(H/T Novaseeker and Rollo Tomassi)
Over at Rollo’s “The Love Experience” thread, the subject of male optimization and female hypergamy came up, as well as a claim that men are hypergamous. This isn’t true, because while both men and women optimize, only women are hypergamous. The difference is in where the attraction floors are for both sexes. In today’s SMP, this creates problems because most women cannot marry men they are sexually attracted to. This is a problem for most men because they are beneath most women’s attraction floors. With all restraints on female sexuality removed, this creates situations in which you have a majority of women marrying men they don’t really want to have sex with. The average man can marry a woman he’s sexually attracted to, but the average woman cannot marry a man she’s sexually attracted to.
Keep in mind that in this post, “attraction” means sexual attraction. It refers to women who men want to have sex with; and men who women want to have sex with.
Hypergamy just means “attracted to higher sexual market value than one’s own sexual market value”.
Optimization vs. Hypergamy
Everyone optimizes in life. In other words, everyone, male or female, seeks the best they can get, in everything: sex, schools, jobs, careers, marriages, leisure, home and car purchases, whatever. At all times and all places, in all situations and circumstances, everyone seeks the best they can get with whatever they can use to trade for what they want; be that money, sex appeal, resources, knowhow, wits, personal connections, and whatever else individuals have at their disposal. Everyone, men and women, seeks the best they can get. Everyone optimizes.
Optimization is different when applied to men and women because of their fundamental differences in the way men and women approach sex and relationships. Both optimize, but it looks different with men vis a vis women because of hypergamy and where the attraction floors are for each sex. Men optimize; but women optimize in light of their hypergamous natures.
The Male Approach
Men have much wider attraction filters than women do. Most men are attracted to most women. Thus, a man can be, and almost always is, attracted to women above his SMV, at his SMV and a bit below his SMV. His attraction runs to a much wider spectrum, and at all three places on the SMV scale: above, at and below his own SMV.
All men have an attraction floor which is almost always below their own SMVs. The attraction floor is in different places for different men. A man will not go below this floor for sex with a woman because he isn’t attracted to her. He will never invest in or commit to a woman he’s not sexually attracted to. Thus, a man can be attracted to women who are less attractive than he is. So a man can be attracted to his own SMV, expressed as SMV +0. He’s also attracted to women who are his SMV +1, +2 and +3, for example. He will also be attracted to women who are SMV -1, and maybe even -2.
The “floor” can be in different places depending on circumstances. A male 9 or 10 will have a much deeper attraction floor. He can reach down to HB 5s and 6s and still not descend below the floor. A male 5 if he’s thirsty enough might have a floor as low as female 2s. A male 2 can only go to female 1s and 2s. Keep in mind – they are below his SMV, but not below the attraction floor.
Take an average man, a male 5. He will no doubt be attracted to female 6s and up. He’s also attracted to his SMV counterpart, the female 5. He will also be attracted to some female 4s and maybe even some 3s. His best relationship will be with a female 4 because, as we’ll soon see, he will be above her in SMV and satisfies her hypergamous nature. Because he’s a 5, he will not be able to keep a female 6 or above for very long, if at all. He could make a relationship work with a HB 5 but they can become precarious because an HB 5 is usually not attracted to her own SMV counterpart.
When it comes to marriage, his attraction to her is an absolute must, a dealbreaker. A man will not marry a woman who he doesn’t want to have sex with. This is because for men, sexual desire is binary. It is either “want” or “don’t want”. It is either “I want to have sex with her” or “I do not want to have sex with her”; “Hell yeah” or “Hell no”. No man is “meh” about sex with a woman he finds attractive. And no man will marry a woman he isn’t attracted to.
The Female Approach
It works quite differently for women. Women have much narrower filters than men do. A typical woman is NOT attracted to most men. Women’s attraction floors are always at or above their own SMVs. Hypergamy requires this. Women are never attracted to men below their own SMVs. So a woman’s attraction will always be SMV +1, +2 and +3. She’s not really attracted to SMV +0, and is never attracted to SMV -1 and below.
Consider a female 6. She is very attracted to male 9s. She is attracted to male 8s, and a lot of 7s. She could muster up a little attraction to male 6s. But she will never, ever be attracted to male 5s or below. The female attraction floor is SMV+0. It reaches a very hard limit here for women. And here’s where it gets tricky.
