How does preselection, prioritizing sex, and fantasy affect how we approach the mating process?
Readership: Christian Men
Author’s Note: The topic of this post received some input from Jack.
Length: 2,700 words
Reading Time: 9 minutes
The Christian Conundrum and the Christian Marriage Dilemma spelled out the difficult situation that Christian men find themselves today. In this post, I want to go over a few assumptions that have been put forth previously, in order to set the stage for the options that have been offered in previous posts listed here.
- Σ Frame (NovaSeeker): Constructing a Framework of Options (2021 March 15)
- Σ Frame (Jack): Strategies for the Iterated Prisoners’ Dilemma (2021 March 17)
- Σ Frame (Jack): More on the Framework of Options (2021 March 22)
On the Ethics of Preselection
In a previous post, The Centrality of Sex in Western Culture (2021 February 8), I wrote about how women filter men in regard to their sexual acumen.
“Jim also states, quite accurately, that there are almost no men that can balance the alpha and beta roles successfully, either before or after marriage. The few men who can be both are the rare exceptions, because they must be both in a way that is credible to a specific woman. Women’s definition of credible is weighed heavily towards the sexual authority line of men, while the support/intimacy traits are merely an afterthought. Scoring well in the sexual authority area typically requires that a man has already proved himself to be credible to other specific women (pre-selection), and this necessarily requires a long list of pre-marital sexual conquests. Moreover, it should be obvious that the man is the first kind of man described above, those for whom women will not impose rules for sex — that means he has broad sexual authority with women generally, and is in control, and therefore is the kind of man they want the dominant monkey sex from, and not the second kind of man who has to trade something (negotiate) for sex. Thus, the nature of the beast requires that the man’s history should involve “conquests” and not only girlfriends.”
On this point, Christian men who are married or who are looking to be married will ask themselves a practical question. Is having a sexual history (involving fornication/pre-marital sex) the main thing, or the only thing, that takes a man from the second group, and puts him in the first?
It’s a good question. It gets back to the issue of what generates sexual authority.
I think the thing that takes a man from the second group, and puts him into the first, is him showing certain indicators that he is, in reality, in that group. There are a few pertinent indicators.
Pre-Selection — Women know that other women have picked him, so he must have a sexual pull. Examples of preselection are a lurid sexual history, or having a girlfriend or wife. Interestingly (and somewhat shockingly), PUAs have reported that wearing a wedding band, even though they are not married, will increase their lay ratios. Essentially what is happening in that scenario is that if a woman finds a man otherwise attractive herself, the wedding band acts as a “confirmation” that at least one woman found him good enough to commit to, which means that it’s less likely that she is mistaken in her assessment of her attractiveness. Because women get so few bites at the reproductive apple, their sexual selection process has built-in “failsafes” so as to minimize the likelihood of her picking inferior men for mating, and one of the most powerful failsafes is the idea that another woman has already chosen this specific man as her “permanent” (if only for the time being) mate. The strength of this factor increases substantially if the woman can assess the relative attractiveness of the wife, and that the wife is attractive — the more attractive she is, the stronger the effect of preselection.
Assumed Pre-Selection — Women assume that other women have picked him, based on how he carries himself – charisma, confidence, detachment, swagger, outcome independence, proficiency in game, ease with women, he “just gets it“, a certain kind of popularity (not like Duckie popularity), etc. — in other words, the various “indicia” which imply that a man has sexual authority, which all lead her to conclude that he does, even if she doesn’t have actual knowledge of his exploits.
Critically, these things have to be indicators that register in the female psyche as true indicators. For example, if a guy sees a prostitute every week, he is getting regular sex, but that alone is not going to put him into the alpha group, because his overall behavior will generally not reflect that of a sexually confident man who radiates an abundance mentality when it comes to attractive women, which is the overall characteristic that these indicia point towards. A man who has abundant sexual access to attractive women (who are not on his payroll, so to speak), or one who can plausibly fake appearing that he does, is the man who generates the requisite indicia of sexual authority without the woman actually seeing preselection in action.
One would think that, considering how sex is the central focus of the culture, the litmus test of these indicators, as to whether they truly register with women, would be that the overall impression carries the implicit promise of him being thrilling in bed. But in reality, women generally report subpar experiences in bed with the most highly demanded men, often, yet still seek them out. It appears that the motivation isn’t heightened sexual pleasure, per se (although there is heightened sexual excitement, at least initially for women), but rather the reflection on their own images that being associated with a highly-preselected man involves. The resulting sense of status in the SMP pecking order is deeply satisfying to women, quite apart from the actual quality of any sex that occurs.
