?

You could say the same here, almost exact same profession other than a more limited pool of partners in exchange for less privacy. What do you say to the nurse in the US who was fired from her job and center of public outrage because as a nurse she got paid so little she decided to make extra money on OnlyFans? Where do you draw the line between this, which is legal, and prostitution?

> prostitution is tied up with human trafficking and lots of other horrible things

You think when prostitution is illegal this problem is nonexistent? Epstein ring any bells? You can have prostitution and still fight human trafficking.


OnlyFans is exactly the sort of thing I had in mind. Maybe it’s an unpopular opinion, but I see its popularity as being indicative of deep moral decline.

Edit: Why do people downvote a comment seconds after it’s been posted? It’s absurd and immature. Leave that behavior back on Reddit, thanks.


> I see its popularity as being indicative of deep moral decline.

The behaviour of people didn't change, OnlyFans just gives them a simpler way for compensation. It's not the first of its kind, it just has more publicity than others.

In terms of moral decline I'm not sure what you mean. Unless you confuse morality with religious faith(some religious people like to equate the two) it's been a better time for morality than almost any other time in the history of humanity.


> Allowing unhealthy or undesirable behaviors to be economically lucrative doesn’t make them ethically good.

You're pre-supposing that prostitution is unhealthy or undesirable. Isn't that exactly the stigmatising attitude that makes it "dystopian"?


Enforced monogamy and limited movement curbed the expression of the disposable male pattern in cultures, but with the introduction of dating apps, easy physical transport, increasing domination of financial resources by the few, and cultural lauding of "single life" (it drives so much consumption in consumer culture) implies it is coming back.

I would also like to say that dating culture is evolving at lightspeed right now, and as cultural reflections of internet data enter the overall "pop culture consciousness", then dating culture will shift. In the years I used online dating it went from "closet backchannel" for dating to the primary means of mate seeking, and entire apps are coming into popularity based on different game theory rules applied to the process in short amounts of time.

I'd hazard a guess that the evolution is happening as quickly as internet advertising techniques hit a hot streak for about 1-2 years before everyone collectively catches on and they don't work anyore.


The whole business about "top players getting more resources" is driving me a bit wild; as if there's an epidemic of "Chads each getting multiple Staceys" (in incel-speak). What seems to be more likely - based on the age charts in TFA - is that at the margins (excluding the large portion of people married or partnered relatively quickly and stably) there tends to be an age gap among those playing the fields.

Early 20 year old men might want women their age, but those women have a dating pool that includes men from age 20-35, and so on.


And then when you look at the other end of the age distribution in those diagrams, you have a lot of women over 65 going without, AFAICS mainly because the older men they've partnered with are dead already.

Technically / logically / mathematically, the solution seems blindingly obvious: Women as a group could help not only (younger) men as a group, but themselves (later in life) too, simply by selecting their partners more from their own age range.


Technically, 20 year old men could also date women over 65.

Sure. But that would require women over 65 to date 20-year-old men. Idunno...

"You can’t just shame tens of thousands of men into accepting a substandard life."

I would challenge the "substandard life" assertion, as it's a framing issue.

The biological need for sex is indeed great, I won't argue that point - but I don't believe that lacking sex necessarily makes a life substandard.

In all fairness, it is extremely difficult to re-frame something so primal, but I think a stronger focus on acceptance of the world and healthier views of one's capacity to influence it would be a prime candidate for reducing the harm of the incel mindset.

Getting there in any practical manner, of course, is... probably not gonna happen.


There are many variations of standards of life. Some are objectively better than others. Compare a wealthy person to someone whose standard of life was so bad they froze to death on the streets in winter, due to homelessness.

There are many factors that affect standards of life, including e.g. having a shelter or not, etc. Other factors make less of a difference to the standard, e.g. access to education. This is all obvious and should go without saying. What you're trying to say is that 'having sex or not' is not a factor that affects the standards of life, but I think it quite obviously is one as well.


I agree for the "hard" needs that are, quite literally, as universal as can be imagined. Sex, however, is not one of those. The very existence of asexual individuals who live out a long and happy life is a testament to this.

There are no a-shelter, a-money, etc., individuals who simply do not need those things. There are people without those things, yes - and I agree that their existence is objectively worse off for it.

Sex, on the other hand, can be entirely absent from a person's life and not necessarily impact it.

So I don't think I accept your assertion that sex is objectively a necessity for a high standard of life. It currently behaves as one, because we generally accept that it's desired so deeply by so many that it qualifies as a need - and for the most part, that might well be true. But there is still the case to be made that "having sex or not" is only as much of an impact on one's standard of living as one's worldview dictates. This is not true of other "hard" needs, as pointed out before. Ie: My philosophy on sex can yield an asexual, long, healthy, and happy life, but my philosophy on shelter cannot lead to a homeless long, health, and happy life. (Happy is debatable, sure.)


> Personally, that seems something of a dystopian solution to the problem

It's the one with the fewer externalities. Forcing an unhappy couple to stay together can traumatize children, produce widespread violence (another one of those things that were kinda just "accepted" in the past), and even end up in murder.