The attraction floor is set, but that doesn’t mean a particular woman won’t go below “the floor” to seek men if those men have other things a woman wants at a particular time. A woman will go below “the floor” if and only if the man has other things the woman wants, most notably resources and commitment. Depending on multiple factors such as age, past sexual and relational experience, desire for children and status, and culture and familial pressures, many women will compromise attraction in order to secure resources and commitment.
Want, Willing, Don’t Want
Women take a much less binary and more spectral, sliding scale approach to sex. For women, sex is “want”, “willing”, and “don’t want”. Our hypothetical female 6 wants sex with male 7s, and she really wants sex with male 8s and 9s. She is willing to have sex with male 6s and maybe a few male 5s, if and only if those men have other things she wants like resources, money, stability, and are willing to offer commitment. She does not want sex with male 4s and below (unless he is Donald Trump or Bill Gates, in which case she can muster up some “willing” when she grits her teeth, lies back, and thinks of England).
This is all quite familiar when you think about it. A female 6 really wants sex with a male 8; and that’s why the male 8 doesn’t have to bring anything else to the table to get sex with her. The male 6, though, has to bring something else, just to get to “willing”. And the male 5 and below must bring resources and commitment; but she will never, ever “want” sex with him.
As one rises, the other falls. The higher the male SMV is, the fewer resources and commitment he needs to bring to get a relationship started and keep it going. The lower his SMV is, the more he has to bring just to reach “willing”. He will work, invest and commit; but she will never be attracted to him despite his commitment. You can negotiate for commitment; but you cannot negotiate for attraction or desire.
How This All Shakes Out
For men, it’s quite simple. Most men settle for women who are less attractive than they would want to have sex with or marry. But, nearly all those men are still satisfied, because those men are having sex with and marrying women who are still attractive to them. (Keep in mind — we’re talking about sexual attraction here — women these men want to have sex with; because men will not have sex with or marry women who are unattractive to them.) A man moves down the female SMV scale and finds one willing to LTR/marry him, while still trying to optimize. If he has to, he will move further and further down the scale until he hits his “floor”. He will have sex with, even LTR and marry, women at the “floor”. But in no event will he go below the floor and sex up or offer commitment to the few women below the floor, even if that means doing without. A woman at the floor or above it has sex appeal– the one thing the man wants from the SMP/MMP. By contrast, a woman below his floor has nothing he wants, and that’s why going below the floor isn’t an option.
Men who cannot have sex with or marry women they are attracted to, women who are at or above “the floor” — what happens to them? These men either do without or resort to pornography. This last option of porn or nothing is not optimal or even all that desirable. But men will engage in the cost-benefit analysis, and opt for it if no other options are available.
For women, it doesn’t work out well at all. There are enough attractive men to go around to all the women who want them for sex. But it’s quite a different story when LTRs and marriage are considered. There aren’t nearly enough male 8s, 9s and 10s to go to all the female 5s through 8s who want them for marriage. Most attractive men are either (1) married or (2) avoid marriage because they don’t have to marry to partake of the sexual smorgasbord. As a consequence, the vast majority of women cannot marry men they are attracted to. Or, more to the point, most women certainly cannot marry the most attractive men they can get for sex.
All of these women increasingly compromise, moving down the male SMV scale until they get the best they can. A lot of women have to move down that scale a lot more than they want to or thought they would have to, particularly after having had sexual relationships of varying intensity and duration with more attractive men.
A woman will move down the male SMV scale, even below her attraction floor. Men below her floor are not attractive to her, but they still have things she desperately wants. (But, note that her wanting those things does NOT translate to attraction. Her offering sexual access for the express purpose of bargaining for those things does NOT translate to attraction. Again, this is about sexual attraction. Her wanting commitment from a less attractive man, even her having sex with that man, does NOT mean she “wants” sex; it only means she might be “willing” to have sex with him. It’s imperative that men understand this key point.)
Her willingness to bargain and negotiate, in conjunction with her intense desire for status and validation as she ages, will cause her to compromise sexual attraction and lead her into the realm of men she is only “willing” to have sex with. She will compromise sexual attraction in exchange for commitment and resources.
She deals with her “willingness” differently than she deals with “want”. A man she “wants” to have sex with only needs to continue being attractive, being “himself”. The man she’s “willing” to have sex with doesn’t have the benefit of her attraction. She isn’t attracted to him. She is only “willing” to have sex with him, and that willingness exists only because he has other things she wants, usually money, commitment, and status. She offers sex; he offers everything else he has. This unfortunate man must bring his commitment and resources, and must continue bringing them for the entire life of the relationship.