Finally, for those men who are looking to “fake” the indicia of having the kind of abundant sexual access to attractive women that drives pre-selection, this raises all of the same issues that the extensive use of Game does, in terms of unsustainability and the like, in addition to the more problematic issue of projecting an artificial persona on an ongoing basis, and the pathology that this creates inside a person.
On the Ethics of Prioritizing Sex
In The Centrality of Sex in Western Culture (2021 February 8), I wrote that Prioritizing Sex upsets the MMP – and Marriage!
The issues surrounding the prioritization of sex, especially within a pre- or extra-marital context is obviously a thorny one for Christians, since such sexual activity is plainly immoral. The problem is that very few relationships today — Christian or otherwise — reach the stage of marriage without sex having occurred, often prominently, in the relationship, and in particular many of the most contented and long-term happy Christian couples have to varying degrees simply flouted the prohibition on pre-marital sex during their mate selection life phase.
That backdrop provides a grim context for Christians who would seek to engage in their own mate selection process while not flouting the sexual mores of Christianity. The context is grim precisely because, in this imbalanced culture, with its overemphasis on sex, we will of course struggle ourselves to find mates if we choose to personally de-prioritize sex. That goes without saying, or it should. It works to impede getting a woman to want to be with you because many women are both (1) highly skeptical of any man whom she is dating who is not incessantly at least trying to bed her (Is he really interested in me? Is he secretly gay and in denial? All normal guys at least try to get me to have sex, repeatedly…) and/or (2) not interested in marrying someone with whom “they have little sexual chemistry” or with whom “they are not on the same page sexually” and so on.
In this area, I experienced the same thing as Jack did — when I was chaste, women sensed it, did not like it, and backed off. My general lack of interest in pre-marital sex cost me several relationships in my early 20s. Women want to kick the tires sexually as much as men before they select a man as a mate — again, because sex and sexual satisfaction are at the core of human flourishing today, and, for women specifically, one of the main points of feminism was to increase women’s sexual satisfaction by allowing them to pick mates based on sexual satisfaction, desire, and prowess, rather than economic need and other situational/contextual factors.
This isn’t often spoken of openly, because it doesn’t need to be — women “just get it” about the liberal sexuality contained in feminism, because it is visceral for them. Female sexual desire and its vindication lies at the very heart of the feminist enterprise, full stop, and this is so obvious to women in a visceral sense that it doesn’t need to be stated openly — and men’s cluelessness about it doesn’t change that reality.
The core issue here is that the whole argument for the “Test Drive” is based on the prioritization of sex in the relationship. Given the context that sex is, by far, the most important thing, then it’s imperative that they get this right – at any cost.
If they don’t realize this before marriage, they invariably realize this afterwards. There are so many women who get unhappy in their marriages due to sex, even though they never insisted on having a porn star sex life prior to getting married. Then only later on, they decided that they wanted to have much better sex in their marriages. This can happen by means of comparison with the minority of women in her peer group who are in high sex, high attraction, high satisfaction marriages, and it can also happen by virtue of the popular culture, which is incessantly pumping out images of women in the 35-50 age range (the prime “divorce” age range) being super hot (at least as hot if not moreso than women 10-20 years younger), and having spectacular romantic and (implied) sex lives with fabulously attractive men, many of whom are young and desirable. Because marriage is impermanent in our society, the siren song of “better sex” never really ends, and it can upend a marriage at any time if a woman comes to the conclusion that she can do better — perhaps much better — sexually than her husband while still retaining a goodly amount of his husbandly elements (co-parenting, financial contributions and the like).
Christian morality that is orthodox offers a clear answer to this dilemma — which is to avoid extra marital sex, period, end of story. The fact that such a high percentage of long term happily married Christian couples did not do this, however, indicates that the actual impact of this approach is quite differential. Again, this is one of the areas where it is profitable spiritually to think of things from the perspective of suffering, in that it may very well be God’s will for your romantic/sexual/marital life to fail at this point in history in that it may very well be that by following God’s law in this area your romantic and sexual life is devastated … however, your reward will remain in the hereafter. Here as elsewhere, choices need to be made, with sober eyes as to the costs and benefits, from a temporal and eternal perspective, which can help place the reality of harsh suffering that many will have to endure in this area in the current culture into its proper context.
