Monday, February 14, 2011

Sluts versus Studs: Settled Once And For All


I've lost count of the amount of times I've heard this question, mostly from women:

How come when men sleep around, they're STUDS, but when women sleep around, they're dirty SLUTS?
It's not faayyyuurrrrrrr!

There is an answer, and a clear one.

The answer is not that men are bitter, jealous misogynists trying to keep women down by shaming them, or that slut shaming is a residue of religious guilt or an oppressive patriarchal society that's deathly afraid of female sexuality. Those things do exist, especially in the Middle East, and they have a dark, tragic history. But they are a symptom, not a cause. In this post I will explain, rather than re-describe, the slut/stud double standard. Different standards are not always arbitrary and in need of debunking by cultural theorists. Keep in mind that I will use the term "slut" frequently in this post but it is not an insult; it's a neutral term for the very thing we're talking about. Most you of you will have to put aside your preconceived notions about sexuality and how the world works—clear your mind, put those thoughts in a little box where they are safe, and read on. (Incidentally, my view about sexual behaviour in general is this: do whatever you want as long as you're not hurting anybody else; your sexuality is nobody's damn business.)

Some essential background:

  • Men and women are different

Men have penises, women have vaginas. Men impregnate, women get pregnant.

In the jargon: humans are "anisogamous" (small, cheaply produced sperm fertilises large, nutrient-rich, energy-expensive eggs) and we are "sexually dimorphic" (men are bigger and stronger).

Next:

  • Humans, like most primates, are "moderately polygynous".

Polygyny means: the most attractive men make sexy time with multiple women.

Polygyny is not an arbitrary cultural construction. Sans constraints (such as legally enforced monogamy), polygyny falls naturally out of human nature. Not polyandry. Not monogamy. Not free-love. Polygyny. Understanding this is crucial to understanding human nature. To clarify, here is a thought experiment. Like all good thought experiments, it is cartoonish and simplified.

Lined up are ten men and across from them are ten women. It's time for them to hook up with each other.

What's gonna happen?

  • Ideal outcome: All of the men and all of the women get to pair up just as they wanted. Everybody's happy. Nobody is left heartbroken and alone.

  • Actual outcome: The men and women vary in attractiveness, and do not match up equally. George McStud is tall, handsome, charming, and oozes confidence, whereas Dilbert McNerd is scrawny, timid, and creepy. The rest of the men lie somewhere in between. The women may range from Milla Jovovich on one end, to Tubbs Tattsyrup on the other.

Most of the women will be most attracted to George, with his devilish smile, his easy charm, and his effortless dominance of the other men. And the men will be most attracted to Milla, for her beauty and femininity and other charms such as the lack of a beard.

Here's where biology comes into play. Technically, all that the ten women need from George is a few minutes of thrusting followed by a grunt, and his manly seed has done its job: ten knocked up women who, all else being equal, will all be unavailable for other men as mates because they'll be busy for the next three or four years nursing their studly children (probably in George's harem).

Milla, on the other hand, does not benefit by sleeping with more than one man. And only one man can impregnate her. If she cares about the health and fitness of her child, she should choose the best mate, not indiscriminately sleep with anyone who makes her horny at that moment.

Objection: "It's pointless to talk about biology and take morals from it, that's like, a fallacy. And what about contraceptives?"

I hear ya. Read to the end.

These biological differences have enormous repercussions. Once M
illa gets knocked up, the other nine guys have to mark her off the list; she'll be busy with someone else's kid (George's) for the next three or four years. But: George isn't necessarily out of the race. Having sex with Milla was five minutes seconds of his time.

There are now ten guys competing for nine girls. Then George, the rogue, gets another girl knocked up, and that's eight girls left.

And then seven. And then six.

And so on.

  • The competition for mates is a "zero-sum game"

That means: the girl that one man gets is a girl taken away from another man. (+1 "win" for George plus – 1 "loss" for another guy = 0). Remember, the sex ratio is 50:50. (And of course, procreation is not always the goal; sexual pleasure is, but sex leads to pregnancy in an environment that lacks contraceptives.)

Eventually, six or seven increasingly desperate men may be competing for, say, one or two girls, whose value has skyrocketed. The girls just have to sit back while the men fight for them; that includes Tubbs, who now feels like a supermodel and acts accordingly.

That is the effect of polygyny. Immutable biology sets the rules of the game: Men compete for status and dominance (which is why men are larger and stronger), and women choose (as well as connive compete among themselves for the top men, i.e. high status, dominant men).

O
nce the top guys have finished impregnating all ten girls (or the most attractive ones), the bottom-tier dregs of manhood are left involuntarily celibate, nursing their limp, sad, unused penises, weeping bitter tears (see: country and western music).

This can be summed up neatly:

  • Most men are expendable

To make a hundred babies, you need just one lucky man and a lot of women. (King Ismael of Morocco reputedly sired six-hundred sons in his harem, while plenty of King Schlumps of Celibacy sired only bored indifference in the fairer sex.)