From her perspective, she has already settled, because she didn’t get to marry an attractive man, a man she “wanted” for sex. She had to reach down into men she is meh about, men she is only “willing” to have sex with. For her to remain even willing to have sex, he must continue bringing what she bargained and settled for. If he fails to do that for any reason, even for reasons attributable to HER, the marriage is doomed.
The key difference is that men do not do this. Men do not settle for women they are not attracted to, full stop. Men don’t have sex with women they don’t WANT to have sex with. Men don’t commit time, money, or resources to women they don’t want to have sex with. Men don’t marry women they don’t want to have sex with. Men will use their resources, will show provider bona fides, but only for women they want to have sex with. Men have no concept of being merely “willing” to have sex with a woman even for sexual release. If a man makes a decision to have sex with a woman, it is because he wants to, not because he is merely willing to. A man will not do anything with, to or for a woman he isn’t attracted to. Men do not pay attention to, do not talk to, do not spend money on, and certainly do not date or marry, women they aren’t attracted to.
When it comes to sexual attraction, women do not settle and do not compromise, ever. If a woman is in it for the sex (and most are until some Momentous Event occurs in their lives), she will find the most attractive men she can, and address only them. She will pay attention to them, talk to them and have sex with them. She will have sex with SMV +2 and +3 no problem, because they are attractive to her. She will have sex with SMV +1, because still attractive. SMV +0 and below get nothing from her – neither sex, nor dates, nor even the time of day, because those men are not attractive to her.
(Now, we’re told that women do want commitment from these men, and perhaps they do. But if actions are to be considered, it’s clear that commitment and relationships are a distant afterthought. It also occurs to me that this is what the “never settle” meme among women really means. They’re really saying that they’ll hold out and wait wait wait until an attractive man offers commitment. Pity, really – waiting for the alpha provider who never shows up.)
But when it comes to relationships, women settle all the time for men they aren’t attracted to, or men they are less attracted to than men they used to sleep with. Most women do this because they have no choice. Nearly all of them don’t get to marry one of the attractive men they slept with. She can accept a man she’s “willing” to have sex with, but only if he has other things she wants. She and others then rationalize that she must be “attracted” to the man she married. “Why, she must be attracted to him! She married him, didn’t she?! They have kids together, don’t they (and we all know what THAT means, wink wink nudge nudge)? They have a nice looking family, don’t they?”
“Willing” might have been OK for most men if we lived in a society which incentivized women to remain in their marriages and to live with the choices they make. In fact, “willing” was enough when those incentives were in place. Even before the Sex Rev, most women were married to men they were “willing” to have sex with. But, since we don’t live in such a society, “willing” isn’t sufficient to keep a marriage together. “Willing” isn’t good enough for today’s man seeking an LTR or marriage, because “willing” isn’t enough by itself to keep her with him. This is one of the prime reasons for frivorce – she doesn’t want to have sex with him anymore or never really did in the first place; and she has no incentive to stay and every reason to leave. And for most men, an LTR or marriage won’t be in their futures because they aren’t attractive enough. They aren’t “wanted” sexually; women don’t “want” sex with them.
Male settling doesn’t cause problems in the SMP and MMP, because although men settle all the time, they don’t settle for women they don’t want to have sex with. Female settling causes all manner of problems, because American society is comprised of literally millions of women who are married to men they aren’t attracted to.
So what does this mean for men in today’s SMP and MMP?
1. This is why the most important question for men is “Does this woman want to have sex with me?” She has to be attracted to you. She has to want (not just “be willing”) to have sex with you.
2. If she is making you wait, she’s just “willing”. If she is resisting reasonable escalation, she’s just “willing”. If she is responding to you with anything less than enthusiastic engagement, she’s just “willing”. NEXT these women.
3. “Want” and “willing” can look really similar, because most women know very well how to use their bodies and sex as bargaining chips to get what they want. Many women will shower sexual attention on men they aren’t really all that attracted to because those men have other things they want.
There are a lot of ways to suss out “want” from “willing” other than as set out above. Look at the guys she used to date. If you’re not similar to them, if there’s been a radical change in the quality or character of the men she dates, it’s likely she’s just willing. How old is she? If she’s coming up on 30 or past it, you’re probably a consolation prize. If the sex, or her enthusiasm about sex, becomes inconsistent, then she’s probably just “willing”. If there’s been a recent change in her life, such as a new job, a new city, a move to a new place because she wants to “start over” or “get a fresh start”? Willing. If she’s preoccupied with her future or children, she’s probably just “willing”.
4. The fact that she agreed to a date with you or even has sex with you does NOT necessarily mean that she is attracted to you.