On the Ethics of Fantasy
As Jack reported earlier, the average age of first time sex is getting lower, and the average age of first time marriage is getting higher. One factor contributing to these trends is the reality that women want and expect rather satisfying sex today. To make matters more difficult, there is an element of fantasy which people find difficult to part with, especially women.
Men have an increased expectations surrounding sex because the sex-soaked culture, as well as pornography stokes their imaginations.
Women have increased expectations surrounding sex because they are able to engage in sexual liaisons with many men of their choice, including, critically, men who are more sexually exciting for women (regardless of the quality of the actual sex with them), both of which create a combination of a mentality of sexual gluttony coupled with an entitlement to the erections of the most sexually exciting men.
There has also been a shift in the viewership of porn. Women under-30 are indeed watching quite a lot of porn now, so porn is changing, and the men involved are changing too. The standard physical attractiveness for porn stars, both male and female, has increased substantially, especially on the male side. Mere nudity is no longer sufficient to arouse desire. Men must be in great shape, have defined muscles, a chiseled jaw, and thicker and longer endowments than the average to even qualify for the set in any porn that is even trying to reach women. This sets women’s expectations for threshold sexual authority in the real world unrealistically high in a way that is similar to how some men can begin to find average girls less interesting visually due to having seen more 7+ girls naked by the time they are 20 than Genghis Khan himself did in a lifetime of historically notorious “seed spreading” activity.
Also, women are no longer interested in what we would call traditional porn, in which the plots are thin or nonexistent, acting is basic and limited, and the perspectives of the activity are all male-centric. Today’s viewers, and particularly the rising component of female viewers, want to see true raw authentic passion on screen in vignettes which have more story context development than “traditional” porn, and those stories are from the female point of view and featuring common female fantasies rather than male ones. All of these changes make porn more appealing to women, obviously, but they also set expectations unreasonably high for women in the same way that I describe above that porn viewing can do for men, just in ways that are particular to women and their specific triggers, which are different from men’s. The eventual result in both cases is an increased level of disappointment with the real thing.
Women are also known to have a penchant for homosexual porn — especially lesbian porn. Lesbian porn is by far the most popular form of porn for women viewers to search for, as indicated in the linked posts above, which is unsurprising given that this is, in fact, a common sexual fantasy for heterosexual women and therefore provides more of a “fantasy escape” for them, because it allows them to indulge in something on a fantasy level most of them never will in real life, and because it also suffers less from obvious “fake” tells that are common in straight porn that is aimed at male viewers and which are off-putting for women viewers, because the younger porn actresses of today are often practiced bisexuals and are not faking the lesbian sex that is taking place in the porn.
The gay male porn is also very attractive to women viewers for several reasons. First, gay porn typically features very physically attractive men — very defined muscles, “manscaped” grooming, masculine behavior types — gay men and women find similar things attractive in men. Second, it allows women to see two men, which stimulates their addiction to choice. Third, it also shows at least one man who is sexually submissive, and who is passionate about being submissive, which allows the woman viewer to alternate back and forth in her mind as she watches the scene, at times identifying with the submissive “female acting” man, and at times identifying with the dominant “masculine acting” man, which allows her to channel her sinful desire to dominate men into a form of sexual arousal and pleasure for herself, even if that primarily expresses itself in non-sexual ways in real life. Fourth, it vindicates women’s arousal and desire at seeing a dominant/masculine man vanquish and dominate an inferior, weaker man who submits to him — it is the ultimate sexualized version of the endgame of “let’s have you and him fight”, which generates arousal in the woman for the man who is dominant, who wins the fight and makes the other man submit to him. Finally, because male sexual activity cannot happen without actual male arousal, which cannot be faked because it is external and visible, as are male orgasms, gay male porn sex also tends to be more genuine in what is portraying because it is basically impossible to fake, which appeals to women more than most of the porn that is aimed at straight men, which comes off as being very obviously fake to women viewers and therefore completely uninteresting and unsexy.