To maximise the survival and fitness of their children, women need(ed) to be more selective than men about who they sleep with. Women can produce only a limited amount of offspring (maximum about twenty). Men, on the other hand, can produce thousands of offspring (depending on willing partners), meaning they have less of an imperative to be as choosy as females.

N
ow we get to one of the reasons studs are more admired (or less resented): they represent the winners of the competition. It's not easy for the average man to ratchet up a high notch count, and he must have some talent or attractive qualities to manage it. In modern parlance: Unless they are frequently slumming it, males are admired for having the qualities to seduce the choosier sex, including not just sexual charisma but the exertion of quite a bit of effort (including, by the way, navigating an Asteroid Belt of Cockblockery). Being in the most sexually desired tier of men, floating above the morass of awkward virgins and bumbling chumps, you would expect them generally to be confident, socially dominant, good-looking, bold, charming, etc. And you would be right. Studies confirm that "studs" tend to have high self-esteem and the attributes just mentioned. (They are also envied and disliked by other men; and many of them are obnoxious dipshits—as are many very attractive girls—but that's another matter.)

The average non-geriatric female, who isn't grotesquely obese, can saunter into a bar anywhere in the world and get someone to make sweet grunting loveless love to her later that night (nothing wrong with that, but don't pretend there's anything courageous or difficult about it) even if she wears a pissy scowl, no makeup, and has the conversational talent of an inbred monkey.

T
he average male cannot.

Objection: "So it's easier therefore it's wrong? Nonsense! Resentful male!"

Stay with me.

The
 next big fact about human sexuality:

  • Human females have internal fertilisation and hidden estrus (again, like most primates) and, consequently, cuckoldry is an inherent risk for men

There is an ancient Roman dictum: "Mater certissima, pater semper incertus." This roughly translates into "Momma's baby, daddy's - maybe". Hidden estrus means that there are no distinct signals when females are ovulating, and so the male can never know for sure whether he has fertilised her eggs, or whether it was a (politely named) "Sneaking Fertilisation" by some other guy. Sneaking fertilisations, or extra-pair matings, occur frequently among organisms with hidden estrus, even in supposedly monogamous species. Right now, over one million men in the United States are unwittingly raising a child that is not their own. (So much for the canard that contraceptives obviate the cuckoldry risk.) 


"Hmmm, I must have some hidden African ancestry"

The past does not equal the future, but how someone acted the past is the best indicator of how they will act in the future. In a long-term relationship, promiscuous women are a higher risk for infidelity than relatively chaste women, and the consequences of female infidelity are severe, in the form of paternity fraud.

  • Paternity fraud = genetic death 

When a man (the competitive, resource-accruing sex) marries a woman (the choosy sex), he invests his resources in her, heavily. In the case of the human mammal, the male has in most cases worked hard all his life to accrue these resources, and he diverts much of them into feeding, protecting, teaching and raising his kids, and he must trust that these kids are not the physical manifestation of another man's ejaculate spurted between his wife's spread legs. (As you read this, many decent men in the world are undergoing financial destruction, iniquitously, by divorce courts, and many others are being forced t
o pay child support for kids that aren't their own.)

So, the man has learned to carefully choose more chaste women for marriage using fidelity c
ues (her reputation, licentiousness, sexual permissiveness, signs of faithfulness, coyness, and so on.)

But this does not apply for short term dalliances. Mae West explained it: "Men like women with a past because they hope history will repeat itself". This is where the Madonna-Whore "complex" comes from; it has nothing to do with misogyny. Marrying a Samantha is simply an unwise investment, because there is a sharply increased risk that she will cuckold him.

Fro
m the man's perspective, paternity fraud is worse than celibacy: It is genetic death in combination with the insult of propagating a competitor's DNA. It is the ultimate betrayal. Evolution has wired males to avoid this at all costs. (The fear of paternity fraud almost certainly underlies a great deal of the repugnant misogyny that flourishes in the Middle East and other parts of the world, including the widespread enforcement of cliterectomies, veiling, and the confinement and sequestering of women, amongst other controls on fidelity and chastity.)

Now, infidelity ain't cool, regardless of what sex chromosomes you have. But the
consequences of it differ between men and women. A woman who has a five-minute romp with a stranger she met at a bar can get knocked up and leech from the doting cuckold his resources, his support, his hard earned money, his time, his sacrifices, and his love. The infidelity of a man, in contrast, "imposes no bastards on his wife", as Samuel Johnson put it. His infidelity cannot destroy her genetic raison d'ĂȘtre.

That's why Othello killed Desdemona; male sexual jealousy evolved partly as a defense against cuckoldry, and because the genetic stakes are so high the results can be devastating (see: murder columns). Both men and women react with equally intense jealousy, but male jealousy is inflamed more by sexual infidelity whereas women's jealousy is directed more towards emotional infidelity).