It would be much more dystopian to force women into distributing sex equally, surely?


These aren’t either or situations. Acting as if the only options are an abusive marriage or prostitution is really misleading.

There are plenty of ways to incentivize monogamy, disincentivize divorce, and yet still allow for individual freedom.

Why haven’t these been tested? I’ll suggest because like all movements, the gender equality movement has been driven largely by extremist activists (who gain social power) and corporations (who gain more workers and consumers), not by average people.


> Why haven’t these been tested?

Have they not? Marriage is widely incentivized in most societies. The UK reality at the moment, for example, heavily punishes singles: the housing markets optimizes for two incomes, pricing out singles; the taxing system favours spreading income over two individuals; and you have plenty of other marriage-related allowances. I'd be surprised if this was significantly different in the US.

The reality is that, as soon as you give people the choice, a good chunk of them will take it.


I wouldn’t say that it’s incentivized at all. Weddings are expensive, divorces are financially disastrous (yet easy to initiate), and a sizable segment of the population thinks the idea of marriage is “uncool”, for lack of a better word. Things like adultery are nearly outright encouraged in Netflix shows and novels.

It doesn’t surprise me at all that many people look at marriage as it currently stands and just say, no thanks. This goes against pretty much every society, historically.

https://www.ranker.com/list/best-tv-shows-about-cheating/ran...


We spent around $700 on our wedding. Front yard ceremony, $150-200 for the justice of the peace, trays of food from the local BBQ place, more wine, beer, and drinks than our 25 or so closest friends could consume.

Getting married isn't inherently expensive. People make it so because an entire industry is optimized around convincing you to spend more on a dress than we spent on an entire wedding.


Weddings are expensive because historically they were seen as extremely important. This is observable in almost every culture and predates modern consumer culture.

Culture also instills in girls and young women that it must be their perfect day. Family obligations and expectations can add more pressure.

You didn't have a friend do the internet church thing to become an officiant? Is that no longer possible?

It is a thing still here. The friend who we’d have asked to do that (and has done it before) was unable to attend our ceremony, so we just went down the city’s list and picked someone.

I fear that words like "easy" or "expensive" in this realm are difficult to evaluate objectively.

Weddings, for example, are not expensive, if you consider them as a bureaucratic act: in most countries, it's just a few forms to fill him with minimal fees attached. However, if you impose on them oversized cultural expectations (which come from "netflix shows of the past"...) of white horses, diamonds, banquets and so on, then yeah, it's an expensive act. Maybe, if one wanted more weddings, one should support reducing some of these artificial obstacles...?

> a sizable segment of the population thinks the idea of marriage is “uncool”

That's always been true, as showed in literature of the past.


Comically, going from a one-income household to a two-income household to a three-income household to a ... one arrives at the flat tax.

> Why haven’t these been tested?

They were tested and perfected a hundred thousand years ago when humans were living in tribes. In a tribe shaming people for being polygamous was part of the system to keep some checks and balances. With people moving to cities and dating online, those checks and balances are suppressed, and the market balance shifted towards polygamy (few high value man date many women).


That doesn’t even follow logically. Pairing one man with one woman will remove one of each from circulation. With polygamy being more accepted means that basically noone gets removed from circulation, a women can have more than one partner, increasing chances...

Yeah, theoretically. But because of remaining cultural / social mores, women in general probably tend to be less polygamous than male "players" are. So in practice, "polygamy" turns out to be one man having many women much more than the other way around. Therefore a few "Chads" remove disproportionately many women from "the market", and you get many more male incels than female ones.

Well, then it’s unfortunately just a fact of life. I’m sure similar disproportionate mating chances are apparent in many species of animals between sexes as well and it may even serve an evolutionary goal that the stronger gets to pass their genetic lineup.

Either way, the answer is most definitely not viewing women as objects that should be forcefully attached to a male to have any value and other misogynistic shit that incels make up. I do get their frustrations, but it’s a downward spiral. Many of them could very well find a partner if he would actually believe that he is wanted. But even if he himself doubts that, how can he reasonably think that someone else will want to do anything with him? And at this point we are very close to mental health issues, most likely depression, but then that should be treated.


> may even serve an evolutionary goal that the stronger gets to pass their genetic lineup.

This explanation can be used to justify a lot of human behavior, including genocide.


I didn’t attribute any sort of moral value to said thing, but it is a biological fact.

And as a society we should overcome these biological “laws”, or at least what we find immoral. Like healing and caring for weak/ill children, etc.

But I don’t see any solution to this problem that would not infringe on women’s freedom, which should be upheld even at the huge price psychological harm of a few. And attributing this harm to women should similarly be condemned, because one gender having biologically favorable chances of mating is a fact just as much as males having more muscle mass on average.


How do you know if what women find attractive is a result of societal pressure or freedom? Again, do you think women's extreme racial "preferences" in dating are a result of freedom because men of some races are far less attractive and the women are just serving "an evolutionary goal that the stronger gets to pass their genetic lineup"? How do you know society isn't also influencing many other characteristics? Do you think the average 4'6 Cameroon Pygmy is just as attractive as the average US white guy, or are the Pygmy men just "biologically inferior"?