Thus, it is not surprising to see that the porn industry has changed in recent years. Porn has become more appealing to women — different camera angles, scenes constructed from the woman’s perspective, much more attractive men being involved, and playing to female fantasies. Porn wanted more women viewers, so it started making porn that was more appealing to women and younger women have been watching. This is also a part of why younger women are so much more likely to be involved in the OASIS, by the way — it isn’t as “out there” for them as for prior generations of women because they are already consumers of porn themselves, and it is natural for them to view porn as something that can be “constructed” from a point of view of either being appealing to women or to men (as they see in the porn they view themselves), which makes it easier to engage in the construction of a porn fantasy world tailored for male viewing on a personal OnlyFans site, for example, and to see this as normal, mainstream activity. In this regard, it is telling that so many very attractive young female “celebrities-because-hot” types of women, like Bella Thorne or countless women on Instagram, some of them with OnlyFans “add on” sites, as well as former actual legit actresses like Maitland Ward crossing over to porn, see no issue with blurring the line between legit and porn … because in their own experience porn is now legit and mainstream, because it isn’t only something icky that loser men watch, but it’s something they watch and get turned on by themselves.
The worm has turned, gentlemen.
On the Ethics of Admonishment
How can parents offer guidance and admonishment to their teenage children without being a hypocritical bigot?
While I was reading the comments under The Christian Conundrum (2021 March 1) and a few other posts this month, it was fascinating to me how some people insist that even though they themselves did Y to get X, nobody else should do Y, but should do Z … and don’t worry if it doesn’t lead to X because reasons. I mean I understand the perspective that you should do Z because anything other than Z is immoral, and therefore even if it doesn’t lead to X but rather leads to D (divorce), at least you did Z and not Y. What I don’t get is the overwhelming reluctance to admit that it was the doing of Y that played a large role in getting X, and that doing Z reduces your chances of X, but that you should do Z anyway and take your lumps, if that is what is in the cards for you.
There is no easy way to address this issue. It’s possible to take the “older and wiser” approach that “if I had to do it over, I would have done it all differently”, but is that really the case? Would these great marriages have even resulted if at all had things been done differently? It strains credulity.
It is therefore tricky as to how to engage in productive admonishment from the perspective of someone who has engaged in immoral acts that led to a happy marriage — that is, where the actual “bad fruits” of these sins are either absent entirely or so outweighed by positive elements that they appear immaterial from a human point of view. In fact, I would go further and say outright that I think it is extremely doubtful that this kind of admonishment can bear good fruit itself in this context, unless it comes from someone who has, in their own lives, experienced the bad results of taking a bad approach. For those who took the accomodationist approach with respect to extramarital sex and were rewarded with great marriages arising from that choice, I honestly do not think admonishing others will be of particular effect, outside of those who are otherwise under substantial influence of you for other reasons (such as children).
This is why, from my own perspective, the proper approach is to focus on the ethical nature of choice Z and the fact that the cookie may crumble in a bad way for you, but that Z is still the only moral choice. That is the fact of the matter. You can be an exception and find a great marriage by following the moral law, but that is highly exceptional in our cultural context. You may manage it, but you may not. You can follow the immoral choice and potentially end up in a better marriage, but you may also end up in a very damaged one and divorced anyway. You may follow the moral law and end up divorced, as happened to many of the participants here. What happens after you marry matters, of course, but a lot of the matter depends on whom you do actually marry, what the baseline connection is, in terms of creating a context in which the “what you do in the marriage” is playing itself out, and that is the point. Which is why I generally come back to the endpoint that you have to personally accept that, either way, God may very well have a life filled with sexual/relationship suffering in mind for you personally, and that you have to cultivate a mindset to accept this suffering with gratitude and love, to embrace it with the joy that comes from knowing that Christ is the man of sorrows par excellence and that he has conquered it, and will save you in the end if you stay with him, through the suffering he wishes you to bear in this life. In the current timeframe, for many Christian men that will be intense sexual and relationship suffering — it is what many of us are being called to do right now by God, without question. The challenge is to accept that with an attitude of grateful love and solidarity with Christ and joy in being able to share his own suffering to a small degree, always knowing that the endless joy of eternity awaits.
Given this context, no wonder American Christianity is struggling mightily with marriage. The issues are difficult and complex from a human perspective. From a moral perspective, the issue is clear. Humanly abiding by that clarity in this specific temporal context is a path of substantial suffering, and therein lies the rub. Most of us will do anything to avoid that, due to our human desire to avoid suffering. This is the key issue that underlies all of these discussions, it seems to me, and the key reason why there is so much resistance across the board.
- Dalrock: The other side of hypergamy: fantasy of the forced choice. (2010 November 7)
- Dalrock: Addiction to divorce fantasy is also about power. (2010 November 15)
- Dalrock: A Detailed Description of Divorce Fantasy (2011 June 26)
- Radix Fidem: The Demon God of Sexual Fantasy (2015 March 22)
- Dalrock: Time and fantasy. (2017 February 10)