***

M
any men, of course, will truthfully proclaim that they love "sexually liberated" women (and rail against the condemnation of promiscuity), but pay attention and you'll see that they love them for friendship, fun, sex, and banter, but those same men will bristle at the thought of marrying such a woman and having children with her, especially if he has options. Promiscuous females are good short-term mates but risky long-term mates (on average; there are exceptions of course).

Now for a crucial point, one that most people trip up on. Despite feminism, the pill, marriage contracts and Cosmo magazines, deep-rooted psychological mechanisms remain. Birth control may reduce the cuckoldry risk, but it does not uproot the underlying hardwired emotional mechanisms that evolved to promote biological fitness (popping out kids and thriving in the social world), such as mechanisms that evolved to reduce the risk of cuckoldry and to find a good mate. The soul-stirring lust you feel is not culturally learned, and neither is your sexual revulsion towards certain potential mates ("ew!" is biological, not a response formed by media images or social conditioning).

Evolution works too slowly to have caught up with our modern environment. Here's an analogy: our taste for sugar and fat. This was adaptive in the ancestral past when sugar and fat were scarce, but their modern abundance does not undo the hardwired mechanisms that compel us to stuff our faces with sugary fatty foods (see: obesity).

Likewise, if you asked a man why he feels pity for a guy who marries the town bike, or why he feels contempt for the party girl he and his buddy just double teamed an hour after meeting her, he probably won't be able to articulate the exact reasons why, because they are visceral, the product of mental adaptations, not conscious thought but a set of drives that promote reproductive success. (Anyone who claims to be above natural instincts is simply lying or woefully lacking in self-awareness.) These are human ways. It's like asking the question, "why do you feel incest is wrong, even when the participants use birth control and maintain emotional distance?"

  • Culture cannot overwrite biology, only harness it.

Most people, however, are oblivious to the underlying biological forces at work, seeing only the
social manifestation of different standards and different behaviour. As a result, they come to false conclusions. They will fail, loudly and aggressively, to see the underlying logic. Many writers, implicitly adhering to a misguided version of equality, have written biased, scientifically-unsound books that insist that gender differences are entirely culturally constructed. These books, owing to their shrewd demographic targeting and emotional appeal, percolate through the vessels of political correctness and the consciousness of feminists (but I repeat myself), who as a result have been miseducated about gender differences to the point where biological explanations seem ridiculous and chauvinistic to them because a writer with a PhD "proved" that gender is socially constructed. From that position—which has a veneer of intellectual sophistication—the "slut versus stud" dichotomy is a hypocritical double standard, an arbitrary moral code, and those espousing it are sexists clinging to a relic of more ignorant times. But that's utter bullshit. It's invoked in the service of an ersatz equality. Here comes the truth pill:


  • Men and women are biologically and psychologically different. 

"Different" meaning "different", not "of unequal value".

If men were the ones who made eggs and got pregnant, men would be the maligned notch-wary sluts
and women would be the commended, envied studs (indeed, in animal species in which males invest more heavily in sperm than females invest in eggs, the males are choosier and the females compete).

D
emanding to not be judged for one's sexual behaviour is futile and hypocritical. Judgement of others is inherent to human nature, encapsulated in the phrase "God, I loathe judgmental people!" Those who demand not to be judged are themselves just as judgemental and are at best oblivious to their moral hypocrisy. Men and women apply different criteria to the standards on which they judge the opposite sex. Women judge men on their job, income, status, social skills, dominance, ambition, and popularity with other women, among other things (because these criteria are crucial for female reproductive success), and men judge women on their femininity, classiness, beauty, youthfulness, integrity of character, and promiscuity, among other things (because these criteria are crucial for male reproductive success). A quality woman and a quality man have many overlapping traits, but not all.

A
 man judging a woman's mate value by her sexual past is roughly akin to a woman judging a man's mate value by his social status, a comparison that is utterly lost on most people (but by now hopefully not you, dear reader; here's a hint for those only on the cusp of thoughtcrime: men, comparatively, do not judge a woman's mate value by her social status.) Women instinctually know this, and this bleeds into self-delusion; it's why many women will privately not include anal sex in their notch-count (which is hilarious or appalling, depending on your mood).

I
ncidentally, contrary to popular received opinion, this is what typical slut shamers look like:




Women are more antagonistic towards sluts because sluts dismantle other women's sexual leverage (the non-slutty women become less valuable and powerful in the sexual market because, if they play coy, a man can just shrug and go for the easy target, a slut) and also because sluts are likely to be potential homewreckers; women have a vested interest in keeping their partners away from them. (Even promiscuous women who defend their own right to sleep around will call other women sluts when they want to derogate them.) Jealousy is universal, innate, ineradicable, and dangerous. The free-love communities of 19th century America collapsed from sexual jealousy, a pattern consistently repeated around the world. (
Free love proponents and slut celebrators are like children playing with fire while petulantly demanding that the fire has no right to burn them. They are too solipsistic, self-absorbed, and obsessed with immediate gratification to see that reality burns those who choose to ignore it.)