I've just replied to another comment of yours, where I may have cleared up some things.

I don't believe for a moment that racial "preferences" are a result of some personal freedom without being influenced by culture. But women don't live in a women society, it is shaped by both men and women. My problem is with the framing/blaming of women. And racism is in every culture, interracial couples are looked down in most countries. There is improvements, but it is a slow process. One can hardly change personal views ingrained throughout decades, and it does gets passed down from parents, though hopefully less and less.

And the important thing is regardless of the source of her preference, at the end of the day it is a given women's inalienable choice who she finds attractive -- even if it is not "fair".


Why don't I see almost any feminists fighting against this? Instead they are some of the most racist and hateful people in my experience.

> And the important thing is regardless of the source of her preference, at the end of the day it is a given women's inalienable choice who she finds attractive -- even if it is not "fair".

Sure, but shouldn't they be taking responsibility and criticized heavily on a societal level, I don't see that happening much.


I haven’t studied the anthropology, but is it true that people in tribal societies tend to be monogamous?

My thought is that enforced monogamy came with the invention of agriculture, and wasn’t really a thing in Hunter-gatherer societies, but I could be completely wrong about that.

If true though, the fact that most of us don’t work in agriculture any more could mean that we are in the midst of a sea change in relationships. I’m too old to say I’ll be around to see how it ends up, but some of the youngest here might be around to see it.


The usual statistic that we hear from people who study genes is that about half of the men are fathers to women. It's a significantly different statistic from OKCupid / Tinder matches, which is closer to 80-20, and the fact that less young men are having sex than before suggests that it translates to real life.

> It's the one with the fewer externalities. Forcing an unhappy couple to stay together can traumatize children, produce widespread violence (another one of those things that were kinda just "accepted" in the past), and even end up in murder.

Two-parent households is a very well studied subject. The outcomes for children are better in almost every category with few exceptions.

Splitting in an acrimonious marriage may be better for the parents, but the data says it’s worse for the children.


Monogamy appears to have been successfully enforced for just a brief period of 150 years after the industrial revolution. Studies that show that polygamy was rife before the industrial revolution and now the digital age seems to be bringing back poly relationships in a way.

> One, widespread access to prostitution and its social acceptability. Reading books from earlier centuries, it’s noticeable how common this was and how little anyone seemed to be socially stigmatized by going to a brothel.

uh, but:

> Two, enforced monogamy. Our current culture is centered on removing restrictions. And as with every market, removing the restrictions on sexual access means the top players get more “resources” while the bottom get none. Monogamy was historically the solution to this.

You do realize that the portrait of historical norms you present in these two paragraphs are diametrically opposed, right?


No, because they aren’t referring to the same groups. Prostitution was historically only acceptable for men, while women were forced to either have a husband or be celibate. At least, in terms of social acceptability.

Today, the restrictions have more or less been removed for both genders.

Again, not saying it “was better back then”, just pointing out what’s changed.


> Prostitution was historically only acceptable for men, while women were forced to either have a husband or be celibate.

I'm not certain about that. It also must depend on the culture. But I do remember ads that survived from ancient Rome for a certain well-reputed (male) cunnilingist.


As far as I know, male prostitution was rare globally and primarily used by other men. This was somewhat common in certain eras of Japan, but again, women were not widespread consumers.

The average man will go through a period of involuntary celibacy and I don’t believe this is a new thing but we’re now good at labeling. History shows that 80% of women reproduced compared to only 40% of men! https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/women-who-stray/2012... (Note not sure the primary source on this stat, but the general idea is that polygamy was once common leading to fewer men reproducing)

We’re doing much better than that today, but how were things through history when 60% of men were “incels”? (Generally lots of violence)

In the interim, the most restrictive religious social systems apportioned one man for one woman, held sex as a reward for marriage, and punished those that strayed outside of these lines. This achieved the objective of efficient coupling but I don’t think we would ever want to go back to those repressive systems that controlled women.


I know we joke about it a lot, but I think there's a serious case to be made that the Internet's ability to connect groups of previously unconnected people might end up literally ending humanity, or at least severely setting humanity back from a human rights standpoint.

"Incels" are one example of this that you're pointing out here, where a group of people who've always existed without name are now able to group together and create a feedback loop amongst themselves that results in literally mass murder.


> create a feedback loop amongst themselves that results in literally mass murder.

I dispute that causation. Mass murderers are extreme outliers that usually have identifiable mental problems, and I would say the primary cause of their behavior is those mental problems, not whatever particular thing they say triggered them. Also, even if you did show that a certain ideological group was significantly overrepresented among mass murderers, you would have to rule out the other methods of causation (e.g. this guy is a loner because of various problems, and he joined this group of loners because they welcomed him—doesn't mean the group caused him to go commit the murders, and in fact it's conceivable that being in the group reduces the likelihood of the potential murderers actually going and doing it).


I think the internet can act like an insulating force and for certain people a viscous feedback loop. Like it’s far more easy for certain types of personalities to call themselves “incel” and whine about it on the internet than get out of their bubble and talk to people. The insularly force is clearly amplifying other communities so this is probably “just another” instantiation of the same effect.

Edit-I don’t know the best way to exit this problem. But I’d probably start with telling the disparate groups that their positions are not so abnormal and maybe they would be happier focusing on other things-like hobbies that require time offline. Have your “incel” days and have days you force yourself to do something, anything else than think that.


As for a “solution”: I think social media should focus on instead of creating echo bubbles to connect distinct groups. Even in in-person, it is unhealthy to surround ourselves with same-minded people, and one should strive diverse circles in terms of opinion/background.

Reminds me of a case here in Sweden where a father was found guilty of attempted murder of his half year old child. Just hours before the attempt he had been at the hospital begging to be committed since he was hearing voices and he was scared that he might hurt someone, but the beds was full so he was sent home.

Healthcare for mental health is still very much underdeveloped, especially when the patient is male. It is just easier to blame the individual.


I think that's an extremely interesting take -- that with the advent of the Internet, we've created a vehicle for mental illness to metastasize, and the only real solution is to treat mental illness like we treat malaria or even COVID, and upgrade our global healthcare systems to handle the influx of this "new" disease variant.

The analogy breaks down when you start to try and think of what our "vaccine" might be, though perhaps education can be a rough proxy. It's also possible there's nothing we can do, and we've reached a spread that is incurable...


Except that it doesn’t spread that way? And that it had always been around. We have just started paying attention to it.

Maybe we notice it more because we're paying more attention to it... Or maybe because there actually is more of it, since it now can be transmitted more efficiently -- has become "contagious" in a way it wasn't before. Hard to tell which it is.

New forms of mass communication can certainly create political instability. The connection between the rise of Nazi Germany and the increasing widespread radios in everyone's homes is an interesting link (1)

(1) https://daily.jstor.org/an-affordable-radio-brought-nazi-pro...


Ironically, I think the internet's connection is causing the problem on both ends of the phenomenon.

Dating apps allow women to expand their dating pool to people they would never encounter in everyday life. I have quite a few female friends and I've been around them while they're swiping around and they are absolutely brutal in a way that's not at all malicious.

Then the regular (male) losers in that system can then all commiserate on 4Chan.

I think a smaller dating pool forced women to give men who _seemed_ less ideal matches a chance and resulted in more successful relationships.

I suspect that both men and women don't have any idea what would actually make a good relationship but they have a "type" that they like. With a limited pool, you could work through everyone of your type in a reasonable time frame. With a larger pool, it can take forever.


> I have quite a few female friends and I've been around them while they're swiping around and they are absolutely brutal in a way that's not at all malicious.

Depends on how you define "malicious", doesn't it?


I just mean that they're saying "no" to the slightest thing. And, really, they have to do that for time purposes. It's just kind of shocking how selective they can be and still be successful.

"History shows that 80% of women reproduced compared to only 40% of men!"

That doesn't necessarily imply polygamy, and it doesn't necessarily imply "incels". Imagine a society in which women get married at age 16 and typically die during childbirth before they reach the age of 32, and men get married at age 32, if they live that long, which most of them don't, and then get married again when the first wife dies during childbirth. I'm not saying that's how it was, but some societies were a bit like that and I think you could probably get the 80% and 40% numbers with a set-up something like that.


Women have lived longer than men throughout most of history and in basically every society, so your theory doesn't hold. Childbirth was dangerous but men's work was even more dangerous.

Citation needed. A quick Google search on life expectancy during the middle ages tells me that men lived longer than women.

Where do you see that? Every result from my quick searching is listing women as longer than men. Example: https://www.purplemotes.net/2015/08/23/medieval-life-expecta...


The ratio of older women to men: historical perspectives and cross-national comparisons

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10902048/

This paper seems to disagree heavily with you.


Just going by the abstract that you linked, that study seems to only relate to the past 100 years.

And extrapolating this to the middle ages and earlier:

In general, countries with a lower overall life expectancy had a lower number of women per 100 men aged 75+, while countries with higher overall life expectancy had a higher female to male ratio in this age group. A hundred years ago there were nearly equal numbers of women and men aged 75+ in many countries.

It doesn't seem to disagree with me at all.


"making it to adulthood" is different than "living longer"

There are A LOT of claims itt, and not nearly enough sources for any of it.

It feels like you're right, but what "feels right" turns out to be wrong pretty often.


War is probably a big factor too. I don't know what the average or minimum age of all those soldiers standing in the lines of medieval battlefields all the way to say, the Civil War era, but I imagine quite a few were virgins and casualties were brutal.

Off topic, but such archaic means of warfare still confound me. Imagine being some 16 year old kid standing in the front line facing charging armored knights in the Middle Ages. Or staring across from another line of musket/riflemen and being expected to eat a volley of musket balls while standing straight and unmoving.


I think that you have a good point, there’s other factors that could contribute to the stats. We have seen that war can throw demographics out of balance even in modern times, such as Russia after WWII.

Sure, but the most powerful men today practise polygamy, so it's pretty likely that has been going on throughout history as well.