Sluts also offer zero sexual benefit to women, and calling a competitor a slut reduces that competitor's perceived (long-term) mate value in the eyes of other men (while also giving the accuser a pleasant jolt of moral superiority.) Women who resent sex-hound males will try to cut them down by making a point of calling them "sluts", in an attempt to artificially transfer the negative connotations of female promiscuity onto the man.

Lastly, the idea of ancestral women spreading them for any Tom or Harry's d
ick regardless of his genetic quality makes little evolutionary sense. Genes promoting such wanton legspreading would shuffle off the mortal genepool; poor quality genes tend to die out. It follows that promiscuous women don't just sleep with anyone; they just sleep with more of the men who fit the Darwinian criteria of high mate value (aloof badboys, alpha males, sexually attractive but uncommitting high-status men—the type of men that woman claim to loathe because so many of their ex boyfriends fit the description). Ancestral females had much to gain from infidelity—see the "sexy sons" hypothesis for example—just not as much as males did.

So, to summarise: evolved biological differences lie at the root of the stud/slut dif
ferent standard; specifically, the different ways in which mate value and mate choice are manifested in males and females, and the broad market principles in which they operate. Promiscuous women are a high risk investment as long-term mates; they are more likely to cheat, and the consequences of that steeply diverge from the consequences of male philandering. Sociocultural structures have historically been fashioned in response to these different biological imperatives. These broad historical trajectories, seen in every culture ever studied, stem from biological sex differences—such as hidden estrus, pregnancy, and paternity uncertaintywhich underlie the variety of human mating systems we encounter in the world today.


***
Addendum:

In this post I did not define precisely what counts as a slutty behaviour; a precise number-of-imbibed-phalli definition is not necessary. What people choose to do with their sex lives is their business, but don't forget: sex involves other people too. There is no escaping human nature, and if you want certain benefits in life you have to 
meet certain requirements. This naturally doesn't vibe well with people who have an inflated sense of entitlement and a deflated level of maturity.

The DNA doesn't lie: Paternity fraud is still a salient risk. Legally enforced monogamy has not obviated this risk and neither has contraception. And so, as a general rule of thumb, the wise man (who doesn't want to be cuckolded or financially destroyed) adheres to the madonna-whore dichotomy
in behaviour if not words, as it behooves the posturing poseur brigade to ostentatiously deny that this dichotomy even exists. (Can you think of any reasons why? Not hard, is it.)

Incidentally, those studies I mentioned earlier showing that "studs" have high self-esteem also reveal (or confirm) that women with "unusually high numbers of
sex partners" tend to have low self-esteem and to be relatively emotionally unstable. And women with high self-esteem tend to pursue long-term committed relationships. Who woulda thunk it?

There are, of course, exceptions; these are just statistical probabilities, and it doesn't mean that slutty behaviour is intrinsically a bad thing. Nor does it mean your past fuckups define or dictate who you are today.

Words are damaging. If some idiot unfairly calls a woman a slut, that's similar
to another idiot unfairly calling a man a "creep" or a "loser"—these words are damaging because they refer to universally salient personality attributes (unlike racist terms that mostly refer to superficial appearances and ethnic origins and differences that have no significant basis in reality). You cannot control what other people say, but you can behave in ways that put the lie to what they say. Swarms of broken women trying to embrace the word "slut" is like swarms of lazy schlumpy men trying to embrace the term "loser". It's the wrong move. And if you try to strike a word down, it becomes more powerful.

***

Humans are predictable creatures. So here are a few predictions.

To counter the lame, incorrect accusation of sexism: Using the word "slut" to describe a small subset of women who imbibe a different stranger's penis every night is not sexism, in the same way that it is not misandrous (man-hating) to use the word "loser" to describe an unemployed male who lives in his parent's basement and spends every day wanking to manga and playing World of Warcraft. (It goes without saying that neither gender in the aggregate is morally superior or "better" than the other, sorry feminists.) It becomes sexism when "slut" is used to refer to a woman who enjoys sex, or shows signs that she might enjoy sex, or turns a man down, or has the audacity to wear clothes that show off her figure, or breathes.

Other predictions: knee-jerk ad hominems (misogynist! asshole! hater!) from people whose egos have been pricked by an unsugarcoated explication of sexual behaviour; misinterpretations (particularly phantom implicatures) by people whose tide of sloppy emotions washes away their ability to comprehend; disengagement with the struts and girders of the argument; hysteric accusations that I have a malevolent agenda to return to a 1950's patriarchal society using the accoutrements of pseudoscience; opportunistic conflation of "slut shaming" with sexism, racism, xenophobia, etc; erecting a false dilemma of sluttiness versus sexuality (as though it's a choice between virginity and whoredom); specious claims that the dichotomy does not apply to mature adults; claims that culture x glorified whoredom therefore our views are socially constructed; shrieks of I'm-a-slut-but-I'm-great; tedious screeching histrionics, and so on. It's a touchy subject, bound to cause veins of rage to bulge on the foreheads of disingenuous readers and causing them to dryheave strawmen to purge the emetic medicine of reason. Understanding this post requires the lamentably rare attributes of reading comprehension and emotional stability.