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You made me really angry with this comment.. really do hope you are “joking”, but I’m not sure at all based on this thread.

> > I don’t think we would ever want to go back to those repressive systems that controlled women. > Why not?

Because they are human?


Essentially, what we have right now in the sexual marketplace echoes what we have in the economy... a lot of the sex is being had by a small fraction of the people. The need for sex is perhaps as high as the need for money but nobody talks about this crushing inequality, perhaps because there is no practical way to “tax and redistribute” sex. The problem is worse for men since a man needs a certain set of skills and traits to get casual sex, but is probably equally bad for the genders in terms of finding long term relationships.

When social norms dictated that you must be married to have sex, every woman and man paired off and got to have sex, however low quality and in however unhappy of a marriage. I’m not sure this world is an improvement.


> there is no practical way to “tax and redistribute” sex.

But there is a way to improve supply: give dignity to prostitution.


Physical sex is not intimacy.

Sex work leads to some very strange dynamics, because often the Johns are desperate for intimacy, but they are paying for women that provide zero actual intimacy (because it is usually entirely faked.) I am sure there is some ideal world where prostitution could satisfy emotional needs, but in my admittedly very limited knowledge it doesn't.

Prostitution has been legal in my country since 2003, however it is still stigmatised for both men and women (at least for my demographic, and I haven't noticed any difference for other demographics.)


This.

I sometimes walk by the red light district.

One time I seriously considered having sex with a sex worker.

I talked to multiple of them to find a click and I was appalled by all my interaction.

I realized that I wanted intimacy leading into sex.

What they offered: strictly penetrative sex and nothing else.

As I got older, another issue arose: to what extent is intimacy actual intimacy when you are paying for it?

Intimacy implies someone caring about you and you caring about him/her. That suddenly means it has an ethical component of idealism attached to it.

For me anyways.


I've made the plunge and become a "John" a few times now, always in other countries where sex work is either legal or tolerated/quasi-legal.

I must say the experience varied a lot. About half were mechanical and just felt like they were trying to get my money. That feels pretty hollow.

But I've also had some really great experiences where I felt like we had a genuine connection. I grant that this is not "real" intimacy in the sense of "they care for you", but it did feel something like chemistry or attraction.

And finally I have not tried this but have read enough anecdotes suggesting that you can get intimacy while paying in good sugar daddy-sugar babe relationships. That won't be cheap though.


I've finished my 2nd viewing of Blade Runner:2049; the replicant K buys an AI(-ish) holographic program that presents itself as a beautiful, loving wife, her name is Joi. Think about that, robots buying robot love (I know it's a movie, work with me.) Comes the turning point, they have to run. Joi has been a constant companion to K all this time, if the bad guys get access to her "memories", they have access to everything K ever did, saw, everywhere he went. You have to destroy the console, she said. But that means if anything happens to the remote, you'd be destroyed, gone forever, he said. Break the antenna too, she said.

On first watch, I thought, awww, semi-sentient AI fumbling toward love. On second watch, I thought, there's nothing here that replicant K doesn't want. He wants to destroy the console. He wants to destroy the antenna. That it came from her voice doesn't change that, especially not when the advert for Joi - a Wallace product - is "Everything you want to see, everything you want to hear." There's no AI in love, there's only K, has been all along. Joi is an extremely well-adapted product.


There exists sex work which in places like Japan where the experience is flirting with girls or cuddling. I haven't tried the cuddling thing but I did go to a few girl bars where you pay an expensive cover fee to get in but the bartenders are all pretty girls who will flirt with you.

My assumption was that the experience would somehow be cheapened because I was paying for it, but that wasn't the case. I came to the conclusion that my limbic system doesn't really know the difference.

Maybe I got lucky. A similar experience could have felt pretty bad if the girl was clearly only trying to get tips, but in this case it worked out.


I can't speak for Japan, but in Thailand, Philippines etc. the intent of such girls is to find a long term partner and settle down.

That doesn't work out as well as it sounds. Unsuprisingly, the amount of women willing to have sex with strangers for money is relatively low. Studies have shown that legalizing prostitution increases the rate of human trafficking to meet the greater demand.

https://orgs.law.harvard.edu/lids/2014/06/12/does-legalized-...


That's a function of massive income inequality across countries, though. Fix that, and the incentive for trafficking disappears.

Let's start with the assumption that we will have to solve this problem while under the constraints of actual reality.

Are you saying that massive economic inequality is a-OK...?

These are all big problems we ain't gonna fix in 5 years or 10.


It's clear that they were pointing out exactly what you're getting at in your second sentence: any solution that that depends on solving global income inequality is practically impossible over any reasonable timeline, and therefore not worth much discussion.

But fixing income inequality would presumably reduce the number of women willing to sell sex, so you're back to square 1.

Fixing income inequality creates more opportunities to perform activities, which leads to more socialization leading to more potential romantic encounters. Hard to think about a spouse when you're making $8/hr but spending 33% of your life behind a counter.

I also wager a portion of the people who feel they "need but can't get sex" may also learn that what they desired wasn't what they actually cared that much about.