Some women embrace their inner wanton strumpet and are neither mentally imbalanced nor filled with self-loathing; they love what they do, and they're fun, open, authentic, sexual people. The blunt brush of judgement surely tars them also under the "damaged slut" category. Stereotypes, as it happens, are based largely on reality, not constructed out of the ethereal fumes of culture.

D
r Dre may have been generally right when he said "you can't make a ho a housewife". But: I think a certain minority of women go through a "whore phase" and then settle down and remain faithful not just for reasons of expediency. Such women are almost certainly rarer than the majority of sluts, who are unfaithful and promiscuous wherever they can get away with it (while still young enough to attract other men, for example). Most people pass off lack of opportunity for virtue.

28 comments:

  1. Good read. I'm also a firm believer in "Culture cannot overwrite biology, only harness it."

    I think deep down most people know what their biology is telling them. This PC nonsense and social warping pushes them to think that they should feel guilty about it though.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yeah, political correctness is at war with biology and fosters an atmosphere of fear and guilt where we have to tip toe around important issues. PC is ridded with hypocrisy and sanctimony, and it's destroying the intellectual landscape. And for sure, despite a long history of humans trying to overwrite biology (with disastrous results), it's clear that - to borrow someone else's metaphor - biology keeps culture on a leash.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This post was discussed on boards.ie
    A quick summary of the responses:
    1. Yes, great points, good read, makes sense
    2. Overall quite a good explanation, bit simplified, but generally correct
    1 and 2 were a minority, as expected.
    And, the majority of posters:
    3. You're sexist!
    4. You're an asshole!
    5. Fuck you!
    6. Judgemental misogynist!
    7. You're a cunt!
    And a minority of intelligent criticism:
    7. Yes, but we can trancend our base animal proclivities
    8. Not all sluts are emotionally messed up
    9. There are plenty of exceptions to the broad paint strokes
    10. We cannot derive moral values from biological facts

    7, 8, 9 and 10 are dealt with in the main post itself, though it may be easy to miss it.

    ReplyDelete
  4. The term 'slut' typically applies to girls around the age category of 17-26. Typically girls within that age category are not looking to raise a child, as evidenced by the ever increasing age that women have children. Ergo the entirety of your ramble, which contends that women solely select a partner on the basis of raising a child with him, is defunct.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. just.... just... never mind.

      Delete
  5. Anonymous, I suggest you read the post first, assuming you're capable.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Yeah, clearly she/he didn't read the post and jumped to conclusions. Unfortunately it requires some concentration and objectivity - which are scarce resources.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Good post, well written. However i sense the naturalistic fallacy is at work. You explain the evolutionary origins of these age-old gender sexual differences, but you seem also to inadvertedly stumble into the realm of excusing, legitimising and justifying the conduct in question, hence the fallacy. No matter how difficult it is for a 'stud' to 'find romance' that does not mean we should organise our values around this part of nature. By ye own deeds i am vindicated.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hey anony. I'm a bit puzzled as to how you could arrive at that conclusion. I probably should have been clearer about it, so thanks for the pointing that out.

    The difficulty a man faces when trying to get laid doesn't vindicate immoral behaviour - it's just one of many truisms that make "studs" less resented than "sluts". Such men have sexually attractive qualities. People like sexually attractive qualities, and will behave accordingly, regardless of what the moral majority prescribes.

    In the case of men shunning promiscuous woman in preference for more chaste partners as wives, excusing/legitimising/justifying the behaviour, as you put it, is strictly *not* the naturalistic fallacy - it's common sense that happens to intersect with Darwinian fitness. Men should be (and are) selective about their choice of wife, just as women should be (and are) selective about their husbands. That this happens to intersect with Darwinian fitness does not make it fallacious.

    What would be fallacious would be something like this: cuckoldry is very common in nature, therefore it's perfectly fine. Or: men in polygynous societies monopolise women in harems, therefore it's perfectly fine and legally enforced monogamy is wrong.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I don't think slut and stud are comparable terms. Let's just talk about fashion. How hard is it for a man to look like a stud. Now let's take the woman. How hard is it for a woman to look like a slut?

    How about social implications? I'm a guy of hopefully at least average looks. I'm in good physical shape from an active lifestyle and women often compliment me for having an attractive face. Can I go to a club wearing a thong bikini, dance on the stage, rub up against some girls, flash my crotch, and have a good chance of getting laid? Probably not. I'll more likely get a sexual harassment lawsuit.