In this regard, I guess one can argue that prostitution is a crutch to a much larger problem that may never truly be solved.


Do you think lower income people have less sex?

In the grand scheme of the world definition of lower income, no. I haven't looked too deeply into it, but apparently 3rd world countries have as much or more sex, but have less access to birth control.

In the context of "first world lower income", I'd wager there's a loose correlation. i.e the incel movement is one mostly formed from a frustrated lower-middle/middle class (which in the world context, means many americans for the sake of discussion). Another comment in this post heard something similar as well: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=27041400

I'd be interested in any studies that disprove this notion. I'll admit most of this comment is conjecture.


That also depends on other factors. When being a prostitute means being a criminal, obviously it's not desirable.

I don't think it's income inequality. It's legality-of-prostitution inequality. That is, the traffickers decided to move their operations from countries where prostitution was illegal to countries where it's legal, because, all else being equal, it's easier to operate in the latter. The link doesn't claim that the total amount of trafficking increased, and the quoted results don't favor the "net increase" hypothesis over the "movement" hypothesis.

The movie Her is prophetic. The way to improve supply is with sex robots.

This will not provide for the psychological need to be valued and wanted by another human being.

Solving half of the problem is still better than solving nothing.

>> But there is a way to improve supply: give dignity to prostitution.

Better yet, guys need to learn to be the kind of man women want to fvck. They're not obligated and attraction is non-negotiable. Reality can be harsh. Guys need to treat themselves with dignity and put themselves together.


The problem is that teaching men to become the kind of men that women want to fuck generates pretty toxic men if there isn’t anything beyond the “fuck.“ I really do believe the old model, where you taught men to be the kind of men that women want to marry, is fundamentally different even though sex and marriage are closely related. A 18-21 year old woman looking for a man to spend the rest of her life with is going to look at a broader set of criteria, and thus incentivize a broader set of achievements by men, than a woman looking to just spend the next hour with a guy. Being the kind of guy who women want to marry, so that you have the broadest choice of women to marry, requires some effort towards the criteria for sexual desirability: muscles, grooming, etc., but also things like having a good reputation in the community, having a good job, being perceived as one who would be a good father, etc.

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I’m not talking about 18-21 year old women now, I’m talking about those who got married when extramarital sex was taboo. The best place I’ve seen to hear about how they chose their spouse is a radio site called StoryCorps.

People (especially young people) make those decisions based on impulse and emotion, then rationalize after the fact. You can't believe the explanations they give. Most people just say what they think they're supposed to say, or what they think would please the interviewer.

One piece of concrete data is that a huge fraction of people in US cities 100 years ago married people who lived in their same block, and a substantial fraction in their same apartment building. That’s evidence of a different approach to mating.

I think this is a good thought. My own religion gave me some direction for how to become to type of man women want, but it did leave something to be desired. And then upon searching for this sort of direction later in life while trying to improve my own relationships I stumbled upon the "red pill" communities. There's a lot of nuance to these communities as well. They tell men that you can become the type of man that women want, and they give you a roadmap to do so (work on your personality, lift weights, take care of yourself, take care of your life) but unfortunately these communities also come with some ideas that range from strange to downright misogynistic.

I think there's room for some down to earth, responsible men to try and fill this space. Right now the "teach young men how to be" space is mostly filled with misogyny and terrible pick up artists.


    I think there's room for some down to earth, 
    responsible men to try and fill this space. 
    Right now the "teach young men how to be" 
    space is mostly filled with misogyny and 
    terrible pick up artists. 
Goodness yes. The PUA and red pill communities have absolutely poisoned this space and, at least in America, it's impossible to see how a healthy alternative could even take root. I know that if one sprang up, my first reaction would be to lump it in with the toxic crap and never give it a second look.

It's a shame because there is absolutely a need for this.


>> The PUA and red pill communities have absolutely poisoned this space

I think the PUA has poisoned the space. TRP concepts I find quite good taken as a whole, but a lot of guys are focused on the wrong things for the wrong reasons. At its core, TRP says to put yourself together and everything else will follow, but the everything else is NOT suppose to be your goal. Some of the ideas there like AWALT are toxic when taken literally (as many do) but the point is that as human animals everyone has the potential to be or do certain things. Same for many of the other tenets of it. As one guy said, TRP is a map but not the territory.

But I agree a lot of folks miss the big picture of TRP and get lost. Much like reading NMMNG sometimes produces narcissistic a-holes instead of better people.


    TRP concepts I find quite good taken as a whole

    [...]

    At its core, TRP says to put yourself together and 
    everything else will follow, but the everything else 
    is NOT suppose to be your goal. 

    Some of the ideas there like AWALT are toxic when 
    taken literally
Is https://www.reddit.com/r/TheRedPill/ ("The official subreddit of TRP.RED") representative of the TRP community?

I'm not asking that facetiously. Sometimes an online forum, official or no, is not an accurate representation of a community as a whole.