    We guys love to get laid. In fact, it's probably one of the most important things in life for us. I can't speak on the behalf of women, but if it was that easy for me to go to a club and get laid, I'd happily be called a slut. It'd be even more awesome if the woman paid for my dinner on top of that.

    There is a lot more to this double standard than women being called derogatory terms. The fact that there is no derogatory term for men of undiscriminating taste in women is often because most men are considered lucky to even get laid let alone have their pick.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Yeah, the phrase "get lucky" is part of the underlying asymmetry--for the most part, women are the choosers, not men.

    The average woman doesn't "get lucky" when she has a ONS (unless it's with Brad Pitt who immediately drops to one knee and proposes) because she is inherently more valuable, from a basic biological & economic standpoint. Men are tripping over themselves vying for her attention, whereas women are tripping over themselves vying for the attention of only the highest quality males.

    Btw, if you were a woman you probably wouldn't want to be called a slut--it's a nasty term. But as a man, it's almost cute when a woman calls you a slut

    ReplyDelete
  11. I think the asymmetry becomes even more apparent with this kind of example: if I walk around on the street and some women whistle as though I'm sexy, I'd be overjoyed (this never happens). I might walk for the rest of the day with a little spring in my step. If women view me as a sex object, I wouldn't be offended or threatened by it, I'd be boasting about it. If a woman grabbed my butt, even one who isn't that attractive, I wouldn't think sexual harassment, I'd think, "nice!"

    The same things done to a woman make her feel vulnerable, threatened, insulted... The difference in reactions couldn't be any further apart. One of my female acquaintances even joked about my 'manhood' one time when she found out I'm a decent chef (she said she thinks I must have a nice cock). Now if I told her in response that I think she must have a nice set of tits, that's not going to fly too well. I would never say that, of course.

    This might seem like it's delving off-topic but I think it all ties in to this notion that women and men are not the same even though they are of equal importance. Perhaps by better appreciating and understanding these differences, we can break down these invisible barriers between the genders that make women turn to women for advice on how men think and men turn to men for advice on how women think. It'd be better if we could just talk to each other more instead and without getting so easily offended.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Going back to your main post, I really enjoy reading your articles on the biological differences between men and women. I think they're spot on as to why the differences exist, but I'm also curious as to your thoughts on how to overcome them. I think trying to overcome these differences is important in order to promote healthier relationships between men and women. Right now things seem quite bleak. In spite of having so many more channels for communication, it appears that women generally distrust men more than ever before and the same is often true of men with respect to women.

    I think the tricky part with biology is that the human mind is capable of introducing so many abstractions to distract us from our primitive functions that we often find it hard to correlate what we do to our primitive urges, even though they're the driving force behind everything we do. A lot of people can't even imagine the notion that the reason we're friendly to strangers who we'll never meet again is driven by biological functions. They end up introducing things like a god into the mix to explain what they can't understand. It's really quite depressing.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Good examples. As you observed, communication between--and about--the sexes would be far smoother if we could talk about sex differences without fearing the lazy and knee-jerk accusation of "sexism", as though talking about differences automatically implies inferiority/superiority.

    To answer your question, I wouldn't be quite so bleak about it. As I see it, the primitive functions bubbling beneath the surface of human nature are ineradicable but don't guarantee specific outcomes--we can override impulses, create better societies that harness the flow of human nature, promote values that tame our more crude primitive urges. Violence is decreasing around the world, the "moral circle" is exanding.

    Yeah the distrust the sexes have towards each other is unfortunate, though much of it is wise-- there are exploiters out there and some intrinsic conflict between the sexes is unavoidable.

    How to promote better relationships? Well, I can tell you one way to not do it. And that's to cling to the blank slate and pretend that all conflicts and differences between the sexes are a result of poor communication or patriarchal culture.

    "More communication" is generally a good thing, but it's a facile, misleading answer to the question of how to promote better relationships, contrary to the Dr Phil worldview and endless marriage counselors around the world who keep themselves in business. The real solution to better relations between the sexes--I will grandly declare from my armchair--is to embrace the inherent differences.

    Treat each other with kindness and equality of worth, of course, but when it comes to the structure of relationships, equality/homogeneity of chores, of roles, of breadwinning ability, etc, is a recipe for boredom and unhappiness. Women always marry up-- unlike men who are interested primarily in beauty and feminine personality, women are interested primarily in status and prestige and masculine personality (as well as the things both sexes want- kindness, intelligence, commitment, etc) and they want a man, not a female with a penis. Feminism deludes men into thinking being the latter is what women want men to be. Most divorces (~70% I think) are instigated by women, and I'd bet that the honest reason for many, if not most of them, is boredom. Obviously no one's going to admit that though.

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  14. Great read and excellent points.

    Just out of curiosity, where does the whore fit into your construct? Whore being defined here in strictly as a woman being paid for sex.

    And in your construct, who has the higher value, the whore or the slut?

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  15. The oldest profession fits into this in only an oblique way--I don't think prostitution and sluttiness can be broadly ranked by some moral metric. It depends on the consequences in each case. A slut who lies about her past, cuckolds a guy, and then divorces him, takes half his money, and leeches alimony and child support to pay for the kids that aren't his and for wardrobes of lingerie for her string of fly-by-night lovers is far worse than a prostitute who lays her cards on the table and is hurting only herself.

    And she is hurting herself. Sluts enjoy sex, prostitutes detest the quivering slabs of meat gyrating on top of them, and no amount of money can buy back what they've lost of their souls. I have nothing against prostitutes, only a vague feeling of pity--most of them come from dirt, their hearts are ravaged with sadness and soon shrivel up to deaden the pain, and they're trapped in a prison partly of their own making.

    Reeeel talk

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  16. A great article. But you forgot to mention that promiscuous women are putting themselves at a greater risk than promiscuous men for a number of reasons.

    The most obvious risk is getting pregnant from a man who has no intention of providing for mother and child. Another is the greater tendency for violence in men "thanks" to high testosterone levels. Women have a much higher risk of being physically harmed during a one-night stand (or to be sexually assaulted by men who think that a woman with the reputation of a slut is fair game) than men.

    And then there is the greater STD risk of women. Some STDs are primarily contracted and transmitted by females, such as candidiasis (yeast infection). The vaginal flora is easily upset, and every new male partner introduces a wide range of microorganisms that can throw it off balance and lead to all kinds of infections, whereas infections of the male uro-genital tract are comparatively rare.

    Finally, women also have a lower sex drive than men, seeing that the libido of both genders is controlled by testosterone. And in most cultures, women are (or at least used to be) a lot more invested in child nursing and child education than men, which makes them the primary role model during a child's early stages of development. There is a reason that so many women want to work with children (or with infantile-cute animals, for that matter). Being natural-born educators with a relatively low sex drive, women are usually expected to exhibit better self control than men.

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  17. @Primateus: In countries where prostitution is legal, such as Germany, you won't find many sex workers who "come from dirt", as you put it.

    There are many female students who choose to work as prostitutes even though they could easily find other jobs, simply because it pays well and allows them to afford a luxurious apartment and a car before they've even started their real career. Think of American students who work in strip clubs.

    Other German prostitutes are ordinary housewives who chose a job which allows them to retire after a mere ten years of work over 47 years in a tedious low-wage office job. None of them is forced to do this kind of work in our welfare state. And interestingly, our rape statistics are far lower than those of the USA and the UK, where prostitution is illegal, so it's not as if prostitution was detrimental for a society. Considering the enormous number of Prozac prescriptions in the U.S., I could also imagine that we have less unattractive and partnerless men who suffer from depression.

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  18. Yeah, the risks are higher. It'd be nice if sex was free of consequence, but it isn't.

    On prostitution--all else being equal there should be fewer incidents of rape in countries that have legalised prostitution. I'm simplifying obviously but, if men have a sexual outlet, there will be less rape. Many feminists don't grasp this because they're still clinging to the canard that rape is about power and not about sex. I've heard that the netherlands--home of the redlight district--have very low rates of rape and other countries that have legalised prostitution show similar statistics

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  19. Um excuse me? Rape IS about power, not sex. There are plenty instances of rape by high-status or physically attractive men with consensual-sex access to many women. It is not only "poor men who can't get it otherwise." Rape is complicated issue. Saying that men would go out raping because they don't get laid for a bit is rather insulting to men.

    As for you justification for people being judgmental of women's sex lives, yet not men's. I think it's pathetic when we use our biology to justify poor behavior. We're also very dispositioned to be wary of new or differently things. It's our evolution, it's how we've survived as a species! That's why you should next right an article justifying racism. Really you can justify plenty of evil bullshit with the morally vacant stroke of "Biology and evolution!" It's like using "Survival of the Fittest!" to morally explain going on a killing spree. How about moving higher as a species instead of using biological instinct as our standpoint for decision making.

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    1. You've contradicted yourself in the first paragraph. And, try reading the post with the goal of comprehending it, rather than squirting out inane boilerplate. Cheers.

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  20. Evolutionary claims to validate psychological beliefs is not science. Usual pseudo-science which even were it to hold true, would fail to make a sturdy argument for up holding the slut-player paradigm.

    We're wired to "insert behavior here"

    Should not equal

    Socially or morally we should "insert behavior here".

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    1. If a very unattractive person comes on to you, and you're not interested, this person is likely to feel bad. So in this situation, your biological instincts lead to emotional pain for someone. So should we say that your behaviour here is immoral? Of course not. If we take the purely cultural perspective why can't I accuse you of unfairly discriminating against this ugly person, and failing to overcome your biological urges?