Anyway, if it is an accurate representation, I would not describe TRP concepts as "good taken as a whole." The vast majority of top-voted posts are super explicitly sexist: https://www.reddit.com/r/TheRedPill/top/

    Some of the ideas there like AWALT [All Women Are Like That]
Based on what I am seeing, the sexist stuff is not just like, a regrettable undercurrent in an otherwise-helpful self help forum. I mean, it's kind of infused into everything there.

I would most certainly agree with the "get your shit together" elements of TRP, at least. And while I wouldn't be bold enough to call stoicism the one true way, there's a strong stoic aspect to TRP thought and that's generally how I roll. However, that's not some kind of unique TRP concept and there's no real reason to turn to TRP for it unless you really require your stoicism to have a heavy dose of toxic sexism.


goes back to the author's statements:

>there’s a vast difference between a person who believes the stated beliefs of a group as opposed to a person who holds membership in a group as a defining part of their identity. Imagining a conversation with someone who generically believes women should be treated well is a much different experience than imagining the same conversation with person who boldly declares themselves a feminist; the same is true for what you’d expect from a talk with an MRA.

Always seems to come down to good intentions, bad actors that make such "identities" dangerous. Even if it's an otherwise honest person that just wants some self-help advice.


Also seems to come down to identifying oneself with / as... Well, anything. Maybe hanging one's whole identity on something is a sign that one is obsessing too much about that one thing; "Nobody is just one thing".

(Hmm, I think I just got more of a handle on what it is that makes me uncomfortable with "identity politics".)


Did you even read the article? We are discussing this topic from a sympathetic standpoint. Sure, the idea of "destigmatize prostitution" is an over simplified magic bullet, but so is your response. And their point would probably do more towards alleviating the problem than yours honestly. You're basically saying "want to solve the problem? That's easy: solve the problem."

Different people want different things. Prostitutes want money. Maybe "being the kind of man women want to fuck" includes being the kind of man prostitutes want to fuck, that is, being willing to give them money for sex.

The problem we are discussing is that some people aren't desirable for some reason they don't know how to do something about. Reality is harsh, that's why in order to get to the bottom of it you need more nuance. A lot of men out there want you to draw them a picture with crayons that depicts what "put themselves together" means. If they knew what it meant they'd do it in a heartbeat. Now the one thing they don't understand, that's not necessarily a solution to their problems but would still help them understand, is that there's not a one size fits all crayon drawing of that it means. Absolute statements like yours and the one you're replying to don't help much if at all.


Did you even read my comment? I ended with "Guys need to treat themselves with dignity and put themselves together."

I don't think that includes paying for sex.

Also to your comment "Different people want different things. Prostitutes want money." That's not what prostitutes want, it's what they need from a practical point of view. When you're just trying to get by, you do things you don't want to do in order to get what you need. Now the higher end ones that make big money probably don't need it, but I don't claim to know what their motivations are.

"The problem we are discussing is that some people aren't desirable for some reason they don't know how to do something about."

That we can agree on. My point with the crude comment is to alert them to that fact. Most people don't want to change and will reject the idea that they need to. You gotta smack em with the idea pretty hard sometimes.


> Did you even read my comment? I ended with "Guys need to treat themselves with dignity and put themselves together."

> I don't think that includes paying for sex.

A) That's what you think. Who died and made you God if defining "dignity"?

B) You think that, in large part, because of the stigma associated with prostitution; attitudes like yours are what that stigma is.

C) That's why the original suggestion was to remove the stigma around prostitution. (If that could be done, then you possibly wouldn't be thinking the way you are now.)


It is arguably less effort to be financially successful and pay for the encounters you're interested in than change your self to meet someone else's ideal, which may or may not lead to said encounters.

> Essentially, what we have right now in the sexual marketplace echoes what we have in the economy... a lot of the sex is being had by a small fraction of the people.

(Emphasis mine)

Possibly. DNA analysis shows that for every 17 human females that reproduced, one male reproduced. Meaning that quite high rates of polygamy, rape, or other unbalancing factors were the norm in human history.

http://awakeningtimes.com/8000-years-ago-17-women-reproduced...

http://econintersect.com/pages/analysis/analysis.php?post=20... Figure 5


It makes sense for how tough life was 8000 years ago, I wonder what it was prior to ww1, and if that would be a useful comparison as well.


Respectfully, after reading the original paper, I agree with the findings of the authors. The last bit in the abstract puts their findings the best:

"In contrast to demographic reconstructions based on mtDNA, we infer a second strong bottleneck in Y-chromosome lineages dating to the last 10 ky. We hypothesize that this bottleneck is caused by cultural changes affecting variance of reproductive success among males."

Saying that the average man reproduces less than the average woman seems to fit the facts as presented in the paper. I've not read other papers that may refute that one though. This is not my area of expertise.


The extreme skew (1 male for every 17 females reproducing) is what's incorrect, not the average man having less reproductive success than the average woman.

Don't forget war. I imagine when two groups of humans whether it be two caveman tribes or two Napoleonic armies, massive numbers of young males were killed off.

There was some mating skew no doubt. But that number is total nonsense and the study does not show that.

I can understand why people think of these as "market problems," but I think this angle tends to loom larger than it actually is.

It's at its strongest in a 19 year old, "dorm room" context. These times mean a lot to people, but in practicality this is a short period of time at the end of adolescence. Overall in life, relationships are not generally like a market. There's no "50% of the girls shagged 50% of the guys" stuff to make it like one. Mostly people are in monogamous relationships. Discrepancies (in the article) are smaller and are from dating patterns between age brackets.

In any case, why analogize? Think of it as a culture. Dating culture. Marriage culture. Late 40s hookup culture. Whatever "failures" exist are cultural failures.

If it really was mostly a market situation, the market would clear.


>there is no practical way to “tax and redistribute” sex

This is part of the function of anti-bigamy laws and frowning upon promiscuity, is it not?


That's a cap (and supply restriction), not redistribution.

  “It's a fact...that in societies like ours sex truly represents a second system of differentiation, completely independent of money; and as a system of differentiation it functions just as mercilessly. The effects of these two systems are, furthermore, strictly equivalent. Just like unrestrained economic liberalism, and for similar reasons, sexual liberalism produces phenomena of absolute pauperization . Some men make love every day; others five or six times in their life, or never. Some make love with dozens of women; others with none. It's what's known as 'the law of the market'...Economic liberalism is an extension of the domain of the struggle, its extension to all ages and all classes of society. Sexual liberalism is likewise an extension of the domain of the struggle, its extension to all ages and all classes of society.”
― Michel Houellebecq, Extension du domaine de la lutte

Robin Hanson has also compares sex and income distribution:

https://www.overcomingbias.com/2018/06/comparing-income-sex-...


This is a really interesting perspective. Thank you for posting it. The author also neatly outlines why it's so hard to talk about controversial stuff nowadays.

> Most who expressed outrage at my post, even most in the mass media, did not offer counter-arguments to my analogy.

> They were instead content to identify me with sex-poor people today willing to do or sympathize with violence in order to advocate for sex redistribution.

> Such ‘incel’ advocates were said to be personally deeply icky, and therefore so also were any policies they advocate, and also anyone like me who did not attack they and their policies immediately with extreme prejudice.


Love seeing a better thinker and writer state my opinion so much better.

I would argue that recent switches to a "pick up style" of dating app (e.g. Tindr) exacerbates this problem.

For sure. Most heterosexual women would prefer sex every 10 days with a very sexually appealing man who is having sex with 9 other women than having sex every day with an average-looking exclusive Schlub. The latter was their life under the proscription of extramarital sex but Tinder allows them the former.

Is there a research study on this? I'm not sure I buy into the Don Juan hypothesis.

The numbers in the article itself state that more 18-29 year old women than men are having sex. Excluding gay sex this implies the “Don Juan hypothesis” as you call it.

Not necessarily -- it could just as well imply that 19-29 year old women are having entirely-monogamous sex with men outside (hopefully above) the 18-29 range.

Also, that 18-29 chart is about people looking for a relationship. The data about actually-having-sex [1] used different age ranges, breaking up 18-24 and 25-34. It shows a spike of no-sex in 18-24 men, which evens out with women once they're into the 25-35 range. The article didn't use the handy graph in figure 1 from the study which was quite informative: [2]

[1]: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle...

[2]: https://cdn.jamanetwork.com/ama/content_public/journal/jaman...


This is accurate. When I was 18-24 life sucked, because all the younger women were still in high school, and almost all of the women my own age were hooking up with older guys. The sweet spot for men starts around the late 20s.

My hypothesis is that this is because of a pretty significant gap in EQ and maturity between young men and women. Also women’s prime reproductive years (physically) are from late teens to early 30s. Men’s prime years to be able to support their partners is usually starting around 30s. Makes sense when you think of it like that.


Your idea doesn't make sense since women report higher sexual partners than men in ALL age groups in the figure you linked,

No they don't. In every age group there's more men than women in the 2 and >3 partners categories, while women are visibly ahead in the 1 partner category.

Based purely on that figure, we can reasonably say that after age 18-24 men and women are about as likely to have had sex with at least one person in the last year (within the error bars of each other), with men being more likely to have had sex with more than one person in the last year.


Right, but if the 18-24 women are having sex with older men and the numbers in the older group are equal, there are more men who will be having sex with more than one woman than the inverse, or the numbers wouldn’t balance.

cannot be upvoted enough.

Not if you take into account people having sex with large age disparities.

> what we have right now in the sexual marketplace echoes what we have in the economy...

It’s an economy of sorts (age, looks, height), but it also follows the financial security aspect. Inequality creates a class of people that hoard desirable traits

> When social norms dictated that you must be married to have sex, every woman and man paired off and got to have sex, however low quality and in however unhappy of a marriage

Might we see a return to conservative values here?


The problem is this bizarre set of expectations that's sprung up with some folks. Sex isn't equal. It never has been. It never will be. Think about it for real for a minute.

You can say the same about wealth, or height, or anything, that doesn’t change the fact that the people who don’t have any want some.

Let this be the moment when the pendulum began to swing back in the conservative direction. Conservatives get a lot of things wrong but not all of it.

Free markets are best, except for sex. IOW, capitalist in the streets, communist in the sheets?

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