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    2. Yawn, dumb strawman. I'm not going to respond to anyone who clearly hasn't read the post. I've covered your knee-jerk, thought-free rebuttal

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  21. The species, Homo sapian has dominated the environment by innovating and overcoming antiquated reasoning. True, biology is a bit more complicated than the environment; overriding DNA is perhaps more difficult than building an airship or an atomic bomb. BUT, the starting point is not to accept a limited biological existence of "sluts and studs", albeit well articulated by the author. The starting point is overcoming anxiety about breaking gender restrictions. Humans get bored easily. Remember, not all humans accepted the biological restriction of legs; some dreamed of soaring into the clouds like a bird or floating weightlessly with the stars.

    My advice: If you are an attractive male or female and these genetic benefits suits your fancy - Enjoy! If you are not a person that hit the slut or stud lottery and/or this does NOT suit your fancy, then overcome biology. DNA is code and your body is a machine and there is nothing unmalleable about you.

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  22. That was my philosophy a few years ago, until I begrudgingly accepted that reality doesn't suffer ideologies gladly when they depart too far from hardwired strictures of human nature.

    People are arrayed along a spectrum, but for the bulk of humans it's a sexy-n-silly statement to make that "there is nothing unmalleable about you". That idea has been tested; pick up a history book. Lots of things are flexible, but some things are just not.

    Augmenting human travel with aircrafts, while still using your legs, is not the same as overriding DNA or giving the middle finger to ancient imperatives that have made your existence possible. For that, we need some kind of genetic engineering, but it's a safe bet that human nature isn't changing any time soon.

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  23. Some forty years ago, when I was middle class college student, I happened across an outdoor gathering of feminists seated at desks loaded with literature and pamphlets. Looking rather lonely as most people passed them by without so much as a sideways glance, I stopped to see what they were peddling. I was curious. I talked with one of them briefly. She could tell I was not a convert. Then another, without any prompting, asked, "Do you think women should be as sexually free as men?" Not exactly sure of what freedom she was alluding to, I replied, "Certainly, women are far too expense." Unimpressed by my prestigious wit, neither woman cracked a smile. Instead, and as if on cue, they proceeded with their argument. - "If a woman has sex with several partners, she's called a bitch, slut, and whore. But when a man has sex with multiple partners, he's a hero, stud, Don Juan." I said they were more or less correct but they were also guilty of exploiting only the stereotypes convenient to their point of view. I countered that it is also true that promiscuous males are regarded as predatory, selfish, exploitative, opportunistic, and shiftless. Hardly positive characteristics. By the same token, promiscuous males are generally labeled rakes, lechers, womanizers, and when they get older, dirty old men. Hardly positive stereotypes. I then asked the ladies, "When you think of a sex fiend, a sex maniac, or sex pervert what do you think of? One of them blurted, "But most sex perverts are men!" To which I replied, "Most whores are women."

    Frankly, I think feminists have deliberately confused our comprehension of the sexual double standard owing to an ideological insistence that would see all sexual inequality as prove of their gender's oppression. How could they miss the fact that sex is universally viewed as a female commodity? Or that society confers upon women a more protected and untouchable status? Their "just so stories" about the origins of things and their penchant for blaming everything on the "patriarchy" amount to one long case of causal oversimplification with a hefty dose of sloppy economic determinism.

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  24. really enjoying this blog. like an Irish Takimag. Great writing and well thought out. A logical, rational man who doesn't need 10,000 word-long fluffy incoherent musings on 'feelings' to make a point.

    Just as note on slut shaming
    Men are shamed for being sluts also (see: coronation street)
    they are also shamed for
    1- being nice (search 'nice guys of ok cupid')
    2- Being poor
    3- being a virgin (eugggh)
    4- being intelligent (nerrrrrd)
    5- being stupid (though sometimes girls like this as it's kind of non threatening)
    6- having a mental illness (damaged goods- do NOT touch!- weirdo)
    7- being fat/ lazy/ layabout etc
    8- Asking girls on a date (search elevatorgate) that's a truly mental case of cognitive dissonance- the sluttty, sex positive, nudy calender posing feminist in question is not ok with a guy asking her for coffee. (go figure)
    9- watching porn and/or jackin it- even though this is perfectly acceptable fare on Jezebel
    10- Robin Thicke ( a slutty man) is a rapey bastard. Miley Cyrus (a slutty woman) is a strong empowered woman.
    11- slane guy (bastard) slane girl (victim)

    I could go on ad infinitum about these kinds of double standards which play out daily. Sheeple jump over themselves to be the most offended in the herd and rarely if ever think about things from any other perspective than their own in group.

    finally i think while all the sex positive feminists bask in slutty, liberated glory, they are generally the first ones to repress any sign of male sex positivity.... ie looking, wanting to touch, chatting up. (see: feminist theory 101- 'objectification of women')

    nice read. thankyou

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